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A Jewish state to liquidate the cause

There is no justification for reaching a solution to the "Palestinian cause" at the moment, nor the current rushing and concessions being made. The current situation is not an opportunity to resolve the conflict, but a chance to wait for the results of changes in the Arab, regional and international arenas, which all have the potential for creating a new era, different than any other in the past.

Indeed, they are different to all that has occurred in the past, beginning with the Arab Spring that has not and will not stop until the Arab countries act in accordance with the will of their people.

Before the Arab Spring, Israel grew increasingly isolated and began to feel the European and international hostility towards it as an inevitable result of the racism it practiced. This led to a radical and growing transformation from within Israel that rejected racism and called for solutions that are closer to justice and maintainability.

I would like to present two examples of the radical shift in the heart of Israel. The first exampled was the book The General's Son, published in 2012 by Miko Peled, who earned the rank of Captain in the Israeli army. His father, General Matti Peled, who fought in the 1967 war on the Egyptian front, called for Israel to take advantage of its victory by withdrawing from all Arab territories occupied in that war and to peacefully coexist with its Arab neighbours with equal rights for the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The General's niece was killed in an attack by a Palestinian martyrdom seeker in 1997 and, instead of calling for the killing of dozens of Palestinian civilians as Israeli politicians do, the family, including the girl's mother, posed the most important question: What suffering has a man such as this martyrdom seeker gone through that he would blow himself up along with others?

The book, as well as the author's lectures in America and Europe, gained great support and attention.

What is more important, as important as the emergence of the Zionist movement itself, is the book released by Israeli historian, Shlomo Sand, a professor of contemporary history at the University of Tel Aviv, The Invention of the Jewish People in 2008, which was followed by his book The Invention of the Land of Israel in 2013.

His first book was dedicated to "the memory of the refugees who reached this soil and those who were forced to leave it." His second book was dedicated "to the memory of the inhabitants of the village of Sheikh Munis, who were uprooted in the distant past from the place where I live and where I work in the near present."

The Hebrew version of the first book, the original, topped the bestseller list in Israel for over four months. It is considered the most translated Hebrew book, translated into various languages, including Arabic, published by Al-Dar Al-Ahlia for Publishing & Distribution in 2011, which is the same publishing company that published his second book translated into Arabic in 2014.

The importance of the book The Invention of the Jewish People stems from the fact that it is a scientific-historic research that undermines the "myth of the Jewish people", by that he means it undermines the only basis on which Israel bases its demand for the Arabs and the world to recognise "the Jewishness of the state of Israel".

The author examined the historical background of the contemporary Jewish -Muslim history. Through his historical research, going back dozens of centuries, he did not find anything supporting the allegations upon which the State of Israel and Zionism were founded. He did however find things that contradicted these allegations.

The book proves that the Jewish people who live in Israel – or now outside it- are not "a people or a race" nor did they descend from an ancient nation that was living in Palestine. Instead, he proves that the Jewish people in the world are descendants of various tribes, because Judaism was, contrary to what it is today, a missionary religion that was spread particularly in the Mediterranean.

The writer says: "The Jewish people did not spread out in the world (displaced from an alleged country), Judaism did." Pagans from different nations joined it and it continued to spread in this way until the fourth century, when Christianity triumphed (following Emperor Constantine embracing it).

The writer did not find any historical evidence of the forced displacement of the Jewish people, which is claimed by Zionism. No one, not even the Romans did this. They couldn't "logistically" do so at the time.

What happened is that the preaching of Judaism stopped in the Roman state, which had become Christian, which made the Jewish missionaries target other pagans in the Mediterranean basin and its extensions, reaching the Arabian Peninsula. This caused many Arabs to become Jewish in Yemen, remnants of the Himyarite Kingdom in the fourth century AD, as well as Berber tribes in North Africa in the sixth century.

The writer also believes there was a large Jewish community in Spain in the Middle Ages descending from the Berber Jews who were recruited by Tariq Ibn Ziyad, who was of Berber origins.

As for the fact that the largest number of the world's Jews is in Eastern Europe, it is attributed to the fact that the largest nation who converted to Judaism were the people of the Khazar Empire, whose kings converted to the Judaism in the eighth century AD.

The writer says if the Jewish missionaries had targeted other pagan nations, Judaism would have become a "very marginal religion, if not extinct". After the Khazar Empire fell at the hands of the Mongols in the 13th century, we do not know the exact fate of the Jewish population.

However, Sand agreed with other historians of the nineteenth century in that Khazarian Jews make up the majority of Eastern Europe Jews, including the Slavic Jews.

He says that even Ben-Zion Dinur, the father of Jewish history, was not hesitant in considering Eastern European Jews as likely descendants of the Khazar Empire, the original Eastern European Jews, and described the Khazar Empire as "the mother of diaspora" in Eastern Europe.

The writer also adds "Since about 1967, talk of the Khazars being the ancestors of Eastern European Jews has been considered an act of madness."

