History of ‘Palestine’ Becomes Center of GOP Debate

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The Republican presidential debate on Saturday took a surprising turn when Newt Gingrich was criticized by most of his rivals for saying that the Palestinians are an “invented” people. He stood by the statement, resulting in condemnation from the Arab League. Overall, there were no major stumbles by the candidates, and most pundits agree that Gingrich preserved his position as front-runner.

“The fact is, the Palestinian claim to a right of return is based on a historically false story. Somebody ought to have the courage to go all the way back to the 1921 League of Nations mandate for a Jewish homeland, point out the context in which Israel came into existence, and ‘Palestinian’ did not become a common term until after 1977,” Gingrich answered when a moderator asked him about the comment.

Mitt Romney said that Gingrich’s comment was “incendiary,” harmed Israel and that he should have consulted with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu before making it. He also accused Gingrich of speaking for Israel. Playing off of concerns over Gingrich’s electability, Romney said he isn’t a “bomb-thrower.” Rick Santorum said that Gingrich was correct, but the truth must be spoken with “prudence.” Ron Paul agreed that Gingrich is “technically” right, but said he was “stirring up trouble” overseas.

Michele Bachmann pivoted to tell a story about confronting Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad over the textbooks used in Palestinian schools. She said that he claimed that the hatred-filled textbooks had been discarded, so she showed him copies to prove him wrong. He then said that those were not in circulation and agreed to send her copies of the new textbooks. They never arrived. Rick Perry was the only one to defend Gingrich, saying that his comment is a “minor” issue blown up by the media.

“I will tell the truth, even if it’s at the risk of causing some confusion sometimes with the timid,” Gingrich rebutted.

David Horowitz, Dr. Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer have come to Gingrich’s defense. Pipes writes that Gingrich is “absolutely correct: no Arabic-speaking Muslims identified themselves as ‘Palestinian’ until 1920 when, in rapid order this appellation and identity was adopted by the Muslim Arabs living in the British mandate of Palestine.”

Spencer pointed to a quote in 1977 from Zahir Muhsein, a member of the PLO executive committee: “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.”

There were other key moments in the debate. Mitt Romney struck Gingrich’s idea of mining for minerals on the moon, revising child labor laws so that young students can work in schools and eliminating the capital gains tax on the wealthy. He also said that Gingrich is a Washington D.C. insider. Gingrich drew the only boos of the night when he said that the only reason Romney isn’t a “career politician” is because he lost to Ted Kennedy in 1994. Romney joked that he’d be an NFL player if that worked out for him, too.

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  • John_Kelly

    One thing that is 100% sure to crank up rabid, mouth foaming, teeth gnashing, Muslim outrage is the TRUTH.

    BRAVO Newt.

    • Guest

      One thing to stir up Muslim and others' outrage are lies.
      There was no such place as israel remember until loads of people from overseas came and just took the land away from the people who were already livinf in Palestine.
      Israel is an invented place, it's a colony.

      • ziontruth

        "There was no such place as israel…"

        No such state as Israel, but the place called either Eretz Yisrael or Palestine did exist. Though, it should be mentioned, it was viewed as a special place in its own right only by the Jews. For other people it was nothing but a neglected backwater and sub-sub-province of the decaying Ottoman Empire.

        "…until loads of people from overseas came…"

        …and for the first time after centuries, made a gigantic effort to get that near-desert of a land to bloom, which had been all but forsaken by the Muslim imperialists and the sparse colonies they had planted there.

        "…it's a colony."

        The Islamic colonists do project. Give it a few hundreds of years the way things are going and we'll be reading in the history books how the current Muslim colonies in Paris (the zones urbaines sensitifs, if I got the spelling right) were the beginning of the taking back of France from the "Frankish Christian colonists."

        The Islamic imperialists are good at lying; it's their whole MO (pun intended).

      • pagegl

        So, the so-called Palestinians are destroying archeological sites throughout what was once known as Judea in an attempt to erase Jewish history there for no reason. Yeah, right.

