The British chose to call the land they mandated Palestine, and the Arabs picked it up as their nation’s supposed ancient name, though they couldn’t even pronounce it correctly and turned it into Falastin a fictional entity.” — Golda Meir quoted by Sarah Honig, Jerusalem Post, 25 November 1995
Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 percent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of one percent of the landmass. But that’s too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today . . . No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough. — from “Myths of the Middle East”, Joseph Farah, Arab-American editor and journalist, WorldNetDaily, 11 October 2000
A while ago I came across a paper written by Jeremy R. Hammond entitled “The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel.” In his diatribe he begins his bitter prolonged discourse based on the assumption, purveyed by those ever so sad losers of Nachba fame, that there was an entity, a “country” if you may, called “Palestine”. So allow me to debunk the false claim of a existence of a country whose sole inhabitants were “unjustly” usurped of “their” land known as “Falestine”.
Here are true historical facts.
The word ‘Palestinian’ is never found in Scripture. The term ‘Palestine’ is used four times in the King James Version (Exodus 15:14) Philistia (פְּלָשֶׁת); Isaiah 14:29, 31 (O Philistia) but never as synonymous with either the land of Canaan or the land of Israel. The Hebrew word is פְּלִשְׁתִּים, Plištim and referred to a small region also known as Philistia (Psalms 60:10, 87:4, 108:10), the land of the Pelishtee, or Philistines. It occurs 286 times in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew bible (of which 152 times in Samuel 1), whereas in the Greek Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, the equivalent term phylistiim occurs only 12 times, with the remaining 269 references instead using the term “allophylos” (“of another tribe”).
“In the New Testament, the term Palestine is never used. The term Israel is primarily used to refer to the people of Israel, rather than the Land. However, in at least two passages, Israel is used to refer to the Land: (Matt. 2:20-21)
In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:
20: Saying, Arise, and take the young
child and his mother, and go into
the land of Israel: for they are dead
21: which sought the young child’s life.
And he arose, and took the young child and
his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
The World English Bible translates the passage as:
20: “Arise and take the young child
and his mother, and go into the
land of Israel, for those who sought
the young child’s life are dead.”
21: He arose and took the young child and
his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
And in the Aramaic Bible in Plain English (Matt. 10:23)
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say to you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man shall have come.
“The first passage is when Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned from Egypt to Israel, and the second has reference to the proclamation of the Gospel throughout the Land of Israel. Jesus, Matthew and the angel speaking to Joseph use the term Israel with reference to the Land, even though the term was not then recognized by the Roman authorities.It is clear, then, that the Bible never uses the term Palestine to refer to the Holy Land as a whole, and that Bible maps that refer to Palestine in the Old or New Testament are, at best, inaccurate, and, at worst, are a conscious denial of the biblical name of Israel.” Dr. Thomas McCall
The Romans called this land as a whole Iudaea (from the Greek Ioudaia). The land was mainly inhabited by Jews and was ruled by Jews. Therefore, Lord Robert Cecil, acting British foreign secretary, was right to use the name Judea for the whole land in his famous remark: “Our wish is that Arabian countries shall be for the Arabs, Armenia for the Armenians, and Judea for the Jews” (December 2, 1917).
The Christian Crusaders had typically called the country the Holy Land (Terra Sancta) and it was still the usual Western name for the country in the nineteenth century, although it alternated with Palestine, Judea, Zion, the Land of Israel, Land of the Bible, etc., and the Land was sometimes seen as part of Syria, the Levant, or other geographic notions.
The highly respected Enciclopedia Italiana (Vol. 26, “Palestina”; ca. 1930) tells us that the name “Palestine” came “to prevail in modern times” over other names. This change apparently took place out of the “scientific” motive to avoid the religious connotations of Holy Land.
Under the of the Ottoman Empire this area was known as Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem or as the Sanjak of Jerusalem with special administrative status established in 1872. The Ottoman Turkish Empire was basically a Sunni Islamic state founded by Oghuz Turks under Osman I in northwestern Anatolia in 1299. The sultanate was abolished on 1 November 1922, and the last sultan, Mehmed VI who reigned from 1918–22, left the Turkey on 17 November 1922. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey declared the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 1923 and the caliphate was finally abolished on 3 March 1924.
The Ottoman Empire that had fought on the side of the Central Powers Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I was soundly defeated. Not long after the conclusion of the First World War the allies, specifically Great Britain and France who were represented by the French diplomat François Georges-Picot and Briton Sir Mark Sykes divided up the former Ottoman Turkish Empire into spheres of influence under the Sykes –Picot agreement of 16 May 1916 and after the war into the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration.
