“ Palestine ” Instead of Israel – A Documentary of Historical Theft
by Elyakim Ha'etzni
Part I: The Origins of Palestine
The Philistines, who gave their name to “ Palestine ,” came from the Greek isles and conquered the coastal strip of the Land of Israel from Jaffa to Gaza . We know them, among other sources, from the Biblical story of David’s victory over the Philistine giant Goliath. The Philistines had declined in power by the end of King David’s reign, and were exiled at the same time as the Jews were exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.
In 538 B.C.E., after 70 years of exile, the Jews returned from Babylon , built the Second Temple , and continued to develop as a nation. The Philistines, however, simply disappeared off the stage of history together with the other peoples of the region.
In 135 A.C.E., the Romans succeeded in suppressing the Bar Kochba Rebellion only after suffering punishing military losses. The enraged and vindictive Caesar Hadrian determined to put an end to the Jewish religion and to erase Judea from the map. Although there were no Philistines left in the world, Hadrian changed the land’s name to Palestine as a way of severing the connection between the land of the Jews and the Jews themselves. Jerusalem ’s name was changed to Aelia Capitolina at the same time for the same reason. Jews were prohibited from living in most parts of Judea, and a Jew set foot in Jerusalem on pain of death.
Part 2: Palestine Through the Generations
Hadrian curse didn’t succeed. Refugees from Judea streamed to the Galilee and the Golan. The northern Land of Israel experienced a flowering that lasted hundreds of years and produced the Mishnah and Jerusalem Talmud, ensuring Jewish survival for the next 2,000 years.
Neither did the Jews forget Jerusalem . Every year, on the 9th of Av, the day that both Jerusalem and Bar Kochba’s fortress of Beitar fell, they were allowed to enter Jerusalem to mourn their loss. During the other 364 days of the year, they eternalized Jerusalem as the focus of their yearning in their religion, culture, and consciousness.
In the 7th century, with the replacement of the Byzantine Empire by the Muslim caliphate, the name Aelia Capitolina passed from the world gradually and the city was once again called Jerusalem or “Beit Al-mekdes” or “Al Quds,” the holy temple and the holy city in Arabic. The name Palestine was also forgotten for the next 1,300 years.
There was an interruption in Muslim rule of the land with the arrival of the Crusaders, who returned to relating to the land’s Biblical past and called their state The Kingdom of Jerusalem.” From the time of the Crusader’s defeat, a string of Muslim empires ruled the land -- Arab, Mameluke, Mongol, and Ottoman Turk -- and there was no mention of the name Philistia or Palestine .
As the eminent Orientalist Bernard Lewis wrote:
From the end of the Jewish state in antiquity to the beginning of British rule, the area now designated by the name Palestine was not a country and had no frontiers, only administrative boundaries; it was a group of provincial subdividisions, by no means always the same, within a larger entity.
Ottoman rule in the Land of Israel ended in 1918 with the end of World War I. At that time, the Arab residents of the land, if they identified themselves as anything, identified their country as “South Syria” with their capital in Damascus . The congress of Muslim-Christian Associations held in Jerusalem in 1919 publicized their position that “We are connected to Syria with national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic and geographic ties.” (Y. Porat)
Where in the world, then, did the “Palestinian” claim of national rights come from after the term “ Palestine ” had been dead and buried for 17 centuries?
Part 3: The Resurrection of Palestine
The name Palestine entered the other European languages through the Roman Latin as the name for the Land of Israel . In Christendom this name referred to the land of the Bible, the land of the ancient Hebrews and the pre-exilic Jews. One can easily verify this by looking up the entry “ Palestine ” in any European encyclopedia. Until the 1920s at the earliest, one could find in them only a description of the Jewish past. It remains for the inventors of the Palestinian myth to explain why the writers and editors of the encyclopedias didn’t bother to mention that this land was the birthplace of the “Palestinian nation,” unless it was because the multi-ethnic motley that immigrated or passed through the land throughout the ages had never thought of themselves as a national grouping. They simply didn’t know what 20th century propagandists had in store for them.
