An Arab View
The Truth About Muslim Claims To Jerusalem And The Land of Israel
 
Palestine Is A Myth!
By Joseph Farah (October 25, 2000)

I've been quiet since Israel erupted in fighting spurred by disputes over the Temple Mount. Until now, I haven't even bothered to say, "See, I told you so." But I can't resist any longer. Yeah, folks, I predicted it. That's OK. Hold your applause. After all, I wish I had been wrong.

More than 120 people have been killed since the current fighting in and around Jerusalem began. And for what? If you believe what you read in most news sources, Palestinians want a homeland and Moslems want control over sites they consider holy.

Simple, right?

Well, as an Arab-American journalist who has spent some time in the Middle East dodging more than my share of rocks and mortar shells, I've got to tell you that these are just phony excuses for the rioting, trouble-making, and land-grabbing.

Isn't it interesting that prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, there was no serious movement for a Palestinian homeland?

"Well, Farah," you might say, "that was before the Israelis seized the West Bank and Old Jerusalem." That's true. In the Six-Day War, Israel captured Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem. But it didn't capture these territories from Yasser Arafat. It captured them from Jordan's King Hussein. I can't help but wonder why all these Palestinians suddenly discovered their national identity after Israel won the war.

THE TRUTH is that Arab Palestine is no more real than Never-Never Land. The first time the name Palestine was used was in 70 AD, when the Romans committed genocide against the Jews, smashed their Temple, and declared the land of Israel would be no more. From then on, the Romans promised, it would be known as Palestine.

The name was derived from the name "Philistines" - a people conquered by the Jews centuries earlier. It was a way for the Romans to add insult to injury. They also tried to change the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, but that had even less staying power.

Palestine has never existed - before or since - as an autonomous entity. It was ruled alternately by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the Ottoman Empire and, briefly, by the British after World War I. The British eventually agreed to restore at least part of the land to the Jewish people as their homeland.

There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.

Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9% of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of 1% of the landmass. But that's too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today. Greed. Pride. Envy. Covetousness.

No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough.

What about Islam's holy sites? There are none in Jerusalem. Shocked? You should be. I don't expect you will ever hear this brutal truth from anyone else in the international media. It's just not politically correct.

I know what you're going to say: "Farah, the Al-Aksa mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem represent Islam's third most holy sites."

Not true.

In fact, the Koran says nothing about Jerusalem. It mentions Mecca hundreds of times. It mentions Medina countless times. It never mentions Jerusalem. With good reason. There is no historical evidence to suggest Mohammed ever visited Jerusalem.

SO HOW did Jerusalem become the third-holiest site of Islam? Moslems today cite a vague passage in the Koran, the seventeenth Sura, entitled "The Night Journey." It relates that in a dream or vision Mohammed was carried by night "from the sacred temple to the temple that is most remote, whose precinct we have blessed, that we might show him our signs..."

In the seventh century, some Moslems identified the two temples mentioned in this verse as being in Mecca and Jerusalem. And that's as close as Islam's connection with Jerusalem gets - myth, fantasy, wishful thinking.

Meanwhile, Jews can definitely trace their roots in Jerusalem back to the days of Abraham.

The latest round of violence in Israel erupted when Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount, the foundation of the Temple built by Solomon. It is the holiest site in the world for Jews. Sharon and his entourage were met with stones and threats. I know what it's like. I've been there. Can you imagine what it is like for Jews to be threatened, stoned, and physically kept out of the holiest site in Judaism?

So what's the solution to the Middle East mayhem? Well, frankly, I don't think there is a man-made solution. But, if there is one, it needs to begin with truth. Pretending will only lead to more chaos. Behaving as if a 5,000-year-old birthright backed by overwhelming historical and archeological evidence is equal to illegitimate claims, wishes and wants gives diplomacy and peacekeeping a bad name.

          YYYYYYY

The Author of the above article is Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of World Net Daily a leading independent Internet news site. Out of appreciation for his honest, straightforward assessment of the Middle East situation, why not visit and bookmark his site as a source of investigative news reporting:

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An Open Letter To Arafat
Tuesday, October 24, 2000
And
"Sacred Right" Of Return - An Arab View!
By: Joseph Farah
WorldNet.com
Dear Mr. Arafat:

I couldn't help but notice that your recent rhetoric, as in your speech to the Arab Summit last week, suggests you are now not only a self-proclaimed spokesman for the "Palestianian people," but for Christian interests in the Middle East as well. Here are some of the recent references that piqued my curiosity:

"The blood that was shed in Al-Aqsa definitely unleashed the wrath in the hearts of our Palestinian masses everywhere in the homeland. The unarmed citizens rose to express their feelings in a legitimate spontaneous intifada to uphold Arab, Islamic, and Christian values in accordance with the Umarite Covenant. The Israelis canceled this covenant, by claiming sovereignty over Al-Haram al-Sharif and forging its history and reality and saying it is the place where the Temple was built, by licentiously attacking the worshippers in its mosques and those defending its honor and sanctity, or by attempting to Judaize holy Jerusalem and its Christian and Islamic holy places and imposing a siege on Bethlehem."

