ISRAEL AND IRAN: IS PEACE POSSIBLE OR IS A STRIKE LIKELY?

Mideast-Iran-Nuclear-_Horo2By Richard Mather… 

So negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have been extended for up to an additional seven months after the international community failed to conclude a deal in Vienna.

Negotiators say the interim agreement (lasting until July 1 2015) will continue to restrain any attempts by Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, but analysts say there is risk of hardliners in Tehran wrecking the entire process.

“These talks aren’t going to suddenly get easier just because we extend them,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters. “They are tough. They have been tough and they are going to stay tough.”

But in the absence of any real progress in stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the Israeli administration has already said it reserves “all options and all our rights to do what we see fit to defend Israel” (Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz).

In other words, Israel reserves the right to strike Iran – before or after July 1 2015.

Despite pressure from the international community there is no evidence that Iran is about to abandon its nuclear program. Irrespective of hard-hitting sanctions and international condemnation, Tehran has pressed on regardless. Iran has yet to come clean on the military dimension of its nuclear program. Without that information, say critics, it will be almost impossible for Western powers to authenticate the nature of Iran’s nuclear efforts.

What we do know is that last year the regime in Tehran unveiled plans to install a new generation of centrifuges, which are up to six times as powerful as the current generation. Meanwhile, Iran continues to exert its pernicious influence in Syria and Gaza, using Hamas and Hezbollah as proxies in its war against Israelis.

A strike against Iran’s nuclear installations seemed highly possible in the summer of 2012. But in recent months there has been little appetite for military action. Perhaps President Obama’s reluctance to offer military and/or diplomatic cover is the reason for Israel’s unusual hesitancy. Or perhaps Netanyahu has failed to convince ordinary Israelis that a strike would be the best solution. Or perhaps it’s because previous heads of Israel’s intelligence community have said an attack on Iran would be unsuccessful and counter-productive.

So, should Israel continue to hold its nerve and see if a deal with Iran is possible – even if it’s a deal that pleases nobody? And if a deal isn’t reached before July, does that mean Israel and Iran will pursue a precarious policy of containment in a situation akin to the Cold War in which both sides had the capability of destroying the other?

Still, Netanyahu is painfully aware that he risks going down in history as the man who let a tyrannical anti-Semitic regime get a nuclear weapon.

Netanyahu may decide that a surgical strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities is the only feasible solution. And if the US and the international community are too weak to stop Iran, then the Jewish state should not be prevented from taking unilateral action to defuse the greatest existential threat to Jewry since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

PALESTINIANISM IN A ‘HYPER-REAL’ UNIVERSE

MIDEAST-ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-JERUSALEM-CONFLICTBy Richard Mather… 

According to French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, contemporary society is alienated from “the real” due to an “ecstasy” of information. Media consumers, he points out, live in a “hyper-real” universe where reality is simulated. Indeed, many people (in the West and in the Muslim world) are alienated from the reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict due to an overload of disinformation, pseudo-historical posturing and faked news footage emanating from the Palestinianists. Truth and historical facts are relegated and replaced by a fabricated “reality” that is mediated by television, newspapers, films and the internet.

The derealisation of the Arab-Israeli conflict is fought by Palestinianists with the weapons of delegitimisation, defamation, disinformation, anti-Semitic propaganda, pseudo-history, faked news footage and boycotts. This Kulturkampf (“culture war”) is advanced in several arenas, notably the media, on campuses, among trade unions and especially the internet. Indeed, Israel’s critics and enemies are very adept at using the internet as a tool for spreading propaganda and conspiracy theories. The internet is a kind of electronic intifada in which falsehoods are routinely and easily produced.

The fact that Palestinianism has found such a willing audience around the world strongly suggests the idea of the “real” or objective reality has been well and truly shattered. As far as the global media is concerned, faked events and pseudo-facts are no less real than reality itself. Indeed, they may be more real because they serve a “higher cause”, which is the demonisation of Israel. The best example of the “death of the real” is the phenomenon known as Pallywood.

