What the Arabs Say About …….. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is probably the most discussed conflict in the world today. Many opinions are published across the whole spectrum of political views and many initiatives offer solutions to the conflict. So why is there no progress?
This document highlights statements made by Palestinians and their Arab state supporters and I leave it to the reader to decide whether the Palestinians really do want peace with Israel or not.
Click on link to chapter required
Chapter 1: “Fatah - On Peace”,
Chapter 2:“Who are today’s Palestinians?”
Chapter 3: “Palestinians, Who do others say they are?”
Chapter 4: ”Habitation of Palestine”
Chapter 5: “Palestine. What is it?”
Chapter 6: “Refugees and their Descendants - Their Plight”
Chapter 7:“Who can we believe?”
Chapter 8:“Hamas - A Partner for Peace?”
Chapter 9:- On November 29th 2012, Palestine Upgraded
Chapter 10:- “Arab statements on Jews”
Chapter 11: “Israel’s Minorities”
Chapter 12: “Palestine. What is it?”
Chapter 13: “UN/League of Nations Resolutions
Chapter 14: “Jerusalem – Varying Arab opinions”
Chapter 15 : Christians in the Middle East
Chapter 16: Arabs Talk About Israel
Chapter 17 – Arabs Discuss Israel’s Judicial System Following Olmert Trial
Chapter 18 – Arabs Discuss Hamas
Chapter 1:“Fatah - On Peace” On November 29th, Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority in the ‘West Bank’, went to the UN to request UN membership for the Palestinians, as ‘a last chance for peace’. Do the attached statements suggest that, now that they have received that recognition, they will live in peace with their neighbours?
“According to the phased Plan, we will establish a Palestinian state on any part of Palestine that the enemy will retreat from. The Palestinian state will be a stage in our prolonged struggle for the liberation of Palestine on all its territories”. Abu lyad, Arafat’s 2nd in command, 1988 (freemiddleeast) “It doesn’t mean that we don’t want the 1948 borders, but in our current political program we say we want a state on the 1967 borders”. Najat Abu Bakr, Fatah member of Palestinian parliament, PA TV (Fatah), 25/8/2005 “The Palestinian people will never accept the right of the Jewish people to their own state. Not for 1000 years”.Abu Mazen, , 12/7/2009 “With the 2-state solution, in my opinion, Israel will collapse, because if they get out of Jerusalem, what will become of all the talk about the Promised Land and the chosen People? What will become of all the sacrifices they made – just to be told to leave? They consider Jerusalem to have spiritual status. The Jews consider Judea and Samaria to be their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse. It will regress of its own accord. Then we can move forward”.
Abbas Zaki, Fatah Central committee, 7/5/2009, ANB TV “It is impossible to realize the inspiring idea or the great goal in one stroke....Israel will come to an end....If I say that I want to remove it from existence, this will be great, great,[but] it is hard. This is not a [stated] policy. You can’t say it to the world. You can say it to yourself”
Abbas Zaki, Fatah Central Committee member, Al-Jazeera TV, 23/9/2011
“The conflict between us and the Jews is not a conflict about land and borders, but rather a conflict about faith and existence." Sheikh IshaqFeleifel , Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 3/6/2011
“We have never agreed, and we never will agree, under any circumstances, to recognise Israel as the state of the Jewish people….There is a chance of two states: a Palestinian [state] and a non-Jewish state of Israel”.
Nabil Sha’ath, member of Fatah central Committee and P.A leader, Kul al-Arab, June 2011 (beyondimages) “[The Israelis] have a common mistake, or misconception by which they fool themselves, assuming that Fatah accepts them and recognizes the right of their state to exist, and that it is Hamas alone that loathes them and does not recognize the right of this state to exist. They ignore the fact that this state, based on a fabricated [Zionist] enterprise, never had any shred of a right to exist”.
Adi Sadeq, PA Authority Ambassador to India, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 26/11/2011 (pmw) “At the end of the day, we want to exert pressure on Israel in order to force it to recognize us and to leave our country. This is our long-term goal…. The story of two states for two peoples means that there will be a Jewish people over there and a Palestinian people here. We will never accept this”.
Nabil Shaath, Lebanese TV, 11/7/2011 (memri) “I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land”.
Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah , 28/7/2010, to Egyptian media (ynetnews) “We must unite because we want a state, we want to remove Israel….We must declare our state on the entire land of Palestine”. Man from the Al-Amari refugee camp, Palestinian TV (Fatah), 2/3/2012 Return to top Chapter 2:“Who are today’s Palestinians?” Who did they say they were?
“There is no such country [as Palestine]. Palestine is the term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria”.
