Al-Awda, The “Palestine Right to Return Coalition,” has a calendar so people can see what dates are important in Palestinian history as well as the dates for Palestinian holidays.
Month by month, the calendar goes over what happened on specific dates in history.
The earliest date mentioned, and the only one before the 20th century, is this:
1840 Lord Palmerstone, British Foreign Minister-later Prime Minister, sent letter on 11 August, to his Ambassador in Istanbul, to encourage the Sultan to allow and bless the settlement of the European Jews with their wealth in Palestine, to prosper the economy, and to create a barrier against Muhammad Ali’s advancement.
1918 Formation of the Moslem-Christian Committees in Jaffa and Jerusalem, spreading through the different Palestinian cities, in April.
This is after the Balfour Declaration so it is obviously a response to Zionism, not an independent movement.
This 1919 event shows that no one considered themselves Palestinian at that date:
1919 January 27 First Palestinian National Congress. Conference produces first National Charter. Sends two memoranda to Peace Conference, Versailles France, rejecting British mandate, Balfour Declaration, and Zionist immigration to Palestine. Demands full Palestinian independence. Calls for unity of Palestine and Syria and refers to Palestine as Southern Syria. Sends delegation to Damascus in support of Arab Government.
Interestingly, one of the earliest events that they believe deserves commemoration is this early cross-border terror attack against Jews:
1920 First Palestinian attacks on Zionist colonies on the Syrian Boarders. (1 March).
So according to the Palestinians themselves, they have no history before the 20th century – in other words, there is no such thing as “historic Palestine” – and they entire movement is a reaction to Zionism and not an organic, independent call for independence.
This is why Palestinianism has been a failure. From its inception until today, it was never about creating an independent Palestinian state but rather about destroying the Jewish state. If their priority would ever change to building rather than destroying, perhaps peace might be something to think about.
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