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Who Stole the Holy Land? By: Steven Plaut
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, December 09, 2004


So let us see if we have this straight.  The anti-Zionists claim that the Jews have no right to the land of Israel because before Israel was re-created in 1948, it had been almost 1900 years since the last time that the Jews exercised sovereignty over the Land of Israel.  And the anti-Zionists claim that it is absurd to argue that anyone still has rights to land that was last governed with sovereignty 1900 years ago.

And on what basis do they argue that the Arabs have some legitimate claim to these same lands? On the basis of the claim that the Arabs last exercised sovereignty over that land 1000 years ago.

You all with me? 1900 year-old-claims are inadmissible. Thousand-year-old claims trump them and are indisputable.

 

Now let us emphasize that even the thousand-year-old Arab claim is not the same thing as a claim on behalf of Palestinian Arabs. After all, the last time that Palestinian Arabs held sovereignty over the lands of "Palestine" was ... never. There has never been a Palestinian Arab state in Palestine. Ever.

 

It is true that Arabs once exercised sovereignty over parts or all of historic Palestine.  There were small Arab kingdoms in the south of "Palestine" already in late Biblical days, and they were important military and political allies of the Jews, who exercised sovereignty back then in the Land of Israel. After the rise of Islam, historic "Palestine" was indeed part of a larger Arab kingdom or caliphate. But that ended in 1071, when Palestine came under the rule of the Suljuk Turks. That was the last time Palestine had an Arab ruler. After that, it was always ruled by a long series of Ottomans, Mamluks, other Turks, Crusaders, British, and - briefly - French. And in any case, why does the fact that Palestine once belonged to a larger Arab empire make it any more "Arab" than the fact that it also was once part of larger Roman, Greek, Persian, Turkish, or British empires? Now it is true that historic Palestine probably once had a population majority who were Arabs, but today it has a population majority who are Jews. So if population majorities are what determine legitimacy of sovereignty, Israel is at least as legitimate as any other country.

 

So why exactly do the anti-Zionists claim that a thousand-year old claim by Arabs who were never ruled by Palestinian Arabs has legitimacy, while a 1900-year claim by Jews to the land should be rejected as absurd, even though the United Nations granted Israel sovereignty in 1947? The anti-Zionists say it is because the thousand-year-old Arab claim is more recent than the older Jewish claim.  But if national claims to lands become more legitimate when they are more recent, then surely the most legitimate of all is that of the Jews of Israel to the lands of Israel, because it is the most recent!

 

The other claim by the anti-Zionists is that Jews have no rights to the lands of Israel (historic Palestine) because they moved there from some other places.  Now never mind that there was actually always a Jewish minority living in the lands of Israel even when it was under the sovereignty of Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Crusaders, Turks or British. Does the fact that Jews moved to the land of Israel from other places disqualify them from exercising sovereignty there? The claim would be absurd enough even if we were to ignore that fact that most "Palestinian Arabs" also moved to Palestine from neighboring countries, starting in the late nineteenth century. But more generally, does the fact that a people moves from one locality to another deprive it of its claims to legitimate sovereignty in its new abode? Does this fact necessitate the conclusion that they need to pack up and leave, as the anti-Zionists insist?

 

If it does, then it goes without saying that the Americans and Canadians must lead the way and show the Israelis the light, by returning all lands that they seized from the Indians and the Mexicans to their original owners and going back to whence they came. For that matter, the Mexicans of Spanish ancestry also need to leave. The Anglo-Saxons, meaning the English, will be invited to turn the British isles over to their rightful original Celtic and Druid owners, while they return to their own ancestral Saxon homeland in northern Germany and Denmark. The Danes of course will be asked to move aside, in fact to move back to their Norwegian and Swedish homelands, to make room for the returning Anglo-Saxons.

 

But that is just a beginning. The Spanish will be called upon to leave the Iberian peninsula that they wrongfully occupy, and return it to the Celtiberians. Similarly the Portuguese occupiers will leave their lands and return them to the Lusitanians. The Magyars will go back where they came from and leave Hungary to its true owners. The Australians and New Zealanders obviously will have to end their occupations of lands that do not belong to them. The Thais will leave Thailand. The Bulgarians will return to their Volga homeland and abandon occupied Bulgaria.   Anyone speaking Spanish will be expected to end his or her forced occupation of Latin America. It goes without saying that the French will lose almost all their lands to their rightful owners. The Turks will go back to Mongolia and leave Anatolia altogether, returning it to the Greeks. The Germans will go back to Gotland. The Italians will return the boot to the Etruscans and Greeks.

 

Ah, but that leaves the Arabs. First, all of northern Africa, from Mauritania to Egypt and Sudan, will have to be immediately abandoned by the illegal Arab occupiers and squatters, and returned to their lawful original Berber, Punic, Greek, and Vandal owners. Occupied Syria and Lebanon must be released at once from the cruel occupation of the Arabs imperialist aggressors. Iraq must be returned to the Assyrians and Chaldeans. Southern Arabia must be returned to the Abyssinians. The Arabs may return control of the central portion of the Arabian peninsula as their homeland. But not the oil fields.

 

Oh, and the Palestinian infiltrators, usurpers and squatters will of course have to return the lands they are illegally and wrongfully occupying, turning them over to their legal and rightful owners, which would of course be the Jews!

 

And right after all this, Israel will be happy to implement the Road Map in full!

Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.


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