Bruce Thornton writes Corrupt Language Breeds Bad History and Bad Policy, May 24, 2011, as posted at Victor Davis Hanson’s Private Papers.
Likewise, just as the Romans named the land after a people that no longer existed, so too calling the current Arab inhabitants “Palestinians” perpetuates a similar historical fraud. What constitutes a people are a shared language, culture, customs, traditions, and history distinct enough to set them apart from others. By these criteria, there is no such thing as “Palestinians.” The average Arab living in Israel or the West Bank is no more significantly distinct from one living in Syria, Jordan, or Egypt than a resident from California is significantly distinct from a resident of Arizona or Nevada. Whatever differences that do exist do not trump the more important similarities, and reflect rather the refusal of surrounding Arab nations to integrate their Arab brothers into their own countries, instead constructing a Palestinian identity based on victimhood, humiliation, and failure.
The word refugee has also been perverted. There has been a Muslim, Jewish and Christian presence in Israel/ Palestine for a very long time. Some Jews emigrated to Israel from Europe under the Palestinian Mandate administered by Great Britain for the League of Nations. Many Jews were accepted into Israel after being exiled from the Arab nations after 1948. (No UN resolution was ever forthcoming about that ethnic cleansing.) And many of the Arabs in Israel prior to statehood came from neighboring Arab states. The word refugee was stretched in many instances to include people who were not originally from Palestine.
The population and status of Israel and the Palestinians is very complicated. Migrations from the last 100 years cannot be undone, and Israel is certainly not the only nation whose existence is owed to numerous complicated factors.
From this less than perfect set of circumstances and an offer made by the UN to both the Israelis and the Arabs in 1947 by the UN, the Israelis took one course and the Arabs (now called Palestinians) took a very different path.
60 years later the Israelis have a nation they are proud of. At what point do the Palestinians accept the failure of their chosen path, regardless of its justification, and change course?