II

Pallywood, a portmanteau of Palestinian and Hollywood, is a coinage used by some media watchdogs to describe doctored and fake media footage produced by the Palestinians to illustrate their false but lethal narratives about Israel. Calev Ben-David, writing in The Jerusalem Post, describes Pallywood as “media manipulation, distortion and outright fraud by the Palestinians and (and other Arabs, such as the Reuters photographer caught faking photos during the Second Lebanon War), designed to win the public relations war against Israel.”

Canadian columnist Paul Schneidereit writes: “We’ve seen cases where the bodies of Palestinian martyrs carried on stretchers are inadvertently dropped, then, of their own volition, climb back on again. We’ve seen reports of massacres, as in Jenin in 2002, that turned out, after independent investigation, to have been greatly exaggerated. Needless to say, such episodes don’t instil an abiding trust in subsequent Palestinian claims, at least until they’re verified.”

The methods used by the Palestinian disinformation industry include:

  1. Using visual media to construct fake stories of Israeli atrocities. This involves editing media footage and staging events. For example, directing Palestinian civilians, ambulance drivers, doctors and police to “act out” roles such as the “injured man”, the “dead child”, the “concerned medic”, the “brave freedom fighter.” Palestinian journalists and cameraman are complicit in this theatre of propaganda.
  2. Luring Israeli soldiers into schools, shelters and hospitals and using civilians as human shields in order to increase the casualty rate. For example, in 2009 Hamas militants fired mortar shells from a school in Gaza. The IDF returned fire, resulting in 40 civilian fatalities.
  3. Ignoring or downplaying attacks on Israeli civilians, and omitting to mention the oppression and murder of fellow Palestinians by Hamas and Fatah.
  4. Repeating the claim that Israel ethnically cleansed Palestine in 1947-48, despite the fact that Palestinian leaders deliberately spread false rumours of rape and massacres in order to provoke Arab armies to fight on their behalf.
  5. Repeating the claim that Israel is a colonialist occupier of a country called Palestine, despite the fact that there has never been a Palestinian nation and that Jews have lived in the Holy Land for the past three thousand years.
  6. Claiming that Jerusalem is the capital of a country called Palestine despite the fact that Jerusalem has never been the capital of an Arab or Muslim entity.
  7. Depicting the Israelis as Nazis and claiming the Jews faked or exaggerated the Holocaust.
  8. Masking the prosperity of the Gaza Strip by focusing on isolated examples of hardship.
  9. Disseminating faked reports of massacres, deaths of children, atrocities and privations to the Western media. e.g. claiming the Israelis had carried out a massacre in Jenin in 2002.
  10. Appealing to the United Nations, Amnesty International, the Western media and NGOs for help and/or aid, despite the fact that Israel provides aid and/or allows passage for humanitarian assistance.

Untruth, it seems, is the currency of Palestinianism, but sadly it is a currency that buys a lot of media coverage. Israel, perhaps because of its higher ethical standards and commitment to authentic narratives, has not resorted to the tactics of disinformation and faked news footage. But as a result, Israel is facing a severe crisis of representation because traditional modes of understanding – the relation between fact and reportage – are no longer be considered useful or even valid.

SHOULD ABBAS AND THE PA PAY THE PRICE?

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS ABBASBy Richard Mather… 

One of the most powerful committees in the USA has told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to stop the incitement against Israelis. Although the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee “remains committed” to funding the PA, congressman have raised concerns that Abbas is not doing enough to halt terrorism.

In a letter to Abbas, chairman of the committee Hal Roger asserts that US law “clearly stipulates” that the Palestinian Authority “must act to counter the incitement of violence against Israelis in order to continue receiving US assistance.”

He continues: “The use of degrading images in Fatah or PA produced media as well as inflammatory language used by you and other Palestinian leaders undermine the objectives of our support and threaten to further destabilize an already highly volatile situation.”

But should the US be funding the PA at all? Doesn’t the pogrom against Israelis in recent weeks release benefactors from their commitments to Abbas who, at best is doing nothing to curb incitement,  and at worst is actively calling for the death of Jews in Eretz Israel?

Advocacy group United With Israel is calling on the US and the European Union to immediately cease funding the PA. The brutal murder of three Israeli teenagers, followed by thousands of Hamas rockets, and now the casual murder of Israelis in Jerusalem all adds to one equation: the Palestinian Authority = terror.

