The Palestinians Are Rewriting History

Roundup: Talking About History

Ahron Bregman, the author of Israel's Wars: A History Since 1947, in Newsday (June 16, 2004):

...Mixing facts and fiction and rewriting the history of the Holy Land is part of the Palestinians' struggle against Israel and part of their negotiating tactics. In fact, quite recently, during the July 2000 Camp David summit, Arafat, who during the summit failed to put on the table a single constructive plan for peace, did come up with an interesting suggestion. U.S. envoy Dennis Ross, who was present when Arafat spoke, explained that Arafat "did offer one new idea, which was that the Temple didn't stand in Jerusalem but in Nablus."

But Arab and Palestinian propaganda does not stop there, for it goes on to challenge not only Jewish and Israeli rights to the ancient parts of Palestine but also to the more modern parts of it. Thus, in school textbooks and other publications it is often claimed that the land of modern Israel was in fact "stolen" from the Arabs and that the Palestinians were effectively "robbed" by the Jews. This, of course, is nonsense. In my book " Israel's War: A History Since 1947," I put it this way: "The Jews did not...'rob' the Arabs or 'steal' their land, but rather they bought it from them. As for the Arab aristocracy of landowners who had sold the land to the Jews, they did so voluntarily and with open eyes."

Although Palestinians have legitimate grievances, there is absolutely no historical basis to their claims - some of which are utterly ridiculous - that Palestine is exclusively theirs and that the Jews "stole" their land. For the truth is that Jews have always lived in Palestine - as indeed did my family - and Jewish settlers did not, as it is often claimed by Arabs, seize land, but rather they bought it. Critics and foes of Israel should recollect that the state of Israel was established by the Jews on Jewish and legitimately purchased land. And it was blessed by the United Nations and recognized by nations of the world, most notably the United States....

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