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Facts and Logic About
the Middle East
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December 20, 2011

Gingrich's Assertion That the Palestinians Are "Invented" Is True. But Why Did They Do It?

Dear Friend of FLAME:

In a rare display of honest reporting on the part of American media, the Associated Press affirmed Newt Gingrich's statement that the Palestinians are an "invented" people---and the story ran in hundreds of newspapers. Of course, it's sad and ironic that we cheer simply when the media tell the truth about the Middle East.

In any case, the fact that the Palestinians are a made-up people has been established by all manner of historical research and acclamation, even by Arabs themselves.

We know that never in history was there a Palestinian state. We also know that the original Palestinians in the 20th century were Jewish---they called their newspaper the Palestine Post and their orchestra the Palestine Symphony. In those days, the Arabs called themselves Arabs, or in some cases Syrians. Even after Israel's birth in 1948, no Arabs called themselves Palestinians. The "Palestinians" began calling themselves that only after the 1967 war, when Israel chased Jordan and Egypt out of Jerusalem, the West Bank, Sinai and Gaza.

The name Palestine is Greek transmuted from Latin, and was applied by the region's ancient conquerors. Nearly all the cities in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza have Hebrew names---like Bethlehem, Nazareth, Hebron---and their current Arabic names are translations of these names. The capital of the West Bank, Nablus isn't an Arabic name, but a mispronunciation of Neapolis, or Latin for "New City."

Need more proof? Way back in 1937, the Arab leader Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi told the Peel Commission, "There is no such country [as Palestine]! Palestine is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria."

Next consider the statement of Zahir Muhsein, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, who in 1977 told the Dutch newspaper Trouw that "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 . . . Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak about the existence of the Palestinian people."

Mahmoud Abbas, however, in a dazzling display of chutzpah and mendacity at the U.N. recently, recounted a history of ancient Palestine full of Palestinians and a guy named Jesus (no mention of his religion), but no Jews at all. In fact, today's Palestinians are a group of Arabs left over after Syria and Jordan were formed from the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan (which the Arabs rejected and the Jews accepted).

This is not to say that that the Palestinians have no right to a nation. But the Palestinians use this phony history to justify calling the Jews colonialists and interlopers and inciting their people to an eternal struggle to destroy Israel.

Following Mr. Gingrich's statement about the instant Palestinians, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad accused the former Speaker of "denying historical truths." This week's FLAME Hotline gives you a concise rebuttal to Fayyad, which was posted on the blog

I hope you'll pass this issue to friends, colleagues and family who would benefit from a factual explanation of this latest controversy.

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Vice President, FLAME


For months now, FLAME has been calling for an end to U.S. taxpayer support of the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) because of its recent merger with the terrorist group Hamas. Now, more recently, the P.A. snubbed U.S. diplomatic efforts and calls to return to peace negotiations with Israel by demanding that the U.N. unilaterally declare a Palestinian state. It's time for Congress to stop funding the Palestinian Authority, and FLAME has issued a new expose of this alarming, unlawful waste of U.S. taxpayer dollars. I recommend you review our latest position paper now: "Why Should the U.S. Fund the Palestinian Authority? The Palestinians spurn U.S. diplomatic requests and snub U.S. financial aid. Should we be sending them nearly a billion dollars a year?" With support from pro-Israel activists like you, this ad has appeared in national media reaching more than 10 million readers, including college newspapers. In addition, it was sent to every member of the U.S. Congress. If you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel's behalf is valuable, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's ability to influence public opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope as this year comes to a close you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.


If you only subscribe to one information service about Israel and the Middle East, I recommend you make it the FLAME Hotline. Won't you join us to start receiving this high-value email service? Just go to free subscription.

It's Fayyad Who's Ignorant, Not Gingrich
Posted by, December 12, 2011

Here are a few quotations from a recent interview with presidential candidate Newt Gingrich:

I believe that if somebody is firing rockets at you, they are probably not engaged in the peace process. I believe if somebody goes around and says you don't have a right to exist, they're probably not prepared to negotiate for peace. I think if someone says they wanna wipe you out, you should believe them.

I think we're much more likely to see an Arab winter, than we are to see an Arab Spring. The fact is that when people point out that of the 1,200,000 Christians who were in Iraq when we arrived, 700,000 have fled the country. That doesn't strike me as a success. When you know that Coptic Christians who have been in Egypt for 2,100 years are now being persecuted and having their churches burned, that doesn't strike me as a success. I think the Israeli Defense Minister said the other day that he's very concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood's success in this recent election.

Remember, I think 15% of the seats went to people who are more extreme than the Muslim Brotherhood…

So, I think there's a lot to be concerned about, and whether or not the Arab world is going to evolve now in a very negative, probably very destructive, way.

…you have Abbas who says in the United Nations, "We do not necessarily concede Israel's right to exist." You've had four PLA ambassadors around the world say flatly, "Israel does not have a right to exist." In late November in India, the PLA ambassador said "Anybody who thinks there is a big gap between Hamas and Fatah is kidding themselves." You know, and so you have to start with this question "Who are you making peace with?"

I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state, and I believe that the commitments that were made at a time…remember there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places. And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940's, and I think it's tragic.

Well, I think it's delusional to call [the Oslo process] a peace process. I mean, we have an armed truce with a Palestinian Authority that's relatively weak. And on its flank is a Hamas authority which may become relatively weak, because it can't deliver anything. But both of which represent an enormous desire to destroy Israel. And I think unless you start with…and frankly, given their school system and the hatred they teach in their schools, often with money that comes from us through the United Nations, I mean I think there's a lot to think about in terms of how fundamentally you want to change the terms of debate in the region.

Say what you will about Gingrich as a viable candidate, but you cannot say that he doesn't understand the Middle East and particularly the Israeli-Arab conflict.

The quote about the "invented Palestinian people" has stirred up the expected hornet's nest. For example, Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad called his remark "cheap and disgraceful":

Responding to the statements of Gingrich, Dr. Fayyad stated that "the Palestinian people inhabited the land since the dawn of history, and intend to remain in it until the end times", and added that "people like Gingrich must consult history as it seems that all what he knows about the region is the history of the Ottoman era".

Perhaps Gingrich's tone was insulting, but historically he was not incorrect. Ridiculous Palestinian claims that they are descended from ancient Canaanites notwithstanding, most of the ancestors of the present-day 'Palestinians' arrived in the region along with or after the expedition of the Ottoman governor of Egypt Muhammad Ali into Syria in the early 1830′s. Rebellions and famines in Syria brought waves of Arabs into Palestine in the 19th and 20th centuries. And of course British and Zionist development brought even more Arab immigrants.

While Palestinian Arabs were mostly united in their opposition to Jewish immigration (although there were exceptions), specifically Palestinian nationalism probably did not exist before the first decades of the 20th century; interestingly, at first most nationalists were Christians rather than Muslims. Arab inhabitants of Palestine often insisted that the area was actually 'southern Syria', and identified as 'Arabs' and not Palestinians.

This changed with the founding of the PLO in 1964. Arab residents of the former Palestine Mandate became the 'Palestinian people'. And in truth, the regional wars and terrorism, their indoctrination by every means possible into a culture based on one main principle, hatred of Jews and Israel, their incarceration by the Arab nations and the UN in 'refugee camps' where they are bred like farm animals in order to incarnate a weapon of mass destruction for use against the Jewish people — all this has finally made them a people. What kind of people is another question.

Nevertheless, it is Fayyad who is ignorant of history, not Gingrich.

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