AuniBeyHada, a local Arab leader, to the Peel Commission, March 1937 (jewishvirtuallibrary) “There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity...yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel”.
ZuheirMuhsin, late Military Dept leade of PLO and member of its Executive Council, Dutch daily Trouw, March 1977 (danielpipes.org)
“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality, today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct "Palestinian people" to oppose Zionism”.
Zuheir Mohsen, leader of the as-Sa'iqa faction of the PLO, 31/3/1977 in an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw "There is no Palestinian nation. It's a colonial invention... When were there any Palestinians? ...until the 19th century Palestine was the south of greater Syria. "
Professor AzmiBishara, High profile critic of the Israel government, Arab former member of Knesset,
Israel's Channel 2 TV (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3n5-yG-6dU) “The Palestinian people have no national identity. I, Yasser Arafat, man of destiny, will give them that identity through conflict with Israel”.
Alan Hart, ‘Arafat, Terrorist or Peace-maker?’,Sedgewick Jackson, Ltd, 1984
Who do they now say they are? “I come to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people… It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence”.Mahmoud Abbas, at UN General Assembly, 23/9/2011 “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. 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”.
FathiHammad, Hamas Minister of the Interior and of National Security, MEMRI, March 23, 2012 Do the above statements suggest that the appellation “the Palestinian people” is a recent development?
Return to top Chapter 3: “Palestinians, Who do others say they are?”
"I learn of the arrival of about 6,000 of the BeniSukhr Arabs at Tiberias who are very seldom seen this side of the Jordan." British Consul James Finn in papers Relating to the Distubances in Syria, no. 2, June 1860, p 35
“There are very large contingents from the Mediterranean countries, especially Armenia, Greece, and Italy, Turkomen settlers, a fairly large Afghan colony, Motawila, immigrants from Persia, tribes of Kurds, a Bosnian colony, Circassian settlements, a large Algerian element, Sudanese”.
Encyclopedia Britanica, 1911 “Today's Palestinians are immigrants from many nations: "Balkans, Greeks, Syrians, Latins, Egyptians, Turks, Armenians, Italians, Persians, Kurds, Germans, Afghans, Circassians, Bosnians, Sudaneese, Samaritans, Algerians, Motawila, Tartars, Hungarians, Scots, Navarese, Bretons, English, Franks, Ruthenians, Bohemians, Bulgarians, Georgians, Syrians, Persian Nestorians, Indians, Copts, Maronites, and many others."
JacobDe Haas, ‘History of Palestine, the last 2000 years’, New York, 1934, p258
In 1860, entire Algerian tribes immigrated en masse to Safed. The Muslims of Safed, are "mostly descended from these Moorish settlers and from Kurds that came earlier to the city." Jacob De Haas, ‘History of Palestine, The Last Two Thousand Years’, New York, 1934, p 425
"This illegal [Arab] immigration was not only going on from the Sinai, but also from Transjordan and Syria, and it is very difficult to make a case out for the misery of the Arabs if at the same time their compatriots from adjoining states could not be kept from going in to share that misery." Palestine Royal Commission Report, London: 1937 "So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied until their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population." Winston Churchill, 1939 Ibrahim Pasha, the 1831 Egyptian conquerer of Palestine "left behind him permanent colonies of Egyptians at Besian, Nablus, Irbid, Acre, and Jaffa. Into Jaffa alone, "at least 2,000 people have been imported." Ernst Frankenstein, ‘Justice for My People’, London, Nicholson and Watson, 1943, p127
“There are villages populated wholly by settlers from other portions of the Turkish Empire in the 19th century. There are villages of Bosnians, Circassians, and Egyptians”.
James William Parkes, ‘History of the Peoples of Palestine Hammondsworth, Great Britain, 1970, p 212. After 1870, "the [Turkish] forward policy included…the planting of Circassian colonies in the country."
CG Smith, in ‘Studies on Palestine During the Ottoman Period’, Jerusalem, 1975, p 93. “In 1860, entire Algerian tribes immigrated en masse to Safed. The Muslims of Safed, are "mostly descended from these Moorish settlers and from Kurds that came earlier to the city."
Jacob De Haas, ‘History of Palestine, The Last Two Thousand Years’, New York, 1934, p 425.
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Chapter 4: ”Habitation of Palestine”
“The land in Palestine was lacking in people to till its fertile soil”.
Thomas Shaw, British Archaeologist, ‘Travels and Observations’, London, 1767 “Jerusalem is one of the most unhealthy of cities, and fever is its principal disease. Orientals and Europeans, immigrants and natives, alike suffer; and during the sickly period of the year almost one fourth of the population become ill”.