In the UK, the Zionist Federation is petitioning the UK government to stop bankrolling the Arab murder of Israeli citizens. As things stand, the PA provides salaries to any Palestinian who is convicted of committing terrorism offences against the Jewish state.

Donor aid accounts for 40 per cent of the PA’s budget , with the UK contributing around £33 million every year.

“These wages are directly pegged to the length of the sentence, so the more grievous the crime, the higher the salary. Since these wages are much larger than those earned by average Palestinians, they clearly reward violence, including murder, and undermine peace,” says the Zionist Federation.

Should Israel go further and pursue Abbas for war crimes? The Israel Law Center has done just that by filing a war crimes complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against PA President Abbas.

The basis for the complaint is twofold: one, there are reports of Fatah-related groups assisting Hamas in the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel over the summer; and two, Abbas is  vicariously liable for Fatah’s actions.

And if the Israel Law Center is unsuccessful, it will pursue Abbas for terrorist attacks during the second intifada. This depends on whether the PA joins the ICC’s Rome Statute, which enshrines four international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

Significantly, the Israel Law Center claims that because Abbas is a Jordanian citizen. He can be pursued through the courts because Jordan accepted ICC jurisdiction over its citizens over a decade ago.

The Israel Law Center – an NGO operating in the private sector, representing hundreds of terror victims in legal actions against Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and the PA – is in a position to undertake actions that the Israeli government is unable to (formally) engage in.

“We are not constrained by political pressures, diplomatic relations, nor international treaties,” states the NGO. “As such, we are able to act unapologetically against the enemies of the Jewish State without concern for foreign retaliations.”

Whatever happens to Abbas in the ICC, it is clear that the PA president is guilty of incitement in the court of Israeli public opinion. When Abbas refers to the would-be assassin of Rabbi Yehudah Glick as “a martyr defending the rights of our people and its holy places,” then we are in no doubt that Abbas is actively inciting violence against Israeli Jews.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett all blame Abbas for the synagogue massacre of four rabbis. They point to regular incitement by Abbas in person and the Palestinian Authority in general.

“This is the direct result of the incitement being led by Hamas and Abu Mazen [Abbas],” said Netanyahu after the synagogue massacre. In recent days, Netanyahu has frequently  used the word “incitement” when referring to Abbas.

Whether the synagogue atrcouty will result in some diplomatic pressure on Abbas to curb incitement remains to be seen. There have been some mealy-mouthed words from John Kerry who has urged “the Palestinian leadership at every single level to condemn this in the most powerful terms.”

Sadly, it is doubtful that Abbas will be made to bear personal responsibility for the recent terror attacks in Israel. The international community is too weak to exert any real pressure and besides it is obsessively pushing Israel into making concessions as a prelude for some kind of peace agreement.

But with Abbas in power and with the PA mired in corruption, it is hard to see how Netanyahu can find common ground with the Palestinian Arabs. For now, peace is a distant dream.

LYING IN THE GUISE OF TRUTH

media-biasOne picture can be worth a thousand weapons (Bob Simon, CBS news reporter)

By Richard Mather… 

The Western media is gullible and dishonest. I say this not with self-righteous indignation but with sadness. As a journalist, I’ve seen at first-hand how the facts are made to fit the story, how statistics are manipulated, how headlines are designed to catch the eye regardless of their truth-content.

Am I also guilty of these misdemeanours? I cannot lie. There have been times when I have knowingly sidelined an inconvenient piece of information or have chosen one set of numbers over another. But I can at least say this: when it comes to reporting on Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, I have never relied on dubious sources and unverified reports to create news stories. But many of my colleagues in the BBC, CBS, CNN and The New York Times do not hesitate to do so.

You can always spot a bad news organisation when it is ready to jump to conclusions. So when a ten-year-old Arab girl is killed by a Hamas bullet but it is reported that the IDF is responsible, then this will confirm the editorial team’s suspicion that the Jewish state is belligerent. Even when the truth comes out and the correction is buried on page 14, the people who believed the misinformation will continue to cling to their anti-Israel prejudices.

There are so many examples of media representation that it would be futile to list even one per cent of them. But here are a few examples:

The New York Times is seven times more likely to publish pieces that are primarily critical of Israel than those primarily critical of the Palestinians, according to media watchdog CAMERA.

