If Americans Knew

From the if Americans knew propaganda website:

The standard Zionist position is that they showed up in Palestine in the late 19th century to reclaim their ancestral homeland. Jews bought land and started building up the Jewish community there. They were met with increasingly violent opposition from the Palestinian Arabs, presumably stemming from the Arabs' inherent anti-Semitism. The Zionists were then forced to defend themselves and, in one form or another, this same situation continues up to today.

The problem with this explanation is that it is simply not true, as the documentary evidence in this booklet will show. What really happened was that the Zionist movement, from the beginning, looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the indigenous Arab population so that Israel could be a wholly Jewish state, or as much as was possible.

Actually, the Arabs were displaced mostly as a result of wars.

As independence was declared, Arab forces from Egypt, Syria, Transjordan (later Jordan), Lebanon, and Iraq invaded Israel.
The 1948 hostilities witnessed thousands of Palestinians fleeing their homes in Palestine to take refuge in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and neighbouring Arab countries. The hostilities that accompanied the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 led to the flight of some 750,000 refugees from Palestine. Most of these refugees fled to the West Bank, then held by Jordan, to the Gaza Strip, held by Egypt, and to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and even further afield.

The Arab-Israeli war of 1967 led to yet another displacement, this time of more than 500,000 Palestinians, nearly half of whom were refugees uprooted for a second time."

Land bought by the Jewish National Fund was held in the name of the Jewish people and could never be sold or even leased back to Arabs (a situation which continues to the present).

Jewish National Fund -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia
Jewish National Fund: History

The Arab community, as it became increasingly aware of the Zionists' intentions, strenuously opposed further Jewish immigration and land buying because it posed a real and imminent danger to the very existence of Arab society in Palestine. Because of this opposition, the entire Zionist project never could have been realized without the military backing of the British.

In World War I the British, with Arab aid, gained control of Palestine. In the Balfour Declaration (1917) the British promised Zionist leaders to aid the establishment of a Jewish “national home” in Palestine, with due regard for the rights of non-Jewish Palestinians. However, the British had also promised Arab leaders to support the creation of independent Arab states. The Arabs believed Palestine was to be among these, an intention that the British later denied. source

The vast majority of the population of Palestine, by the way, had been Arabic since the seventh century A.D. (Over 1200 years)

The Arabs from Arabia conquered Palestine in 638 AD from the Byzantines. So from that time on there was indeed an Arab population in Palestine.

Underground chambers and tunnels used during a Jewish revolt against the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago have been uncovered in northern Israel. Archaeologists find ancient Israel tunnels

The Jewish revolt against Roman rule ended in A.D. 70, when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Second Temple. The original settlement, which dates from the 10th and 9th centuries B.C., is also a new discovery. Archaeologists Find Ancient Israel Tunnels

Before that time, the Israelites had their kingdom in Palestine - in the 12th and 13th centuries B.C.

The last Jewish kingdom won control of the land from the Hellenistic Greeks during the Maccabean rebellion from 168 to 140 B.C. The state lasted until 63 B.C., when Pompey conquered Palestine for Rome. When the Jews revolted in A.D. 66, the Romans destroyed the Temple (A.D. 70). Another revolt between A.D. 132 and 135 was also suppressed (see Bar Kokba, Simon), Jericho and Bethlehem were destroyed, and the Jews were barred from Jerusalem.

Jerusalem was never the capital of any state but Israel.

"At this time (during the Umayyad rule), the importance of Palestine as a holy place for Muslims was emphasized, and in 691 the Dome of the Rock was erected on the site of the Temple of Solomon, which is claimed by Muslims to have been the halting station of Muhammad on his journey to heaven. Close to the Dome, the Aqsa mosque was built. In 750, Palestine passed to the Abbasid caliphate, and this period was marked by unrest between factions that favored the Umayyads and those who preferred the new rulers."

In short, Zionism was based on a faulty, colonialist world view that the rights of the indigenous inhabitants didn't matter.

adj. Originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country; native.

