Are the Palestinian people really 'invented' as Gingrich claims?
Barry Rubin fact checks ABC News, who fact checked Gingirch on some of his statements regarding the Middle East and Palestinians:
Gingrich said Palestinians are an "invented" people. ABC says: Not true.
I think Gingrich was basically correct but that point isn't so significant. There is a strong tendency of contemporary experts to argue that pretty much every nationalist is invented including the French, British, Italian, Polish, and German.
ABC says that the Palestinian Arabs began to have a consciousness in the 1890s. I cannot imagine what evidence would be brought to make that argument. The bare beginnings were around 1920 when actual groups began to form, though even then the "southern Syria" identity was strong. One is safer at putting the date in the late 1920s.
Yet again I don't see this point as very significant. What's important is whether a large portion of the people in question believes that they are a people. Moreover, the same "invented" charge has been made against the Jewish people, of course, by Stalin and of course by Arab and Islamist propaganda.
The fact that today, a Palestinian people does exist doesn't give the Palestinians a right to invent history, of course. ABC News didn't point out that they regularly claim a history of two thousand years or more. And Golda Meir was pointing to the fact that the dominant politics of the Palestinian movement certainly as late as 1945 was a pan-Arab nationalist one. If the "invention" of a Palestinian (Arab, Muslim) people is relatively recent, though, that does imply that they don't have a claim to everything between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean Sea. And that's what's important.
I know what Newt was getting at - that there has never been a "Palestinian state" nor were the Arab people referred to who lived in the British protectorate until Israeli independence called "Palestinians" exclusively. But Dr. Rubin has nailed it; it doesn't matter what we think as much as what the Palestinians themselves believe.
You must deal with the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.