Published by The Freeman Center
The Maccabean Online
Political Analysis and Commentary
A Lesson From Kosovars And Palestinians For Atlasians...
by Gerald A. Honigman
Well, please take a look--like many of us have over the decades--at the answer through the oft-quoted words of a spokesman for that above national group itself, 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.
Before having to deal with the politics and sensitivities of at least some in the West, Arabs simply gave no thought to Mohsen\'s tactics.
As I deliberately like to reemphasize time and again (for those who like to place Israel under the high power lens of moral scrutiny while playing deaf, dumb, and blind to what surrounds it), millions of native peoples were simply conquered and forcibly Arabized in the name of the Arab Nation and the spread of its Dar ul-Islam--imperialism and colonialism, pure and simple--and millions of native Egyptian Copts, black Africans, Kurds, Imazighen (Berbers), Jews, and others are still suffering the consequences of this murderous subjugation.
In a post-Holocaust age, however, in the struggle to win over hearts and minds from abroad, how could Arabs demand twenty-two states while denying Jews their one?
The answer--as Mohsen so correctly stated above: Reinvent yourselves.
From now on, you\'re "Palestinians." And then depend on the ignorance of most of the rest of the world to back your claim, "If Jews can have a state, why not Palestinians?" And, don\'t you know, "Palestinians" are the new formerly stateless Jews.
Forget the facts.
Like most Arabs never saw the land of the Jews--Judaea--until their own murderous imperial conquests brought them out of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century C.E. when they spread out in all directions.
Or that the very name "Palestine" was dubbed upon Judaea by the Roman Emperor Hadrian after the Jews\' costly second revolt for freedom. To pour salt onto their wound, he renamed the Jews\' land after their historic enemies, the Philistines--a non-Semitic sea people (i.e. not Arab) from the area around Crete. Tacitus, Dio Cassius, and other contemporary Roman historians wrote all about Judaea and Judaeans--not "Palestine" or "Palestinians." Listen to one of my favorite telling quotes about the Jews\' first revolt in Vol. II, Book V, The Works of Tacitus:
Vespasian... succeeded to the command.... it inflamed his resentment that the Jews were the only nation that had not yet submitted.Titus was appointed by his father to complete the subjugation of Judaea... he commanded three legions in Judaea itself... To these he added the twelfth from Syria and the third and twenty-second from Alexandria... amongst his allies were a band of Arabs, formidable in themselves and harboring towards the Jews the bitter animosity usually subsisting between neighboring nations.
Or that, not having endured the forced exile and diaspora of many (but not all--many still remained in the hill country and elsewhere clear up to the Arab conquest) of the Jews, still...so many Arabs were newcomers themselves to the Mandate of Palestine after World War I and the breakup of the Ottoman Turkish Empire which had controlled the land for over four centuries, that when the United Nations Relief Works Agency--UNRWA--was set up to assist Arab refugees (after a half dozen Arab states invaded a nascent Israel in 1948 to nip it in the bud and their attempt backfired), the very word "refugee" had to be redefined from its prior meaning of persons normally and traditionally resident to those who lived in the Mandate for a minimum of only two years prior to 1948 to assist these people. Hamas\'s own patron saint, for whom its terror brigade and rockets are named for, Sheikh Izzadin-al-Qassam, was born in Latakia, Syria. Arafat was from Egypt. And both "native Palestinians" had plenty of company, pouring into the Mandate because of the economic development going on due to the Jews.
And so forth.
Now, using this same tactic, Serbs have been similarly shafted .
Albania is an independent nation southwest of the former Yugoslavia. The Serbs fought their first major battle for Kosovo against the spread of the Dar ul-Islam (this time led by Turkish imperialism) in 1389--over six centuries ago.
Albania had become at least nominally converted to Islam via the Ottoman conquest. Over the centuries, ethnic Albanians encroached upon traditionally Serbian lands.
Enter the late 20th century.
Everyone knew that with the death of Tito, Iraq\'s twin, artificially glued together state of Yugoslavia would fall apart.
Now, if you\'re an Albanian in Serbia and you already have an ethnic Albanian state in existence (so you can\'t claim "statelessness"), how do you stake your claim for additional territory--at another people\'s (Serbs\') expense?
Hitler played a somewhat similar game with the large population of ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia\'s Sudetenland. World War II soon followed, as his sights were set far beyond the Czechs\' and Slovaks\' domain.
According to this reasoning, America also better watch its own southwest very carefully--especially since it really was once part of Mexico anyway. And what\'s Russia up to these days, since we\'re on this subject? Think non-Russian peoples\' lands, with Russian ethnic minorities, and how this game could be played out.
The answer, however, regarding Albanians in Serbia is.You follow Zuheir Mohsen\'s advice.
But instead of renaming yourselves "Palestinians," you, of course, call yourselves Kosovars instead. And then get assorted Jihadis from the rest of the Arab/Muslim World to assist you--along with America and NATO.
There is no doubt that too much of the conflict regarding the breakup of Yugoslavia was deliberately biased against the Serbs.
Atrocities occurred (as they had for centuries)--but on both sides, with Serbs often the victims.victims the American State Department ignored as it sought Muslims it could point to as championing while America was fighting others in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. American bombers led the final dismemberment.
There\'s a lesson here.and Jews, Kurds, Imazighen, and others need to pay close attention.
Instead of demanding just the rebirth of their one state, Jews need to demand others as well.
Jews have a long history in Morocco, as just one example--long before Arabs conquered both Jews and Imazighen alike there.
Over 600,000 Moroccan Jews now live in Israel--part of the other side of the Middle East refugee problem few ever talk about...more Moroccan Jews than Arabs who got their own nation states in Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, etc. when they were created. Additionally, many more Moroccan Jews live in America, France, and elsewhere today, including Morocco.
Why multiple states for Arabs and not Jews?
As early as Roman times, Jews fleeing the Roman wars in Judaea began to travel inland in North Africa and forged both economic and cultural ties with the Imazighen--especially in the Atlas Mountains. Some of the latter folks even adopted the faith of their Jewish neighbors.
When Arab Muslims invaded, Jews and Imazighen fought them together. Across the Atlas Mountains, Queen Dahlia al Kahina (whom the famed Muslim scholar, Ibn Khaldun, called "the Jewess" ) led both Jews and Imazighen in battle against invading Arabs, who would later massacre and subjugate both peoples.
Why not states for the Atlasians--at least one for Jews and one for the Imazighen--in North Africa?
Why "Palestinians" and "Kosovars," but not "Atlasians?"
While we\'re at it, some thirty-five million stateless Kurds need to jump aboard as well.
Kurds predate Arabs in "Arab" Syria as well as in "Arab" Iraq.and in "Turkish" Turkey. But we all know what happened/happens when Kurds try to assert their rights there. Their best hope right now is in the place where they were indeed promised independence after World War I--in northern Mesopotamia, part of today\'s renamed Iraq.
While I don\'t really expect that much of the above will happen, it\'s worth asking those academics, State Department folks, left-wing knownothings, and other hypocritical practitioners of the double standard. Why not?
If Kurds played the Arab game regarding trading "Arab" for "Palestinian," how many Kurdish states might they be entitled to?
The reality, of course, is that all of these peoples are still struggling to maintain or obtain basic political and human rights in what Arabs call "purely Arab patrimony."
That others buy into their subjugating mindset is the real travesty.