This indicates the massive politicisation of the myth of the Jewish people, as it has been adjusted according to the evolution of Zionist ambitions and the existence of something that suggests the possibility of achieving those ambitions. The invention of the "Jewish people in diaspora who toured the world for centuries, isolated for centuries, in order to return to their native homeland in the Kingdom of David", according to Sand, is purely a "nationalist myth" woven in the same manner as the national European movements that began to claim, as the Greeks, to be ancient, dating back to the golden age since the beginning of history.

The depiction of Jewish history as a history of people who had a kingdom began in the 19th century by historian Heinrich Graetz in order to pave the way for the idea of "contemporary Jewish people returning to their original homeland".

In a press interview with Haaretz about his book (from which excerpts were used above to quote Sand), Sand was asked if it was possible, according to his findings, that the true descendants of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah are the Palestinians? He replied: "No population remains pure over a period of thousands of years. But the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that you or I are its descendants."

The first Zionists, up until the Arab Revolt (1936-1939), knew that there had been no exiling and that the Palestinians were descended from the inhabitants of the land. They knew that farmers don't leave until they are expelled. Even Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel, wrote in 1929 that, "the vast majority of the peasant farmers do not have their origins in the Arab conquerors, but rather, before then, in the Jewish farmers who were numerous and a majority in the building of the land."

So, if the farmers do not abandon their land unless they are forcibly displaces, which is historically recognised and supported, and if there were no Jews displaced by force from the land of Palestine, as evidenced and supported, then it would mean that the people who were on this land during the Jewish era, before it, during the pagan era and then during the Christian era and the Islamic conquest, are all the same farmers (everyone was a farmer before the industrial age; very few worked in trade or crafts) who were pagans and then converted to Judaism, then Christianity and then Islam, in accordance with the change in the state's religion or convictions, were the Palestinians who do not claim to be a pure population. History has proven that they are the people and owners of the land which they inherited and planted until they were forcibly displaced.

Sand also says that the Jews do not want to admit they are descendants of the Khazar Empire because there is a "deep fear" that it will strip them of the legitimacy keeping them in Palestine. "Since the beginning of the dismantlement of the settlements in the world, the settlers – in any land – can no longer simply say; 'We came, we won and now we are here', as the Americans, whites in South Africa and the Australians did."

However, Sand does not believe this fear is justified, as he believes that "the myth of the people in exile does not constitute the legitimacy of our presence here. The belief in our Khazarian origins does not threaten our existence; what dangerously threatened our existence is the nature of the Israeli state. What can form the basis of our existence here is proceeding to establish a free society for all citizens of Israel."

His proposal pointed out that this state should reduce the "Jewish" occasions and should adopt holidays and anniversaries that "pass the state", such as the "Nakba" anniversary. Sand also stresses the legitimacy of the Palestinians committing to the fact that this is their country, saying "If I were Palestinian, I would revolt against the state that says to me; 'This is not your country'; I am revolting against this state even though I am Israeli."

Furthermore, Sand realises that his definition of the people and the Israeli state is "not acceptable to Zionists or nationalist Arabs". On his part, he asserts that "Israel will not exist as a Jewish state; if Israel does not evolve into a multicultural open society, Galilee will soon turn into "Kosovo".

It is difficult to sum up a book like this in an article like this and I am only trying to pique interest in the book by showcasing the main historical facts as provided by a Jewish historian, as well as point out the fact that a new approach to thinking about solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict has started to emerge and its supporters in Israel are increasing.

This is exactly what the extremist Israeli governments, as well as international Zionist governments, along with those claiming to represent the Palestinian people and the other Arab nations are trying to beat by "selling the Palestinian land and people", along with the other Arab people and land, claiming, for the millionth time, that this is their last chance to do so.

We do not need to demonstrate what the "Jewishness of the state" means. It goes beyond the confiscation of the right of return for the Palestinian of 1948 and the programmed displacements of the current residents of the West Bank to alternative Arab homelands. Nor do we need an example of what a "confederation" means and how it will inflict a reality more like direct colonialism of Palestinian and Jordanian cantons, but the most dangerous of all is the current settlement that is meant to be the "last".

In this settlement, Israel requires "relinquishing all Palestinian demands or rights to Israel in the future, including any stipulated in international resolutions issued for the Palestinian issue." These terms, which were approved by Mahmoud Abbas in the Beilin-Abu Mazen agreement, have adopted the current secret negotiations between himself and Netanyahu as a reference. Yasser Arafat and his group had also agreed to these terms in an earlier secret meeting at the Dead Sea.

This concession is unacceptable and impossible and does not only reduce the legitimacy of any agreement, but also the international legitimacy of the United Nations itself. It also allows for all forms of extremism exercised in an effort to regain the rights of each individual. No one can be blamed for using any means of force and violence because what was robbed from them was done so forcibly and corruptly.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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