Guardian discovers the injustice of denying people the right to national self-determination

The Guardian published two stories (here and here) on comments by former U.S. Congressman, and Presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, which questioned the historic existence of a Palestinian national identity.

While Gingrich’s suggestion that there currently is no Palestinian people is incorrect – as a sense of collective or national identity is, by definition, determined by those within a group who identify as such – he was correct that historically there wasn’t a distinct Palestinian identity, certainly not under the Ottoman Turkish Empire which ruled the region from 1517 to 1917.

Indeed, the idea that Palestinians form a distinct national identity is quite recent – typically understood to be a phenomenon of the aftermath of the Six Day War in 1967, when Israel assumed control of the previously Egyptian and Jordanian controlled territory in the West Bank and Gaza.

However, even Gingrich later clarified that he supports a two state solution,

In fact, roughly 125 of the 193 UN member states already officially recognize the non-existent state of Palestine.

Surprising? Perhaps.

But, the number of nations which recognize a state which hasn’t yet been admitted to the UN as a member isn’t nearly as interesting as the number of states which still don’t recognize the State of Israel.  Over 62 years after the UN accepted Israel as a member state , there are still 36 nations which don’t recognize Israel and have no diplomatic relations with the state, 30 of which are Muslim majority countries.

Nations (in green) which still don't recognize the Jewish State

Indeed, the much flaunted 2002 Arab Peace Initiative included the promise of recognizing Israel (establishing normal relations) if it withdrawals to pre-June 1967 borders – including evacuating from the Golan Heights.

That more than six decades after her birth, Israel is being “offered” recognition suggests a truly surreal political dynamic, one adeptly characterized by Israel’s former Ambassador to the UN, Abba Eban.  

Writing in the New York Times, in 1981, Eban argued:

Nobody does Israel any service by proclaiming its ‘right to exist.’

Israel’s right to exist, like that of the United States, Saudi Arabia and 152 other states, is axiomatic and unreserved. Israel’s legitimacy is not suspended in midair awaiting acknowledgement….

There is certainly no other state, big or small, young or old, that would consider mere recognition of its ‘right to exist’ a favor, or a negotiable concession.”

Far more noxious than the impolitic remarks of the former U.S. Congressman about Palestinian identity is that the Muslim world (including the “moderate” Palestinian leaders such Mahmoud Abbas), by and large, still refuses to accept the moral and legal rights of the world’s only Jewish state.

Moreover – and more pertinent to the mission of this blog – as ‘Comment is Free’ continually licenses commentary by those similarly opposed to the the existence of Israel within any borders, the Guardian lacks even a modicum of moral authority on the issue of denying Palestinians a right to national self-determination. 

While Israel certainly doesn’t require the Guardian’s approval or legitimization of their right to exist – and, certainly, this Israeli will not grant the Guardian that power – we similarly won’t be lectured on the moral imperative of supporting a Palestinian national movement which still refuses to grant similar fundamental political rights to Jews.  

19 replies »

  1. Would you be less Socratic with an American politician if he were a gay lifestyle advocating feminist that had a vasectomy and never had a domestic problem with his wife? Jews are shooting ourselves in the foot when we say there is a Palestine. Hamas (elected by the people) has no interest in a Palestine identity… they are officially part of the Muslim Brotherhood and the global Islamic caliphate. There is no collective or national identity. Call the fraud a fraud and stop pussyfooting around on Conservatives that are trying to help.

    • So many daft things going here I don’t know where to begin. How about the lack of a caliphate since 1924? How about the fact that Hamas are interested in BOTH Islam and Palestine? Sigh… Still, it’s worth trying to educate.

  2. “Far more noxious than the impolitic remarks of the former U.S. Congressman about Palestinian identity is that the Muslim world (including the “moderate” Palestinian leaders such Mahmoud Abbas), by and large, still refuses to accept the moral and legal rights of the world’s only Jewish state.”

    I take it by “moral and legal rights” you are referring to the demand that Israel be recognised as a ‘Jewish state’. This is a very recent demand that seems to have been put up by Netanyahu to prevent negotiations. Arafat wrote to Rabin in 1993: “The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.” That recognition was apparently acceptable at the time.
    In 2006 the Quartet conditions to Hamas stated: “Hamas must recognize Israel, forswear terrorism and accept previous Palestinian commitments.” No mention of “as a Jewish state” there.

    I can think of no other country in the world that demands recognition as anything other than an independent state, but I’d be interested to hear of such.

    • “I can think of no other country in the world…..”

      Off the top of my head;
      Islamic Republic of Iran,
      Islamic Republic of Pakistan,
      and of course, although small still an independent state,
      Vatican City State.