Who were the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine?

n. A believer in colonialism

n. A policy by which a nation maintains or extends its control over foreign dependencies.

n. The act or process of establishing a colony or colonies.

n. A group of people who leave their native country to form in a new land a settlement subject to, or connected with, the parent nation.
Any group of individuals having similar interests, occupations, etc., usually living in a particular locality; community: a colony of artists.
The district, quarter, or dwellings inhabited by any such number or group: The Greek island is now an artists' colony.

Is Israel a colony, or an independant nation?

"At the start of the Zionist colonization of Palestine in the late 19th cent., the rural people were Arab peasants (fellahin). Most of the population were Muslims, but in the urban areas there were sizable groups of Arab Christians (at Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem) and of Jews (at Zefat, Tiberias, Jerusalem, Jericho, and Hebron)." source

The Arabs colonized Palestine. The attempt to tie the Arab Palestinians to the first known inhabitants of Palestine, the Canaanites, is incorrect and a desperate attempt at propaganda.

That the Arab invaders who arrived in Palestine are somehow considered more indigenous than the Jews is baffling. Remember that the Arabs from Arabia conquered Palestine in 638 AD from the Byzantines.

Saladin conquered Palestine in 1187 from the European Christian Crusaders. The European Christian Crusaders conquered Palestine in 1099 from the Seljuk Turks, who ruled in the name of the Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad, which in 750 took over of the entire Near East from the Umayyad Caliphate of Damascus, which had inherited control of the Islamic lands in 661 from the Arabs from Arabia. The Arabs from Arabia conquered Palestine in 638 AD from the Byzantines in the first flush of Islamic expansion.

The United Nations General Assembly decided in 1947 on the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem to be an international city. The plan, which was rejected by the Palestinians [Arabs], was never implemented.

Anti-Semitism was rife in Palestine before and during the British Mandate Period.
Arab violence toward Jews is well documented:

The Haycraft Commission of Inquiry

TheShaw Report

The Hope Simpson Report

Peel Commission of 1936, formally known as the Palestine Royal Commission

The history of Palestinian revolts

During the leadership of Haj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the local Arabs rebelled against the British, and attacked the growing Jewish population repeatedly. These sporadic attacks began with the riots in Palestine of 1920 and Jaffa riots (or "Hurani Riots") of 1921. During the riots in Palestine of 1929, 67 Jews were massacred in Hebron, and the survivors were driven out.

During WWII, the Grand Mufti Haj Muhammed Amin al-Hussayni wanted to annihilate Jews in Palestine.

The Arab states have gone to war with Israel. They even tried to divert water from Israel.

Don't forget about Yasser Arafat.

Palestinian support for suicide bombers

Palestinian groups that support and carry out acts of political violence include Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Abu Nidal Organization.

One further point: being Jewish ourselves, the position we present here is critical of Zionism but is in no way anti-Semitic. We do not believe that the Jews acted worse than any other group might have acted in their situation. The Zionists (who were a distinct minority of the Jewish people until after WWII) had an understandable desire to establish a place where Jews could be masters of their own fate, given the bleak history of Jewish oppression. Especially as the danger to European Jewry crystalized in the late 1930's and after, the actions of the Zionists were propelled by real desperation.

Desperation? Palestinian support for suicide bombers

Saying that the Zionists were a distinct minority of Jewish people is a pecualiar thing to say.

Zion was a hill in Jerusalem, on which the Temple was built (used to symbolize the city itself, esp. as a religious or spiritual center).

Zi·on -
n. The historic land of Israel as a symbol of the Jewish people. The Jewish people; Israel.

Zi·on·ism - Origin: 1895–1900
n. A Jewish movement that arose in the late 19th century in response to growing anti-Semitism and sought to reestablish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Modern Zionism is concerned with the support and development of the state of Israel.

So modern Zionism is concerned with the support and development of the state of Israel. This means that anyone who is not a modern Zionist does not support Israel or is against Israel. Being against the existing state of Israel, or anti-Israel, would describe many modern Arabs. Most other modern non-Arab people are not particularly anti-Israel, except perhaps neo-Nazi groups and other fringe elements. Perhaps some modern people do not care about the support of Israel any more than they care about the support of any other foreign country. But the Arabs are fairly unique in their desire to remove Israel.

