The Truth about “Palestine”

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The term “Palestine” has conjured up many images and meanings throughout the centuries. In the Christian West, the term was synonymous for the “Promised Land,” or the “Holy Land,” that is, the Land of the Jews. Throughout the centuries, the terms “Palestine” and “Palestinian” were analogous to the terms “Israel” and “Jew.” This is quite evident from reading books, articles, newspapers, and encyclopedias. “Palestinian” was used to identify Jews living in the Holy Land as opposed to Jews living elsewhere, such as in Babylonia, Persia, Greece, Rome, or elsewhere.  In fact, within Judaism there is even a Talmud (ancient composition of commentary on the Bible) that is called by historians the “Palestinian Talmud,” as opposed to the “Babylonian Talmud.”

Nevertheless, within the last forty to fifty years, a perverse and vicious transmogrification of the term “Palestine” has taken root among anti-Jews and anti-Israel haters around the globe, most notably in the Arab/Muslim world, and in the increasingly “dhimmified” European world. A name in Arabic – “Filastin” – that has no historical connotations or etymological meaning for Arabs and other Muslims – has now taken on the properties of a wholesale myth that could fill volumes of vitriolic and venomous propaganda. Indeed, the whole distortion and myth of an Arab “Palestine” has become a virtual religion unto itself.

How did this myth of a non-existent people and non-existent land of “Filastin” ever come to be? The answer lies in the tragic history of the Roman-Jewish “encounter” during the 1st and 2nd centuries, when Israel (then called Judea) was occupied by the Roman Empire.

The Jews bitterly resented being ruled by the pagan Romans, and for over a century fought to regain their independence. Twice during Roman rule, an independent Kingdom of Judea existed. First, under Herod the Great (while Augustus was emperor), and then under Herod’s grandson, Herod Agrippa, (while Claudius was emperor). Regardless, all ended in disaster when the Jews rose in revolt in 66 A.D., and fought a four year war with Rome that resulted – according to the eyewitness historian Josephus – with close to a million Jewish deaths, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.

Yet Judea, while conquered, remained a restive province in the Roman Empire. This changed dramatically and drastically in 132 A.D. when a Jewish warrior by the name of Simeon bar Kokhba raised another revolt against Rome. The war lasted for three years and was so intense, that the Emperor Hadrian had to recall his greatest general, Julius Severus from Britain. It took close to a dozen Roman legions to put down the revolt, but when it was finished, so was Judea. Hadrian had had enough of the Jews and their revolts and decided to rename Judea “Syria Palestina.” The name “Palestina” was chosen after the Philistines – ancient enemies of the Israelites. It was nothing more than pouring salt into the wounds of the already defeated Jews. Jerusalem’s name was not spared either and was renamed “Aelia Capitolina.” And so it appeared that the “Jewish Question” of the 1st and 2nd centuries had been “solved.” However, Jews continued to remain as a majority in their conquered land.

The situation remained static until the Arabs marched out of the Arabian desert conquering every country in sight for Allah and Muhammad. In 635 A.D., the Arabs conquered the Holy Land from Byzantium. However, it appears that the Muslims had no real interest in the land. In fact, when they entered Jerusalem, they apparently did not realize where they were, as they first called the city “Iliyas,” nothing more than an Arabicized form of the Latin “Aelia” (which, as previously stated, was substituted for the name of Jerusalem). In an ironic twist of fate, it was a Jew who had converted to Islam that pointed out to the Caliph Omar where he and his occupation army were now standing; namely, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. It was then that the Arabs decided to call the city “Al Quds” and “Beit al Muqdas.” Once again, these are nothing but Arabicized terms from the original Hebrew:  “Ha-Qodesh” and “Beit ha-Miqdash” which respectively mean “the Holy (City)” and “the Holy House” (i.e., “Holy Temple”).

