Two very different groups of “Palestinians”.

I know that people like to simply say “The Palestinians”, but we are actually dealing with two very different groups, different experiences and different histories, and trying to make sense of it whilst not separating them.  The one group lived in Judaea/Samaria, on what became known as “the West Bank” and the other in Gaza.

Those on the “the West Bank” were Jordanian citizens until 1988,  when I roamed both areas, they still hoped to be reunited.  I found peaceful friendly people, who appreciated the economic rises, the health and education, the fact that they were flourishing in the 70s and 80s.

There were open borders and they enjoyed shopping in nearby Afulah, whilst I would take the Arab taxis to visit in Jenin or Tulkarm, because they passed by my kibbutz.  Good people seeking a better life.

Then there is the other group.  They came out of the paramilitary groups created by the Palestinian clans in the 1930s.

In the 1936-39 Arab revolt, the al Husseini clan took out the other clans’ military capability, with 5,000 Arab-Arab deaths.

They then fought against Israel in 1948, planted bombs in bread and watermelons in the 50s, and even spread little shiny “button mines” that children might pick up.

In the 60s they went in for international hijackings, mostly planes killing mostly Jews.

In 1970, the Palestine Liberation Organization – PLO tried to take Jordan, but failed.  They then took southern Lebanon and launched massive attacks on Israel from there, whilst triggering a long and costly civil war.

This was also the time Russia took them in hand.  Many of the leaders, people like Yasser Arafat, attended the Lumumba University in Moscow where they learnt the arts of becoming “freedom fighters”.

At that time they combined forces with Marxist terrorist groups globally, and you found German terrorists from Bader Meinhoff executing the Entebbe hijacking of Air France together with Arab counterparts.

The Japanese Red Army also launched a massive attack on Tel Aviv airport on behalf of their Arab allies.

So whilst there was no terrorist attacks from either Gaza or the “the West Bank”, the occupied territories, Israel was plagued by attacks, many focusing on the children, that came from the north, from Lebanon and Syria, where the Palestinian terrorist groups were based.  Names like the high school at Ma’alot, the school bus at Avivim, and the baby house at Kibbutz Misgav Am spring to mind.

The watershed that brought us to where we are was Oslo. It allowed the terrorist groups into the territories.

First came the PLO, and they quickly invited all the terrorist groups that had ever killed Israelis to come and form the Palestinian Authority. They came from Lebanon and Syria, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – PFLP,  Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine – DFLP, and even a Palestinian offshoot of A Saika, a Syrian terrorist group formed by Syrian army officers.  These were/are people who cared nothing for Palestinians and Palestinian welfare and aspirations. As leaders they have done little beyond encouraging children to roam the streets of Israel, looking to martyr themselves by killing Jews.

What they did was to launch the second Intifada.

The second Intifada. credit:

Never before has Israel suffered such civilian losses to terrorism in Israel,  over 1,000 people killed in 4 short years.  For Americans to get a handle on that, it would be around 50,000 American civilians, or seventeen 9/11s.

Israel slammed those open borders shut, set up checkpoints to weed out terrorists, and began building a very effective fence to protect its citizens. The rest, I suppose, is history. I miss the environment and people I had grown to appreciate, especially around Tulkarm.

This, hopefully, helps explain why peace has been so elusive, why the PA pays terrorists, why every plan presented was rejected, and will be rejected.

To learn more, you can read the various charters, and the PLO’s “10 Point Program” of 1974.  It’s an eye opener.

That is also the year the Arab League declared the PLO “Sole Legitimate Representative of the Palestinian People”, and this was ensconced by the UN.

The PLO has never faced a Palestinian election and never will, by constitution. Yet they are the only ones authorised to deal internationally on behalf of the ‘Palestinians’.  The “10 point program” shows how closely it came to pass.

So here we are today, two separate groups with two separate needs.  One always making a life for families and children, the other, never having lived in any Palestinian territory, but spent decades in only fighting and violence.

In seeing this reality, it becomes abundantly clear that there cannot be peace for the one, until the stranglehold of the other is removed, and ‘Palestinians’, the ones who always lived in those territories, are free to take their own destiny in hand.


Check Also

Opinion | Time for the UN to rethink Palestine

The United Nations and various member states are poised to revisit the question of Palestine …


  1. Leon Poddebsky

    Why have you used the fraudulent term “occupied territories”?
    Was that just carelessness?

    What about the Jews’ historic rights?

    Have you forgotten the Mandate for Palestine?(1922)
    Have you forgotten the San Remo Declaration?(1920)
    Have you forgotten Article 80 of the UN Charter?
    Have you forgotten UN Security Council Resolution 242?

    Arabs live within the Green Line too; does that mean that Tel Aviv is occupied too?
    Most Arab ‘Palestinians” think so, and they want to “liberate” them.

    • You seem to have misunderstood the term “occupation”, Leon. It is a term first defined in the Hague convention of 1907, and used by the Red Cross in the Geneva Conventions. The Red Cross is not in the business of defining land ownership, only people at risk who need protection. Without going into it at length, if the Basque was to have a coup against Spain, and Spain sent in troops to put down the revolt, the Basque would be “occupied territory”, occupied by Spain, even though it is Spanish territory. The two are very separate issues. You are addressing sovereignty of land, and that will only be resolved by treaty, a treaty that has nothing to do with the Red Cross, nor with the Israeli High Court who also ruled the territory occupied at the time that I wrote about, pre-Oslo.

      The Oslo Accords present a good case for considering everything outside Area C as no longer occupied. East Jerusalem is no longer occupied because Israel has annexed it. The various journalists, diplomats, etc who abuse this term because they haven’t taken the trouble to look up what it means is mindboggling, and they pass that ignorance on to the rest of us.