The name Palestine was first retrieved from the ‘museum’ and inserted into current affairs in a letter from Lord Balfour, the British foreign minister, to Lord Rothschild. Written in 1917, the author conveys the British government’s promise to establish a Jewish national home in “ Palestine .” Palestine was mentioned in the context that every person of that era understood it: as the name of the ancient homeland of the Jews. It was characteristic of the name’s usage that Nazis and anti-Semites the world over wished to “send the Jews back to Palestine .” Here, too, the creators of the false Palestinian myth need to ask themselves why the Jew-haters thought of expelling Jews, wherever they may be found, to “ Palestine ”, the supposed homeland of the “Palestinian Arabs”? (A true story: the writer of these lines was born in Germany . One day I was interviewed by a German television crew. The interviewer asked me a
hostile question: why did I come to live in Hebron and ‘force myself upon the Arabs’? Without thinking, I answered: “You screamed at me ‘Juden, nach Palestina!’ You sent me here!”)
The whole purpose of the British Mandate in the Land of Israel (1920 – 1948) was the promise in Balfour’s letter, called the Balfour Declaration, of the establishment of a “national homeland” for the Jewish people. The introductory words of the League of Nations grant of the Mandate to Britain say it all:
“ Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have … agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country: and;
Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country…
The Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home…”
The world powers that made up the League of Nations were both careful and explicit in laying out the purpose of Britain ’s Mandate. Based on their recognition of “the historic connection of the Jewish people with Palestine ,” Britain was to enable the Jewish people to actualize its right to “reconstitut(e) their national home in that country.” The creators of the false Palestinian myth will have to explain why in the world the League of Nations would seek to establish a Jewish national home in the “homeland of the Palestinian people.” They must explain why the “Palestinian people” weren’t entitled to the same treatment as the Jews and why they weren’t described as a “people” or a “nation” but rather as a “non-Jewish community in Palestine .” They must also explain why Britain needed to protect the “ civil and religious rights” of non-Jewish communities without granting them the national political rights
that were granted only to the Jews.
How do we explain all this unless by the simple fact that Muslims, Christians, and Druze living in the land were communities and nothing else. Concurrently with events in Palestine , the British were granted a mandate in Iraq for the purpose of establishing Arab-Iraqi sovereignty, and the French were given mandates in Syria and Lebanon for the purpose of establishing Arab-Syrian and Arab-Christian sovereignty. If there had existed an Arab nation with a separate national identity in the Land of Israel , a mandate for the “Palestinian people” would undoubtedly have arisen instead of the Jewish one.
Even when the British carved out three fourths of the territory intended for the future Jewish homeland – all of Palestine east of the Jordan River --and gave it to an Arab tribal leader in a slick political deal that served British interests only, that territory was called “the emirate of Trans-Jordan” and not “Palestine.”
In the 1948 War of Independence, the ruler of Jordan , the Emir Abdallah, conquered Judea, Samaria and historic Jerusalem . He then crowned himself in Jericho as king of his enlarged country and sought a name for it. He thought of calling it “ Palestine ,” but his influential British advisors discouraged him. They explained that if he called his land “ Palestine ,” it would preclude Arab claims upon Israeli territory. So the two “banks” were invented: all the territory from the Jordan River to the Iraqi border was called the “East Bank,” and the territory between the Jordan River and the Green Line (the 1948 armistice line) was called the “ West Bank .” In the Jordanian maps from that era, the two banks together are called “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; the territory of the State of Israel is called “Occupied Palestine.”
Observe that sleight of hand: from now on “ Palestine ” is the shadow that the Jews cast when the Israeli sun of independence shines upon them. “ Palestine ” is the photographic negative of Israel . Palestine exists and will continue to exist only in the context of and for the purpose of negating Jewish sovereignty. If the negation ever succeeds, G-d forbid, the artificial bubble of Palestine will burst.
Zuheir Muhsin, head of the A-sa’ika terror organization member of the PLO Executive Council, expressed this truth concisely when he told the Dutch daily “Trouw” that:
We only insist on emphasizing the Palestinian identity for tactical reasons, because the national interest of the Arabs requires that we encourage a separate Palestinian identity to place in opposition to Zionism: the establishment of a Palestinian state is a new instrument in the continuing war against Israel . . .