The Arab-Muslims now called the land “Jund Filastin” (Province of Palestine) – a direct borrowing from the Greco-Roman term. But because Arabic has no “p” sound in it language, “Palestina” became “Filastin.” Indeed, every name of every so-called “Arab village” in Israel is nothing more than an Arabic perversion of the original Hebrew, Greek or Latin names for a city. (To name just two: “Habrun” – from the Hebrew “Hevron”, and “Nablus” –Nea Polis, (“New City”) built on the ruins of biblical Shechem.) The Arab Muslim disinterest in the land was so great that with the exception of the city of Ramleh (perhaps built on the Jewish ruins of the city Ramathaim Zophim, according to some archaeologists) no other city was ever built by the Arabs or the other Muslim conquerors. Even more ironic, it was Ramleh that became the provincial capital of “Filastin.” Jerusalem played absolutely no significance with the major exception of the building of Masjid Al-Aqsa (the Mosque of Al Aqsa) and Qubbat as-Sahra (the Dome of the Rock) over the ruins of the Jewish Temple. And the reason for building these structures was to show the superiority of Islam over Judaism, and to be in “competition” with the Christian Holy Sepulchre which had been built nearby, centuries earlier.

Nothing changed over the centuries as the denuded land of “Palestine” went from one conqueror to another. Finally, in 1917, Britain wrested the land from the Ottomans and after promising the Jews a homeland in their ancestral country, the League of Nations awarded a Mandate to the British which extended over both the western and eastern banks of the Jordan River. It was at this point that the term “Palestine” was revived as a quasi-political entity ruled by a British governor.

While the Jews began to call their newspapers, charities, and organizations such names as the “Palestine Post” and the “United Palestine Appeal,” the Arabs eschewed the term as being “Jewish” and “Zionist.” For them, they were Muslims first, and “Southern Syrians” second. Indeed, many an Arab politician and historian denied that there was ever a country called “Palestine.” To name the amount of Arab political figures and historians who stated this would require an article all by itself. Suffice to say that Arabs such as the late Hashemite monarch Hussein “Chairman” Arafat, and noted Arab historian Philip K. Hitti, have all candidly admitted that no such country as “Palestine” ever existed. In fact, the latter, while appearing in front of a January 11, 1946 Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in Washington, D.C. stated “[T]here is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not.” The late King Hussein, who knew about artificial entities (i.e., Transjordan – now “Jordan”) said that “[T]he truth is that Jordan is Palestine, and Palestine is Jordan.” He said this on more than one occasion in the 19070s and as late as December 26, 1981 in an interview with the Paris based Arabic newspaper An-Nahar Al Arabi (“The Arabic Daily”). Many other Hashemites (past and present) have made similar statements. Indeed, without the help of Churchill and Britain, there would never have been a “Hashemite entity” on the East Bank of the Jordan created in 1922 and carved out of the original “Palestine Mandate” for the Jewish National Home. And in one of the most candid admissions ever made, Zuhair Muhsin, little known leader of the PLO splinter gang known as “Al Sa’iqa” (The Storm) and backed by Syria, said in a March 31, 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw:

The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.

For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.

Muhsin was eventually assassinated by Israel in 1979.

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  • Robert Bernier

    The right path
    It is high time for Israel to be making demands upon the Arabs, starting with territorial concessions from the vast Arab world. Based upon prior precedents in Muslim history going back to the time of Mohammed and his dealings with the Queresh tribe in Mecca, the Arabs will never make peace or accept a Jewish sovereign state in territory they have previously conquered in the name of Allah. Thus, Israel should now begin reclaiming territory it has foolishly given away since the Oslo 'peace' Accords. The Arabs will be forced to accept such demands if they finally realize that the Jewish state is once again so overwhelmingly strong militarily, morally and spiritually that they simply cannot destroy it. About an additional Arab state west of the Jordan (in 4 parts):

