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Myth and Fact: Historic Palestine
Mitchell G. Bard


"The Palestinians are being asked to accept only 22 percent of Palestine for their state while Israel keeps 78 percent."


The government of Israel has agreed to a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. Once Israel agreed to give the Palestinians the independence they say they want, they shifted their complaint to the size of the state they were being offered. Many “moderates,” such as Hanan Ashrawi, who say they can coexist with Israel, have adopted the refrain that Israel is doing the Palestinians no favors by offering them a state in the disputed territories because it is asking them to accept a state in only 22 percent of Palestine while Israel keeps 78 percent. This is a very convincing point to show the unfairness of the Palestinians’ plight and to suggest Israel’s peace overtures are niggardly; that is, unless you know the history of Palestine and recognize that the truth is exactly the reverse.

Historic Palestine included not only Israel and the West Bank, but also all of modern Jordan. It is Israel, including the disputed territories, that is only 22 percent of Palestine. If Israel were to withdraw completely from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it would possess only about 18 percent. And from Israel’s perspective, it is the Zionists who have made the real sacrifice by giving up 82 percent  of the Land of Israel. In fact, by accepting the UN’s partition resolution, they were prepared to accept only about 12 percent of historic Israel before the Arab states attacked and tried to destroy the nascent state of Israel.

Meanwhile, of the approximately 9 million Palestinians worldwide, three-fourths live in historic Palestine.