Sir Mark Sykes had been a Protégé of Lord Kitchener, the British Secretary of State for War in World War I. Kitchener placed Sykes on the de Bunsen Committee which was established on 8 April 1915 by British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, and was headed by Sir Maurice de Bunsen. The committee was established by the British government to determine their policy toward the Ottoman Empire during World War I and to determine it’s fate in the aftermath.
Though Sykes never got to really know Kitchener well, he had Kitchener’s confidence as they shared a similar outlook on affairs in the Middle East. It was due to Kitchener’s backing of Sykes that he was soon the dominant person on the de Bunsen Committee, and thereby gained great influence on the outcome of British Middle Eastern policy.
The Arab Bureau as a section of the Cairo Intelligence Department during the First World War that was created upon Sykes’s instigation. It was Sykes and his fellows in this group, Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence the most famous of them, who revived ancient Greek and Roman names for Middle Eastern regions. Such terms in common use today includes “Syria”, “Palestine”, “Iraq” and “Mesopotamia”.
Sykes also designed the “Flag of the Arab Revolt“, in an effort to create a feeling of “Arab-ness” in order to fuel the revolt. The horizontal colors stand for the Abbasid (black), Umayyad (white) and Fatimid (green) Caliphates. The red triangle refers to the Hashemite dynasty – who had been allies of the British in the conflict against the Ottoman Empire. After the war ended, the Hashemites achieved or were granted rule in the Hejaz region of Arabia, Jordan, formally known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, briefly in Greater Syria, and Iraq.
A combination of the colors red, green, black and white are seen today in the flags of nationalities that did not exist before the First World War. These countries are: Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Kuwait, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.
Walid Shoebat once said that the “Palestinians” are the newest of all the peoples on the face of the Earth, and began to exist in a single day by a kind of supernatural phenomenon that is unique in the whole history of mankind, as witnessed by Walid Shoebat who said “Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian?” that over night “…all of the sudden we were Palestinians – they removed the star from the Jordanian flag and all at once we had a Palestinian flag”.
The OETA was a joint British and French military administration over Levantine and Mesopotamian provinces of the former Ottoman Empire established between 1918 to 1920.The area of formerly Ottoman territory was under occupation and Field Marshal Edmund Allenby (Dec 1917 – Jun 1918) was appointed a Chief Administrator for OETA South. He divided the country into four districts: Jerusalem, Jaffa, Majdal and Beersheba, each under a military governor.
OETA South, consisted of the Ottoman Sanjaks of Jerusalem or the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem, together with the Sanjak of Nablus and Sanjak of Acre, they formed the region that was commonly referred to as “Southern Syria” by the Arabs who did not see this land as a separate country but merely considered the area in question as an undifferentiated part of Bilad ash-Sham (usually translated as Syria or Greater Syria).
“What the British call Palestine was part of the Province of Syria […] politically, the Arabs of the Mandated Area were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity.”
Faris al-Khoury was born in Hasbaya in southern Lebanon. He was not only a die-hard Syrian nationalist but what was remarkable about him is that the fact that he was Christian. He served as Prime Minister of Syria twice from October 14, 1944 to October 1, 1945 and from October 1954 to February 13, 1955. Faris Khoury was also the first Syrian statesman to visit the United States and represent his country at the inauguration of the UN in 1945.
This Arab view that the name “Palestine” was not identified with the Arabs living in the Mandated areas lasted until the end of the British mandate period. As we see from Arab writings and political declarations such as that of Prof. Philip Hitti, an Arab-American historian, who taught at Princeton University when he testified against partition before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946: ” There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.”
At the San Remo conference, an international meeting of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council, held at Villa Devachan in San Remo, Italy, from 19 to 26 April 1920. Attended by the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I who were represented by the prime Ministers of Britain (David Lloyd George), France (Alexandre Millerand) and Italy (Francesco Nitti) and by Japan’s Ambassador K. Matsui.
Resolutions were passed at this conference that determined the allocation of Class “A” League of Nations mandates for administration of the former Ottoman-ruled lands of the Middle East Resolution adopted on 25 April 1920 that incorporated the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It and Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations were the basic documents upon which the British Mandate for Palestine was constructed. Under the Balfour Declaration, the British government had undertaken to favour the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine without prejudice to 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. Britain received the mandate for Palestine and Iraq; France gained control of Syria, including present-day Lebanon in complete disregard to other League of Nations representatives who had been opposed to the Sykes-Picot agreement.