The Lancet, 1864 “Above all other countries in the world, [Palestine] is now a land of ruins. In Judea it is hardly an exaggeration to say that...for miles and miles there is no appearance of present life or habitation”.
Cook’s Tourist Handbook for Palestine and Syria, Thomas Cook & Son, Ludgate Circus, E.C, 1876 “A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. We never saw a human being on the whole route”.
Mark Twain, ‘Innocents Abroad’, 1887 “Rosh HaNikra, marking the border between the provinces of Syria and Palestine, was guarded by a small company of Turkish soldiers. The platoon had to be changed every month because malaria sickened/debilitated everyone after ten days”.
Report of J.Cropper ‘The Geographical Distribution of Anopheles and malaria fever in upper Palestine’, 1902 “The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts...no orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached [the Jewish village of] Yabneh....Houses were all of mud....The western part, towards the sea, was almost a desert....The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants”.
Eyewitness account in the Report of the Palestine Royal Commission, 1937, Chapter 9, para 43 “Palestine is notoriously malarious and, during the summer months some localities such as the Jordan Valley, the coastal plain, and the Vale of Esdraelon have the reputation of being barely habitable”**.
‘A Brief Record of the Advance of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force under the command of General Sir Edmund Allenby, July1917-October 1918. Produced by the Government Press and Survey of Egypt 1919
“Malaria stands out as by far the most important disease in Palestine. For centuries it has decimated the population and it is an effective bar to the development and settlement of large tracts of fertile lands....There are few regions actually free from it”.First Annual Report of the British Mandate Department of Health, 1921 “The villagers [of Samaria Village in the Beisan Area] state that not one child out of ten born in the village ever reaches maturity. [Malaria] carries them off before they are ten years of age”.
Report of ‘Malaria in Samaria Village’, 9/12/1922 “Palestine is a small country and, as a whole, thinly populated...malaria...has always been very prevalent, particularly at Jerusalem, Acre...and in the Valley of the Jordan”.
“Malaria Commission. Reports on the Tour of Investigation in Palestine in 1925’
League o f Nations Health Organisation. Geneva
“During the British occupation of Palestine in 1917, 90% of all British soldiers entering Beisan in the Jezreel Valley, Palestine, came down with malaria within their first ten days in the area, thus attesting to its endemicity”.Report of ‘Malaria Survey of Beisan’, 1923
“The Syrian absentee landlords in some cases...find cultivation of their lands so unremunerative....Malaria decimates the population, or so enfeebles it, as to completely nullify nature’s rich gifts”.
First Report on Agricultural Development and land Settlement in Palestine”. Director of Development,
Jerusalem, 23/12/1931 “In a number of areas where intense endemic malaria had resulted in no population for generations, recent schemes (of Malaria control*) have created large tracts of cultivatable land....Very large areas of what is
recognised by all as some of the most fertile land in the country have been reclaimed after centuries of waste, by the antimalaria measures undertaken....Many large tracts which until recently meant nothing both death to those venturing into them, have now been reduced into rich and fertile land free from all danger to health”.
Dept of Health, British Mandate, ‘A Review of the control of Malaria Palestine 1918-1941 "This illegal [Arab] immigration was not only going on from the Sinai, but also from Transjordan and Syria, and it is very difficult to make a case out for the misery of the Arabs if at the same time their compatriots from adjoining states could not be kept from going in to share that misery."
Palestine Royal Commission Report, London, 1937 *In the early 1920s, the Haifa Malaria Research Unit, under the control of the Jewish scientist Dr Israel Kligler, maintained by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and acting in co-operation with the Health Department of the British Mandate in Palestine, was formed to assist with the control of malaria in Palestine.
Today, Mandate Palestine (comprising, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and Gaza), is one of the few countries in the world which has been certified completely free of malaria by the WHO and, as a result, the Jewish and Arab populations have grown exponentially.
** Population of Palestine (including what are now Gaza, Israel and the West Bank)
1922 757,182 British Mandate census
1947 1,845,000 United Nations estimate
For more details, rare photos of Palestine a hundred years ago, maps:
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Chapter 5: “Palestine. What is it?” What did the Arabs say? “There is no such country. Palestine is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. “Palestine” is alien to us; it is the Zionists who introduced it.”
Arab leader, AuniBey Abdel-Hadi, 1937, to the Peel Commission in Jerusalem.
“There is no such thing as 'Palestine' in history, absolutely not.”
Prof. Philip K. Hitti, distinguished Arab historian, author of the authoritative book "The
Arabs", testifying at the 1946 Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry .
“Such a creature as Palestine does not exist at all. This land is nothing but the southern portion of Greater Syria. It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria".
