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Sunday, December 25, 2011
Gingrich: Palestine a Nation Or Province of Global Islamic Caliphate??
CLIFFORD D. MAY
DECEMBER 22, 2011 12:00 A.M.
The Case for Palestinian Nationalism Do Palestinians really support a two-state solution?
The region we now call the Middle East is an elaborate mosaic. Among its peoples are the Arabs, denizens of the desert who became great conquerors and colonists. The Persians possessed a mighty empire in antiquity — and will again if Iran’s current rulers have their way. The most vibrant city of the Turks is Istanbul, the Christian capital known as Constantinople until it fell to Sultan Mehmed II in the 15th century. The Middle East also is home to such ethno-religious groups as Maronites, Druze, and Alawites; to powerful clans such as the Hashemites and the House of Sa’ud; to Kurds, a nation without a state, and to Jews, reestablished as a nation in their ancient homeland.
The other day, Newt Gingrich waded into this historical labyrinth, setting off a minor brouhaha by noting that only recently did Arabs on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean claim to constitute a distinct nation called “Palestine” — the name given to the area by Imperial Rome. On this basis, he referred to Palestinians as an “invented” people....
The question was how to divide what, for 400 years, had been a corner of the Ottoman Empire between the Arabs of Palestine and the Jews of Palestine. Of the two, the latter were, at that time, more commonly referred to as Palestinians. Their newspaper was the Palestine Post (now the Jerusalem Post), their contributions to the performing arts included the Palestine Orchestra (now the Israel Philharmonic), and their American-based charitable organization was the United Palestine Appeal.
From 1948 until 1967, Gaza and the West Bank were under Egyptian and Jordanian control respectively. No serious demands for a Palestinian state were heard. Only after Israel took possession of those territories in a defensive war against Egypt, Jordan, and other Arab states did Palestinian nationhood become the central issue in what had been, until then, the Arab- Israeli conflict
..foreign-affairs columnist H. D. S. Greenway acknowledged that the former Speaker “is right that there has never been a state called Palestine” and that “Palestinian nationalism grew up as a mirror image of Israeli nationalism.” So what’s the problem? Greenway charges that Gingrich intended to “imply that the Palestinians are not worthy of a country of their own.”
Gingrich insists he meant no such thing. Anyone familiar with his thinking would not doubt that. After all, Americans are an invented people.
...The Hamas Covenantinvokes “the best nation that hath been raised up unto mankind.” But that nation is not Palestine. It is the Islamic nation which is to be revived as a caliphate, an empire of which Palestine would be only a province. The Hamas Covenant asserts without equivocation that “the Palestinian problem is a religious problem,” adding that there can be “no solution . . . except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.” As for Israel, the Covenant minces no words: “Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”