"Our people of revolutionary struggle, the people of the glorious intifada, whose waves will only stop with victory, pledge to every Arab, Muslim, Christian, and friend to continue their struggle using all legitimate means to reach victory."

"Let me tell you something. The issue of Jerusalem is not just a Palestinian issue. It is a Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and Christian issue."

"Let us begin from the holy Buraq wall. It is called the holy Buraq wall, not the Wailing Wall. We do not say this. After the holy Buraq revolution in 1929 ... the Shaw International Committee said this is a holy wall for Muslims. This wall ends at the Via Dolorosa. These are our Christian and Muslim holy places."

I recently spoke out as an Arab-American in opposition to your tactics and goals, Mr. Arafat. Today, I speak out against them as a Christian. Let me be blunt:
Despite extensive travels throughout the Middle East, I have not met a single Christian Arab who did not have misgivings about you. I certainly have never met one who considered you a representative of his interests in the Holy Land. In the United States I have never met a Christian who thought you were anything but an anti-Jewish terrorist. That's the way I think of you.

You may indeed actually represent many of those rioting in the streets of Ramallah and Gaza and Jerusalem, but you will never speak for Christians anywhere -- not real Christians, not followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was, you might recall, a Jewish rabbi. By definition, Christians must reject your agenda of hate and genocide. In addition, Christians old enough to remember what access to the holy sites was like under Islamic rule are hardly eager to support your cause in Jerusalem. We know where that leads. Jews may be your No. 1 enemy today. We know Christians will be next.

Mr. Arafat, you may have fooled enough people in elite circles to have won yourself millions in U.S. taxpayer aid and even a Nobel Peace Prize. But all you have really managed to do with those victories is to diminish and corrupt the meaning of those awards.

Sincerely,
Joseph Farah,
A Christian Arab-American who supports the Jewish state.

"Sacred Right" Of Return - An Arab View"
 
By: Joseph Farah - January 2001
WorldNetDaily.com

No matter how Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak might try, they will never be able to give away enough Israeli soil, make enough negotiating concessions or sacrifice enough of the Jewish state's sovereignty to placate Arab leaders. That's my prediction, and I'm sticking with it.

Clinton's latest "peace proposal," which should be totally unacceptable to Israelis, was instead shot down by Arabs. Why? Because, they say, Palestinians have a "sacred" right to return to Israel. Let's focus on this issue. It deserves far more exploration than it ever gets in the popular press.

Arabs say some 500,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes by Israelis during the formation of the Jewish state in 1948. The truth is that many Arabs left in direct response to pleas from neighboring Arab governments, which boasted that they would quickly purge the land of Jews. By contrast, Joan Peters points out in her excellent history, "From Time Immemorial," the Jewish Haifa Workers Council was urging fleeing Arab residents of that city to stay.

According to a research report by the Arab-sponsored Institute for Palestine Studies in Beirut, cited again in "From Time Immemorial," the majority of Arab refugees in 1948 were not expelled at all, and some 68 percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier. Peters cites documented evidence that, after the war, it was the Arab leadership that actively blocked the return of these refugees to their former homes.

"It is inconceivable that the refugees should be sent back to their homes while they are occupied by the Jews," said Emile Ghoury, secretary of the Arab Higher Command. "It would serve as a first step toward Arab recognition of the state of Israel and partition." Arab activist Musa Alami was even more blunt: "The people are in great need of a 'myth' to fill their consciousness and imagination." It was he who first raised the myth of "Palestinian nationhood."

There was just one problem, as Peters points out. From 1948 through 1967, Israel controlled very little of historic Palestine. Most of it, including the entire West Bank, was under the control of Jordan. Thus, it was not until Israel captured more of that land in the Six-Day War, that a real Palestinian nationalist movement began. Thus, the Arab refugees have remained political pawns for the last 52 years. The Arab nations have refused to settle them, preferring to use them as a wedge against the legitimacy of the state of Israel.

Also forgotten amid the barrage of political propaganda consuming the so-called peace talks is another issue raised so effectively by Peters -- the Arab Jew.

