Who Are The Palestinians?
What & Where is Palestine?
These and other questions will be addressed more fully as you go through this article. However, there is a preliminary historical fact that must be established now. There has never been a civilization or a nation referred to as "Palestine" and the very notion of a "Palestinian Arab nation" having ancient attachments to the Holy Land going back to time immemorial is one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon the world! There is not, nor has there ever been, a distinct "Palestinian" culture or language. Further, there has never been a Palestinian state governed BY Arab Palestinians in history, nor was there ever a serious Arab-Palestinian national movement until 1964... three years BEFORE the Arabs of "Palestine" lost the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War (which the Arabs started). Even the so-called leader of the "Palestinian" people, Yasser Arafat, is EGYPTIAN! In short, the so-called Arab "Palestinians" are a manufactured people...a people with no history and no authenticity... whose sole purpose for existence is to destroy the Jewish State!
Israel first became a nation in 1312 B.C.E., two thousand years before the rise of Islam! Seven hundred and twenty-six years later in 586 B.C.E. these first ancient Jews in the Land of Israel [Judea] were overrun and Israel's First Jewish Temple (on Jerusalem's Old City Temple Mount) was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, king of ancient Babylon. Many of the Jews were killed or expelled; however many were allowed to remain. These Jews along with their progeny and other Jews who would resettle over the next 500 years, rebuilt the Nation of Israel and also a Second Temple in Jerusalem upon the Temple Mount. Thus the claim that Jews suddenly appeared fifty years ago right after the Holocaust and drove out the Arabs is preposterous! Then in 70 C.E.(nearly 2000 years ago), it was the Roman Empire's turn to march through ancient Israel and destroy the SECOND Jewish Temple, slaughtering or driving out much of its Jewish population. Many Jews left on their own because conditions for life were made unbearable in many respects... yet thousands upon thousands stayed and rebelled on for centuries in order to once again rebuild a Jewish Nation in this Holy Land.
Over 3250 years, various Peoples, Religions and Empires marched through Jerusalem, Israel's ancient capital. The region was successively ruled by the Hebrews [Jews], Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Maccabeans, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Egyptians, the Crusaders, Mamelukes, the Turks (who indifferently governed the backward, neglected territory from the 16th century until the British drove them out during World War I) and then once again by the Jews in 1948. None bothered, nor were they in the least bit inclined, to build a Nation of their own... EXCEPT the Jews!
It must be noted that in 636 C.E., when the Arabs marauders came to the land and uprooted even more of its Jews, they did not form any Arab nation there... and certainly not a "Palestinian" nation. They were simply "Arabs" who, as did others before them, moved into a geo-political area called "Palestine!" And remember this one fact... it was not the Jews who "usurped" (a favorite word from the Arab propagandists) the land from the Arabs. If anything, it was the Arabs in 636 C.E. who overran and stole it from the Jews!
No nation, other than the ancient nation of Israel and later again in 1948 with the rebirth of the 2nd Nation of Israel, has ever ruled as a sovereign national entity on this land. A mighty Jewish empire extended over this entire area before the Arabs --- and their Islam --- were even born! The Jewish People have one of the most legitimate Birth Certificates of any nations in the world. Every time there is an archaeological dig in Israel, it does nothing but support the fact that the Jewish People have had a presence there for well over 3,000 years. The national coins, the pottery, the cities, the ancient Hebrew texts... all support this claim. Yes, other peoples have passed through, but there is no mistaking the fact that Jews have always had a continual presence in that land for over 3,000 years. This predates and certain dwarfs any claims that other peoples in the regions may have. The ancient Philistines are extinct. Many other ancient peoples are extinct. They do not have the unbroken line to this date that the Jews have. And if you want to talk religion, fine. God GAVE the Land of Israel to the Jewish People. And God does nothing by accident!"PALESTINE?"
