Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Again, "Palestinian Nationality"

The soldiers forced their way in and began questioning Bayan while searching for documents. One officer found her husband’s old Palestinian passport, from his childhood in Jaffa, where he was born and raised during the British Mandate. The soldiers were amazed as they looked through its pages.
“Your reaction is no surprise to me. I am sure you have never seen such a document,” Bayan told them. “As you can see, the text is written in all three languages: Arabic, English, and Hebrew. It comes from the time when Palestine had enough room for everyone, regardless of his religion or sect.”
The soldiers confiscated the cherished passport, despite Bayan’s attempts to get it back, as she recounted tearfully to her husband when they were reunited some days later. In his memoirs, Shafiq al-Hout recalled the incident with obvious pain, conveying a message from the story, “that the Zionists’ perpetual objective is the elimination of Palestinian national identity. Why else would they insist on continuing to eradicate all physical, spiritual, and cultural trace of our presence in Palestine?”

The simple facts are

a. Arabs residing in the area of the Palestine Mandate viewed themselves as Southern Syrians as "Palestine" was part of Syria, they claimed. 

b. They demanded, into the mid-1920s, to dissolve the British Mandate and that the area by rejoined to Syria and continued, into the mid-1930s, to write about they being properly Syrians.

c. "Palestinian nationality" came to be as a result of the Jewish and Zionist claim to the area. Note the language of Article 7 of the Mandate decision:-

The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine.

I've touched on this topic previously, here and here and will recap.

If anything the concept of a "nationality" and a "citizenship", specifically of "Palestinians", was invented by/for the Jews, not the Arabs.

It was created, fashioned and conceived, at least on the Jewish side, which over many centuries, viewed themselves as belonging to a very specific country, whose boundaries are delineated in Biblical and Talmudic texts scores of centuries earlier.  And these texts were not some ancient dead letter but they were studied, at least weekly, all throughout the Diaspora existence and Jews were very much aware of this element of what we call 'identity'.

The international legal process - via the Balfour Declaration, the Versailles Peace Conference deliberations, the San Remo Conference decisions and those of the League of Nations between 1917-1922,  - all declined, studiously, to mention Arabs in the context of the country called Palestine.  They were included in a group called "non-Jews".


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