The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Nakba (catastrophe) for Arabs, and the aggression by five well-armed Arab countries, assisting local Arab gangs and militias who had been attacking Jews for years, placed Jews in Israel and the state in mortal danger.
Fighting back, Israel eventually negotiated an armistice in 1949 that allowed it respite from open war, albeit not terrorism, and without peace. The Egyptians occupied the Gaza Strip; the Jordanians occupied Judea, Samaria, and the eastern part of Jerusalem, including the Old City and Temple Mount; Syria continued to occupy the Golan Heights, from which it constantly shelled Israeli settlements; all trained and supplied terrorists who raided Israel. The UN did nothing.
Arabs who left homes and property in Israel, and many from other countries who joined Arab armies and did not want to return, remained in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, most as “refugees” under the care of UNRWA.
This heterogeneous population was called “Arab refugees,” not “Palestinians,” because at the time there was no such group or people.
One reason they were called “Arab refugees” was that there were a lot of other refugees in Palestine who were Jewish. Hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab countries streamed into Israel. UNRWA offered no aid, although Jewish refugees had lost everything and the newly established state had few resources.
It took a crafty Egyptian, Yasser Arafat, to create the PLO with his friends to promote the destruction of Israel and the return of Arab refugees. Arab countries saw them as convenient proxies in their war against Israel, to “liberate Palestine.”
Except for Jordan, no Arab host country permitted the newcomers to obtain citizenship; as temporary residents, their civil and humanitarian rights were harshly restricted.
The designation “Palestinian” did not become widely accepted until after the war in 1967, in which Israel, in self-defense, captured areas that had been assigned to a Jewish state by the League of Nations and Mandate, and then occupied by Arab countries: Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem; the Gaza Strip and Golan Heights, rich in Jewish history and archeology; and the Sinai Peninsula.
As the PLO launched mega-terrorist attacks around the world, “Palestinianism” became accepted, backed by the Arab League, Muslim and “non-aligned” countries, and the United Nations.
As the proportion of anti-Israel countries in the UN grew, “Palestinians” were given more and more recognition, support, and legitimacy, unlike any other group.
And the fraud worked! It worked so well because the world’s media accepted the Palestinians’ self-definition and their cause. Even the Israeli media, politicians, and jurists adopted this myth. Academics promoted “Palestinian archeology” and “Palestinian society and culture.” Every time someone writes or speaks of “Palestinians” it reinforces this myth.
Most major newspapers use only the term “West Bank” — a Jordanian reference from 1950 to distinguish the area from the “East Bank” — rather than its authentic names, Judea and Samaria, apparently to deny its Jewish history.
“Palestinian” came to mean Arabs who lived in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza — as well as those in UNRWA-sponsored “refugee camps” in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, and hundreds of thousands of “Palestinians” living throughout the world. By UNRWA’s unique and controversial definition, anyone who claims to live or have lived in Palestine and all descendants, forever, are considered “Palestinian,” with full rights and privileges.
Spread among 58 “refugee camps” (in many cases entire towns), UNRWA’s over-half-billion-dollar budget supports about one and a half million “refugees in camps” and five million “registered refugees”; the total population is expected to reach seven or eight million next year, and growing.
As Palestinian nationalism spread among Israeli Arabs, the term became an identity magnet for Arabs on both sides of the 1949 armistice line — the “Green Line” — as well as those living in other countries. Today, “Palestinian” can be anyone who for whatever reason identifies as such, including their children, grandchildren, etc.
This amalgam of national identity is possible because “Palestinian” is not a separate and unique linguistic, cultural, ethnic, religious, or racial group. Nor does this motley group, currently led by the Fatah and Hamas terrorist organizations, aspire to a country with clearly defined borders. Their goal is not statehood, but exterminating the Jews, thereby “liberating Palestine.”
The success of “Palestinianism” is a tribute to what money, influence, and Jew-hatred will buy and attract. That Jewish and Israeli media and NGOs support Palestinianism stems from liberal ideals of helping those who are less fortunate, the underdog, and even a genuine, although misdirected, desire to live in peace, a supreme Jewish value.
Although there’s probably no way to prevent the virus of “Palestiniansm” from spreading, there’s no reason to ignore it and less to accept it. Like pollution, it may be one of those things we have to live with; but we can and must resist its proliferation.
Arabs of Palestine are entitled to civil and human rights in the countries in which they have resided for generations. That there needs to be a second Arab Palestinian state in addition to Jordan, which was carved out of Palestine and whose population is two-thirds “Palestinian,” and whether such a state will resolve all the attendant problems are extremely doubtful.
That the State of Israel should commit suicide to accomplish this goal is unthinkable.