By Carol Rushton

One of the most frequently used arguments by pro-Arab apologists to deny Jews the right to their ancient biblical lands is that the Arabs living in Israel are not really Arabs but their own unique people group known as Palestinians. The Palestinians have lived for hundreds, if not thousands of years on the land now known as the State of Israel while the Jews are newcomers trying to dispossess the Palestinians’ right to their own land.

Terrorist groups such as the PLO, Hamas, and Hezbollah as well as Arab/Muslim countries have been very successful at convincing Westerners, especially Americans, that the Jews are usurpers, oppressing and subjecting the poor, impoverished Palestinian people who are fighting for the right to take back their land from wealthy, elitist Jewish imperialists.

Unfortunately, very few talk show hosts and politicians ever bother do any research about the real history of the Middle East and the so-called “Palestinians.”

However, there is one uncomfortable fact that many Westerners gloss over: There has never been a country in history called Palestine with its own unique government, language, culture, society, religion, and people. There is no such thing as an actual “Palestinian” unless you want to call the Jews “Palestinians,” a name which they would probably reject. (After signing the Oslo Accords, Yassir Arafat stood on a balcony in Bethlehem that following Christmas, waving to the crowd and proclaiming, “Jesus, the Palestinian”).

For example, while Arabs in Israel sometimes know Hebrew and English as secondary languages, their mother tongue is Arabic, the same Arabic that Arabs in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Oman, and other Arab countries speak. Arab Christians are a very small minority; Islam is the dominant religion throughout the Arab-speaking world, including among Israeli Arabs.

The “Palestinians” were an invention by arch terrorist Yassir Arafat after he took over the PLO in the 1960s. The Arabs that lived in Israel initially rejected the term “Palestinian” because they identified with the country of Jordan who had had control of Judea and Samaria, commonly known as the West Bank, for years before Israel captured it during the 1967 Six-Day War. The Jewish Virtual Library confirms this. “King Abdullah (the current king of Jordan’s grandfather) considered the Palestinian Arabs and Jordanians one people. By 1950, he annexed the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and forbade the use of the term Palestine in official documents” (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/history-and-overview-of-the-palestinian-refugees).

It took Arafat years to convince them that adopting the name “Palestinian” would be to their advantage in convincing the world that the powerful Jews were illegally occupying “Palestinian” land and subjugating the poor, impoverished “Palestinian” people.

This explains why Westerners generally apply the term “Palestinian” to Arabs – and Arabs only – who were born in the geographical area of Palestine. It is ironic that Yassir Arafat himself did not qualify as a Palestinian as he was born in a little village outside of Cairo, Egypt!

The PLO and other terrorist groups, as well as Arab/Muslim countries have used and exploited these “Palestinians” for years as excuse to launch terrorist pogroms in Israel and kill Jews, as well as keeping their Arab brothers and sisters confined to refugee camps under sub-human conditions. The Jewish Virtual Library documents the shocking and appalling conditions of the camps located in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip, and Judea and Samaria. Hundreds of thousands in these camps suffer from “poverty, overcrowding, unemployment, poor housing conditions and lack of infrastructure” (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/palestinian-refugees-in-lebanon).

The fact is that keeping these Arabs or “Palestinians” holed up in refugee camps accomplishes some important aims. For one thing, it keeps the issue of the “Palestinians” being oppressed by Israel and Jews alive. If the countries these Arabs live in actually absorbed them, gave them citizenship, and educated them so they could find meaningful employment, the Arab/Muslim countries and terrorist groups would not be able to bash Israel for the horrible plight of these poor, suffering “Palestinians.” “Moreover, the Arab states routinely pushed for the adoption of UN resolutions demanding that Israel desist from the removal of Palestinian refugees from camps in Gaza and the West Bank. They preferred to keep the Palestinians as symbols of Israeli ‘oppression’” (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/history-and-overview-of-the-palestinian-refugees).

The Jewish Virtual Library also points out that when “Israel controlled the Gaza Strip, a consistent effort was made to get the Palestinians into permanent housing. The Palestinians opposed the idea because the frustrated and bitter inhabitants of the camps provided the various terrorist factions with their manpower” (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/history-and-overview-of-the-palestinian-refugees). The Arabs don’t really want a solution for their “Palestinian” brothers and sisters because it is more advantageous to use them as a political football to incite hatred for Israel and the Jews.

Arabs, mostly Bedouins, have lived in what is known as the Holy Land for years, but so also have Jews. While Jews were dispersed throughout the world after Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. and again by Rome in 135 A.D. following the crushing of the Bar Kochba revolt, some Jews found a way to stay in or eventually return to the area. I personally was privileged to spend Passover in 1993 at the home of Ray Lewis, the head of the Circulation Department at The Jerusalem Post newspaper at that time, whose wife’s family had lived in Jerusalem, Israel for at least ten generations.

This article raises the question of how these Arabs came to be refugees in other countries in the first place. This will be answered in the next article.