      • No, Gerald, these countries are dedicated in some way to a religion but no-one is required to acknowledge the religious affiliation in the same way as Netanyahu is requiring of Abbas.
        In any case, since many Israeli Jews are secular, even your religious affiliation parallel doesn’t stand up.
        The simple point is that states recognise each other as sovereign entities for diplomatic purposes; they don’t acknowledge any particulat qualities about each other other than independent nationhood.

        • And yet if Jews, Christians, others went to live in these countries they would do so under sufferance, wouldn’t they, and would always be at the mercy of sharia law?

          The simple point, as you put it, is the rabid antisemitism by these people, and you, which refuses to recognise Israel as a Jewish entity even for diplomatic purposes.

        • sencar in your futile attempt to, once again, backtrack on your earlier post by twisting and turning you are tying yourself in so many knots that it is amusing.
          I know Christmas is the pantomime season and it is good of you to behave like a clown for the amusement of all.

    • Gerald has hit the nail on the head, hasn’t he sencar?

      What have you got against a tiny Jewish state the size of Wales?

      Why does its Jewishness bother you so?

    • I note that you are quoting the translation on the Venerable Al-Babbler, Brian Whitaker’s page, Petra, and we all know what a stickler he is about fair translation from the Arabic. Good one.

  3. “While Gingrich’s suggestion that there currently is no Palestinian people is incorrect…”

    Gingrich is still correct—the Arab settler-colonists in Palestine have yet to form a distinctive positive cultural, linguistic or racial identity to mark them off from their brothers in Israel’s neighboring countries. So far their “identity” is based on the negative characteristics of “resisting the Zionists” and “being descendants of refugees,” which, while significant as historical and political facts, do not make a nation.

    A nation is made a nation by positive traits—such has always been until our crazy times. To make the definition of “Nation” so lax as to include “nations” predicated on negative traits would make the world a madhouse, because then every group of people with a set of “grievances” could call themselves a nation and make demands on that basis. Such an insane state of affairs is becoming frequent in our day, and is one of the major contributors to instability and warfare.

    “as a sense of collective or national identity is, by definition, determined by those within a group who identify as such”

    No collective or national identity is legitimate if formed for the express purpose of usurping and denying another, older, real nation’s claim. Bad enough that they call themselves a nation without having anything positive to show for it, it is scandalous that they have taken the identity of “Palestinian” for themselves, thus denying the fact that only the Jewish nation has a true connection to Palestine (Arab colonists in Palestine are happenstance dwellers, much like Greeks in Afghanistan after Alexander’s conquests). To picture the enormity of this malicious construct, imagine the Turks started calling themselves “Greeks,” talking about “Hellenic settlements on Greek soil” and warning of “the danger of the Byzantists, who wish to conquer Istanbul from the Greeks, calling it Constantinople in a revisionist attempt to deny Greek rights to their holy city.”

    There is nothing but nefarious anti-Jewish intent to the entire fraud of this non-Jewish “Palestinian nation.” It exists for no other purpose but to hide the patent truth of the injustice of Arab/Islamic imperialists wishing to appropriate the Palestinian nation’s— the Jewish nation’s—one and only tiny piece of land in the world that belongs to them. Gingrich’s truthful comments only scratch the surface of this gargantuan stratagem.

  4. Just a point of correction.
    The only time in history that a Palestinian state was created was simultaneous with the San Remo Resolution of 1920, when Palestine was created for the express purpose of building the Jewish homeland under the British Mandate, until it could stand alone and become an independant Jewish state.
    Thus, it was the Jews, and only the Jews, who were known as Palestinians, evidenced by such names as The Palestine Post, the Palestine Symphony Orchestra etc. etc. which were all Jewish organisations.

    Indeed, the Arabs of the area, the vast majority of whom were recent immigrants from Syria and Egypt, scorned the idea of being known as Palestinians.
    One can pinpoint the genesis of the so-called Palestinian people to 1969, when the political mileage of their being known as such was recognised by their leaders.
    Interesting, that King Hussein of Jordan once remarked “Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan”.

  5. To better understand this malevolent fraud which ziontruth so eloquently explains above, it is worth reading Howard Grief’s excellent treatise on Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel, called ‘The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law’, in which he not only explains the law as at exists today, but also the historical background to the misconceptions under which so many are deluded into thinking that the so-called Palestinians ‘deserve’ a state of their own.

  6. Thank goodness a senior american politician has had the courage to say out loud what everybody knows.

    The Palestinians ARE an invented people. Their existence is perpetuated only as an Arab weapon in the war against Israel. Otherwise they would long since have been given citizenship in nearby countries.

    Perhaps now that Gingrich has said they unsayable, others will admit the truth about the inhabitants of the disputed territories, and make a genuine effort to resolve this long-standing problem.

  7. The funny thing is that Gingrich wasn’t the first one….

    Look at Azmi Bishara, former Israeli MK who fled from Israel in 2007 after being questioned by police on allegations of passing secrets to Hizballah for money.
    Now he is a regular guest on Al-Jazeera.