From: Ismail Zayid
To: The Halifax Herald
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2001 6:25 PM
Subject: Near East History.
19 Nov. 2001
The Editor,
The Halifax Herald
Dear Editor:
Nathan Fishman is at it again; re-writing history { letter " Near East History", 19 Nov.}
In my letter { " Historical wrongs" Nov.5] I stated, responding to his earlier statement [ " Logic deficient' Oct. 31} calling the Palestinians " Arab expatriates", I stated : " Todays Palestinians are the descendents of the Canaanites, Jebusites, Philistines and other tribes that lived in the historic land of Palestine since history began [emphasis added]." The other tribes included Aramaeans, Amorites, Phoenicians and others as well as intermixing with invaders. A number of these tribes, as recorded in the monumental work of Professor Arnold Toynbee " A Study of History", came from the Arabian Peninsula. The essence of this point is that today's Palestinians are the true indigenious people of Palestine. Perhaps I should remind Dr. Fishman and your readers that when the Hebrew tribes, the Romans, Crusaders, Muslims and other conquerors, the Land of Kanaan [Palestine] was inhabited land and its people remained there.
If Dr. Fishman is not satisfied with the work of the likes of Professor Maxim Rodinson, Professor of History, Sorbonne University, perhaps he may care to take notice of the work of the noted British historian, Professor Arnold Toynbee. In my earlier submitted letter I quoted Professor Toynbee, in reference to the Balfour Declaration, stating : " We [the British] were taking it upon ourselves to give away something that was not ours to give. We were promising rights of some kind in the Palestinian Arabs' country to a third party." It perhaps behoves Dr. Fishman, and other Israel's apologists, to reflect on the statement made by Professor Toynbee in a lecture at McGill University, in 1961, before a largely Jewish audience, when he said: " The Jewish treatment of the Arabs in 1948 was as morally indefensible as the slaughter by the Nazis of six million Jews....The most tragic thing in human life is when people who have suffered impose suffering in their turn."
Yours sincerely
Ismail Zayid, MD