        • ObamaYoMoma

          Not just so-called Palestinians in Israel, which is an invention used to justify the permanent and genocidal jihad of conquest being waged perpetually against the Jewish unbelievers in Israel by the Islamic world to make Islam supreme, as Muslims all over the world as a matter of routine and always like clockwork perpetrate cultural genocide with respect to the non-Muslim previous owners they conquered and rendered into harsh and degrading dhimmitude for the purpose of erasing their history and replacing it with Islamic history instead.

      • LindaRivera

        Gingrich told the TRUTH! Gingrich also told the truth when he
        declared the Muslim goal is to destroy Israel. This means not one inch
        of Israel can ever be given to barbaric enemies bent on Jewish genocide.

        * PLO Leader: The Palestinian People Does NOT Exist – March 31, 1977

        PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein: “The Palestinian people does
        not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for
        continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.
        In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians,
        Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese.
        Only for political and
        tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian
        people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence
        of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism – Dutch newspaper
        Trouw

      • ObamaYoMoma

        One thing to stir up Muslim and others' outrage are lies.
        There was no such place as israel remember until loads of people from overseas came and just took the land away from the people who were already livinf in Palestine.
        Israel is an invented place, it's a colony.

        Let's see so you are saying that one of the most backward assed cultures in the history of mankind was technologically advanced enough to occupy the malaria infested swamps and dry sandy deserts that the Zionist Jews purchased from absentee landowners living in Turkey and Egypt at the turn of the 19th century? Are you really that mentally incompetent and handicapped? Give me a break.

        Also, please explain to us how it is you can support Muslims when at the same time that Christians and all other non-Muslim unbelievers living in their Islamic countries as second-class dhimmi citizens are violently oppressed and systematically persecuted when not outright slaughtered altogether. Can you really be that narrow-minded and unhinged at the same time? Apparently.

        Indeed, show me a leftwing or rightwing obsessed anti-Semitic Jew hating bigot like this moonbat, and I'll show you a complete and utter ignoramus that is utterly mentally deficient whenever it comes to Islam.

      • John_Kelly

        "Guest" I don't believe anyone with an ounce of historical knowledge could actually believe "Israel is an invented place, it's a colony."

        As your comments defy logic and fly in the face of historical facts I can only assume you are a Muslim.

  • StephenD

    LOL John_Kelly. Well said.
    The fact is, so many have immediately drawn up the covers and pulled down the shades because of this statement. They ACT afraid as if it goes without saying that, even though it is true, it is not a pleasant truth and therefore will raise the ire of Islam and we are just “stirring up trouble.” Most would have us be silent in the face of lies. I prefer to stand with Gingrich and speak the truth, “even at the risk of confusing the timid.”

  • Guest

    At the beginning of the 20th Century the population of Palestine was approx 4% Jewish and 96% Palestinian Arab (of which 11% were Christian)
    The Palestian Arabs (Muslin and Christian) have been forcibly removed. This process continues today.

    • ziontruth

      "The [Arab settler-colonist land-thieves in Palestine] have been forcibly removed."

      Unfortunately not. Had they been, this conflict would be much less difficult to solve today. As it happened, most of them fled on the promise of their leaders to return to take the spoils. Some were allowed to stay after 1949 because they didn't participate in the Arab war to exterminate the Jews, and today they are a 20% minority in pre-1967 Israel that is getting bolder and bolder every day in their sedition and their identification with their brothers in the post-1967 territories.

      "This process continues today."

      I wish that were true. In reality, the craven Israeli governments have allowed a hornets' nest to flourish in all the post-1967 territories, and even within the pre-1967 borders. True Jewish leadership would see the swift expulsion of all the Arab colonial invaders from the entire Land of Israel.

    • reader

      This is all but the shell game. 80% of the British Mandate, or "Palestine", went to the Arabs, even though the Jews owned land in Syria and Trans-Jordan too and never were compensated for losing it. Secondly, Arab Christians are being cleansed by the Muslims. Hebron is point in case.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      With all due disrespect, you are little more than a gullible useful idiot that has had his ignorance's exploited to the hilt.

    • MixMChess

      Even anti-Israel advocates will admit the Jewish population was closer to 7%, even though you're forgetting that most figures included parts of Syria and most of Jordan in their statistics. And no one believes the "big lie" of so-called forcible expulsion of the Arabs. Even anti-Israel historian Benny Morris has admitted that never happened. Try reading a book.

