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And of course, there was “Chairman” Arafat who in a 1974 interview with The New Republic stated: “What you call Jordan is actually Palestine.”
Regardless, until the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964, “Palestine” and “Palestinian” had no meaning for the Arabs. As an aside, the fact that the PLO was created in 1964 by the League of Arab States and not after the June “Six Day War” of 1967, is telling enough that Ahmad Shuqayri (original founder of the PLO), and his successor Yasser Arafat, were looking for the total extermination of Israel, while Jordan already had the “occupied territories” of the “West Bank,” and Egypt had the “Gaza Strip.” For them and for the PLO (or PA of today), “Palestine” is just a part of the “Arab Muslim national homeland” that has to be liberated from the “infidel” Jews. As late as 1967, even the UN did not refer to the term “Palestinians” merely calling them “refugees.” (Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967.) However, as the late 1960s turned into the 1970s, the historical terminology of “Palestine” began to be turned upside down, and hijacked by the Arabs. It now became terms synonymous with Arabs, but in reality was only a weapon in the fight to extirpate Israel from the world.
The facts are undeniable. “Palestine” has no meaning in Greek, Latin, Arabic, or English. It is a general fact that a people give their name to a country, not vice-versa. Thus, the Arabs call their homeland, “Jazirat al-Arab” or “Island of the Arabians.” The Jews call their land Israel because they were called Israelites; Israel in Hebrew meaning “to strive with God.” Similarly, it was called Judah or Judea after the tribe of Judah (meaning “praise” in Hebrew). Ironically, it is only one language in which the term “Palestine” has a meaning, and that language is Hebrew. The name translated as “Philistia” in the Holy Bible comes from the Hebrew “Peleshet” which means nothing more than “land of the Philistines.” Contrary to Arab propaganda, the Philistines were a non-Semitic, Indo-European people who migrated to what is now Gaza. Historians believe that these “sea peoples” originated in the Aegean area of what is now Crete.
In conclusion, one can only imagine if Hadrian had never changed the name of Israel from Judea to Palestina. We might very well have seen a “Judea Liberation Organization” instead of a “Palestine Liberation Organization” and we might very well be hearing the mantra of the “inalienable rights of the Judean Arab people.” At the same time, if Hadrian had changed the name of Judea to Mars, we would be hearing of the “Martian Arab people.” Of course, this sounds absurd, but not any more absurd than the fictitious mythical land and people of “Palestine.”
Israel would be well advised to learn from the cruel fates of history which has a way of repeating itself. Judea did not exist alongside “Palestina” after Hadrian’s destruction in the 2nd century. Similarly today, in the 21st century, it is impossible for Israel to exist “side by side in peace” with a “Palestine” that seeks to replicate and complete Hadrian’s war against the Jews. One state or the other can exist, but never both. Israel is a historical reality. Arab “Palestine” is an artificial invention. 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.
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