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"Palestinian" as an Arab ethnic group is a modern political creation since 1967

"Palestinian" as an Arab ethnic group is a modern political creation which has no basis in fact - and had never had any international or academic credibility before 1967.

Before the crushing 1967 "Six-Day" defeat of the Arab countries by Israel, the "Palestine-for-the-Palestinians" cause was met by "complacency, and... crass ignorance." The prominent Arab Palestinian activist, writer, and innovator Musa Alami tried virtually singlehandedly to interest the Arab world in this propaganda program in 1948. 

In Iraq he was told by the Prime Minister that all that was needed was "a fewbrooms" to drive the Jews into the sea; by confidants of Ibn Saud in Cairo, that "once we get the green light from the British we can easily throw out the Jews."[8]
But the reality was much more complicated than the Iraqi Prime Minister had suggested. The Arabs had initiated hostilities in Palestine[9] upon the November 1947 United Nations' partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state," [10] employing outside forces and arms from Arab states as distant as Iraq[11] to prevent the creation of the Jewish state, "a series of killings and counterkillings that would continue for decades."[12] [See Chapters 9ff.] Thousands of Arabs, including the more affluent, left for nearby Arab states before Jewish statehood." When Israel's independence was declared in 1948, the Arab forces combined to crush it.[14] 

8.Sir Geoffrey Furlonge, Palestine Is My Country: The Story ofMusa Alami (New York and London: Praeger Press, 1969), p. 152.

9.Muhamed Nimer Al Hawari described the Arab leaders' ruthless incitement of the Arabs in Jaffa in December 1947: ". . . Jaffa was boiling: every second that passed you heard a new rumour, and after every minute the imaginary tales and lies became bigger, finally, they were accepted as definite truth by the public. When the sun was setting down, many of the Mufti henchmen patrolled the streets in private and lorry cars, calling upon the people: oh! people, oh! men, oh! heros; Help ... Help . . . ,  stop the Jewish attack! They have attacked your brothers in the Manshiya; they pillaged their properties; burned their holdings and raped their women and girls. They have committed awful acts of horror and brutality against your brothers!! In but a few minutes Jaffa's inhabitants were incited and agitated shouted and fired in the air:--On Them! On Them! On Tel-Aviv, the town of the wicked ... Groups and individuals, they marched on and among them, behind them or in front of them, went the Mufti henchmen belittling the Jewish strength. . . " The Secret of the Catastrophe [Arabic] (Nazareth, 1955), pp. 34-37, cited in translation by Rony E. Gabbay, A Political Study of the Arab-Jewish Conflict: The Arab Refugee Problem (A Case Study) (Geneva: Librairie E. Droz; Paris: Librairie Minard, 1959), pp. 82-83.

10. United Nations General Assembly, 2nd session 1947, Resolution 181 (11), November 29, 1947. For earlier partition proposals and Arab reaction, see Chapter 14.

11.In March 1948, according to a study, these outside forces included 2,500 Syrians, 2,500 Iraqis, "several hundred" Lebanese and Egyptians, and Yugoslav Muslims as well. Harry Sacher, Israek The Establishment ofa State (London, 195 1), p. 235, cited by Gabbay, Political Study, p. 81. General Isma'il Safwat reported to the League Palestine Committee the total number of Arab volunteers as "7,700 persons," March 23, 1948, Iraq Parliamentary Investigating Commission, cited in Gabbay, p. 81.

12.Nicholas Bethell, The Palestine Triangle: The Struggle for the Holy Land, 1935-48 (New York: G. Putnam's Sons, 1979), p. 3 5 1; Azzarn Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, described "three characteristics of the future war: the belief in glorious death as a road to paradise, the opportunities of lust and the Bedouin love of slaughter for its own sake." Interview in Akhbar al-Yom, October 11, 1947, cited by Gabbay, Political Study, p. 83, n. 103.

13.In September 1947, the Political Committee of the Arab League, at its meeting in Sofer, Lebanon, advised the Arab governments to accept and care for the evacuees from Palestine. Iraq Parliamentary Investigation Commission on the Causes of the Failure in Palestine, submitted to Iraq Parliament on September 4, 1949, Appendix 8, pp. 43-50, cited in Gabbay, Political Study, p. 92; see also "The Arab Refugee Problem and How It Can Be Solved," proposals submitted to the United Nations General Assembly, December 195 1, by Dewey Anderson, Executive Director, Public Affairs Institute; Archibald MacLeish, Harvard University; Henry Atkinson, Church Peace Union; Ivan Lee Holt, Methodist Bishop of Missouri; Kenneth Scott Latourette, President, American Baptist Convention; Daniel Marsh, Chancellor, Boston University; James T. Shotwell, Carnegie Endowment; James G. Patton, President, Farmers International and Cooperative Union; Norman B. Nash, Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts; and others.

14."This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre . . . like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades." Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, at Cairo press conference, May 15, 1948, New York Times, May 16, 1948.

This page was produced by Joseph E. Katz
Middle Eastern Political and Religious History Analyst 
Brooklyn, New York 
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Source: "From Time Immemorial" by Joan Peters, 1984
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Portions Copyright © 1984 Joan Peters, Portions Copyright © 2001 Joseph Katz
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