The Balen Report from 2004, which contains the findings of a report into alleged BBC bias against Israel, continues to be suppressed. A request by Honest Reporting to publish the findings has been turned down by the BBC on the grounds that information held by the BBC is subject to the Freedom of Information Act only if it is “held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature.”

The BBC, CNN and other media do not report that Arab terrorists are stabbing and running over Israelis, only that Israelis are victims of knife attacks and rogue drivers. Likewise, during Operation Protective Edge, broadcasters were reluctant to show images of rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel.

During Operation Protective Edge, media outlets consistently failed to report the facts, preferring to take Hamas statements as ‘gospel truth.’ The macabre obsession with the death toll in Gaza – combined with the inability to explain why the Israeli death toll was relatively low – fuelled the belief that Israelis are ‘bad’ and Arabs are ‘good.’

Perhaps the worst offender is The Guardian. For two weeks in  April 2002, the newspaper published a series of articles claiming that Israeli soldiers had massacred civilians in Jenin. Subsequent investigations by the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, all concluded there was no massacre.

II

The quality of reporting is so bad and the atmosphere so hostile that even if all reports of Israeli ‘barbarity’ were accurate, if Israel really was an apartheid state committing genocide, the news reports about them would still be anti-Semitic. Why? Because it would be anti-Semitic prejudices not facts motivating the stories – in other words, the gratification felt by those who would be able to say with a knowing wink: ‘I told you, Jews really are like that.’

The Arabs are well aware that news consumers in the West are lost in a hazy realm of doctored photos and contrived news stories. Far from being concrete or objective, ‘reality’ is mediated by television, newspapers, and the internet. Anyway, as far as media outlets are concerned, faked events are no less real than reality itself. Indeed, they may be ‘more real’ because they serve a ‘higher cause,’ which is the demonisation and delegitimisation of the world’s only Jewish state.

Daniel Seaman, a leading media spokesman in Israel who formerly served as the director of the Israel Government Press Office, has criticised Palestinian photographers and gullible Western media outlets.

“They [the Palestinian Arabs] always stage photographs,” says Seaman. “The IDF announces that it is going in to demolish an empty house, but somehow afterwards you see a picture of a crying child sitting on the rubble. There is an economic level to that. The Palestinian photographers receive from the foreign agencies 300 dollars for good pictures; that is why they deliberately create provocation with the soldiers. They’ve degraded photography to prostitution.”

He describes the foreign media as “hostile,” with the French, the Spanish and the British often the worst offenders. The hostility manifests itself in the writing, the biased footage, the assumption of Palestinian innocence and Israeli guilt, he added.

III

The manipulation of the media is not the  only problem. Even when they attempt to be fair-minded, news organisations and newspapers are actually legitimising terrorism.

Switch on Channel 4 News or open up a copy of a left-wing newspaper during any period of fighting and you will see Hamas representatives being given just as much – sometimes more – column space or air time than Israeli spokespersons. Unfortunately, giving proscribed terrorists a platform to espouse their absurd rhetoric only legitimises their genocidal hatred.

So is the media knowingly complicit or just naive? The answer is both, depending on the news organisation in question. What is more certain is this: the media’s obsession with Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, the failure to triple check facts and verify footage, and the presumption of Israeli guilt and the endorsement of the Palestinian Arab victim mentality, are doing immense harm.

All of which is doing great damage to journalistic integrity, and contributing to a global rise in anti-Semitism and the erosion of the Jewish state’s legitimacy. These factors alone ought to weigh heavily on the consciences of newscasters and writers.

THE PALESTINIANISATION OF BRITAIN

imagesBy Richard Mather… 

The Palestinian issue has enabled Britain to reconnect with its medieval Jew-hating past.

Anti-Semitism in modern Britain hit an all-time high in July. Figures published by the Community Security Trust showed there were 302 anti-Semitic incidents reported in July 2014, a 400 per cent rise from the 59 reported in July 2013. A further 150 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in August 2014, the third-highest monthly total on record. Most of the offenders were of Asian and/or Middle Eastern appearance, raising fears that support for Palestinian nationalism is driving this new wave of anti-Semitism.

