Newt Gingrich came under attack by the media for telling a Jewish television channel, “I think we have had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs.” The remarks “were met with surprise and dismay by a range of actors on the foreign policy stage…” The Washington Post said.
But what if his statement was true? And what if a true reading of history reveals that the current approach of the U.S. government—that of forcing Israel to negotiate the creation of a Palestinian state—represents capitulation to the Muslim Brotherhood, which originally gave rise to the Palestinian movement to “liberate” Israel?
The policy of the Obama and Bush Administrations has been a so-called “two-state solution” that includes a Palestinian state. Gingrich alluded to this by releasing a statement that he supports the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a negotiated settlement with Israel. But this doesn’t negate his statement that the “Palestinians” were “invented.” Indeed, the Gingrich statement went on, “However, to understand what is being proposed and negotiated you have to understand decades of complex history, which is exactly what Gingrich was referencing during the recent interview with The Jewish Channel.”
Rather than attack Gingrich, the media could have used his comments to question official U.S. policy in the Middle East and examine the forces making up the “Palestinian” movement. But that approach would undermine the current Middle East policy of the Obama Administration and give the Israeli government, already considered too “right-wing” by the liberal U.S. media, an opportunity to revisit publicly what it is they are “negotiating” about.
As Gingrich put it during the debate, “When the President keeps talking about a peace process while Hamas keeps firing missiles into Israel, if we had a country next to us firing missiles, how eager would we be to sit down and negotiate?”
As a historian and self-described Reaganite, Gingrich has undoubtedly studied the rise of the “liberation movements,” including the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), established in 1964 by the Arabs and later adopted by the Soviet Union in its war against the West.
The 1974 study, “Terrorism,” by the staff of the (now defunct) House Committee on Internal Security, gives the background. It notes that Al Fatah (now officially considered the more “moderate” of the Palestinian factions and in charge of the Palestinian Authority) “is a nationalist, pan-Arab movement which developed from the ultraconservative, extremist Muslim Brotherhood in the postwar years.”
This is the same Muslim Brotherhood that is on the rise in Egypt after the “Arab Spring” supposedly gave impetus to democratic forces in the region. It is the same Muslim Brotherhood that gave rise to Hamas, the terrorist organization based in the Gaza Strip that is considered a competitor to Fatah.
In truth, they are branches of the same tree, with the ultimate objective being the destruction of Israel.
The House report has some more history in this regard, noting that Yasser Arafat, who became the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), lived in Egypt and left the country “under pressure because of his association with the Muslim Brotherhood,” which was then banned.
There is plenty of documentation available to the media about how the PLO came into being.
“Both Fatah and, later, the PLO were set up to serve the hidden agendas of Egypt and Syria, not only to keep the pressure on Israel but as a way of channeling Palestinian revolutionary frustrations away from the governments in Cairo and Damascus,” wrote Neil C. Livingstone and David Halevy in their 1990 book, Inside the PLO.
The book, KGB: The Inside Story, by Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, notes that the PLO eventually found a reliable sponsor in Moscow, which designated the organization as “the sole legitimate representative of the Arab people of Palestine” in 1974. The Soviet KGB trained PLO guerrillas and provided weapons for its attacks on Israel.
Livingstone and Halevy confirmed, “…the Soviets have long served as quartermaster to the PLO and to the radical Arab states that also provide the PLO with political and military assistance.”
The Palestinians did the “dirty work” of the KGB, wrote former KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin, in his book, The First Directorate. “Indeed, we had for years been using our own officers and intelligence officers from the Warsaw Pact to forge strong ties with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat,” he wrote.
So the Palestinian cause became another phony “liberation movement” approved and used by the Communists, in order to target Israel and the West.
The 1974 terrorism report of the House Committee on Internal Security notes that a member of the Central Committee of the Jordanian Communist Party had written an article in World Marxist Review explaining “the significance for the world communist movement of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state under its control.”
The author said the “Arab Palestinians” had not succeeded in “their struggle for national independence,” in spite of “the support of the brother Arab peoples and world progressive forces headed by the Soviet Union.” He wrote that “the balance of forces in the region and the rest of the world had not tilted in favor of the world revolutionary movement.”
Under fire during Saturday night’s debate, Gingrich stood by his comments that the Palestinians, in the modern sense of the term, are an “invented” people. He could have gone further by noting how the Palestinians became another Soviet-supported “liberation movement.”
In a “fact or fiction” treatment of statements made in the debate, ABC News countered: “While former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said in 1969 that ‘there is no such thing as a Palestinian people,’ it is not exactly a factual statement. Scholars assert that a Palestinian national identity began to solidify in the 1890s when Arabs in the region now known as Palestine revolted against the Ottoman Empire. While the revolt was eventually crushed, the clans that banned together later reemerged as a relatively unified Palestinian people.”
It’s impossible to check this statement for accuracy since the “scholars” are not named.
Gingrich asked, “Is what I said factually true? Yes. Somebody ought to have the courage to tell the truth. These people are terrorists. It’s fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, ‘Enough lying about the Middle East.’”
The media want the lying to continue.
Gingrich also mentioned, “The Palestinian Authority ambassador to India said last month, ‘There is no difference between Fatah and Hamas. We both agree Israel has no right to exist.’”
Was this true? Indeed, Adli Sadeq, the Palestinian Authority Ambassador to India, said there is an assumption “that Fatah accepts them [Israel] and recognizes the right of their state to exist, and that it is Hamas alone that loathes them and does not recognize the right of this state to exist. They ignore the fact that this state, based on a fabricated [Zionist] enterprise, never had any shred of a right to exist…”
In response to the Gingrich comment at the debate that “every day rockets are fired into Israel,” ABC News acknowledged, “That is true. Rockets are fired from Gaza to Israel on a regular basis. No Israelis have been killed by these attacks since Oct. 30 when one man was killed in the southern city of Ashkelon.”
So the fact that the rocket attacks are missing their mark most of the time should be reassuring?
What cannot be debated is that the Palestinians have been accepted as a people in need of “liberation” by the United Nations, which got $7.7 billion from American taxpayers last year alone. The Palestinian Authority wants to be recognized as an independent nation by the U.N.
Harris O. Schoenberg’s 1989 book, A Mandate for Terror: The United Nations and the PLO, examines the history and meaning of this effort.
In terms of the history of the Palestinians, the author notes that “Palestine” was used by the British during and after World War I to signify a Jewish national home, and Palestinians referred to Jews rebuilding this entity. The paper now known as The Jerusalem Post was once The Palestine Post. It was after the Arab invasion of Israel in 1948 that the terms “Palestinians” and “Palestine” were used increasingly to designate a specific group of Arabs.
In May of 1947, the author says, Arab representatives to the U.N. regarded the “Arabs of Palestine” as not politically separate from the rest of the Arab world. He points out that the original purpose of the PLO was not to establish a new state but to destroy Israel.
Interestingly, Benjamin Netanyahu, now the Israeli Prime Minister, endorsed Schoenberg’s book, saying that the PLO had “twisted UN principles to legitimize terrorism while most of the world stood by.”
Netanyahu’s endorsement of the Schoenberg book demonstrates that he understands what Gingrich was saying and why he said it. But he can’t say so publicly because the media would only use the occasion to intensify their attacks on the “hawkish” Israeli Prime Minister.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at [email protected].