The term "Palestine" came from the name that the conquering Roman Empire gave the ancient Land of Israel in an attempt to obliterate and de-legitimize the Jewish presence in the Holy Land. The name "Palestine" was invented in the year 135 C.E. Before it was known as Judea, which was the southern kingdom of ancient Israel. The Roman Procurator in charge of the Judean-Israel territories was so angry at the Jews for revolting that he called for his historians and asked them who were the worst enemies of the Jews in their past history. The scribes said, "the Philistines." Thus, the Procurator declared that Land of Israel would from then forward be called "Philistia" [further bastardized into "Palaistina"] to dishonor the Jews and obliterate their history. Hence the name "Palestine."
One more thing. Very often one hears the revisionists and propagandists finding ancient historical links between the "Philistines" ("Invaders" in Hebrew) and the Arab "Palestinians." There is no truth to this claim! The Philistines were one of a number of Sea Peoples who reached the eastern Mediterranean region approximately 1250-1100 B.C.E. They were actually an amalgamation of various ethnic groups, primarily of Aegean and south-east European origin [Greece, Crete and Western Turkey] and they died out over 2500 years ago! Those Philistines were not Arab... and neither was Goliath! The Arabs of "Palestine" are just that... Arabs! And these Arabs of "Palestine" have about as much historical roots to the ancient Philistines as Yasser Arafat has to the Eskimos!
The ancient, indigenous inhabitants of Palestine are long perished from the earth. Canaanites, Phoencians, and then Philistines, all were dominated by the Israelites before 1060 B.C.E. Most of these cultural identities dissolved completely by the neo-Babylonian age, or, the 6th century B.C.E. Arabs weren't even in Palestine until the mid-7th century C.E., over a thousand years later, after Palestine's 1,300-year Jewish history. Arabs later living in Palestine never developed themselves or the land, but remained nomadic and quasi-primitive.
Even the word "Palestine" has no meaning in Arabic - every word in Arabic has some meaning deriving from the Koran, but the word "Palestine" does not. Even the term "Palestinian people" is rather ironic since the letter "P" is non-existent in the Arab language. If anything, the name "Palestine" was associated with Jews. In the years leading up to the rebirth of Israel in 1948, those who spoke of "Palestinians" were nearly always referring to the region's Jewish residents. For example, the "Palestine Post" [forerunner of today's Jerusalem Post] newspaper and the Palestine Symphony Orchestra were all-Jewish. The "Palestine Brigade Regiment" was composed exclusively of Jewish volunteers in the British World War II Army. In fact, Arab leaders rejected the notion of a unique "Palestinian Arab" identity, insisting that Palestine was merely a part of "Greater Syria."THE RETURN TO ZION A return through both time and space to their ancestral homeland
The Land of Israel was never devoid of Jews, although at times she numbered only in the tens of thousands. This was because the land was virtually uninhabitable when the Jews once again began their God-given right AND duty to return en masse to the land of their forefathers (the Zionist Movement) in the 1880s. The silly rhetoric about a massive Arab presence being overrun by "invading Jews" is quickly dispelled by Mark Twain, who visited the area in 1867. From his book, "The Innocents Abroad"... "A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent mournful expanse.... a desolation.... we never saw a human being on the whole route.... hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country."
The Jews did not displace anyone, because very few of the people who were there actually owned the land. Most were absentee owners residing elsewhere. Another fact hardly mentioned by the "new historians" is that the arriving Jews never threw anyone off any land. All land was purchased legally from the original owners... whether they be from "Palestine" itself or elsewhere. Furthermore, top dollar was paid for this land which, in many cases, was uninhabited and hardly more than swamp land and rocky terrain. Only about 120,000 Arabs resided in an area that now comprises the State of Israel, Jordan and the so-called "West Bank" [Judea and Samaria] in between. By 1890, the number of Jews who had settled in Palestine reached 50,000 and, by 1907, numbered 100,000. In Jerusalem alone the Jews numbered more than 25,000, out of a total population in the city of only 40,000 Jews, Christians and Arabs. The Arabs did, however, constitute a majority over the sparsely populated countryside abutting Jerusalem.
From 1888 until 1915 there were about six locust plagues that made the land nearly uninhabitable. In the 1915 locust plague alone some 40,000 people died and large numbers of Jews and Arabs left the land. Those that returned did not do so until about 1922 when the Zionist money to reclaim the land started coming in and a pipe line was laid. Then both Arabs and Jews started to come in in large numbers.
