Why Does Israel Play the "Palestine" and "Palestinians" Game?
Summary ... Why does the Israeli government continue to give credence to the lie that there really is a "Palestinian" people and that "Palestine" was once an actual country? It certainly does not serve the needs of the nation of Israel, except to give weak-kneed politicians a reason for not standing up and doing their job.
It is a well-known, historic fact that Palestine never existed as an independent country. Prior to 1967, those who [now] refer to themselves as 'Palestinians" were simply called Arabs. Other than the time when Israel (Judea, about 2,000 years ago) was the Jewish State, the region was conquered and ruled by foreign entities — the last ones being the Ottoman Empire and the British Empire. In every article written prior to the invention of "the Palestinians", they were referred to as Arabs, and the conflict was referred to as the Arab-Israeli conflict [Google lists more than 412,000 results—ed].
The Arabs want to make believe that they have existed as a "Palestinian" people in this region for "millennia", but other than a baseless narrative, they offer no verifiable proof. Arab leaders such as Yasser Arafat, and more recently, Saeb Erekat, make false claims about their lineage or place of birth. How does Erekat know he is of Canaanite lineage? Did anyone tell him that the Canaanites have ceased to exist and that no one can verify their lineage that far back?
Arafat was actually born in Cairo, Egypt, but always referred to himself as "Palestinian".
It is interesting to note that even though the region named Palestine, which was ruled by foreign entities, comprised Jordan and Syria, the Arabs choose only Gaza, Judea, Samaria and the rest of Israel as their "native homeland".
It is well known that if a lie is told often enough, and over a long period of time, it will become the truth. It is, therefore, not difficult to understand why the world has come to believe the lies that have been told. Since Israel herself recognizes the existence of both the name "Palestine" and the so-called "Palestinians", with no contest, it is therefore logical that the rest of the world has arrived to the very same conclusion.
Needless to say, with today's technology, everything is verifiable, and based on history, as well as archaeology, there is absolutely no evidence of a people called "Palestinians" in any area of the Middle East and in any historical period of time.
So why the change and appeasement within Israel's political and journalistic arenas? Does it serve Israel to buy the lies that the Arabs peddle, or does it simply confuse Israelis as well as the international community? How can Israel defend her position as a land without a people for a people without a land when she confers with and indulges the Arabs? How is it possible to give back a state that never existed — and to whom would it be returned?
The time has come to tell the truth and to refer to facts rather than to fantasies.
Let Us Begin With the Letter 'P'
Since the sound of the letter 'P' is non-existent in Arabic, how did the Arabs come to adopt their fake "Palestinian" identity?
First off, let us look at the origins of the name Palestine. It originates from the name Philistine, which was an invading entity whose origins are unclear — though it is commonly believed that the Philistines were from one of the Greek Islands or Asia Minor.
The Philistines (approximately 3,500-3,000 years ago), were often referred to as the Sea People — somewhat similar to pirates — are described in the Torah as invaders who were the most dangerous enemies of Judah — ruled by King David. The Philistines conquered and ruled the five city-states of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath.
Later on, when the Romans conquered Judah (Israel), 63 BC, they named it Judaea-Palaestine. Palaestina was adopted in order to humiliate the Jews, and as a reminder of a previous invasion by the Philistines.
Islam did not yet exist, and only came to existence about 450 years later.
Besides the Philistines and the Romans, Judah, or the region, was invaded by numerous foreign entities, such as, the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Hasmoneans, Hellenists, Byzantine, Islamic, Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottomans and lastly, the British.
During the Ottoman and the British rule, it was actually the Jews who were called "Palestinians". It even appeared as such in Jewish institutions such as, the Palestine Post (now the Jerusalem Post), The Anglo-Palestine Bank (now Bank Leumi), the Palestine Electricity Corporation Limited (now Israel's Electric Company). the Palestine Symphony Orchestra (now the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra)
So how did modern-day Arabs trick their way into adopting the "Palestinian" identity, which was abandoned by the Jews after Israel had been reestablished? Simple! They needed an identity with which to delegitimize Israel, and one had just become available. This interview will shine some light on how the KGB had a hand in inventing the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) and the newly found "Palestinian" identity.
If the word 'liberation" was replaced with the word "terrorist", it would be more accurate and infinitely more suitable to this so-called "organization."
When confronted with the fact that the sound of the letter 'P' is non-existent in the Arabic language, the Arabs will immediately defend their position by explaining that the name begins with the letter 'F'. Looking back into history, other than the Philistines who were invaders, there is absolutely no record of any people called "Filistines." Just for the record, it is impossible to track back to the Philistines, since they had ceased to exist without a trace. Furthermore, no Arab will ever admit that the name Palaestina was coined by the Romans and stolen by the Arabs. If the Arabs choose to be associated with invaders from approximately 1500 BC, it is actually quite appropriate, as most Arabs arrived to Ottoman-ruled and British Mandate Palestine when Jews had made the first migrations and began working the land.
Moreover, there is no such thing as "Palestinian" folklore, foods, or anything that can be associated with an alleged "Palestinian" people. Their folkloric dances, dishes, language, accent and garb are identical to those of the Jordanian's, Egyptian's, or Syrian's. That is to say, there is nothing that can be identified as exclusively "Palestinian."
What is particularly offensive, is the fact that the Arabs lie and claim that they are the only people who lived in this region, when in fact, there are several Israeli families who have grandparents and great-grandparents who were born in Ottoman and British Mandate Palestine — prior to Israel's reestablishment — and were called "Palestinians". This can easily be verified. Records show that the Arabs were called Arabs and not "Palestinians". This was their accepted name.
So how did the letter 'P' turn into the letter 'F'? It didn't! And we should call the Arabs by their real name — Arabs!
[Michelle Cohen is a pro-Israel activist who runs the Israeli Frontline blog.]
- Where is Palestine?
- Tongues of Deceit
- The History and Meaning of "Palestine" and "Palestinians"
- How Strong Is the Arab Claim to Palestine?
- The Palestinian Lie
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