David Ben Gurion, in testimony before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry spoke these words:
There’s no such thing as “ Palestine ” in all of history . . . Arab history was made in Arabia , Persia , Spain , and North Africa . In this history you won’t find Palestine . Arab history wasn’t made in Palestine . However, Arab history isn’t the only history. There’s also world history and Jewish history, and in those histories there’s a land whose name is Judea, or as we call it Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel . . . this land did exist in history and it still exists. It’s a small land, very small, but this small land left a deep impression on world history and on our own history. This land made us into a nation, and our nation made this land. No other nation in the world made this land, and this land made no other nation in the world . . .
Now, almost 2,000 years after Hadrian’s curse, Muslims who in the past had belonged simply and solely to “the Arab nation,” began searching for a national identification with the Land of Israel . They latched onto to the same technique as Hadrian in his day: under the label of the “Palestinian people,” they fabricated a false claim to the land of the Jews. Tragically, they’re now receiving the consent of the victims of their thievery, the Jewish owners of the land, represented by the government of Israel .
Part 4: The Palestinian Bluff
When the local Arabs saw that the British Mandate was based on the name “ Palestine ,” they started calling themselves the “Palestinian people.” Imitating the Jewish-Zionist experience that was taking shape before them, they also claimed for themselves a pedigree of thousands of years, and demanded consideration as an “ancient people” the same as the Jews. Lately, they’ve even grown jealous of the Jewish Holocaust and invented for themselves a holocaust of their own, which they call “the Catastrophe of 1948.”
They need this myth of antiquity in order to claim for themselves the same historic right to the land in place of the Jewish people. However, they’ve run into a difficulty: whose descendents are they? Are they descended from Abraham’s son Ishmael, who was a Semite, or Goliath the Philistine, of the Aryan race? They’ve come up with a most brazen answer, that allows them to have their cake and eat it too: they are the descendents, they say, of all the nations who ever settled in the Land of Israel . Now they can be the descendents of both Goliath, who fought the Israelites, and David, who slew him.
Things have come to such a pass that they’re now claiming that the Jews of today are not a people or a nation at all, but just a rabble composed of bits and pieces of all the peoples in the world and sharing only a common religion. (Which is exactly what the “Palestinian Arabs” are!) Whereas the true descendants of the ancient Hebrews and Jews are . . . the Palestinian Arabs! In this spirit, huge posters were hung in Bethlehem during Christmas depicting the image of Jesus together with the words “Palestinian Freedom Fighter.”
Even academic figures such as Dr. Hanan Ashrawi of Bir Zeit University aren’t embarrassed to claim that Jesus was a Palestinian. The logical conclusion is that the Bible itself was gifted to the world by the Palestinian Arabs. The only difference between the malign and brazen nonsense that Jesus was an Arab freedom fighter and the malign and brazen nonsense that Israel has belonged to the Palestinian Arabs “from time immemorial” is that the first is a newer claim and its patina of absurdity hasn’t worn thin yet. Both, however, are worthy of the same degree of respect. What is most astounding is how the West has swallowed these ridiculous quackeries without a peep of skepticism.
Part 5: “The Palestinian Horizon”
Binyamin Netanyahu, a past and likely future prime minister of Israel , once said that any Palestinian state that doesn’t fulfill five minimal conditions, will end up threatening Israel ’s existence. These are the conditions:
A total prohibition against making international treaties (Imagine a military treaty with Iran !).
Israeli supervision of all border crossings (to prevent the dispatching of millions of Arab “refugees” towards Israel ’s borders).
Control of the airspace over such a state.
Control over all drilling for water, since one third of Israel ’s water is drawn from the mountain aquifer of Judea and Samaria .
And we haven’t even mentioned military needs arising out of the absolute strategic dominance that the mountainous heights of Judea and Samaria enjoy over the valleys and plains where most of Israel ’s population and industry are concentrated.
