Capturing History

“High honor is not safe from injury until blood is spilt over its flanks.” [al-Mutanabbi, 915-965]

It is doubtful that Jared Kushner nor Jason Greenblatt would recognize the given quotation or its origin . It appears in the highly acclaimed, “The Closed Circle, An interpretation of the Arabs” By David Pryce-Jones. The book was initially published in 1989 and republished many times thereafter. In the words of David K. Shipler, New York Times Book Report, it is “A brilliant insight into the way Arab societies work. A healthy corrective, a thought provoking study.”

From Daniel Kirk, Macon State College, ” Excellent. Having lived in Arabia for six years, I can say that this text superbly sets out the historical events that led us to the current situation today and explains many aspects of the culture that are misunderstood.” Timothy Ritter’s review which appeared on January 13, 2004 is appropriately titled, “None better on the Arabs”. He points to the author’s lifelong questioning on the Arabs such as why the lack of heavy industry, why the disdain for higher learning, why the obsessive hatred of Israel, why the hopelessly inept militaries and why the grandiose bluster they use in place of effective militaries?

It took Pryce-Jones three years to produce his book on “interpretation”. His thesis is fairly simple; the Arabs, more than any other society are bound by a code of shame and honor, which prevents them from advancing in nearly field of human endeavor. The only dynamism in their sclerotic society is what Pryce-Jones calls “power challenging”, the process by which one despot knocks another off his pedestal and assumes it himself, though even this can hardly be called dynamic, since one is just like another. They all operate according to these rules of power challenging, which may mores simply be regarded as the law of the jungle.

David Pryce-Jones methodically analyses each Arab society, even one, Turkey, which is not strictly Arab, and finds the same pattern in each – leaders who obtain their power violence, and maintain it by way of power and money. What is demonstrated in “The Closed Circle” is that it s impossible to assume or hold power in Arab society without employing the despotic methods of Gaddafi or Sadat or Sadam or Faud or Arafat. As expressed by yet another noteworthy historian, Elie Kedourie, David Pryce-Jones has been observing the Arab world for many years—The reader will find himself in contact with an original and reflective mind, the product of which is refreshing and most stimulating.

In the postwar world, Pryce-Jones argues, the Arabs reverted to age-old tribal and kinship structures from which they have been unable to escape. In tribal society, loyalty is extended to close kin and other members of the tribe. The successful nation state – the model that Westerners understand – generates broader loyalties, but the tribal world has no institutions that have evolved by common consent for the common good. Those who seek power achieve it by plotting secretly and ruthlessly, eliminating their rivals. In the Arab world, violence is systematic.

All of which brings us to today. On 11/10/2018, Arutz 7 announces, “US envoy : Neither side will like everything in peace plan.” The envoy referred to is none other than Jason Greenblatt, one of two delegates President Trump has charged with his “deal of the century” for a resolution of the so-called Israel-Palestinian conflict. It has been repeated over and over ever since. This exposure, the “ultimate” example of moral equivalence reeks of ignorance. It is a testimony to how little either Greenblatt or his partner understand what David-Pryce knows of the people of the Orient or history.

History did not begin with the Arab conquest in the 7th century. The people whose nation was destroyed by the Romans, were the Jews. There were no Arab Palestinians then – not until 7 hundred years later would an Arab rule prevail, and then briefly. And not by people known as “Palestinians.” The short Arab rule would be reigning over Christians and Jews, who had been there under various other foreign conquerors – Roman, Byzantine, Persian to name just 3 – in the centuries between the Roman and Arab conquests.

The people who conquered under the banner of the invading Arabians from the desert, were often hired mercenaries, who remained on the land as soldiers – not Arabians, but others who were enticed by the promise of the booty of conquest. Among the people who have been counted as “indigenous Palestinian Arabs” are Balkans, Greeks, Syrians, Latins, Egyptians, Turks, Armenians, Italians, Persians, Kurds, Germans, Afkans, Circassians, Bosnians, Sudanese, Samarians, Algerians and Tartars.