  • Robert Bernier

    A Christian writer –Reland- chronicling his trip in the land of Israel in 1695/6 confirms :
    No settlement in the land of Israel has a name of Arabic extraction. The names of settlements are mostly of Hebrew extraction; some of Greek or Latin-Roman. In fact, no Arab settlement (except for Ramla) has had an original Arabic name to this day. Most names of Arab settlements are of Hebrew or Greek extraction which have been impaired and replaced by meaningless names in Arabic. There is no meaning in Arabic for the names Acre, Haifa, Jaffa, Nablus, Gaza or Jenin and the names of cities, such as Ramallah, El-Halil and El-Kuds have no historical or philological roots in Arabic. In the year 1696, the year in which the tour was taken, Ramallah, for example, was called Beit El, Hebron was called Hebron and Mearat HaMachpelah was called El Chalil (a name for Abraham of the Bible). For additional information :

  • Ron Grant

    "Inevitably, a “two state solution” will lead to nothing less than a final solution for the state of Israel, and perhaps for the Jews of the world. It is time for Israel to take a courageous stand and face the painful facts of reality – and history."

    Perhaps a "Palestinian people" did not exist prior to the re-creation of Israel in 1948.Only a hopeful fool would deny them that status today.From the Nakba to the Intifada,from Dir Yassim to Shatila,these victims of Zionism have found an identity that permits them to survive the most outrageous and unconscionable policies of an occupying enemy.
    Am I missing a page or what?If a two state solution is not acceptable to Mr.Simpson,then what? Muchiboy

  • R.R.

    This brings me to a really good issue, if my history serves me correctly wasnt it the modern day Americans who like the Romans took the land of the Native Americans(ex. Israelis), and forced them out of what is rightfully theirs? Would the United States after all it's years of innovations and revolutions just say, well this land is rightfully yours historically so we'll just leave and go back to the countries that we came from previously as immigrants? If after all the Israelis are justified historically to have the Palestinians land aren't the Native Americans also suppose to have some justice in claiming what is theirs?

    As a Palestinian I would just like to know what you think? As you are now in my position, of someone who had lived on some land for well over hundreds of years, would you get up and leave everything behind?

  • Marty

    It doesn't matter whether the palestinian people exist or not. The brutal regime imposed by hamas and the pa are determined to destroy the only democracy in the middle east and the only country in the region where muslims can actually vote in free elections. No self-respecting islamist can live with that fact. palestinians don't care about nationhood or achieving a sovereign state; their only purpose in life is to destroy Israel. Then they will be able to gloat how another 6 million Jews were slaughtered or enslaved and how a vibrant economy, a modern technology, and a democratic society was destroyed at their (and allah's) hands.

  • Rifleman

    The muslim evacuees (most left of their own free will at the behest of the arab league and the mufti of Jerusalem) were never anything but a political tool. They became a Western style entity to take advantage of how little most Westerners know and understand of the Ottoman Empire, or the Ottoman laws and practices regarding land ownership and use.

    The left in the West would and will just ignore it anyway, like they do the stated goals of the terrorist groups to completely destroy Israel, their deliberate terrorism, use of human shields, and outright rejection of the Geneva Conventions, or their ties to the commies and mad mullahs.

    • Stern

      Interesting too is the fact that "Palestinian" "refugees" in Lebanon have it far worse than anyone in the West Bank and Gaza. One of their camps was destroyed by the Lebanese army a couple of years ago – it was far more devastated than Gaza was after Cast Lead – and they are not allowed to rebuild anything. They're also forbidden citizenship in Lebanon and may not even work there. Yet nobody sends aid ships to them, nobody criticizes Lebanon for its treatment of them, nobody says a single darn thing.

  • Marty

    There has never been a palestine at any time in history. Most arabs living in the region arrived there from syria and elsewhere after Jews began to make the place economically viable. An independent palestine would simply be the 23rd dysfucntional and corrupt arab state. This is not what the region or democracy needs.

  • Ahmad Yaqiin

    If Israel and Jews were put in a "legitimate court of law" with its opponents being the Arab world – given the voluminous and obvious mountain of evidence which clearly supports both Jews and Israel – what "Judge" would not favour both Israel and Jews?

    Yet when it comes to "Judges"( UN) the facts – overwhelmingly- come last in contrast to a thriving resurgence of anti semitism that is deeply rooted at the United Nations ergo the enemies of Israel- Jews and genuine human rights and fairness!