Early History of the Region

Before the Hebrews first migrated there around 1800 B.C., the land of Canaan was occupied by Canaanites.

“Between 3000 and 1100 B.C., Canaanite civilization covered what is today Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon and much of Syria and Jordan...Those who remained in the Jerusalem hills after the Romans expelled the Jews [in the second century A.D.] were a potpourri: farmers and vineyard growers, pagans and converts to Christianity, descendants of the Arabs, Persians, Samaritans, Greeks and old Canaanite tribes.” Marcia Kunstel and Joseph Albright, “Their Promised Land.”

There is absolutely no evidence that Canaanite tribes remained in the Jerusalem hills. The Jews arrived in Palestine before the Arabs, and conquered the Canaanites - probably assimilating with them. This was many centuries before the Arabs arrived.

This is a desperate attempt to tie the Palestinian Arabs, who arrived in Palestine after the Jews, to the only known peoples who inhabited Palestine before the Jews.

The present-day Palestinians’ ancestral heritage

“But all these [different peoples who had come to Canaan] were additions, sprigs grafted onto the parent tree...And that parent tree was Canaanite...[The Arab invaders of the 7th century A.D.] made Moslem converts of the natives, settled down as residents, and intermarried with them, with the result that all are now so completely Arabized that we cannot tell where the Canaanites leave off and the Arabs begin.” Illene Beatty, “Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan.”

There is absolutely no evidence that the Moslem converts were Caananites, in fact historical evidence suggests otherwise. That "we cannot tell where the Canaanites leave off and the Arabs begin" is propaganda: "we" cannot tell anything at all about Canaanites.

The Jewish kingdoms were only one of many periods in ancient Palestine

“The extended kingdoms of David and Solomon, on which the Zionists base their territorial demands, endured for only about 73 years...Then it fell apart...[Even] if we allow independence to the entire life of the ancient Jewish kingdoms, from David’s conquest of Canaan in 1000 B.C. to the wiping out of Judah in 586 B.C., we arrive at [only] a 414 year Jewish rule.” Illene Beatty, “Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan.”

More on Canaanite civilization

“Recent archeological digs have provided evidence that Jerusalem was a big and fortified city already in 1800 BCE...Findings show that the sophisticated water system heretofor attributed to the conquering Israelites pre-dated them by eight centuries and was even more sophisticated than imagined...Dr. Ronny Reich, who directed the excavation along with Eli Shuikrun, said the entire system was built as a single complex by Canaanites in the Middle Bronze Period, around 1800 BCE.” The Jewish Bulletin, July 31st, 1998.

How long has Palestine been a specifically Arab country?

“Palestine became a predominately Arab and Islamic country by the end of the seventh century. Almost immediately thereafter its boundaries and its characteristics — including its name in Arabic, Filastin — became known to the entire Islamic world, as much for its fertility and beauty as for its religious significance...In 1516, Palestine became a province of the Ottoman Empire, but this made it no less fertile, no less Arab or Islamic...Sixty percent of the population was in agriculture; the balance was divided between townspeople and a relatively small nomadic group. All these people believed themselves to belong in a land called Palestine, despite their feelings that they were also members of a large Arab nation...Despite the steady arrival in Palestine of Jewish colonists after 1882, it is important to realize that not until the few weeks immediately preceding the establishment of Israel in the spring of 1948 was there ever anything other than a huge Arab majority. For example, the Jewish population in 1931 was 174,606 against a total of 1,033,314.” Edward Said, “The Question of Palestine.”

There is really no connection between the Palestinians and the Canaanites. The Canaanites were conquered by the Israelites centuries before the Arabs arrived on the scene. The Israelites had their kingdom in Palestine in the 12th and 13th centuries B.C. The Arabs from Arabia conquered Palestine in 638 AD from the Byzantines. You do the math.

Edward Said is a dubious source to quote, to say the least.

[Becoming Palestinian:] A Good Career Move

Commentary: The False Prophet of Palestine

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