Voice of the People

The Halifax Herald                                                                          Nov. 5,2001


Historical wrongs

Dear Editor:

Re: Nathan Fishman's letter "Logic deficient" (Oct. 31). Today's Palestinians are descendants of the Canaanites, Jebusites, Philistines and other tribes that lived in the historic land of Palestine since history began. The late Maxime Rodinson, who was Jewish and was then professor of history at the Sorbonne University in Paris, wrote in 1968: "The Arab population of Palestine was native in all the senses of the word and their roots in Palestine can be traced back to at least 40 centuries."

British writer and historian H.G. Wells wrote in 1920, in reference to the Balfour Declaration: "If it is proper to 'reconstitute' a Jewish state which has not existed for 2,000 years, why not go back another 2,000 years and reconstitute the Canaanite state? The Canaanites, unlike the Jews, are still there." Jewish writer Arthur Koestler, stated, referring to that declaration: "One nation promised a second the country of a third."

The Hebrew tribes came to the Land of Canaan as invaders and were driven out by other invaders, the Romans. Palestine has been invaded and occupied by many other invaders, including the Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians, the Crusaders, Turks and the British. None of them has any legitimate claims to Palestine. In the Muslim invasion of Palestine, in AD 638, there was no replacement of the existing population. Most of the indigenous population chose to adopt the Islamic faith, while others remained as Jews or Christians.

As for the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza, they are living on Palestinian land illegally expropriated by Israel in defiance of Security Council resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Ismail Zayid, MD, Halifax