Op-Ed: Israel Turns 65: Playing the Arab Name Game
Gerald A. HonigmanThe author is an educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Mid-East...
Move over, Monopoly. Scadoodle, Scrabble…
Have you played the "Arab Name Game"? You know--the one much of the rest of the world, including recent American Presidents, insists that Israel partake in?
Much of the world--including recent American presidents--insists that there must be a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Forget the fact that that's not what the Arabs themselves really have in mind, but whatever…
Please pay close attention to what follows because, in reality, in discussing an alleged “two state solution,” President Obama and others play right into the hands of the Arabs’ deliberate name game deception.
You see, there have always been two legitimate parties to this conflict–Arabs and Jews.
Yet, even the most allegedly “moderate” of Arabs insist on getting not just one share of the original April 25, 1920 Mandate of Palestine pie, but two. Recall that the original Mandate included the modern Arab state of Jordan--before it was separated in 1922.
"Palestine" was the name the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, bestowed on the land of Judaea to rub salt into the wound after the Jews’ second costly revolt for their freedom and independence. It was named for the Jews’ historic enemies, the non-Semitic /non-Arab Philistines, the "Sea People" who arrived from the islands near Crete. You can see a Judea Capta coin issued after the first revolt and what ancient Rome called the land prior to the Bar Kochba rebellion on the web. Writings of contemporary Roman historians such as Tacitus, Pliny, Dio Cassius, and Josephus are filled with such accounts.
Even in the most “moderate” Arabs’ count, they demand one portion for “Arabs” and another for “Palestinians.” They insist that, in this geographical addition problem, 1 + 1 = 3, not 2.
If Jews indulged in this same deception, they could call themselves by other names and then demand dozens of states too. As could Kurds and others as well… “Hey, we’re not really Kurds–we’re Irbilians, Mosulians, Kirkukians, Sulimanyians, Mehabadians, Qamishlians, Diyarbakirians, and so forth.”
Get the picture?
No, formerly stateless Jews and currently truly stateless peoples, like Kurds and Imazighen ("Berbers"), are not the same as deliberately renamed, allegedly stateless “Palestinians.” The latter are part of the greater Arab family which now has nearly two dozen states to call its own. Furthermore, the latter have largely been carved out by the conquest of mostly non-Arab peoples’ lands--lands in which other native peoples’ very languages and cultures have often been outlawed in the forced Arabization process.
Here's an oft-cited quote from PLO executive committee member Zuheir Mohsen, on March 31, 1977, in the Dutch newspaper Trouw:
"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..."
Now, are there different Arab groups within that greater Arab family?
Sure, just like there are many different sub-groups within the Jewish or Kurdish or Amazigh families of nations.
But the possession of multiple sub-groups does not give arabs the right to deny any and all other peoples their own share of justice in the region. Yet, that has always been the Arab name game plan–and what the American President promoted in such speeches as the one he gave on the eve of Passover in Jerusalem.
1 + 1 = 2… not 3.
Arab nationalism is entitled to one share of the Palestine pie–not two. Arabs must decide among themselves how they want to share rule over their one part of “Palestine.”
Whether this translates into a merger of parts of Judea and Samaria with Jordan (the most sensible, yet unlikely, solution), or whether a tiny, second Arab state is created in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria after Israel gets the absolutely essential compromise in the territories promised by the final draft of UNSC Resolution 242, the choice must not leave the sole state of the Jews as vulnerable as in the days prior to the 1967 war when Israel was a mere 9-15-mile wide rump state of a nation.
As the over three millennia-old nation of the Jews approaches its modern re-birthday, it must resolve to do a much better job at getting this message out to the rest of the world.