"For every refugee -- adult or child -- in Syria, Lebanon, or elsewhere in the Arab world who compels our sympathy, there is a Jewish refugee who fled from the Arab country of his birth," she writes. "For every Arab who moved to neighboring lands, a Jew was forced to flee from a community where he and his ancestors may have lived for 2,000 years. The Jews escaped to their original homeland, where their roots are even older; the Arabs also arrived where they were in the majority, where they shared the same language and culture with fellow Arabs, and often only a few dozen miles from their places of origin."

What took place, in effect, writes Peters, was a population exchange - the kind that has been repeated many times throughout the world in a variety of conflicts.

Nobody raises the issue of Jewish refugees anymore, because they have been successfully resettled in Israel. In 1948, there were more than 850,000 Jews living in the Arab world. There are believed to be fewer than 25,000 today. The Arab Jews moved quickly as soon as they got the chance. Most left with only the clothes on their backs. Few had any opportunity to take with them any possessions of value. They were not compensated, in most cases, for their homes. Many of them lived under indescribable persecution for generations, but had no place to go before Israel was reborn in 1948.

That's why I find it so amusing that Arab leaders today talk about a "sacred" right of return for Arabs to "Palestine." The truth is there are more Arabs living within the borders of Israel today than there were in the same area prior to 1948. No authority is demanding they stay, and they are surrounded by Arab lands and Arab nations. Why do they stay? I can say, as an Arab-American, that they stay because there is more freedom in Israel. The kinds of uprisings we are witnessing in Israel on a daily basis would never be tolerated in any Arab country.

After 52 years, isn't it time for the wealthy Arab nations to do the right thing by their refugee neighbors and resettle them among other people who speak their language, share their values and celebrate their culture?

Joseph Farah is editor and chief executive officer of WorldNetDaily.com and writes a daily column.

Courtesy of World Net Daily.

Misguided Arab Protests - An Arab View!
By: Joseph Farah - November 14, 2001 - Jerusalem Post
WorldNetDaily.com

Ramallah and Jerusalem aren't the only sites of Arab protests these days. They're also taking place in the streets near The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. Arab-Americans are, if you can believe it, charging that the major US media are biased in favor of Israel and against them [the Arabs]. Let's analyze that claim.

A couple of weeks ago, The New York Times ran a photo of a young man bleeding on the streets of Israel and labeled him a "Palestinian" beaten by Israeli police or soldiers. It was complete reflex by the Times. Bleeding? Must be a Palestinian victim. It turns out the young man was a Jewish American student attending school in Israel, and he was beaten by an Arab mob.

Would a paper biased in favor of Israel and against Arabs make such a mistake? How about The Chicago Sun-Times? It turns out the Arabs' beef with the Hollinger paper is that the parent company also owns The Jerusalem Post. The Arab protests at the Sun-Times also focused on an October 3 editorial blaming Yasser Arafat for recent violence.

That's not bias, folks. Those are facts of life. I think it's great that at least one paper in America recognizes that the pro-Arab propaganda disseminated by CNN and most of the establishment press in the US is just that - one-sided disinformation.

And what about The Los Angeles Times? Oh, the syndicate owned by the company had the audacity to distribute a column that criticized "radical, fundamentalist, murderous Islam." The column quickly pointed out that it was not an indictment of a religion, only an attack on extremism within that religion. But that was too much for the newly organized, monolithic Arab-American community.

It strikes me that all this protest is misguided, if, indeed, the objective is fair, balanced and accurate coverage by the press. Why is it that these protesters are not criticizing the lack of free press in their native lands? In virtually every case, the official and semi-official news organs of the Arab world have one objective - fostering hatred against the Jewish state.

Reporters, editors and producers for Arab media show one side and one side only - not just in their editorials, but in their so-called news stories. In fact, their "news stories" are, by Western standards, editorials. They are designed to enflame passions, not inform citizens.

No wonder Arab-Americans see pro-Israel bias in the US press. If their standards for objectivity and neutrality are based on the closed-minded, government propaganda spewing forth in the Arab world, coverage in the West must, indeed, look slanted toward the Israeli side.

That's what I can't understand about most Arab-Americans. They are the new victims of prejudice and bias, we're being told over and over again in the US media, thanks to an aggressive public relations offensive by organized groups.

I'm an Arab-American. Why haven't I seen any evidence of this bias and prejudice in 46 years of life? Not once have I been mistreated, misrepresented or vilified because of my Arabic heritage - until very recently. And, interestingly, the hatred - and there is no other word for it - has been directed against me not by Jews, not by the US media, not by Israelis, but by other Arabs.

Apparently what bothers these activists more than anything is one of their own - ethnically speaking - breaking ranks. It's the unforgivable sin. Death threats and insults that would curl your hair are sure to follow. And that's why I say none of these protests should be taken seriously by anyone.

