I like to deal in truth and reality, so here are some facts: Israel has never been called “Palestine,” at least not as a national political entity. And up until 1,420 years ago, there was no significant Arab population in this land — the ancient history of this land is demonstrably Jewish, Aramaic, and Syriac.
One need only consider the many “Palestinian” towns and villages that still carry Aramaic, Hebrew, and Syrian names.
Another truth is that Islam occupied the Levant by force, and imposed its own religion and culture in an effort to erase the region’s true Judeo-Christian heritage.
They call Israel and the Jews occupiers and colonizers — but it is Muslim Arabs who conquered, occupied, and colonized this territory, and over the course of 1,400 years, gradually transformed it into Arab Islamic lands.
But no matter what your views of the past are, Israel is today a reality. And we must recognize it for what it is — a nation working to restore its historic roots in this land. We as Arabs must stop relating to Israel by way of the anti-Semitic saying: “The Jews are the only people who have a history, but not a nation.”
One of the greatest mistakes of those original Muslim conquerors was to expel or Islamicize the region’s Jews and Christians. But that mistake is now, in our days, being righted.
Given all the above, it is ridiculous to claim that the Jews are trying to “Judaize” Jerusalem or any other part of the land many seem intent on calling “Palestine.” They can’t “Judaize” what has historically always been Jewish.
We Arabs do not have the right to oppose the State of Israel in its efforts to reconnect to its people’s past, including via archaeology. Are we afraid of what the evidence of the past will reveal — that this is indeed Israel’s ancestral land, and that “Palestine” as a historic Arab Muslim land is a fiction?
The Arabs must stop lying to themselves, for the sake of our own future.
The problem is that the majority of Muslims do not see what Islam did historically as an invasion and occupation of the lands of other peoples. They do not see it as colonialism, even as they unjustifiably accuse the Jews of colonialism.
Anyone who is honest with themselves knows that via the creation of the State of Israel, a historical mistake is being righted, and that is the simple truth.
How can we complain when the land’s true owners return to reclaim it?
A version of this article was published by Israel Today by Rami Dabbas.