    Is aprox 20,000 sq km of a territory called Palestine whose greater size was aprox 130,000 sq km an example of "expansionist- Apartheid- Colonialism- Ethnic cleansing- collective punishment"?

    Israels enemies have armed themselves with LIES!

  • Elliott

    Excellent article.
    I would like to make one observation / correction; the article states:
    "The Arab Muslim disinterest in the land was so great that with the exception of the city of Ramleh (perhaps built on the Jewish ruins of the city Ramathaim Zophim, according to some archaeologists) no other city was ever built by the Arabs or the other Muslim conquerors."
    Readers should be aware that there is a town, about 10-15 miles south of the Tel Aviv conurbation, called "Ramleh". This is (well) within the June '67 ARMISTICE lines (not "borders", folks, Armistice lines).
    There is an entirely different city, populated by arabs, called "Ramallah", about 10 miles due north of Israel's capital Jerusalem. This is where arafat, the murderer, holed up (in all senses of the word??) prior to his unlamented demise. This city is the so-called "capital" of "arab palestine".
    In summary: Ramleh is in Israel, Ramallah is on the "West Bank" (in the 'Shomron' district of Israel – since 1967).

  • aspacia

    Why do so many turn a blind eye to historical facts? They condemn tiny Israel for defending herself, and ignore the numerous atrocities of Muslims in the Middle-East. Why are they afraid of an intolerant faith and intolerant people. They will make the same historic mistakes in dealing with the fanatics, just as they did with Hitler.

    As the author claims, and as been reported for many years, the term Palestine is a tool to destroy Israel.

    There can be no peace until, hopefully Israel expels the Muslims who wish to destroy her and most Western people.

  • USMCSniper

    Palestinians are nothing more than the subsidized proxy terrorists of Iran who strap munitions on their own women and children and send them out on homicide-suicide missions to murder other women and children in markets, restuarants, and on school buses. The Palestinians have forfeited their right to even exist.

  • Chezwick

    I've begun referring to this unholy alliance as the "Islamo-Left".

  • ObamaYoMoma

    The so-called Palestinians are in reality the proxies of the Dar al Islam and their sole purpose is to undermine Israel as much as possible so that the Dar al Islam can eventually be victorious in its permanent jihad against Israel and the unbeliever world.

  • Ron Grant

    " a perverse and vicious transmogrification of the term “Palestine” has taken root .."

    The above diatribe could be describe as ignorant,if I was feeling generous.Or arrogant,if I was feeling angry.But given the context in which it was written and the underlying motives,evil is the proper fit.Muchiboy

  • Liny

    While the Jews began to call their newspapers, charities, and organizations such names as the “Palestine Post” and the “United Palestine Appeal,” the Arabs eschewed the term as being “Jewish” and “Zionist.” For them, they were Muslims first, and “Southern Syrians” second. Indeed, many an Arab politician and historian denied that there was ever a country called “Palestine.” I find this statement utterly amazing! I happen to own an atlas dating back to 1929 that lists the present state of Israel as "Palestine." They will perpetuate a lie, even though they can be proven wrong in black and white.

  • To the ignorant

    An excellent review of the history of the area we call Middle East and Israel today.

    An excellent case and explanation why the two state solution is the end for Israel.

    Why is it that, the leaders of the western world AND ISRAEL, are either ignorant of this history or just ignoring these historical facts??????????

    I guess just because the hatred for the Jews is just sooooooooo deep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And the Israelis just do not have a choice against the whole world.

    No matter what Israel does it looks more and more very day like lose lose situation.

    I just hope that having the atomic weapons Israelis will not die like they died on Mezada but will take the surrounding Arabs with them!!!!!!!!