Ahmad Shukeiri, the first chairman of the PLO and one of its founders, addressing the UN security Council
in 1956 in his capacity as the Arab League’s ambassador to the UN . “A state named ‘Palestine’ has never existed.” Hafez al-Assad, Syrian President, at a conference in Amman in 1987 What do the Arabs say now? “Palestine is Arab in history and identity”.
Palestinian TV (Fatah) 2007 – 2009 “Palestine in its entirety is Islamic Waqf land, which cannot be relinquished”.
Mahmoud Al-Zahar, Hamas Foreign Minister, TV interview, 29/7/2011 (memri) “Palestine is the [Mediterranean] sea and the [Jordan] river. All of Palestine is ours”.
Palestinian TV (Fatah) 2/3/2012
Return to top Chapter 6: “Refugees and their Descendants - Their Plight”
“The fact that there are these refugees is the direct consequence of the action of the Arab states in opposing partition and the Jewish state”.
“It is shameful that the Arab governments should prevent the Arab refugees from working in their countries and shut the doors in their faces and imprison them in camps”.
Musa Al-Alami, Former Arab mayor of Jerusalem, ‘The Lesson of Palestine’, ME Journal, .386, October 1949 (emory.edu)
“The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians...but instead, they abandoned them, forced them to emigrate”.
Mahmoud Abbas, Falastin Al-Thaura, March 1976 “The Arab nations keep the Palestinians and their descendants in squalor. They are denied citizenship rights. They are denied work. They are denied property. They are denied their human rights because they are and always will be a political football in the Arab campaign against Israel”.
Joseph Farah, Arab-American journalist, January 2004 (www.worldnetdaily.com) “To us, the refugees issue is the winning card which means the end of the Israeli state”.
SahkerHabash, member of Fatah Central committee, at a seminar on ‘The Palestinian Refugee from the Political Parties’ perspective’, Al-Najah University, 23/11/2004 (www.fateh.org_public/refugees.html, 12/9/2004) Statehood “will never affect the right of return for Palestinian refugees.... [Refugees in the Palestinian territories] will not be considered citizens”.
Abdullah Abdullah, Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, Daily Star, September 2010 “Every Palestinian, in Gaza and throughout Palestine, can prove his Arab roots – whether from Saudi Arabia, from Yemen, or anywhere....Half of the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis”.
FathiHammad, Hamas Minister of the Interior and of National Security, (MEMRI,23/3/2012)
“Any discussion aimed at a solution of the Palestine problem which will not be based on ensuring the refugees’ right to annihilate Israel will be regarded as a desecration of the Arab people and an act of treason”.
Beirut al Massa, 15/7/1957 Others say “British forces offered safe conduct out of the field of fire to Jews and Arabs....accepted only by the Arabs....British forces played a major part in the evacuation (flight) of the Arabs in Northern Palestine”.
LCH Stockwell Papers, 6/19: “Evacuation from Palestine, November 1947 – May 1948”, General MacMillan,
(“Ploughing Sand” p235, Naomi Shepherd, John Murray Publishers Ltd, 1999)
Refugees.Background. History As a result of war in 1948, 600,000 Arabs left their homes in what is now Israel, most to neighbouring Arab countries .
By 1951, the UN counted 860,000.
They and their descendents, now total over 5 million.
Of these, only 30,000 refugees are left.
They have lived in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank ever since.
They have been denied citizenship in their host countries, the right to higher education, ownership of land, entry to certain professions. As a result most live in dire poverty.
After WWII there were 12 million refugees in Europe. The Partition of India and Pakistan led to over a million refugees.
All have been settled and integrated into their host countries.
Their children have been given citizenship, and are no longer regarded as being ‘refugees’.
During the early 1950s, 850,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries. Most fled to Israel. After living in refugee camps for several years, they were all fully integrated and they and their descendents contribute to Israeli culture, politics, academia, etc.
Refugees worldwide have been helped to rebuild their lives by the UNHCR.
Palestinian refugees have their own United Nations dedicated agency, UNRWA.
They and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are still kept in camps and defined as refugees.
UNRWA defines the Palestinian refugees as those whose “normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948”, that is, under two years.
According to Arab witnesses, most had arrived from other parts of the Arab world during the Ottoman Empire and British Mandate period.
It is claimed that there are now over 5 million Palestinian refugees. They are the only refugee group in the world whose numbers have grown rather than decreased.
They all, including the 99% who were born in their host countries, receive international aid, more than any other group in the world.
The U.S. government is now considering the question as to whether descendants of Palestinian refugees are refugees.
They claim “Right of return”, not to a new Palestinian state, but to Israel, a state they have neither lived in nor visited, a state whose different language, religion and culture they do not share.