In what sense are the Palestinians on their own land? Historically, there never was a people that called themselves Palestinians and there never was a kingdom or nation of Palestine. The PLO was founded in the mid-1960s, long after the peace treaties of the 1920’s mandated the historic Jewish homeland as territory set aside for a modern Jewish national state, and over a decade after the founding of the Jewish state. Many of the Arabs living there are descendants of relatively recent immigrants to the area. For example, Yasir Arafat was born in Cairo. After Arab armies unsuccessfully tried to crush the newborn state of Israel in 1948, armistice lines were drawn with both sides insisting those lines had no legal meaning. There was no Palestinian national entity to sign those accords. Though Egypt controlled Gaza and Jordan illegally occupied parts of Judea and Samaria, no one thought to declare a Palestinian state in those territories. Individual Arabs certainly have rights, including the right to own land, within the state of Israel. But the Palestinians as a national entity have never owned any land. That’s an inconvenient fact. Their representatives have five times rejected proposals that would have given them statehood within mutually recognized boundaries. They have rights under the Oslo accords to administer populations, but they explicitly agreed not to declare statehood pending final status negotiations. Their claim is weaker than the claims of Tibetans, Kurds, Catalans, and other peoples with long national histories but who don’t have their own national states at this time. It is true there are competing claims of ownership and thus that parts of Judea and Samaria are in dispute. You can keep saying the Palestinians own that land, but in fact they never have owned any of it.

Mathematician, Statistician, Businessman, and Academic. Student of history, poli sci , and the Bible.

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