  • Antony

    LOL .. very funny falsification of History based on West winds.
    Not a single serious reference.
    The same apply on Israel.
    In fact, according to the Egyptian Ancient History, the Hyksos were the ancestors of the actual Palestinian originated Jews, they invaded Egypt coming from deep Asia.
    They escaped Egypt leaded by Moses.
    The ancestors of European Jews, who invaded recently Palestine, are most probably the Khazars who converted to Judaism in the tenth century, that's why they have no Semite faces, most are blond with light eyes and skin.
    History teaches that the Roman Empire lasted 300 years in the Middle East, the Crusaders 100 years in Palestine … the same (short time) apply also on apartheid's South Africa and ex-Rhodesia … Israel is still a baby, just 60…
    It is just a matter of time …
    Middle eastern people are used to the virtue of patience, they are never in a hurry.
    So in the meantime, some fanatics can try a lot of other doctrines (lol) to justify a historical crime against the humanity, there are as much as a sick imagination can invent.

  • haz

    You don't seem to realise that no country exists except in the mind. There may not have been a country called Palestine 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago. The fact is that 10s of millions of people around the world now consider themselves Palestinian whether you like it or not. I have met people whose grandparents were expelled from their homes in 1948, have never been to Israel or the occupied territories, but will still tell you they are first and foremost Palestinian. This idea will not die because of the power of the extreme injustice in which it was born. Israel continues to make enemies every day with its new settlements, amongst other things. Unfortunately, it is the children, grandchildren, or even great grandchildren of today's Israelis who will suffer when eventually the US is unwilling or unable to support Israel any longer.

  • SSA

    As a Palestinian I do exist and so did my ancestors in Palestine until my family was told to leave or be subject to apartheid policies and be in the middle of a war zone. It was not voluntary, it was survival. My parents moved to America in hopes of a better life for me and my brothers. My uncle was held in prison for 12 + years without charges. The apartheid policies of Israel must stop and the world will now the truth one day.

    I urge everyone to consider their sources of information. Consider the author's heritage, religion, and affiliations. CNN, Fox, NBC, etc etc are all business with one goal in mind, to make profit. They will slant twist any and every article to ensure profits. Also take into account the location and target audience of the news. The news in America is very different than the news in the rest of world. Use the power of the internet to visit news agencies outside the US to see a third party view of the situation.

    To find the truth I urge everyone to go to the Palestinian territories and see for yourselves the way Palestinians are forced to live. There is no better truth that being a witness. There is a reason why the UN is giving relief to Palestinians. Remember the entire world including America deems all borders beyond 1967 illegal and Israel is in violation of more UN resolutions than any other country in the world.

    Also remember that the US gives Israel over 3 Billion dollars in aid a year and the population of Israel is approx 7 million. You do the math and ask yourself why the US doesn't give their citizens that kind of money. This dollar value does not take into account military aid. There is also another number which cannot be calculated. What is the true foreign policy cost of supporting Israel?

  • qaaf zain

    I saw those rockets and bombs shining in the sky
    Like drops of rain in the sun’s light
    Taking away everyone dear to my heart
    Destroying my dreams in a blink of an eye
    What happened to our human rights?
    What happened to the sanctity of life?
    And all those other lies?
    I know that I’m only a child
    But is your conscience still alive
    I will caress with my bare hands
    Every precious grain of sand
    Every stone and every tree
    ‘Cause no matter what they do
    They can never hurt you
    Coz your soul will always be free

    Palestine tomorrow will be free
    Palestine tomorrow will be free
    dont wworrie (:-…..

  • mahdy

    All must be back to islam

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  • Kyra Guevana

    You know, there’s that inhuman side of me that wants to see these two suffer the most agonizing pain for years and years it would be richly deserved. But the reality is, seeing them suffer is only a form of cathartic entertainment, something to convince us that there’s a balance in this life. It’s not going to stop the next pair of animals from doing this kind of thing, and it’s not going to serve any purpose for the dead.

  • Judy

    And if we had chosen to use the name Palestine instead of Israel in 1948, what name would our Arab adversaries have used?


    HI ……. i am an arab palestinian and i have few qwestions to my fellew palestinians; Why do we ; 1- sell our land to jewish people. 2- why do the vast majority of us would love to obtain israeli citizenship. 3- why do we go to work in building israeli settelments in the west bank and get paid good money. and the list goes on………………..THYANK YOU.