Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (AP/Seth Wenig) (AP/Seth Wenig)
Mahmoud Abbas

Rather than accepting history and living with it, Palestinian leader Abbas chooses to invent facts, thus perpetuating the Palestinian war against Israel’s existence.   

Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas published an op-ed in the UK’s Guardian on Thursday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, in which he disregarded the historical facts and presented a revisionist version of the events.

The Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917 was a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Baron Rothschild stating that “His Majesty’s government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

In 1922, the League of Nations adopted this position and made the British Mandate “responsible for putting into effect the declaration,” which led to the UN vote in 1947 and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

The Ottoman Empire’s rule of the Land of Israel, as well as most of the Middle East, began in 1512 and lasted for over 400 years. There was never any “Palestinian” entity in the area.

However, Abbas, after castigating Lord Arthur Balfour for promising “a land that was not his to promise” went on to describe the Palestinian people as “a proud nation with a rich heritage of ancient civilisations, and the cradle of the Abrahamic faiths.”

Contradicting Abbas’ historical revision, just a day before, PA official TV broadcast an interview with the historian Abd Al-Ghani Salameh, who explained that in 1917, the time of the Balfour Declaration, there was no Palestinian people.

“There always was a historical struggle over Palestine, and many wanted to rule it. How did the aspirations to rule affect the Palestinian existence, the Palestinians’ options, and the Palestinians’ possibilities of development?” the host of the program asked Salameh during a special broadcast for the centenary anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

“Before the Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration) when the Ottoman rule ended (in 1917), Palestine’s political borders as we know them today did not exist, and there was nothing called a Palestinian people with a political identity as we know today,” Salameh said on Palestinian TV, according to the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a watchdog which monitors Palestinian incitement.

Salameh explained that “Palestine’s lines of administrative division stretched from east to west and included Jordan and southern Lebanon, and like all peoples of the region [the Palestinians] were liberated from the Turkish rule and immediately moved to colonial rule, without forming a Palestinian people’s political identity.”

Please Get Your Historical Facts Straight

In his article in The Guardian, Abbas continued to revise history by claiming that he was 13 years old “at the time of our expulsion from Safed.”

This contradicts Abbas’ own words in 2013, when he admitted on PA TV that the residents of Safed were not expelled but rather left Israel in 1948 on their own.

“The [Arab] Liberation Army retreated from the city [Safed in 1948], causing the [Arab] people to begin emigrating. In Safed, just like Hebron, people were afraid that the Jews would take revenge for the [Arab] massacre [of Jews] in 1929. The 1929 massacre was most severe in Safed and Hebron. The people (of Safed in 1948) were overcome with fear, and it caused the people to leave the city in a disorderly way.”

The IDF did not take revenge for the heinous 1929 massacre, in which 67 Jews were killed in Hebron and 18 in Safed.

100 Years of Arab Rejection

Throughout the 20th century, Arab leaders have rejected Jewish rights, promoted an exclusivist worldview that the land belongs only to them and encouraged violent attacks on the Jewish population.

This rejection of the legitimate and internationally-mandated and recognized claim of the Jewish people to a national homeland in the Holy Land is the cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“It is the thread which connects every war, every atrocity, every diplomatic maneuver and every terrorist act initiated by the Arab side, from 1917 to today,” Israel’s foreign minister stated.

Even now, the Palestinians, instead of educating and building towards a future of peace, are still looking backwards, trying to turn back the hands of time, re-litigate and deny, and reject the world’s acceptance of the justice of the Jewish people’s claim, the foreign ministry exclaimed.

Abbas announced at the July 2016 Arab League Summit his intention to sue Britain for issuing the Balfour Declaration.

His and other Palestinian leaders’ rejection of the Balfour Declaration reflects their consistent denial of any rights of the Jewish people in their homeland, and thus, drives peace further away.

The vehement opposition to the Balfour Declaration was and has remained rooted in the anti-historical view that Jews are aliens in the land, and in the false assumption that they have no connection to the land and no right of any kind to live there as a people. This attitude of Arab exclusivism continues to drive the Arab-Israeli conflict to this day.

By: United with Israel Staff
(With files from PMW)

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