Palestine has never been a ‘nation’ in the European sense of the word

Daniel Teegan (Irish Examiner, Letters 25/6/15) distorts the reality of Israel, saying it is a continuation of Western colonialism in the Middle East.

Palestine has never been a ‘nation’ in the European sense of the word

Palestinians have not been living in the region for thousands of years; most of the Arab population of Israel and the West Bank goes back a few generations, or centuries at most.

The Ottoman Turks, who ruled for 500 years, forcibly moved many different ethnic groups into the area, including Arabs. Jews have been indigenous for 3,000 years.

It is also incorrect to say that Israel was created by Britain and the US. In fact, Britain, which ruled the region after the Turks were defeated in the First World War, reneged on its 1917 promise to create a Jewish State, and Zionist nationalists had to fight a war of independence, in 1946-47, until the British pulled out. Meanwhile, although US president, Harry Truman, supported Israel’s independence, the United States was indifferent to Zionism, and to Israel itself, until the 1970s.

As do so many, Mr. Teegan ignores the fact that Palestine was never a nation in the European sense. ‘Palestinian’ was such a meaningless term that Benjamin Netanyahu’s father would have been called a Palestinian in the 1940s. Moreover, most of ancient Palestine, since 1922, has been the state of Jordan.

Dr. Frank Giles


Dublin 4

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