Even Flavius Josephus’s detractors, concede that his writings are the most important historical source on the Great Revolt against Rome. In his book, ‘The Jewish War’, he provides a detailed description of the events leading up to and during the Jewish War of 66-73CE. He was captured by the Romans in 67 at Jotapata, and while a prisoner became a go-between in their negotiations with the local revolutionaries.

In the words of Josephus, “I will state the facts accurately and impartially. At the same time, the language in which I record the events will reflect my own feelings and emotions; for I must permit myself to bewail my country’s tragedy. She was destroyed by internal divisions and the Romans who—-set fire to the Temple were brought in by the Jews’ self appointed leaders, as Titus Caesar , the Temple’s destroyer has testified.”

According to Josephus, 100,00 thousand Jews were transferred from what the Romans called ‘Palestine” by the Egyptian ruler Ptolemy around 300 BC, many of whom were “settled “in Libya , engaged as a human shield to protect Egypt from its enemies.

Much later, the Muslim Chairman of the Syrian Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of February, 1919,remarked,”The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 AD, hardly lasted as such, 22 years—-“. Following on, the claim of “age old Arab Palestinian rights to Arab Palestine” is contradicted by history as noted by eminent historians and Arabists.

From the aforementioned history, not one word about Arabs or “Palestinians”. So much for their claims “from time immemorial”.

The South African Jan Smuts, a member of the British War Cabinet, was actively involved in the discussions behind the Balfour Declaration and the Versailles Treaty, and recalled the views of the British Cabinet in deciding to favor a Jewish homeland in Palestine:
“It was naturally assumed that large scale immigration of Jews into their historic homeland could not and would not be looked upon as a hostile gesture to the highly favored Arab people—–[who] largely as a result of British action, came better out of the Great War than any other people.”

The British White Paper of June 3, 1922 otherwise known as the Churchill White Paper, set out to “clarify” the November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration. On July 22, 1922, the League of Nations approved the Palestine Mandate [it came into force on September 29, 1923]. It included, contrary to the original statute, Article 25 making possible the creation of Transjordan.

Chapter 2 of Benjamin Netanyahu’s “A Place Among the Nations” entitled “The Betrayal” surprisingly is more in depth than most of the establishment history books on this period. It relates to the forces within the British imperial establishment who had commenced activity to dissolve Britain’s commitment to the promise of Versailles. It represented a political force of aggressive strength directed against the policies of Lord Balfour and Lloyd George. These forces were from within the British War office and the Foreign office who felt that an alliance with the Arabs, rather than with the Jews.

General Allenby, amongst the opposition even refused to allow the publication of the Balfour Declaration in Palestine. Jabotinsky reluctantly concluded that the British administration had been swept up in “an unprecedented epidemic of anti-Semitism—–Not in Russia, nor in Poland had there been such an intense and widespread atmosphere of hatred as prevailed in the British army in Palestine in 1919 and 1920.”

Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, the British chief of intelligence in the Middle East, who had used brilliant deception techniques to help drive the Turks out of Palestine in 1917, argued more forcefully than others for the Jews to build a solid Western base in the heart of the Middle East. Remarkably, a one- time anti-Semite, his views changed after commencing to use Jewish and Arab agents. In fact, he became one of the greatest non-Jewish Zionists in history.

In his efforts to rescue Jews, the remarkably independent Meinertzhagen met Hitler and when the Fuhrer extended his arm and said, “Heil Hitler!”, he responded with “Heil Meinertzhagen!” As the representative of Balfour’s Foreign Office in Palestine, he found himself to be “alone out here among gentiles, in upholding Zionism.” This did not deter him in his support for the Jewish National Home as unassailably in Britain’s interest:

“The force of nationalism will challenge our position. We cannot befriend both Arab and Jew. My proposal is based on befriending the people who are more likely to be loyal friends – the Jews—Though we have done much for the Arabs, they do not know the meaning of gratitude; moreover they would be a liability; the Jew would be an asset—The Jews have moreover proved their fighting qualities since the Roman occupation. The Arab is a poor fighter, though adept at looting, sabotage and murder—–[Mine] is a proposal to make our position in the Middle East more secure.”