The shameful act of expelling the Jews and withdrawing the IDF from the Gaza Strip provided us with a “dry run” of whether the possibility exists that an independent Palestinian entity could stand up to Netanyahu’s conditions. The negative results, frightening in the extreme, were apparent to all:
Gaza was turned into a huge weapons stockpile, into a terror state with complete freedom of operation, and into a bridgehead for ceaseless attacks on Israel . Today, missiles strike Sderot and Ashkelon , eventually they’ll be capable of striking Tel Aviv.
The entire Strip has become a training and staging ground for the forces of the Hezbollah and Al Qeda, for Iranian consultants and terror experts the world over, in addition to quasi-criminal armed gangs, which can’t be controlled by anyone. The turning of Gaza into a fortress gearing up for frontline military attacks was executed via open agreement between the “government” of Hamas and Iran .
Once Israeli military control over the Rafiach crossing with Egypt was abandoned, the doors of Gaza were not only opened wide to all terror organizations, but terrorists and weaponry also started streaming into the Sinai Desert, and from there to Israel’s Negev region.
Israeli helicopter reconnaissance over the Gaza Strip is already limited by the fear of ground to air missiles that were brought in after the expulsion of the Jews. For the same reason, crop-dusters can’t fly in Israeli airspace over fields in proximity to Gaza .
Wild and unchecked Arab drilling since the Oslo Accords has salinized the wells of Gaza , and seawater is contaminating the coastal aquifer. Gaza is now dependent on water diverted to it by Israel .
To Netanyahu’s minimalist conditions must be added the following certain existential dangers posed by a Palestinian state:
The dispatching of hundreds of thousands of “refugees” into the tiny area of Judea and Samaria . Mass marches, women and children leading, can be expected towards Israel with the purpose of drawing fire and incriminating the Zionist state with atrocities, or alternately, to actually succeed in flooding Israel . The present slogans centering around the “occupation” will be replaced with slogans demanding “the right of return.”
Ben Gurion Airport will be under constant missile threat and might have to be closed altogether because of its proximity to an enemy border.
An IDF deployed along the Green Line will not be able to provide Israel with security, since the state’s most critical territory will be no wider than 6 – 7 miles. The army will thus welcome the demand to station international forces on the border of Judea and Samaria in addition to the international forces deployed in the South along the border with Gaza . If we add to this the international force deployed today along the Lebanese border, we will be left with a state defended on all sides by foreign forces. Such a state is called a protectorate. The first signs of the transformation of Israel into a dependency is found in the “Road Map For the Establishment of a Palestinian State ,” which gives the Quartet authority to oversee Israeli diplomatic and security matters of the most vital nature.
The establishment of a Palestinian state will lead to escalating irredentism among Israeli Arabs, who will first demand autonomy and later demand that the Galilee and other areas be annexed to the Palestinian mother state.
The Kingdom of Jordan will face eminent collapse: 60 to 70 percent of its population is Palestinian and the rest are Bedouins with no claim as a separate people. An “Anschluss” of Jordan to Palestine will place Israel in a Palestinian stranglehold from the border of Iraq to the Mediterranean .
The Palestinians are demanding, and based on international law are likely to receive, an extra-territorial corridor between Gaza and Hebron , which will slice the Negev in half. America is already pressuring Israel to permit “safe passage” between Gaza and Judea and Samaria , as a station on the road to Palestinian statehood. This is despite the certainty that such passage will be used to import terrorists and experts in manufacturing rockets and other armaments from Gaza inland. In addition, masses of Gaza residents will flood Judea and Samaria to improve their quality of life. The demographic and security implications for Israel will be catastrophic.
The worst effects won’t even be physical or military. It will become accepted fact throughout the world that the land called “ Palestine ” belongs to the people called “the Palestinians.” Already today people in the streets of Paris or New York who are casually asked how the Jews came by their country, answer in all innocence, “why, they took it from the Palestinians, of course!” In this way, the establishment of a Palestinian state will crystallize an irreversible consciousness that holds that the Jews grabbed the land by force from its Palestinian owners. Ownership by theft can never be legitimate. Therefore, just as thunder follows lightning, the delegitimazation of Israel will by followed by the dispossession of the Jews.