Of course, hatred of Jews in Britain is nothing new. In 1144 there was the first report in history of the blood libel. Anthony Julius, writing in his book Trials of the Diaspora, finds that the English were infinitely imaginative in inventing anti-Semitic allegations. He says that England became the “principal promoter, and indeed in some sense the inventor of literary anti-Semitism.”

In 1278, Jews in England were seized and imprisoned in various castles throughout England. While they were imprisoned, their houses were ransacked. Some 680 were detained in the Tower of London. More than 300 were executed in 1279 and eleven years later, King Edward I expelled the Jews from England.

Modern anti-Semitism is the product of Yasser Arafat’s 1960s invention of Palestinian nationalism. Arafat’s legacy has been to encourage generations of people to incite violence against the Jewish people and to inculcate delegitimisation, defamation and discrimination.

One of the most curious aspects of Arafat’s nationalism is its hybrid ideology, which is part reactionary religious creed, part revolutionary rhetoric. Either way, it is viciously anti-Semitic and continues to attract Britain’s disaffected youth – paradoxically, Muslims who believe in sharia law and anarchists who believe in no law at all.

This is the curious thing about Palestinianism. It is an ideology that adapts accordingly. You don’t have to a Palestinian or even a Muslim to follow this ideology. You can be a liberal or a neo-Nazi; a Presbyterian or hardcore atheist; an intellectual or a college dropout. In fact, you can be anything you want to be, just as long as you hate Jews.

Palestinianism is very inclusive and fashionably heterodox in its hatred. Christian and Muslim Palestinianists both believe in a replacement theology in which their respective faiths supersede Judaism. Liberals dislike Israel because they perceive the Jewish state as exclusivist. And socialists abhor Israel because the Jewish state is a military power with close links to the US.

The rise in anti-Semitism in Britain has received little attention, partly because much of the abuse is carried out by Muslims who are sheltered by the liberal elite, who accuse critics of Islamophobia or racism. Muslims who attack Jews claim it is retribution on behalf of their “brothers” in Gaza and the “West Bank.” And the liberal elite agrees.

Buildings and bus shelters in Britain’s university districts are plastered with pro-Gaza posters. Palestinian flags hang from the windows of student houses. Anti-Israel events are advertised around campuses. Students are permitted to invite anti-Semitic speakers, such as Hezbollah representative Ibrahim Mousawi and Abu Usamah, a radical Muslim cleric who admires Osama bin Laden.

Campus life is a microcosm of Britain and Jewish students in the UK have long spoken of an atmosphere of intimidation. Sadly, the political will to protect Jewish students from the effects of Palestinian nationalism does not exist. Instead of protecting their Jewish students, academics and student unions are too busy pursuing the Palestinian agenda by promoting boycotts and divestments.

The former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has spoken of the intimidation of Jewish students in Britain as “part of a long, slow, insidious process intended to undermine academic freedom and it must not be tolerated.” Regrettably, it will be tolerated as long as academics and opinion-formers in the media spread the lie that Israeli Jews are imperialist bullies with no historical connection to the land of Israel or Jerusalem.

In the British media, Israel is disproportionately blamed for all the ills of the Middle East. It is amazing how many column inches are devoted to Israel/Palestine. Far too often, media outlets provide a platform for radical Muslims who espouse hatred of Israel and Jews. And on so many occasions, the BBC broadcasts anti-Israel stories that are based on manipulated images, staged events and unsubstantiated rumours.

What is particularly sickening is the way British politicians continue to criticise Israel and romanticise the Palestinians. For example, Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour Party, has deliberately distanced himself from the Jewish community by condemning Israel’s right to defend itself, thereby strengthening his appeal to Muslim voters.

Much worse was the recent House of Commons motion to recognise Palestine as a sovereign entity. Listening to the debate, you would be forgiven for thinking that the creation of a Palestinian state will inaugurate a period of world peace and utopian brotherhood. It would be comical if it wasn’t so dangerous.

In contemporary British discourse, the Palestinian issue is totemic. The fixation with Gaza, east Jerusalem and the “West Bank” has propagated the outrageous but popular belief that Israel is the world’s worst human rights abuser since the Nazis. But casting Israel in this role is no different from accusing Jews of killing Christian children for their blood or blaming Jews for Germany’s military defeat in 1918. The level of abuse levelled at Israel today is just another manifestation of an age-old disease.

