The artificiality of a Palestinian identity is reflected in the attitudes and actions of neighboring Arab nations who never established a Palestinian state themselves.
The rhetoric by Arab leaders on behalf of the Palestinians rings hollow. Arabs in neighboring states, who control 99.9 percent of the Middle East land, have never recognized a Palestinian entity. They have always considered Palestine and its inhabitants part of the great “Arab nation,” historically and politically as an integral part of Greater Syria – Suriyya al-Kubra – a designation that extended to both sides of the Jordan River. In the 1950s, Jordan simply annexed the West Bank since the population there was viewed as the brethren of the Jordanians.
The Arabs never established a Palestinian state when the UN in 1947 recommended to partition Palestine, and to establish “an Arab and a Jewish state” (not a Palestinian state, it should be noted). Nor did the Arabs recognize or establish a Palestinian state during the two decades prior to the Six-Day War when the West Bank was under Jordanian control and the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control; nor did the Palestinian Arabs clamor for autonomy or independence during those years under Jordanian and Egyptian rule.
Only twice in Jerusalem’s history has the city served as a national capital. First as the capital of the two Jewish Commonwealths during the First and Second Temple periods, as described in the Bible, reinforced by archaeological evidence and numerous ancient documents. And again in modern times as the capital of the State of Israel. It has never served as an Arab capital for the simple reason that there has never been a Palestinian Arab state.
Well before the 1967 decision to create a new Arab people called “Palestinians,” when the word “Palestinian” was associated with Jewish endeavors, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, a local Arab leader, testified in 1937 before the Peel Commission, a British investigative body: “There is no such country [as Palestine]! Palestine is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries, part of Syria.”
In a 1946 appearance before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, also acting as an investigative body, the Arab-American historian Philip Hitti stated: “There is no such thing as Palestine in [Arab] history, absolutely not.”
According to investigative journalist Joan Peters, who spent seven years researching the origins of the Arab-Jewish conflict over Palestine (From Time Immemorial, 2001), the one identity that was never considered by local inhabitants prior to the 1967 war was “Palestinian Arab.”