Updated March 26, 2021
A Brief History of Palestine
Historically and technically, there is not now nor has there ever been an organic nation known as “Palestine.” The Romans had conquered the Land of Israel, organized an ongoing centuries old pogrom against the Jewish people, destroyed their places of worship, sold many Israelites into slavery, and subverted their customs and language. In 70 AD, the Romans renamed Israel “Palestine” to further humiliate and finally annihilate the remaining people of Judaism.
During the Bar-Kochba Revolt circa 132-136 AD, a battle between the Jews and the Romans, both side suffered significant losses. Even after the rebellion was vanquished, the Jews continued to suffer great losses at the hands of the Romans, and Emperor Hadrian banished many Jews from the area and renamed the area “Palestine” after the traditional enemies of the Jewish people, the Philistines. Hadrian then executed Jewish scholars, held a public burning of the Torah, and prohibited the practice of Judaism.
Hadrian imposed the name “Palastina” upon the Land of Israel to refer to the land of the Philistines, a people once conquered by the Jews. Use of this term was intended to further humiliate the people of Israel. The Romans also renamed Jerusalem “Aelia Capitolina,” but somehow that name did not stick. During the occupation of Israel by the Romans, many Jews fled the Jewish homeland, settling throughout the Middle East and Europe, but many remained. The Land of Israel has never been completely abandoned by the people who lived there since the time of Abraham.
The Islamist Captivity
Some historians claim that Palestinian history traces back to the Philistines. But the Philistines were not Semites nor were they Arabs. They were likely Greek in origin and came in several waves from Greece to the Israel/Palestine area in the Middle East. The Philistines had no ethnic, linguistic, or historical connection to Arabia. The name applied by Arabs to the ares “Falastin” was not, in fact, an Arabic name. This term is derived from Plesheth meaning migratory, as in having migrated to that area from Greece, and the term likely harkened back to the “Philistine” invasion along the coast.
By 614 AD, the Land of Israel was controlled by the Persians, recaptured briefly by the Byzantine Romans, but then in 650 AD, Arab Muslims under caliph Umar seized the area and turned it into a place of importance for Muslims, despite the fact that it had never been mentioned by the Prophet Mohammad and appears nowhere in the Koran. The Arabs who controlled and ruled “Palestine” mostly ruled over Christians and Jews because few Muslims actually immigrated to this area during that time.
Palestine was to be conquered many times in the following centuries: in 1099 AD, the Crusaders established a Latin Kingdom, killing both Jews and Muslims, in their zeal to establish a Christian hegemony. A succession of invaders from Mongols to Mamluks ended the Crusaders’ reign. Then in 1516, the Mamluks were conquered by the Ottoman Turks, who ruled but did not settle and develop the area, until 1917, when they were conquered in WWI by the British. From 1917 to 1947, “Palestine” was referred to as the “British Mandate.”
The Modern Day, Non-Existent State of “Palestine”
In 1947, United Nations resolution 181 partitioned “Palestine” into two states: a Jewish Palestine and an Arab Palestine. The Jews in Palestine accepted the partition, but the Arabs in Palestine, as well as in the surrounding Arab states, did not. In 1948, the nation of Israel claimed its independence as a strong viable state, while its Arab neighbors viciously attacked the nation, in a further attempt to drive out the Jews and return the Arabic Islamists to the fabricated nation of “Palestine.”
Israel was attacked once again in 1967, but instead of being defeated, the nation regained more of its former territory. Despite constant attacks from its neighbors, the Jewish nation of Israel has continued to grow and prosper as the only democracy in the Middle East. About a million Muslims live and thrive in Israel, while Islamists, many of whom today have become violent terrorists, continue to attack and spread their revisionist history. Thus, today at the beginning of the 21st century, the “Palestinians” remain stateless, but nevertheless put forth leaders who make the erroneous claim to Israel as their homeland.
“Palestine” is not a legitimate name for any country. There are no real Palestinians; those claiming Palestinian ethnicity are actually Arabs, mostly Jordanians. There is no Palestinian language, no history, no culture. According to Joseph E. Katz, Middle Eastern Political and Religious History Analyst, “The use of the term ‘Palestinian’ for an Arab ethnic group is a modern political creation which has no basis in fact— and had never had any international or academic credibility.”
Revisionist historians make absurd claims including that modern-day Israelis stole Palestinian lands. Jerrold L. Sobel, who earned an M.A. in International Relations from New York’s City College and now resides in Naples, Florida, is a retired history teacher, founder and President of the Zionist Organization of America/Southwest Florida Chapter, and who writes a newsletter, The Israeli Advocate disposes of this myth regarding the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict by stating that that geographical location has belonged to Israel since before recorded history. Sobel further explains:
Despite 27 invasions of Judea and Samaria (erroneously called the West Bank), conquests by many, forced conversions, exiles, massive oppression, generations of Diaspora, and cowardly acquiescence by a cadre of 5th-column Jews themselves, Jews have not only survived in what’s known in Hebrew as Eretz Yisrael (Israel), but they’ve taken a desert wasteland and turned it into a powerful little democracy, the envy of the world.
Joseph E. Katz explains that the term, “Palestinian,” remains simply an appellation for an Arabic ethnic group, and it is a “modern political creation.” The term itself has no historical basis and had no “international or academic credibility before 1967.” In other words, the concoction of the terms “Palestine” and “Palestinian” has resulted in fake mantras employed solely in a political attempt to discredit Israel and to keep the flame of anti-Semitism against Jews alive, feeding modern-day terrorists with a fake historical significance.
Shmuel Katz’s Seminal Work Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine
For those who wish to research deeper into the issue of Palestine vs Israel, the thorough, carefully researched and documented book of Shmuel Katz titled Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine remains a valuable resource; it is considered the seminal work, “which cuts through the myths of the Arab-Israel conflict.” The following excerpt offers a glimpse of the style and focus of Katz’ documentary:
The Arabs’ war against Israel in the years between 1949 and 1967 was accompanied and dramatized by an incessant diplomatic offensive and a campaign of propaganda that grew progressively in volume and scope. Its purpose was not kept secret. It was repeated again and again. “Our aim,” it was epitomized by Nasser on November 18, 1965, “is the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel.”
Year after year, the autumn sessions of the United Nations in New York were converted into a sounding board for the combined verbal onslaught on Israel of the delegates of the ever-growing number of Arab states.
The war against Israel on its many fronts was pursued against an Israel that did not embrace the “occupied territories” of today. At that time, too, Israel was pressed and urged from many sides to make concessions. What could these concessions have been? In those years, too, Israel was pressed to offer concessions of “territory.” But it was the Arab refugee problem that was named as the prime cause of Arab intransigence, as the source of all the trouble in the Middle East. That was then proclaimed the major obstacle to peace.
In this work, Katz documents the conflicts, key issues, and problems faced by Israel since the 1948 British Mandate. The work demonstrates clearly the turbulence faced by the tiny country of Israel in its relationship with the other Middle Eastern nations as well as in its ability to take its place as a nation in the eyes of an often misunderstanding world.
- Israel Hanukoglu, Ph.D., editor. “History of Israel: What is Palestine and Palestinians?” Israel Science and Technology Directory.
- Jerrold L. Sobel. “There Was Never a Country Called Palestine.” American Thinker .February 12, 2012.
- Joseph E. Katz. “The History of the Words ‘Palestine’ and ‘Palestinians’.” Eretz Yisroel.
- Shmuel Katz. Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine. Taylor Productions. 2002. Print. Online: Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine.
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