Monday, December 12, 2011

Newt's law

Newt Gingrich, the current front runner in the Republican Presidential race, was being interviewed for a Jewish program and was asked his opinion of the Palestinian leadership. He replied succinctly that they are all terrorists and he gave his opinion that the Palestinians are "an invented people." Basically, he argued, they are Arabs and as such have no right to be in the Jewish Holy Land. Although at this time the candidates are falling over themselves to attract Jewish votes, when Newt was criticized for his opinions and called "a racist" by several spokesmen of the PA, at the latest candidate's forum he stuck to his guns.

Actually, in fact, Newt is correct. There is no evidence for a Palestinian people in history separate from other Arabs until ca. 1964. When Abu Rudeineh in response to Newt said that the Palestinians have lived here for thousands of years, he was speaking sheer nonsense and actually lying. The Arabs were in Arabia until after Muhammed formed the Muslim armies and then captured Jerusalem from the Byzantines (Greek Christians) in 637 ce. There is no evidence of any Arab presence in what was then the Holy Land until that date. They subsequently built the Mosques that stand on the Temple Mount, where the Jewish Temple once stood until it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 ce and that was then replaced by a Byzantine Church which the Arabs destroyed. The Jews had an independent kingdom here 2,000 years before the Arabs arrived on the scene and conquered the area.

In the Ottoman Empire the area that is now Israel/Palestine was called Southern Syria and the Arabs living there were indistinguishable from those in neighboring areas. This remained true after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Although the bulk of the fighting against Israel was carried out by the armies of the surrounding Arab states (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq), there were Palestinian Arab contingents, although there is no evidence that they considered themselves distinct in any way (language, religion, culture) from the others. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded originally by the Egyptian secret service of Pres. Nasser in 1964 and Yasir Arafat (born in Cairo, educated at Cairo University) was appointed its head. But, it was only with the defeat of the Arab armies in the "6-Day War" of 1967 that Arafat moved from Cairo to the Gulf area and the PLO adopted an independent course. Still, the so-called Palestinian Arabs are indistinguishable from their fellow Arabs in surrounding areas in all respects. Thus, they are an "invented people."

But, whether or not this is true, the question arises, is this a smart approach. If you want to pretend that there is a "peace process" or a real chance for peace, which is the liberal view, then it's not a good statement. However, what is the point of Israel making more concessions to the PalestinIans in order to entice them back to the negotiating table, if they have no intention of going anyway. In the Middle East of all places, particularly when there are so many unknowns now, it makes no sense for Israel to make any concessions, until the dust settles, if it ever will. What is needed in the ME is a complete re-think of western strategy, it should be "Iran first," take care of Iran and then the other conflicts may fall into place. We need realpolitik, not sentimental illusions. So let Newt be Newt, and if he is the Republican candidate, so be it; then I for one would vote for him any time over Obama.


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