Please try to be accurate. The “Palestinians” as a collective group did not agree or disagree to anything in 1947 as they did not exist as a nationality at that time. They did not call themselves Palestinians. There were indeed Arabs who lived in the British Mandate territory of Palestine at that time, but a large portion of them were from families that had recently immigrated from lands outside the mandate and who did not consider themselves distinct from their Arab relations in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and other countries that are home to the larger pan-Arab nation. Further, at the time the partition plan was announced, they were not refugees. The neighboring Arab states rejected partition of the land in question and began a war to exterminate the fledgling Jewish state. Some segment of the Arab population of British Mandate Palestine fled during the war. Some fled at the request of the leaders of Arab armies so their armed forces could operate freely. The Arabs who became refugees became refugees because of the war started by them and their Arab allies. The Arabs who did not flee became citizens of Israel. To summarize, the deal was rejected by Arabs, not Palestinians, and the people who became refugees became refugees, later, after the ill-considered rejection.

The Arab nation of Jordan controlled Judea and Samaria from 1948 to 1967 and no one thought of declaring that area a Palestinian state. The same is true of Gaza: It was ruled by Egypt. The idea of Palestinian nationhood was started in the 1960s, two decades after the Jewish state was founded. The first leader of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, was born in Cairo, Egypt. Palestinian nationalism came 75 years after modern Zionism. As stated by a founding leader of the Palestinian national movement.

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. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.

Your overall narrative misses the most basic point: all of the land was originally Jewish. Yes, the Jews are the indigenous people of Judea. The Arabs are also a Semitic people but they come from, you guessed it, Arabia. The Jews were kicked out by the Romans. Years later, after Islam was founded, the Arabs conquered the land from the Byzantines. The land got reconquered many times and eventually ended up in the Ottoman Empire. Jews have always maintained the land is their homeland and strong affirmations of their bond of the land is part of many Jewish prayers and holiday rituals. In contrast, historically there were no people who called themselves Palestinians. The Koran has numerous references to Jews and Jewish kings, but the Palestinians are not mentioned at all.

There was a revival of political Zionism in the 1880s, and large tracts of land were purchased for Jews under the laws of the Ottoman empire. The land was very sparsely populated at the time, but Jerusalem had a Jewish majority. Much the land was barren and rocky, unclaimed by any individual or family. However, as the Jews developed the land, there was an influx of Arabs from neighboring areas.

The Arabs who now call themselves Palestinians are descendants of the roughly 750,000 who became refugees in 1948. They could have been and still could still be resettled in other Arab countries among people who speak the same language and are of the same ethnicity. Your Eurocentric focus has led you to overlook the many non-European Jews who had lived for centuries in many areas of the Middle East and North Africa. There were over 800,000 Jews who were expelled or pressed to leave Arab countries in the decade following 1948. These non-European Jews are now slightly over half of Israel’s Jewish population. There is a rough parity in numbers between Arabs who voluntarily exiled themselves and Jews who were expelled from regions they had lived in for thousand of years.

A fair overall compromise could be reached and money now spent on war could be spent improving the lives of Arabs and Jews. But whether you agree that peace is preferable to war, you should at least not invent the myth of Palestinian refugees refusing partition at a time when they did not call themselves Palestinians and when they were not refugees.

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

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