. In fact, Gingrich is completely right. Desepite attempts to rewrite history, there was never a state called Palestine. There was never a Palestinian people before 1920 either. Up until then the Arab residents in of the Ottoman Empire living in Israel were considered Syrians and part of that province. It was really only in 1920 when the new French and British mandates in the area split the Syrian Arab population between French Lebanon and Syria and British Israel and Transjordan that a new national entity suddenly sprung into existence. Cut off from their Syrian brethren and resigned to never reuniting with them, the Arabs in Israel suddenly became Palestinian.
The Arab population of Israel subsequently swelling through unrestricted immigration even as the British, may their island sink, sealed the borders of our land to us. Most of the immigrants came looking for jobs but all they had to do was establish a mailing address and they became Palestinian from time immemorial.
This situation developed further after the 1948 War of Independence. Despite the Arabs abandoning their supposedly ancestral homeland in large numbers, they created a new fiction - there had been a greaet and prosperous nation of Palestine which the Zionists had destroyed and replaced with the new Israeli state. Curiously, the borders back then were what are now called pre-1967 Israel. In 1964 the PLO was founded and given bases of operations in 'Aza and Yehuda/Shomron which, again quite curiously, were not part of ancestral Palestine - the Egyptians and Jordanians were having none of that - so that they could liberate ancestral Palestine, again: pre-1967 Israel.
It was only with Israel's stunning and miraculous victory in the Six Day War that the borders of this mysterious country of Palestine shifted and suddenly encompassed Yesha, along with pre-1967 Israel. What kind of a country can't decide where its borders were?
Golda Meir famously said there was no such thing as the Palestinian people. She was half-right. There never was such a thing as the Palestinian people. They are indeed a creation of the Arab propaganda machine, designed as part of the war to delegitimize and ultimately destroy Israel. But they exists now. The question is: does that matter?
What made Ronald Reagan the greatest president of the United States in the second half of the 20th century was his willingness to question what everyone considered conventional wisdom. When he entered the Oval Office it was taken for granted that we lived in a world with two dominant superpowers and that every other country essentially had to pick a side, that the Cold War would last forever, that balance between the USA and USSR was part of the natural order of things.
Reagan refused to accept this. The USSR wasn't a second superpower to him. He was quite prepared to call it what it was: the Evil Empire, source of death and destruction and a powerful threat to freedom across the globe. Its existence did not have to be tolerated. It did not have to be a balance to the USA. As a result he set out to end the existence of the USSR and within a decade he had done so, providing the US with its greatest chance to end much of the oppression in the world. (Not my fault they didn't).
What Gingrich's has done is thrown down the gauntlet to those that wish to defend Israel against its enemies. By accepting the idea that there is such a thing as a Palestinian people with legitimate nationalistic aspirations one has already lost the argument over Israel's legitimacy since the whole essence of the so-called Palestinian narrative is: We were here first. Gingrich takes the argument back to fairer ground: The Jews can prove they have been in the land for 3500 years. What proof do you have that your existence as a people stretches back past 1920 other than invented histories and stories?
In effect, Gingrich's statement forces secular liberal Jews to take a position: either you accept the truth or you accept your enemy's version of history. It's not someting many of them are ready to do.
The US Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has declared that the Palestinians are an "invented" people who want to destroy Israel.
The Jewish Channel, a cable TV station, posted online its interview with the former US House speaker, who has risen to the top of Republican nomination candidates to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 2012 election.
Gingrich differed from official US policy that respects the Palestinians as a people deserving of their own state based on negotiations with Israel. "Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire" until the early 20th century, Gingrich said.
"I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and who were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and it's tragic," he said.
For liberal Jews in North America this outright rejection of over 60 years of Arab propaganda is quite disconcerting. For reasons of ethnic feelings of attachment many of them want to be pro-Israel. On the other hand, their secular post-nationalist sentiments demand that they feel sympathy for the perceived underdog in the ongoing clash in Israel, the Arabs. They want to proudly wave the blue and white but at the same time express, with all due seriousness, their desire for the creation of a new terrorist state, Palestine, because the so-called Palestinians deserve it as a matter of social justice or some other such nonsensical term. The outright rejection of the legitimacy of a so-called Palestinian people is beyond their conception and makes them very uncomfortable