Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Truth About Palestinian Immigration. By Evelyn Gordon.

The Truth About Palestinian Immigration. By Evelyn Gordon. Commentary, December 14, 2011. Also here.

Arab Immigration to Historic Palestine: A Survey. By Richard Mather. Jewish Media Agency, May 31, 2015.

Egyptian Émigrés in the Levant in the 19th and 20th Centuries. By Gideon M. Kressel and Reuven Aharoni. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, February 11, 2013. Also here.

Fouad Ajami: “My great-grandfather had come from Tabriz in Iran to our ancestral village sometime in the mid-1850s.” The Dream Palace of the Arabs, p. 14.

Who are the Palestinians? By Yoram Ettinger. Israel Hayom, December 13, 2011. Also at The Ettinger Report.


Writing in Israel Hayom yesterday, Yoram Ettinger supported Newt Gingrich’s statement that Palestinians are an “invented” people by offering statistics to show that far from having lived in the Holy Land for millennia, most Palestinians descend from immigrants who came from throughout the Muslim world between 1845 and 1947. Simon Sebag Montefiore provides similar data in his new book, Jerusalem: The Biography, as a New York Times reviewer noted: From 1919-38, for instance, 343,000 Jews and 419,000 Arabs immigrated to the area, meaning Arab Johnny-come-latelies significantly outnumbered the Jewish ones.

One might ask why this should matter: Regardless of when either Jews or Palestinians arrived, millions of both live east of the Jordan River today, and that’s the reality policymakers must deal with. But in truth, it matters greatly – because Western support for Palestinian negotiating positions stems largely from the widespread view that Palestinians are an indigenous people whose land was stolen by Western (Jewish) interlopers.

Current demographic realities would probably suffice to convince most Westerners that a Palestinian state should exist. But the same can’t be said of Western insistence that its border must be the 1967 lines, with adjustments possible only via one-to-one territorial swaps and only if the Palestinians consent. Indeed, just 44 years ago, UN Resolution 242 was carefully crafted to reflect a Western consensus that the 1967 lines shouldn’t be the permanent border. So what changed?

The answer lies in the phrase routinely used to describe the West Bank and Gaza today, but which almost nobody used back in 1967, when Israel captured these areas from Jordan and Egypt, respectively: “occupied Palestinian territory.” This phrase implies that the land belongs to the Palestinians and always has. And if so, why shouldn’t Israel be required to give back every last inch?

But if the land hasn’t belonged to the Palestinians “from time immemorial” – if instead, both Palestinians and Jews comprise small indigenous populations augmented by massive immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries, with the West Bank and Gaza becoming fully Judenrein only after Jordan and Egypt occupied them in 1948 – then there’s no inherent reason why the border must necessarily be in one place rather than another. To create two states, a border must be drawn somewhere, but that “somewhere” should depend only on the parties’ current needs – just as the drafters of Resolution 242 envisioned. Indeed, that resolution explicitly called for “secure” boundaries precisely because the 1967 lines were “notably insecure,” to quote then U.S. Ambassador to the UN Arthur Goldberg, and Western statesmen believed the permanent border must be relocated to make it defensible.

Moreover, if Palestinians aren’t the land’s indigenous owners, it becomes possible to implement another important principle: that 64 years of refusing repeated Jewish offers of statehood should entail a territorial price. For if decades of making war rather than peace doesn’t entail a territorial price, that encourages aggressors to keep trying to gain the whole loaf through military action, secure in the knowledge that half a loaf will always still be available if they ever decide otherwise.

On immigration, as in so many other aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it turns out that history matters, and by ignoring it, Israel and its supporters have badly undermined their own cause. Reversing direction at this late date won’t be easy. But if the conflict is ever to be resolved, correcting the historical record is vital.

Arab-Muslim Waves of Immigration to Palestine. By Rivka Shpak Lissak. Rivka Shpak Lissak.com. Also here.

The Ethnic-Religious Composition of the Population During the Mamluk Period, 1260-1516. By Rivka Shpak Lissak. Rivka Shpak Lissak.com.

Acculturation Without Islamization Under Arab-Muslim Occupation (640-1099). By Rivka Shpak Lissak. Rivka Shpak Lissak.com.

A History of Palestine, 634-1099. By Moshe Gil. Translated from the Hebrew by Ethel Broido. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Debunking the “Palestinians as Native Americans” Myth. By Rachel Avraham. The Jewish Press, April 29, 2013.

Review of Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine. By Daniel Pipes. DanielPipes.org.

The Peters Principle on the Middle East Conflict. By Michael Curtis. American Thinker, January 9, 2015.

The Smoking Gun: Arab Immigration into Palestine, 1922-1931. By Fred M. Gottheil. The Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Winter 2003). Also here.

Arab Immigration into Pre-State Israel: 1922-1931. By Fred M. Gottheil. Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3 (October 1973).

Arab Immigration into Palestine, 1922-1931. The Elder of Ziyon, November 22, 2007.

Pages mentioning Ibrahim Pasha from The Claim of Dispossession: Jewish Land-Settlement and the Arabs, 1878-1948. By Aryeh L. Avneri. Piscataway, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1984.

Hamas Minister of the Interior and of National Security Fathi Hammad Slams Egypt over Fuel Shortage in Gaza Strip, and Says: “Half of the Palestinians Are Egyptians and the Other Half Are Saudis.” MEMRI TV, Video Clip No. 3389, March 23, 2012. Transcript. YouTube. YouTubeIsrael Matzav. Israel Today.

Hamas Senior Official: Palestinians Don’t Come from Palestine. By Aryeh Savir. The Jewish Press, May 7, 2012.

Hamas top dog Fathi Hammad: “Palestinians Are Not From Palestine!” Sheik Yer’ Mami. Winds of Jihad, May 30, 2012.

Hamas: Palestinians Actually Are Egyptians, Saudis. By Bob Unruh. WND, September 27, 2012.


Allah be praised, we all have Arab roots, and every Palestinian, in Gaza and throughout Palestine, can prove his Arab roots – whether from Saudi Arabia, from Yemen, or anywhere. We have blood ties. So where is your affection and mercy?


Personally, half my family is Egyptian. We are all like that. More than 30 families in the Gaza Strip are called Al-Masri [“Egyptian”]. Brothers, half of the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis.

Who are the Palestinians? We have many families called Al-Masri, whose roots are Egyptian. Egyptian! They may be from Alexandria, from Cairo, from Dumietta, from the North, from Aswan, from Upper Egypt. We are Egyptians. We are Arabs. We are Muslims. We are a part of you.