If we want a healthy body politic, politicians and the media must resist the urge to automatically side with the Palestinians. Rather than focusing their energies on Israel’s perceived misdemeanours, people in influential positions must think twice about presuming Israel’s guilt. Moreover, it is incumbent on the media to start highlighting the corruption in the PA-controlled West Bank and the incitement against Jews in Palestinian schools, to name just two issues.

In other words, the one-sided criticism of Israel and the culture of incitement need to be addressed before some crazed pro-Palestinian activist goes into a synagogue and kills worshippers or firebombs a Jewish-owned business. We’ve seen such things happen in Europe and Israel. It can happen in Britain too. For the sake of peace, anti-Zionist incitement must stop.

ISLAM AND THE THEFT OF JEWISH HISTORY

titleThere is nothing legitimate about Islam’s claim to be the original faith. Similarly, there is nothing legitimate about the Palestinian aspiration for nationhood. The desire to eradicate Israel can be explained by Islam’s anxiety of influence.

By Richard Mather… 

The Islamic desire to eradicate the Jewish people can perhaps be explained by the following proposition: Muslims subconsciously recognise that Islam is an inferior imitation of Judaism.

On one level, examples of imitation abound. Islamic dietary laws mimic Kashrut. Muslims circumcise their children, just like Jews do. The Temple Mount, revered by Jews as the place where God chose to rest the Divine Presence, is now home to the Dome of the Rock, a caricature of the Jewish temple.

Muslims claim the Quran is the word of God recited by an angel to Mohammed, despite the fact that it is quite clearly a mishmash of stories from the Hebrew Bible, the Christian New Testament and quasi-gnostic stories circulating in Arabia in the seventh century. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Aaron and David were all appropriated by the first Muslims and transformed into Islamic prophets. This was done for three reasons: to rewrite the past, to delegitimise Judaism and to justify Arab imperialist ambitions of reshaping the world under the banner of Allah. So it is hardly surprising that Muslims today seek to delegitimise the State of Israel by claiming the land is part of the Islamic caliphate.

More significant is the Islamic inversion of Judaism’s moral system. In Judaism, unethical or immoral behaviour is seen as a desecration of the Divine Name. In Islam, the art of deception is promoted in the Quran and Islamic literature. Taqiyya (saying something that isn’t true) and kitman (lying by omission) are acceptable methods of undermining the morale and security of non-Muslims. Mohammad himself would trick his enemies by pretending to seek peace. Once his opponents had let their guard down, he would attack them. After all, said the prophet, “war is deceit.”

II

Appropriation, delegitimisation, falsification, deceit and war are the five pillars of Islam. They are also the five pillars of the Palestinian movement, a blatantly anti-Semitic ideology scripted in the 1960s and acted out by Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

The Palestinian desire to appropriate land “from the river to the sea” is simply the latest manifestation of the ongoing attempt to eradicate Judaism by destroying the cultural and historical centre of Jewish identity, which is Israel.

The Palestinian Arabs did not seek to establish a homeland until after the formation of the State of Israel – another example of cheap imitation. Palestinian nationalism only came into being because the Jews got there first. What else is Palestinianism but a parody of Zionism?

Likewise with Jerusalem. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran and it is unlikely that Muhammad ever visited the city. It was only in the 1960s, nearly twenty years after the creation of Israel, that Jerusalem became the symbolic capital of Palestinianism.

In other words, Palestinian nationalism and the appropriation of Jerusalem as its capital, is the fulfilment of the seventh century Arab colonialist project, which is to dominate and/or destroy the Jews. So instead of blaming Israel for the current crisis in Jerusalem, the Western world needs to see that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are only interested in one thing – a Jew-free Greater Palestine ruled by Islamic fundamentalists.

WILL THE REAL PALESTINIANS PLEASE STAND UP?

Yasser ArafatBy Richard Mather and David Semple… 

I

Let’s clear this up once and for all. Palestine was never a country. The ancient Greeks used to refer to ancient Israel and the country we now call Syria as Philistina; in English,Palestine. Why? The Philistines were Greek settlers from the islands of the Aegean Sea who lived in Gaza and at first tried to invade Egypt before turning their attentions to Eretz Israel.