      The Mandate for Palestine etc, that you mention, gives Jews the right to settle these areas, and a clear claim to their sovereignty. Speaking for myself, they come with a bunch of Arabs I don’t want to give Israeli citizenship to. At the time I wrote about, a good solution would have been a Jordanian option, with Israel keeping Area C. There is no perfect option, where Israel gets to keep its ancient homeland whilst having no Arabs to take on as citizens. The idea of transfer is not only illegal, but also immoral.

      • Leon Poddebsky


        In the public mind, “occupied” means illegally sequestrated.
        The Mandate for Palestine and the Mandatory’s intention was, as Winston Churchill put it, to reconstitute ” a Jewish Commonwealth by the banks of the Jordan” when there were sufficient Jews there to sustain it.
        You cannot “occupy” your own country.

        Your reply has introduced some red herrings: the Red Cross definition and the Geneva Conventions are utterly anachronistic and irrelevant and they cannot legally trump the Mandate for the reconstitution of the Jewish state.

        Embedded in your reply is a clear insinuation about my attitudes to issues which I did not touch upon: citizenship, expulsion et al.
        You seem to be implying that any one who describes Jewish rights in The Land of Israel, and objects to the term, “occupied” is prescribing policy. I leave that to the Government and People of Israel.

        The use of the spurious term, “occupied,” is ammunition for the enemies of the Jewish People.

        • Leon, if the public have the term “occupied” wrong, then the public needs to be informed and educated. It is the Red Cross who defined and introduced the term, which is hardly a “red herring”. You can indeed occupy your own country. There are examples of this in civil war and in places that need intense policing, where the police take over, like parts of Rio de Janeiro, like Favela in 2012. By catering to people’s ignorance, we only obscure the actual mechanics required to decide sovereignty.

          As to issues like transfer, I wasn’t attributing them to you, and only introduced them because they surface so often, so I thought it worth mentioning in the bigger picture. I don’t assume anything about you beyond what you actually say.

  2. Michael Caplan

    Brilliant post – thank you!

    My mother grew up “Aryan” German in WWII (ended up marrying my Jewish father, both families got along great) – and they needed to be *liberated* from the Nazi regime. Today’s so-called “pro-Palestinians” are actually acting like “pro-Nazis” while the decent “Germans” in this scenario, the Palestinian Arabs who want to live in peace (the Germans had to be whipped up to war – they didn’t want it!), are suffering. Tragically, all Israel’s enemies seem to have to do on their “Western front” is rely on the poor education, intellectual simplicity and moral laziness of the West.

  3. Morry’s response to Leon raises a line of thinking around the meaning and use of the term “occupied” as it is used and misused in discussion of Israel, that I was not aware of.

    And I hope that Morry has the time to develop that thought… is fresh new and different. The points that Leon makes are those with which we are all familiar….but Morry’s angle is a very different one……. I for one would love to understand the line of reasoning more

    In passing I can not help but agree with Morry’s other point that I to have met those who in post ’67 Israel, I wish had taken an opportunity to wed them selves to a Jordanian/Palestinian future…….instead of hanging around Israel !! Morry what did you see as a “Jordanian Option”

    In passing I suddenly had a rush of remembrance of how I felt sitting around the workers huts on Kibbutz Yizreel back in May of 74 when we heard about Ma’alot…..not good.

    • Hi Larry. I may have been on the other side of the kibbutz, but certainly shared the same feelings.

      Sovereignty is determined by international agreements and treaties, not popular vote or media. For this region, it begins with the Ottoman Empire, internationally recognised to belong to Turkey. When the Allies won WW1, this territory was signed over to the Allies in the Treaty of Sevres. The Allies then went on to establish a set of mandates of which the Class A mandates were slated for independence. The three mandates (Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine) gave rise to five agreed nation states, Muslim Syria, Christian Lebanon, Jewish Palestine, Muslim Transjordan (the other side of the Jordan to Palestine), and Iraq, also Muslim. The signed Mandate Document set out the conditions and area to be settled for the Jewish state, which included what is today termed “from the river to the sea”. It is the last signed agreement, and therefore an integral part of international law. So, despite the UN, journalists, politicians, and the ideologically smitten, unless we do away with international law, the only way the sovereignty of this area will be decided is by agreement, something the “Palestinian representatives”, the PLO, can’t bring themselves to do, without abrogating what they stand for, the destruction of Israel, so we have the current impasse.

      The Jordanian option that could have worked fairly, in hindsight, would have been to split Judea and Samaria along the lines of the current fence (the fence separates the populations),and to give the territory containing those Jordanian citizens to Jordan. The sweetener would have been Gaza, a port on the Mediterranean, with a tunnel dug under Israel for access. Oslo allowing the PLO in, and Jordanian memories of the attempted coup by the PLO, in 1970, ended that possibility.

  4. Larry Langman

    There are those who feel that somehow the invocation of the ICRC or reference to Article 42 of the Hague Regulations (1907) or Article 2 of the Four Geneva Convention (1948) or indeed the the ICRC’s Commentary on the Fourth Geneva Convention (1958) as being somehow irrelevant to the circumstance that obtains in those areas beyond the Armistice Lines of 1949. They are wrong.

    Simply put…….The rules of international humanitarian law relevant to occupied territories become applicable whenever territory comes under the effective control of hostile foreign armed forces, even if the occupation meets no armed resistance and there is no fighting….it matters not whether one calls it an occupation or some other terms……” territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised. ”

    Israel has not formally annexed these areas beyond the 1949 Armistice lines and Israel has not declared sovereignty over these lands, in the absence of any other applicable terminology and in accordance with international humanitarian law….these areas are occupied.

    Those are the facts on the ground…