  • LindaRivera

    Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque were NEVER considered important by Muslims.

    From 1948-1967, when Jordan invaded and illegally occupied
    Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem, Jordanian radio broadcast Friday prayers not
    from Al-Aqsa Mosque, but from a mosque in Amman, Jordan.
    No foreign Arab leader
    visited Jerusalem during the nineteen years Jordan controlled and occupied east Jerusalem.

  • LindaRivera

    In all of history, Jerusalem/Temple Mount was NEVER a Holy Place for Muslims:

    13th Century Arab biographer Yakut noted: "Mecca is holy to Muslims;
    Jerusalem is holy to the Jews."

    The conquest of Jerusalem and
    all Israel is a major goal of global jihad. The Muslim claim that the Temple
    Mount is their third holy place is LIES and deception.
    The PLO's Palestinian National Covenant of 1964, does not mention Jerusalem even once.
    Jerusalem is mentioned hundreds of times in the Jewish Bible. Not once in the
    Koran. At the time of Mohammad's death, there was not a single mosque in
    Jerusalem.

  • Anamah

    Mr. Mauro let me tell you, in this article I find you are wrong about Ron Paul comments. Mr Paul said something like this: .- " Well, at the time of Ottoman Empire it wasn't either Israel nor Palestine… There were not any other state at that time …"
    So, one more time, I would say it's really incredible how much bias in favor of Islamics causes is this man. He is too smart to ignore the facts, so is very suspicious why he denies the danger Islamics represent not only to Israel but for the world, but for America. Sadly at last I do not believe there are to many explanations…or he have great support from that people and feel "noblesse oblige" , or he is simply a plain antisemitic. Because I know you, I would appreciate, if possible an answer to this… Thank you!

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Ron Paul is the biggest loon in the race and most of his supporters are really self-hating leftwing moonbats that don't have a conservative bone in their bodies.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    I fully support Newt's position on this matter and would go much further if I were the Czar. However, there is no way I can support Newt for President for a lot of reasons, the biggest being his idiotic leftwing stance on amnesty for illegal immigrants. Indeed, it indicates that Newt is not serious about stopping illegal immigration and in fact he is using the issue to pander to liberal Hispanics because Hispanics will become the largest demographic in the future. Thus, he is supporting that liberal faction of the RINO establishment Republican Party that advocates tossing conservative principles and values and conservatives under the buss in favor of targeting liberal Hispanics.

    In addition, if Newt wins the nomination, it will amount to handing over Obama's re-election to him on a silver platter. It will also make winning back the senate absolutely impossible.

  • crackerjack

    In the middle of one of the greatest crisis in modern US history, the GOP finds time to debate a land squabble between to foreign peoples on the other side of the globe??

    The Israel Lobby is overplaying its game and becoming a national threat.

    • MixMChess

      Actually, this wouldn't be an issue at all had the oil rich Arab lobby not put in on the table in the first place. Gee, let me think, who has more political clout a grassroots organization funded by individual donors, or a overproduced and over-pandered-to lobby funded by trillion dollar Oil Companies and rich Arab states? Quit trying to blame Arab created problems on Jews.

      • crackerjack

        This whole debate was started by Gingrich. Since when has Newt become an Arab lobbyist?

    • reader

      Right. When the current WH occupant mingles with Muslim Brotherhood stooges, the proverbial "Israel Lobby" is all we need to be concerned about. Did it ever occur to you that you may be overplaying your "Israel Lobby" game?

    • ziontruth

      "In the middle of one of the greatest crisis in modern US history, the GOP finds time to debate a land squabble between to foreign peoples on the other side of the globe??"

      And a German or Austrian citizen like you finds time to obsess about the Jewish–Arab Conflict in the middle of one the greatest crises in the history of the European Union? Physician, heal thyself.

  • Andrew Large

    No English-speaking Christians in North America identified themselves as citizens of the United States of America until the very late 18th century. Ergo, "Americans" are a made up people.

    • ziontruth

      American nationalism evolved over time; it wasn't created by human fiat as is the case with the Phakestinian "nation."