Meinertzhagen was embroiled in a continuous struggle with the British anti-Zionists over the future direction of the Mandate. On the day of the 1920 rioting in Jerusalem, posters read: “The Government is with us, Allenby is with us, kill the Jews; there is no punishment for killing Jews.” In July of that year, Palestine was turned over to a high commissioner, Lord Herbert Samuel, who was a professed Zionist, well meaning, but one who lacked fortitude.

Among Samuel’s key actions was not only pardoning of the vile Anti-Semite, Haj Amin al- Husseini to the newly manufactured post of “Grand Mufti” for life, legitimizing the most violent and radical element among the Palestinian Arabs to a position of preeminent leadership while establishing a pattern which was to continue through the rest of the century. “He hates both Jews and British. His appointment is sheer madness” wrote Meinertzhagen, while Lloyd George concluded glumly, “Samuel is rather weak.”

During the 1920’s, many important British voices interpreted the Belfour Declaration to mean a home for the Jews in the whole of Palestine. Among the names of this persuasion, one finds Churchill, Lord Balfour, Lloyd George, Jan Smuts, Lord Arnold and Meinertzhagen. According to The Times, the Jordan River “—will not do as Palestine’s eastern boundary. Our duty as Mandatory is to make Jewish Palestine not a struggling State but one that is capable of a vigorous and independent national life.”

The new Middle East Department moved very rapidly to ensure that Churchill’s fantasy of ” a Jewish State by the banks of the Jordan” did not happen. When Meinertzhagen heard that Churchill had severed Transjordan from Palestine, outraged he insisted on seeing Churchill.: “—I went foaming at the mouth with anger and indignation. Churchill heard me out; I told him it was grossly unfair to the Jews, that it was yet another promise broken and that it was a most dishonest act, that the Balfour Declaration was being torn up by degrees and that the official policy of His Majesty’s Government to establish a Home for the Jews in Biblical Palestine was being sabotaged; that I found the Middle East Department whose business was to implement the Mandate, almost one hundred percent hebraphobe—- Churchill listened and said he saw the force of my argument and would consider the question. He thought it was too late to alter, but a time limit to Abdullah’s Emirate in Transjordan might work. I am thoroughly disgusted.”

Despite this major concession to the Arabs, the resultant suppression on Jewish immigration, agitators and rebellious elements reacted with violence manifesting in the flow of Jewish blood. Appeasement invariantly resultants in the least desired of results. The Grand Mufti, the leader of this mayhem, was about to be arrested in 1937, when he mysteriously escaped and succeeded in crossing the border into Lebanon, where he died on July 4, 1974. Following his arrival in Lebanon, he was able to continue refuge in Iraq, Italy and finally in Germany, where by way of propaganda radio broadcasts, he was able to help
the Nazis recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS. He also requested Hitler’s support for Arab independence and opposition to the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.

When one considers the qualifications of both of President Donald Trump’s selections for devising a resolution to the long outstanding Arab [Palestinian ]- Israel conflict, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, formerly an attorney in his business, one has to question his decision. A background check suggests that neither has the knowledge of history nor negotiation skills for the subject task. Indeed, a sampling, as given herein, would undoubtedly be foreign to them

Trump, the enigma, is remarkable and highly successful in numerous objectives. In many ways he has demonstrated originality, tenacity and determination against the odds. However, he displays poor judgment in many instances and too often has a tendency to speak ahead of thinking. His loss of the Congress to the democrats is undoubtedly a major failure.

Trump’s ideas and activity in nurturing cooperation of key Arab leaders to accept Israel’s sovereignty is commendable. But then, neither one will accept Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. After all, neither did Sadat or the King of Jordan.

As demonstrated herein, only the Jews have claims to Jerusalem. No sharing thereof can be acceptable. The Arabs were amply rewarded by the British following WW2 and Saudi Arabia has unlimited terrain for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

President Trump’s envoys for peace need to look elsewhere for realistic plans. Rachel Neuwirth’s 3 part “Win-Win Solution”[Arutz7, 8/2/3/4/2004 and Dr.Mordechai Kedar’s ” The Eight State Solution” [Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, published by Isranet, August 2, 2012] would serve them well, as a commencement.

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.