From: Ismail Zayid
To: Saba, Ron
Sent: Monday, October 03, 2005 2:36 PM
Subject: Whose land is Palestine?

The Editor,
Montreal Planet.
Dear Editor:
In the Sept. 2005 issue, under the subtitle:" Ping-pong diplomacy", there is this statement :" When it comes to the Holy Land, everyone knows that the question of who came first and from where is a Pandora's Box of disputation." The historic facts, however, I maintain, are indisputable. The Palestinian people are, as affirmed by historians, international lawyers and authorative sources, the true indigenous people of Palestine.
Today's Palestinians are the descendents of the Canaanites, the Jebusites and other tribes that lived in this land since history began. The Hebrew tribes came to the Land of Canaan [Palestine] as invaders and were driven out by other invaders, the Romans. Palestine has been invaded, throughout history, by a variety of alien invaders, including the Hebrew tribes, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Crusaders, the Turks and the British, amongst others. Invaders have no legitimate claims to invaded and occupied land, as affirmed by international law and reputed authorities, and I will quote some:
" The Arab population of Palestine was native in all the senses of the word, and their roots in Palestine can be traced back at least 40 centuries."
 {Professor Maxime Rodinson, Professor of law at the Sorbonne University in Paris, and who is Jewish. Israel and the Arabs, 1968.}
"Palestine is not the original home of the Jews. It was acquired by them after a ruthless conquest, and they have never occupied the whole of it, which they now openly demand. They have no more valid claim to Palestine than the descendants of the ancient Romans have to this country. The Romans occupied Britain as long as the Israelites occupied Palestine, and they left behind them in this country far more valuable and useful work. If we are going to admit claims based on conquest thousands of years ago the whole world will have to be turned upside down. [Lord Sydenham, Hansard, House of Lords, 21 June, 1922]
H.G. Wells, the British author and historian, commenting about the Balfour Declaration, stated: "If it is proper to reconstitute' a Jewish State which has not existed for two thousand years, why not go back another thousand years and reconstitute the Canaanite state? The Canaanites, unlike the Jews, are still there. [H.G.Wells, Quoted by Frank C. Sakran in Palestine Dilemma, p.20].
Mahatma Ghandi, the noted man of peace and distinction stated:" Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English, or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct." { Mahatma Ghandi, Tedulkar, Mahatma, Vol. IV, 1938, p.312}.
David Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, laid it out with brutal honesty. In a conversation with Nahum Goldmann, President of World Zionist Congress, he stated:
" I do not understand your optimism. If I was an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?" {Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in The Jewish Paradox, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1978, p.99."
Clearly, Ben Gurion's faith in Arab leaders was more than they deserved. As to the promise by God, I always maintained that it was not to my knowledge that God was a real-estate agent who can apportion land to those he favoured!
Finally, it is clear, to all those who care for historic facts, that the Palestinian people are the true indigenous people of Palestine and the process of dispossession and injustice to which they were subjected cannot be justified. Justice must be allowed to prevail, if there is going to be lasting peace for Arab and Jew in the Holy Land.
Yours sincerely,
Ismail Zayid, MD.