These folks - and, by this, I mean the protesters, the activists - are not interested in fairness. They are not interested in truth. They are not interested in a better image for Arabs and Arab-Americans. What they are interested in is the ultimate irony - bullying their way into victimhood status, as so many other groups have in recent years.

It's sad. It's group-think. And, unfortunately, all too often, it works in America. Too bad, though, that some of this energy isn't redirected at the closed, police-state world of the Arab states. Do these folks really remember from whence they came?

(The writer is editor and chief executive officer of WorldNetDaily.com, a US-based Internet news site.)

More Myths Of The Middle East
An Arab View! By Joseph Farah - October 23, 2000


My recent commentaries on the Middle East have touched off a virtual international firestorm on the Internet.

Since writing "Myths of the Middle East" less than two weeks ago, I have been inundated with e-mail from all over the world - at least 5,000 letters from Israel alone! The article has been translated into a dozen languages. It has been the subject of network television debates. It has been read on Israeli national radio. And, while most of the reaction has been passionately favorable, there have been threats on my life and the lives of my family members. There have been vicious, obscene, vulgar and profane denunciations.

The reaction illustrates just how far apart the Arabs and Israelis are in the so-called "peace process". There has clearly been no progress since 1947. In fact, there is ample evidence that some Arab leaders are right now attempting to revise history in new ways that strongly suggest there is nothing Israel can ever do to appease the violence in their hearts.

In an interview with Italian newspaper La Republica, March 24 of this year, Sheik Ikrama Sabri, the Palestine Authority's top Muslim figure in Jerusalem, decreed that the Western Wall, the last remnant of the Jewish Temple, has no religious significance to the Jews. "Let it be clear: the Wailing Wall is not a holy place of the Jews, it is an integral part of the mosque (grounds). We call it al-Buraq, the name of the horse with which Muhammad ascended to heaven from Jerusalem," he said.

In fact, the Temple Mount area and the Western Wall are, according to Jewish scholars, the only truly holy sites of Judaism.

Yasser Arafat himself has made similar statements recently, claiming the city of Jerusalem has no real significance to Jews. On Al-Jezira television, June 28, 1998, he said, "Let me tell you something. The issue of Jerusalem is not just a Palestinian issue. It is a Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and Christian issue."

Asked by the interviewer if one could also say it is a Jewish issue, he replied, "No. Allow me to be precise -- they consider Hebron to be holier than Jerusalem."

Arafat is among those Arab leaders making the incredible suggestion that there was never a Jewish Temple at the site. [He said]: "Until now, all the excavations that have been carried out have failed to prove the location of the Temple," he claims. "It is 30 years since they captured the city and they have not succeeded in giving even one proof as the location of the Temple."

Do you really think there can be compromise with people this delusional?

font size=+2">This was no casual remark by Arafat. In an earlier speech broadcast on Voice of Palestine Oct. 10, 1996, he said, "Let us begin from the holy Buraq wall. It is called the holy Buraq wall, not the Wailing Wall. We do not say this. After the holy Buraq revolution in 1929 ... the Shaw International Committee said this is a holy wall for Muslims. This wall ends at the Via Dolorosa. These are our Christian and Muslim holy places."

Now, perhaps you understand why even today the Muslim police known as the Waqf attempt to deny Jews and other non-Muslims access to these sites. Now, perhaps you understand why, during times when Jerusalem has been occupied by Muslims, Christian churches and Jewish synagogues were destroyed or desecrated.

This alone should demonstrate conclusively to any non-biased observer that the troubles in the Middle East today will not be solved by the creation of a "Palestinian state." It's time to point out to those who do not yet know that the leader of this movement -- Arafat -- is not a "Palestinian" at all. Indeed, he was born in Egypt. But his family does have some history in the area - though he's not likely to acknowledge it on ABC's "Nightline" or CNN.

You see, it was Arafat's uncle who served as the grand mufti of Jerusalem in the 1920s and 1930s. It was his uncle who concluded, for the first time, that Mohammed had ascended into heaven from the site known as the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. And it was his uncle who, in an unholy alliance with Adolf Hitler, condemned the Jews and their designs on their eternal capital city.

The truth is that Jerusalem has a unique importance to Jews. It has always been a place described and revered in Jewish law. For centuries since the Diaspora, Jews around the world have prayed toward Jerusalem, mourned the destruction of their Temple and hopefully repeated the phrase, "Next year in Jerusalem."

Again, I say, until all the parties to war and peace in the Middle East acknowledge basic history and archaeology, there is little point in pretending that peripheral land concessions can bring peace.

    The writer is director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum.

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