Palestine's early Jewish Zionists were idealistic pioneers who arrived in pre-state Israel with every intention of living in peace alongside their Arab neighbors and upgrading the quality of life for all of the land's inhabitants. These pre-Israel Zionists (and later, Israelis) had tried to develop peacefully for the dual benefit of Jews and Arabs in the land. But the Arab leadership always, starting in the earliest days, took the low road of insisting that the only solution was for the Jews to get out, even if that meant continued poverty and stagnation. When Arab demands were not met, they always resorted to violence.
The vast majority of Arabs came to the area after these early Zionist pioneers began draining the malaria-infested swamps (above photo) and plowing the land! In doing so, these Jews created the economic opportunities and medical availabilities which attracted Arabs from both surrounding territories and far-away lands! In fact, over 90% of the Arabs migrated there within the last one hundred years. Most of the Arabs in "Palestine" were interlopers and squatters originating from Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and other lands who simply took possession of pieces of land. So much for their unfounded claims that they have been there since "time immemorial!" These Arabs came from disorganized collections of tribes with a tradition of constantly terrorizing each other and trying to seize land from their neighbors. Many of them were social outcasts and criminals who could not find jobs in their own countries so they searched for their luck elsewhere. Unfortunately, those Arab immigrants imported into the Holy Land their age-old culture of terrorizing neighbors in order to seize land. In fact, today's Arab "Palestinians", let by Arafat and his PLO (sanitized to the PA, or Palestinian Authority...which is nothing more than A Network of Murderers Masquerading As Government!) are still nothing more than street thugs, bullies and 'Little Saddams' found elsewhere throughout most of the most Arab world.
Yet while the returning Jews were highly motivated to restore the land, the Arabs seethed with envy and hatred for they lacked both the leadership to inspire and motivate them for they were, in fact, historical strangers to this land! Unlike the Jews, those Arabs who immigrated there had no ancient attachments to or historical memories of this homeland ... this ancient Land of the JEWS!
The real problem facing those Arabs today is not the lack of a homeland. The historical root-cause of their problem and frustration is the fact that the countries they came from have not agreed to accept them back in. This is why so many of them live, up until today, in refugee camps, in neighboring Arab countries, lacking fundamental civil rights. In their frustration they feel that the only hope and choice they have is to try and steal someone else's country!WHAT DOES "PALESTINE" MEAN?
It has never been the name of a nation or state. It is a geographical term, used to designate the region at those times in history when there is no nation or state there.
The word itself derives from "Peleshet", a name that appears frequently in the Bible and has come into English as "Philistine". The name came into use in the thirteenth century BCE, for the "Sea Peoples" who migrated from the region of the Aegean Sea and the Greek Islands and settled on the southern coast of the land of Canaan. There they established five independent city-states (including Gaza) on a narrow strip of land known as Philistia. The Greeks and Romans called it "Palastina".
The Philistines were not Arabs, they were not Semites . They had no connection, ethnic, linguistic or historical with Arabia or Arabs. The name "Falastin" that Arabs today use for "Palestine" is not an Arabic name. It is the Arab pronunciation of the Greco-Roman "Palastina" derived from Peleshet.HOW DID THE LAND OF ISRAEL BECOME "PALESTINE"?
In the First Century CE, the Romans crushed the independent kingdom of Judea. After the failed rebellion of Bar Kokhba in the Second Century CE, the Roman Emperor Hadrian determined to wipe out the identity of Israel-Judah-Judea. Therefore, he took the name Palastina and imposed it on all the Land of Israel. At the same time, he changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina.
The Romans killed many Jews and sold many more in slavery. Some of those who survived still alive and free left the devastated country, but there was never a complete abandonment of the Land. There was never a time when there were not Jews and Jewish communities, though the size and conditions of those communities fluctuated greatly.THE HISTORY OF PALESTINE
Thousands of years before the Romans invented "Palastina" the land had been known as "Canaan". The Canaanites had many tiny city-states, each one at times independent and at times a vassal of an Egyptian or Hittite king. The Canaanites never united into a state.