When the British received the mandate at the San Remo after the utter defeat and breaking apart of the Ottoman Turkish Empire in 1922 they called the land on both sides of the Jordan River, by the Roman term “Palestine”. It was specifically employed to avoid the use of the name Israel by members of the British Foreign Office, who despised the Balfour Declaration. According to the Minutes of the Ninth Session of the League of Nations’ Permanent Mandate Commission:
Lieutenant Colonel Sir George Stewart Symes (1882–1962) explained that the country was described as ‘Palestine’ by Europeans and as ‘Falestina’ by the Arabs. The Hebrew name for the area was the designation ‘Land of Israel’, and the British Government grudgingly agreed to meet Jewish wishes by allowing the use of the initials which stood for that designation ‘Land of Israel’ in Hebrew characters following the word “Palestine” in all official documents and monies.
Article 22 of the Mandate for Palestine states:English, Arabic and Hebrew shall be the official languages of Palestine. Any statement or inscription in Arabic on stamps or money in Palestine shall be repeated in Hebrew and any statement or inscription in Hebrew shall be repeated in Arabic.
As a set-off to this, certain of the Arab politicians suggested that the country should be called ‘Southern Syria’ in order to emphasize its close relation with another Arab State” and not the word “Palestine” which the Arabs saw as applied almost exclusively to Jews and the institutions founded by new Jewish immigrants in the first half of the 20th century, before independence.
Some examples include:
- The badges that the members of the Jewish Brigade from WWII are labeled in Hebrew “Palestina” and with it the letters א”י – Aleph Yud – Eretz Yisrael!
- The Jerusalem Post, founded in 1932, was called the Palestine Post until 1948.
- Bank Leumi L’Israel was called the “Anglo-Palestine Bank, a Jewish Company.”
- The Jewish Agency – an arm of the Zionist movement engaged in Jewish settlement since 1929 – was called the Jewish Agency for Palestine.
- The house organ of American Zionism in the 1930s was called New Palestine.
- Today’s Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1936 by German Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany, was called the “Palestine Symphony Orchestra, composed of some 70 Palestinian Jews.”
- The United Jewish Appeal (UJA) was established in 1939 as a merger of the United Palestine Appeal and the fundraising arm of the Joint Distribution Committee.
Lt Colonel Symes further stated that the “indigenous people” who resided in the OttomanTurkish Empire area prior to the Mandate in 1922 where a mixed group of peoples and there was no clamor made by them to be identified as “Falestinians”.
Both sides do agree that God gave the land of Canaan (which became Israel) to Abraham and to his heirs forever and that Ishmael was Abraham’s firstborn son, whereas Isaac was the second but the firstborn of Sarah and of the promise.The custom in Abraham’s day, acknowledged in the Torah, gave the firstborn prior claim to the inheritance. In fact the Torah relays the story that Abraham was satisfied with Ishmael as his child and that he considered him to be the son God had promised. Abraham didn’t even want God to give him another son as mentioned in (Gen 17:18) It is by this story the Arab descendants of Ishmael believe of themselves to be the legitimate heirs. And as the Bible tells us God brought Abraham into the ‘land of Canaan…and the Canaanite [not the ‘Palestinian’] was then in the land’ (Gen 12:5-6). God gave that land by an everlasting covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen 24:7) – not to Ishmael. In obedience to God, Abraham ‘settled in the land of Canaan’ (Gen 13:12).Therefore there was no such land as ‘Palestine’ in Abraham’s day and thus no such people as ‘Palestinians’ from whom any of today’s Arabs could claim descent. In actual fact, Ishmael’s descendants settled in the Arabian Peninsula hundreds of miles from the land God gave Abraham.
This claim by Semitic Arabs of being descendants of a non-Semitic people who allegedly lived for thousands of years in a land called Palestine is a blatant hoax intended to delegitimize the Israelis and claim the land of Israel for themselves. True the “Land of Israel” was then inhabited by Canaanites, Kenites, Kenizites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaims, Amorites, Girgashites and Jebusites’ (Gen 12:6; 13:7; 15:18-21; 23:10; etc.). If today’s ‘Palestinian’ Arabs are descended from the original inhabitants of the land of Canaan, which ones of those listed above would it be? In fact, no descendants of the original inhabitants of Canaan have survived to this day. Yet the world continues to accept this fraudulent claim. In any case according to all historical proof, the original “Palestinians” had nothing to do, whatsoever, with any Arabs.