Israel will not go under without a fight. But even if she reconquers her ceded territories and rids them of their government and leaders, she will always be forced to withdraw once more. International law holds that conquered territory must be returned to “ousted sovereign,” which will have become the Palestinian state. From the moment a recognized sovereign state arises, that sovereignty cannot be erased. And Israel , in her blind quest for peace, never claimed sovereignty over the territories liberated in 1967, but instead instituted military rule there. Just as Nazi Germany’s terrible crimes couldn’t prevent a new German regime from arising on land the world considered German, and just as with the fall of the Taliban another Afgani regime arose in its stead on Afghani soil, so a Palestinian state in the Land of Israel would become a dybbuk that we could never throw off. The Palestinian catastrophe would be irreversible.
A Palestinian state would tolerate international forces on her territory only so long as they benefited her, which would be until the decline of Israel is irreversible. From that moment on, those forces will fall under continuous terrorist attack such as American and French troops experienced in Beirut in 1982. The days of the international forces will become numbered.
Meanwhile, the number of Jews in the state of the Jews will drastically diminish. Hundreds of thousands – mostly young people and the most talented professionals – will have left the country, unwilling to witness the state’s demise. Once the foreign forces leave, the direct military threat will come to a head against an Israeli army sapped of its strength by a sham peace. The main function of the Quartet will become the fixing of quotas for absorbing the remaining Israeli Jews into exile. This will be the great hour of the Palestinians, who will exhibit largesse, and agree to allow a token number of Jews to remain in “their” country.
How fate mocks: The Jewish People eventually bested Hadrian. They returned to their land and reestablished sovereignty over it. They rebuilt Jerusalem as their capital, and resettled desolate Judea . They did all this only to have the curse of Hadrian catch up with them once again in the guise of Arabs calling themselves “Palestinians.” Having brought this curse upon themselves, it now threatens to destroy everything.
An Escape Hatch
There is a safety-catch on the pistol of the Palestinian state that the government of Israel is pressing against the temple of the Jewish people. As long as that catch is locked, the gun can’t fire. That catch is the Jewish settlement enterprise in Judea, Samaria , and East Jerusalem .
It is a nonnegotiable condition of the Arabs that any territory they receive from Israel for their state must be cleansed of all Jews. The entire “enlightened” world accepts and supports this racist-Nazi demand. Israel hosts a 20 percent Arab minority within her populace, but the Arabs can’t tolerate even a single Jew on the silver platter of statehood that Israel must hand them.
Thus, we witnessed the criminal spectacle of the government of Israel using military force to ethnically cleanse 25 peaceful Jewish communities in Gaza and Northern Samaria before handing them over to the terrorist authorities. We read of an Israeli foreign minister declaring to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Aharam that this despicable act was done to prove Israel ’s seriousness about emptying more and more territories of their Jewish presence in order to make way for the Palestinian state.
However, the fact that the future Palestinian state is dependent upon the destruction of approximately 400 Jewish communities and the expulsion of 300,000 – 500,000 Jews, also has a positive side. As long as the settlements hold out, the Palestinian state cannot emerge. Thus, the Jewish settlement enterprise in the Biblical heartland is the wall that encircles the State of Israel: as long as it stands, the fortress will not fall!
While the government promised the expulsion of Jews from Gaza would bring peace and security, it instead brought the western Negev under a state of siege and constant warfare. The population masses lying exposed under the mountain heights of Samaria and Judea presumably won’t be as gullible the next time around. The trauma to the Israeli army and public of Jews expelling Jews cannot be gauged, but another such adventure would almost certainly cause a huge internal explosion and tear the country apart. The stupefying monetary cost of self-destruction would bankrupt the state. The de-Zionification of the state would require relinquishing Zion itself, since the Western Wall and the City of David are located in today’s East Jerusalem . The above considerations give us an inkling of how strong the defensive wall is that protects the State of Israel from sinking into the “Palestinian”-Arab sea surrounding it.
Troy, too, would have survived if only her own citizens hadn’t breached the wall of their glorious city by opening its gates to the parting gift of the despairing Greeks, the Trojan Horse that contained Troy ’s destruction . . .