After the Exodus from Egypt probably in the Thirteenth Century BCE but perhaps earlier --, the Children of Israel settled in the land of Canaan. There they formed first a tribal confederation, and then the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and the post-biblical Kingdom of Judea.
From the beginning of history to this day, Israel-Judah-Judea has the only united, independent, sovereign nation-state that ever existed in "Palestine" west of the Jordan River.(In biblical times, Ammon, Moab and Edom as well as Israel had land east of the Jordan, but they disappeared in antiquity and no other nation took their place until the British invented Trans-Jordan in the 1920s.)
After the Roman conquest of Judea, "Palastina" became a province of the pagan Roman Empire and then of the Christian Byzantine Empire, and very briefly of the Zoroastrian Persian Empire. In 638 CE, an Arab-Muslim Caliph took Palastina away from the Byzantine Empire and made it part of an Arab-Muslim Empire. The Arabs, who had no name of their own for this region, adopted the Greco-Roman name Palastina, that they pronounced "Falastin".
In that period, much of the mixed population of Palastina converted to Islam and adopted the Arabic language. They were subjects of a distant Caliph who ruled from his capital, that was first in Damascus and later in Baghdad. They did not become a nation or an independent state, or develop a distinct society or culture.
In 1099, Christian Crusaders from Europe conquered Palastina-Falastin. After 1099, it was never again under Arab rule. The Christian Crusader kingdom was politically independent, but never developed a national identity. It remained a military outpost of Christian Europe, and lasted less than 100 years. Thereafter, Palestine was joined to Syria as a subject province first of the Mameluks, ethnically mixed slave-warriors whose center was in Egypt, and then of the Ottoman Turks, whose capital was in Istanbul.
During the First World War, the British took Palestine from the Ottoman Turks. At the end of the war, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and among its subject provinces "Palestine" was assigned to the British, to govern temporarily as a mandate from the League of Nations.
When Israel were in debrishes, the restoration of the "desolate and unlovely" land began in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century with the first Jewish pioneers. Their labors created newer and better conditions and opportunities, which in turn attracted migrants from many parts of the Middle East, both Arabs and others.
The Balfour Declaration of 1917, confirmed by the League of Nations Mandate, commited the British Government to the principle that "His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish National Home, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object.... " It was specified both that this area be open to "close Jewish settlement" and that the personal rights of all inhabitants already in the country be preserved and protected.
Mandate Palestine originally included all of what is now Jordan, as well as all of what is now Israel, and the territories between them. However, when Great Britain's protege Emir Abdullah was forced to leave the ancestral Hashemite domain in Arabia, the British created a realm for him that included all of Mandate Palestine east of the Jordan River. There was no traditional or historic Arab name for this land, so it was called after the river: first Trans-Jordan and later Jordan.
By this political act, that violated the conditions of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate, the British cut more than 75 percent out of the Jewish National Home. No Jew has ever been permitted to reside in Trans-Jordan/Jordan.
Less than 25 percent then remained of Mandate Palestine, and even in this remnant, the British violated the Balfour and Mandate requirements for a "Jewish National Home" and for "close Jewish settlement". They progressively restricted where Jews could buy land, where they could live, build, farm or work.
After the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel was finally able to settle some small part of those lands from which the Jews had been debarred by the British. Successive British governments regularly condemn their settlement as "illegal". In truth, it was the British who had acted illegally in banning Jews from these parts of the Jewish National Home.WHO IS A PALESTINIAN?
During the period of the Mandate, it was the Jewish population that was known as "Palestinians", including those who served in the British Army in World War II.
British policy was to curtail their numbers and progressively limit Jewish immigration. By 1939, the White Paper virtually put an end to admission of Jews to Palestine. This policy was imposed the most stringently at the very time this Home was most desperately needed -- after the rise of Nazi power in Europe. Jews who might have developed the empty lands of Palestine and left progeny there, instead died in the gas chambers of Europe or in the seas they were trying to cross to the Promised Land.
At the same time that the British slammed the gates on Jews, they permitted or ignored massive illegal immigration into Western Palestine from Arab countries Jordan, Syria, Egypt, North Africa.
