False claims that Israel is 78% - not 17% - of historic Palestine whilst the West Bank and Gaza comprise the remaining 22% - not 5% - of historic Palestine have materially derailed efforts to resolve the issue of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza.
These spurious claims have been repeatedly made on hundreds of Arab oriented web sites asserting that the Jews established the State of Israel on 78% of Palestine in the War of Independence in 1948 and subsequently conquered the remaining 22% - the West Bank and Gaza - in the Six Day War of 1967.
This has created the perception that Israel now occupies 100% of Palestine, the Arab residents of former Palestine have been deprived of a State of their own in Palestine, and that the only just solution to resolve Arab grievances is the creation of an Arab state in at least the 22% of Palestine captured by Israel in 1967
This propaganda has been given credence on the web by such diverse and influential opinion makers as
(i) Editor at large of the Washington Times and United Press International Arnaud de Borchgrave,
(ii) Professor of Politics at San Francisco University Stephen Zunes,
(iii) South Africa's Minister for Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils,
(iv) Journalist and filmmaker John Pilger,
(v) The BBC News Service,
(vi) French intellectual and journalist Professsor Jules Regis Debray and
(vii) Trenchant anti- Zionist critics Assistant Professor Norman Finkelstein, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe and Jeff Halper.
John Pilger shows how his thinking has actually been influenced by such propaganda when he writes:
"Shortly after it was founded in 1948, Israel controlled, mostly as a result of a United Nations partition and partly by force, a total of 78 per cent of historic Palestine…During the Six-Day War in 1967, the Israelis occupied the remaining 22 per cent of Palestine. Today, the Palestinians, seeking to form their own independent state, want only that 22 per cent back."
These are false and deceptive statements based on an incorrect understanding of the size of Palestine and the boundaries that defined Palestine in international law.
The reality is that Israel was founded on 17% of historic Palestine in 1948 - not 78%and captured 5% of historic Palestine in 1967 - not 22%.
The Committee for Accurate Reporting of the Middle East in America (CAMERA) succinctly summarises this reality as follows:
"In fact, the original land of Palestine, as determined by the League of Nations, included what is now Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and the entire state of Jordan. The British transferred nearly 78% of historic Palestine to the Arabs to create a new entity called the Emirate of Transjordan. Jews were forbidden to live, buy land or become citizens there."
The Emirate remained part of Palestine until 1946 when independence was granted by Great Britain with the consent of the League of Nations and it was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan,
That decision in 1946 created an independent Arab state in 78% of historic Palestine and truncated Palestine to just 22% of its original size.
In 1947 the United Nations recommended partitioning this remaining 22% of historic Palestine into a Jewish State (55%) and another Arab State (45%) . The Jews accepted the proposal but the Arabs refused. When the 1948 War ended, the State of Israel was created on 17% of historic Palestine whilst Egypt and Jordan occupied the remaining 5% - the West Bank and Gaza - until captured by Israel in 1967.
1948 Palestine therefore was only 22% of the size of 1946 Palestine. 78% of Palestine had already come totally under Arab control in 1946.
Arab propagandists deliberately ignore the events of 1946 to justify their claim that Israel now occupies 100% of Palestine. They are only telling 22% of the story - classic misinformation at its Goebbels' best.
Article 2 of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Charter 1968 debunks and exposes these purveyors of half truths (or to be more accurate - 22% truths) by unequivocally declaring:
"Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate is an indivisible territorial unit"
For the PLO - the sole spokesman of the Palestinian Arabs - Jordan remains an inseparable part of Palestine notwithstanding the actions of Great Britain and the League of Nations in 1946.
Indeed the PLO's stated position was reinforced at the 8th Palestinian National Council meeting in February-March 1971 which declared:
" Jordan is linked to Palestine by a national relationship and a national unity forged by history and culture from the earliest times. The creation of one political entity in Transjordan and another in Palestine would have no basis either in legality or as to the elements universally accepted as fundamental to a political entity. .. In raising the slogan of the liberation of Palestine and presenting the problem of the Palestine revolution, it was not the intention of the Palestine revolution to separate the east of the River from the West, nor did it believe the struggle of the Palestinian people can be separated from the struggle of the masses in Jordan…"
Despite these clear and unrevoked declarations by the PLO, whose current Chairman is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the Quartet - Russia, America, the European Union and the United Nations - still remain foolishly fixated on creating an independent Arab State between Israel and Jordan on 5% of historic Palestine - thus separating the East Bank of the Jordan River from the West Bank and dividing the Arabs who live on each side of the Jordan River from one another.
As Israel's then Defence Minister Yitzchak Rabin declared on 27 May 1985:
"The Palestinians should have a sovereign State which includes most of the Palestinians. It should be Jordan with a considerable part of the West Bank and Gaza. East of the river Jordan, there is enough room to settle the Palestinian refugees. One tiny State between Israel and Jordan will solve nothing. It will be a time bomb"
How right Mr Rabin was and how wrong the Quartet, the above opinion makers and their ilk are in pursuing an outcome based on propaganda and misinformation - not reality.
Size does matter when Palestine is discussed and the sooner the significance of this is recognized the sooner the resolution of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza can occur.