torsdag 26 december 2019

‘Historic Palestine’ – A Misleading Anachronism

Historiska fakta om namnet Palestina

‘Historic Palestine’ – A Misleading Anachronism
“Historic Palestine” is a commonly-used term when discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict. The phrase suggests that a nation known as Palestine existed in the past, with the word “historic” giving the impression that this nation has deep roots in the region and thus has a natural claim to be revived in the form of a modern state called Palestine. By referring to the land thus without mentioning Jewish history, it also subtly suggests that a Jewish presence is foreign to the region.

- When Abbas says that the Palestinian people will accept a state on only 22% of the territory of “historic Palestine” for the sake of making peace he is grossly incorrect. Since Historic Palestine necessarily includes areas east and west of the Jordan River, as the original Palestine Mandate accurately reflected, the land comprising Jordan, West Bank and Gaza is 82% of the total today. Israel is a nation that ended up with a mid-teens percentage of the Palestine Mandate.

- Most people today use the post-1921 boundaries of the Palestine Mandate as their definition of “Historic Palestine” even though these artificially created boundaries are in fact an ahistorical, recent and artificial creation. “Mandatory Palestine” would be a more accurate term and should be adopted by the media instead of “Historic Palestine.”

- Forgotten in today’s discussion is that it would be far more accurate to call the region “Historic Syria” as geographically and ethnically the general region of today’s Israel, West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon were part of one political entity originally known as Esh-Sham and later Syria. The local population would have also considered themselves part of this territory. If not for the revival of the name Palestine by Christian Europe sometime in the nineteenth century, Syria would have certainly won out as name of the region, as it had been for centuries. The quote above by the Minister of the Syrian Legation in Washington in 1947 makes this clear.

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