Sunday, August 25, 2013

Palestine, No; Southern Syria, Yes!

You might have read my posts [here; and here; and also here;] on the fact that the Arabs of the area of the Palestine Mandate did not consider themselves "Palestinians" but Southern Syrians into the 1920s, at least.

JT just sent me this, which I seemed to have missed from the minutes of the League of Nations Permanent Mandate Commission annual report for 1925 on Palestine and Transjordan, held in Geneva in June 1926.

Arab Grievances.

M. PALACIOS, returning to the concrete questions of a general character of which the Arabs complained, recalled those concerning the national title, the national hymn and the flag. These were really thorny questions, like all sentimental and patriotic questions, regarding which it was necessary to observe complete prudence and tact.

As regards the first point, the Arabs claimed that it was not in conformity with Article 22 of the Mandate to print the initials and even the words "Eretz Israel" after the name "Palestine" while refusing the Arabs the title "Surial Janonbiah" [
Suriyya al-Janubiyya]("Southern Syria"). The British Government had not accepted the use of this Arab title, but gave the place of honour to the Hebrew word used for 2,000 years and decided that the official name in Hebrew was "Palestina" followed by the initials signifying "Aleph Jod", the regular Hebrew name. Was the question still under discussion and could the accredited representative give the Commission any further information?

Colonel SYMES explained that the country was described as "Palestine" by Europeans and as "Falestin" by the Arabs. The Hebrew name for the country was the designation "Land of Israel", and the Government, to meet Jewish wishes, had agreed that the word "Palestine" in Hebrew characters should be followed in all official documents by the initials which stood for that designation. As a set-off to this, certain of the Arab politicians suggested that the country should be called "Southern Syria" in order to emphasise its close relation with another Arab State.


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4 comments:

Thor Fjalar Hallgrimsson said...

"did not consider themselves "Palestinians" but Southern Syrians into the 1920s, at least."

So the grandparents of those living in refugee camps today considered themselves Southern Syrians before they were driven off their ancestors land, by ancestors land I mean up and to the times when there were Jewish occupants of that land, that would be in Roman times.

Anonymous said...

"There is no such country [as Palestine]! 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria."
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, a local Arab leader, to the Peel Commission, 1937

"Palestine was part of the Province of Syria... politically, the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity."
- The representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the United Nations submitted this in a statement to the General Assembly in May 1947

"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria."
- Ahmed Shuqeiri, later the chairman of the PLO, to the UN Security Council

"You do not represent Palestine as much as we do. Never forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian People, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria. You are an integral part of the Syrian people, Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people."
- Syrian President Hafez Assad to PLO leader Yassir Arafat.

"There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity.... yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel."
- Zuheir Muhsin, late Military Department head of the PLO and member of its Executive Council (Dutch daily Trouw, March 1977)

.....that's settled then, all these sent to the British F.O. but they throw 'resolutions' back.....academic, the Mandates are irrevocable 'Sacred Trusts' which should never have been altered - the UK Foreign Office don't understand the meaning nor the gravity of the word 'Sacred'.....they will soon enough. I hope only they and those who think like them will be on the other end of The Fury and not those of us who warn/admonish their magical thinking of a 'palestinian' state for radical Muslims.

kate b

YMedad said...

Thor, I don't quite grasp your point.

The Arabs, who could be the "grandparents" of today's refugees, only came here in 638 CE and they themselves were removed by successive waves of conquest and they have intermingled with Turks, with Crusaders and other Arabs, from North Africa and other Middle East countries immigrated to this land, especially due to the economic boom during the Mandate period and especially World War II with the need for construction, supplies, etc.

It is no wonder that the definition of a "refugee" is but two years residency in "Palestine". Two years!!!

Thor Fjalar Hallgrimsson said...

My point is that it does not give Jews any inherent right to the land Israel is built on today that their ancestors lived there 2000 yrs plus ago.
That kind of reasoning is close to nazi argument that because Jews arrived in Europe in the early middle ages they had less right to be there than those native to the area.