The Bible calls the Philistines the P’lishtim or Pelishtim; the Egyptians referred to them as thePeleset. The Philistines failed in their attempts at imperialist conquest and were later expelled from the land of Israel, which may explain why the Ancient Greeks were so anti-Semitic.

The Philistines were defeated by King David’s Kingdom of Judea and Israel, which we now call the State of Israel in its reduced form today. After the Romans colonised Judea and defeated two Jewish revolts in 70 CE and 136 CE, they renamed the territory Philistina or Palestine.

So Europeans called it Palestine from the year 136 until 1948, when Israel declared its independence from the UK. But there was never a nation called Palestine. It was a colony, first under the Romans and Byzantines, then under the Arab Caliphates and the Ottoman Empire, and finally under the British, who revived the name Palestine during the Mandate period, long after the name had died out under the Arabs and Ottomans.

II

If there is such a thing as the Palestinians, then there is only one people that deserve the epithet – the Jews. They are the true Palestinians. The Jews were the first and last Palestinians in the authentic and modern sense – first under Rome and finally under the British Empire. The remnants of the people left behind by the Mohammedian imperialists, who conquered Palestine in the seventh century, called themselves South Syrians, not Palestinians.

There were hardly any of these Arabs living in Palestine during the nineteenth century when Jews from Europe began to return to the land of Israel. Many more Arabs were shipped into the area by the Turks as the Jews grew the economy of this Ottoman province. Under the British, uncontrolled and illegal Arab immigration into Mandate Palestine far exceeded Jewish legal immigration.

The British referred to the two peoples as “Palestinian Jews” and “Arabs.” The Arabs favoured being part of an entity called Greater Syria. The British took Palestine, which they had promised to the Jews in the Balfour Declaration, and gave seventy per cent of it to the Arabs and called the new nation Transjordan – the first independent Palestinian state. The remaining part of Palestine – western Palestine – was a geographical entity stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean (“from the river to the sea.”). And despite losing even more territory when the U.N. decided to partition western Palestine, the Jews finally declared independence in 1948 and the State of Israel became the second Palestinian state, after Jordan.

Then Jordan, along with several Arab states, invaded Israel and tried to destroy it, without success. Jordan conquered Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem, annexing those territories in 1949, making them a full part of the Hashemite Kingdom. Finally, the Arab nations tried to destroy Israel in 1967, with the result being that the territories illegally annexed by Jordan were liberated by Israel. This should have been the end of the story, but the Arabs had another plan.

III

The Arabs invented the “Palestinian People” from the 700,000 refugees who left Mandate Palestine in 1948 and went to Gaza, Judea/Samaria and Jordan.  They waited and waited for Israel to be destroyed. The Arab refugee population grew from 700,000 to several millions.

The “Palestinian People” (perhaps they should  be called the “New Palestinians”) were invented by Egyptian-born Yasser Arafat. His ideology came from three sources: Islam, German fascism (via the Nazi collaborator Haj Amin al-Husseini) and the anti-Zionist Soviet Union. Arafat’s success was to appropriate the appellations Palestinian and Palestine, and repackage them as a pair of signifiers referring to a new and reactionary grouping of former colonial Arab migrants.

These Arabs – these New Palestinians – now live in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and everywhere around the world. They call themselves the Palestinian People, not because they identify with a place called Palestine, but because they are anti-Semitic and wish to wipe out the Jewish State, returning it to colonial rule under Arab-Islamic totalitarianism.

Since the 1960s, the New Palestinians have sought to erase the true Palestinian people (the Jews) by literally taking their place in the land of Israel. The New Palestinians – the monstrous birth of Arafat who dreamed of a Judenrein Middle East – was (and still is) an Arab conspiracy:

“We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state,” said Arafat. “We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem.”

IV

So who, in the end, are the Palestinians? The New Palestinians are Arab usurpers – racist, anti-Semitic, colonialist. The true Palestinians are the Jews, the Jews who lived under Roman, Christian, Arab, Ottoman, and British imperialism, from 135 CE to 1948. These Palestinian Jews simply decided, on independence in 1948, to establish a new name for their country. Judea was one idea. The State of Israel was another.

Put simply, the Israelis, and not the Arabs, are the true inheritors of the name Palestinian.