In 1939, Winston Churchill noted that "So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied ...." Exact population statistics may be problematic, but it seems that by 1947 the number of Arabs west of the Jordan River was approximately triple of what it had been in 1900.The current myth is that these Arabs were long established in Palestine, until the Jews came and "displaced" them. The fact is, that recent Arab immigration into Palestine "displaced" the Jews. That the massive increase in Arab population was very recent is attested by the ruling of the United Nations: That any Arab who had lived in Palestine for two years and then left in 1948 qualifies as a "Palestinian refugees".
Casual use of population statistics for Jews and Arabs in Palestine rarely consider how the proportions came to be. One factor was the British policy of keeping out Jews while bringing in Arabs. Another factor was the violence used to kill or drive out Jews even where they had been long established.
For one example: The Jewish connection with Hebron goes back to Abraham, and there has been an Israelite/Jewish community there since Joshua long before it was King David's first capital. In 1929, Arab rioters -- with the passive consent of the British -- murdered or drove out the entire ancient Jewish community.
For another example: In 1948, Trans-Jordan seized much of Judea and Samaria (which they called The West Bank) and East Jerusalem and the Old City. They killed or drove out every Jew.
It is now often proposed as a principle of international law and morality that all places that the British and the Arabs rendered Judenrein must forever remain so. In contrast, Israel, eventually allotted 17 percent of Mandate Palestine, had to absorb a large and growing population of Arab citizens.
By 1948, the Arabs had still not yet discovered their ancient nation of Falastin . When they were offered half of Palestine west of the Jordan River for a state, the offer was violently rejected. Six Arab states launched a war of annihilation against the nascent State of Israel. Their purpose was not to establish an independent Falastin. Their aim was to partition western Palestine amongst themselves.
They did not succeed in killing Israel, but Trans-Jordan succeeded in taking Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and East Jerusalem, killing or driving out all the Jews who had lived in those places, and banning Jews of all nations from Jewish holy places. Egypt succeeded in taking the Gaza Strip. These two Arab states held these lands until 1967. Then they launched another war of annihilation against Israel, and in consequence lost the lands they had taken by war in 1948.
During those 19 years, 1948-1967, Jordan and Egypt never offered to surrendar those lands to make up an independent state of Falastin. The "Palestinians" never sought it. Nobody in the world ever suggested it, much less demanded it.
In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded, with a charter that proclaimed its sole purpose to be the destruction of Israel. To that end it helped to precipitate the Arab attack on Israel in 1967.
The outcome of that attack then inspired a revision of public rhetoric. As propaganda, it sounds better to speak of the liberation of Falastin than of the destruction of Israel. Much of the world, governments and media and public opinion, accept virtually without question or serious analysis the new-sprung myth of an Arab nation of Falastin, whose territory is unlawfully occupied by the Jews.
Since the end of World War I, the Arabs of the Middle East and North Africa have been given independent states in 99.5 percent of the land they demanded.
Lord Balfour himself expressed a doomed hope that out of the vast territories bestowed upon the Arabs, they "would not begrudge" the Jews their "little notch".Conclusion:
There was no "Arab Palestinian" history before the Arabs manufactured one shortly after 1948, and then especially after the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War! In an interview with the Dutch newspaper "Trau" (March 31, 1977), PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein said, "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. It is also been a "conceptual" war for ownership of the term "Palestinian" which has been transferred over to the Arabs whereas, before 1967, "Palestine" has always been synonymous with Eretz Israel and the Land of Israel.
Archeological sites to this very day continue to yield artifacts with Hebrew writing, not some fictitious "Palestinian" or Arabic text! The so-called "Palestinian" Arabs were simply then, as they are now, Arabs no different culturally, historically or ethnically from other Arabs living in any of the 24 Arab countries from which they emigrated. The suggestion that the "Palestinians" are some sub-group of Arabs with their own unique identity is pure fiction! Great propaganda... but still pure fiction! And had not the Arabs continued to brainwash generation upon generation into believing this HISTORICAL HOGWASH about some ancient "Arab Palestinian" ties to the Holy Land, most could have gotten themselves a real life by now with much less bloodshed and suffering for everyone concerned!