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B'siyata d'shmaya - With the help of Heaven

Newt Gingrich Had It Right, The 'Palestinian People' Are an Invented People

An OP/ED by Shelomo Alfassa


Newt Gingrich

(December 10, 2011) - On December 9, 2011 Presidential candidate and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich made a comment during a television interview in which he said, "Remember, there was no Palestine as a state, it was part of the Ottoman Empire. I think that we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community." The historicity of Mr. Gingrich's comment is one hundred percent accurate. There were never a people who called themselves the "Palestinians."

Further, there was never a country of Palestine--ever. The land people refer to as "Palestine" was a vilayet (province) and later sanjak (administrative district) of the Ottoman Empire. The Sultan in Istanbul representing the Ottoman Turks had been in control of Jerusalem and the holy land since 1516. The Turks maintained control over Jerusalem and the holy land until the British defeated the Turks in a 1917 land war which happened to be concurrent to the rapid dissolution of the Ottoman government.

Years later, the Jews would go on to build a new home among the dust and debris of the British who had occupied the land for near 30 years. Yet, Jewish stereotypes had already simmered there; such stereotypes of the "evil Jews" were extant in the Near East and embedded in Islamic tradition for centuries. Thus, as Prof. Bernard Lewis of Princeton University has said, when the combined armies of five Arab nations could not stop the Jews from raising up a new nation--in their historic land--Arabs were greatly humiliated. It was one thing to be defeated by a great Western power such as Britain, but wholly another to have "the Jews" defeat the Arab nations.

Blatant inaccurate world history continues to be taught in Arab countries, as a means to continue the political fight against the Jews and the State of Israel. Generations have now been fed this meal of lies which continues to nourish their thought process. This situation is compounded by the instigating Western media whom do not understand, nor care to understand, the Arab mindset and the very real cultural dominance and existence of Arab- machismo.

While Newt Gingrich's comments may fall as an insult on the ears of Arab people--they shouldn't. The comments themselves remain factual and accurate. If the Arab people have anyone to blame, it is their own leaders who have lied to them about their own history, and their own leaders who continue to use them as political weapons against the State of Israel. If CNN, MSNBC and Fox News so subjectively feel that Mr. Gingrich's comments were "politically incorrect," then it begs the question, what would they and the world rather him say-lies?

The idea that there was a historic "Palestinian people" is one of the greatest virulent falsifications of history, one that for political reasons continues to be perpetuated.

 

 

Shelomo Alfassa is an historian who focuses on the Ottoman Empire. He is the
former U.S. Director of 'Justice for Jews from Arab Countries'and is the author of
'A Window Into Old Jerusalem, Observations About Jerusalem and the Holy Land 1820-1920.'


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