Alex Rose

Being Remiss

Over the years, almost every Muslim leader in discussion with Israel’s counterpart is reminded to address the infamous “Two-State Solution.” Even a well disposed Anwar Sadat, in a closing discussion with Menachem Begin, while agreeing to a 5 year delay, emphasized this issue.

David Meir-Levi’s “Stolen History: How the ‘Palestinians’ And Their Allies Attack Israel’s Right to Exist by Erasing Its Past”, authored in 2011, corrects the much needed response at the time.

On May 14, 2011, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said, “We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims that they [the Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3,000 years BCE—we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7,000 year history BCE. This is the truth, which must be understood and we have to note it, in order to say:” Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.”

Understanding the “political reasons” for Arab lies so cheerfully acknowledged requires an acquaintance with the scope and strategy of the decades-long propaganda war against Israel. The goal in this propaganda war is to delegitimize Israel, rebranding it a rogue and racist state, as a way of convincing other countries that supporting The Jewish State is in fact supporting evil.

The key elements of this strategy are on full display in the unremitting attacks at the UN on Israel’s “occupation” and “settlement” of Palestine, in the boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] campaigns directed at trustees of US and European universities, and in the Nakba demonstrations on American campuses mourning the creation of Israel as an act of genocide against the “indigenous Palestinian people.”

Now reality suggests otherwise. Israel is, in fact, the only indigenous state in the Land of Israel. The goal in the propaganda war is to delegitimize Israel, rebranding it a rogue and racist state, as a way of convincing other countries that supporting the Jewish State is in fact supporting evil
Less visible , but perhaps even more important in the propaganda war on Israel is an intensifying effort to eradicate the ancient history of Israel and the Jews, the ”facts on the ground” that stretch back to biblical times, and replace it with the fiction of a “Palestinian antiquity” recently stolen by rapacious Jews. This revisionist historical offensive against Israel is waged by an army of Arab scholars , religious leaders, political leaders, journalists, and their enablers in the West.

The “Israel Denial” at the heart of the methodical falsification of a region’s history is nothing less than an effort to commit a conceptual genocide on the Jewish people, an act serving as a legitimization of the literal genocide some Arab leaders have called for.

For some Arab leaders the goal was the same but the strategy differed. In a March 31, 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw, Zahir Muhsein, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, stated, “The Palestinian people do 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.

In short, Arab leaders committed to the destruction of Israel invented the concept of the “Palestinian people” in order to justify their interminable war against Israel.

The entire endeavor to steal Israel’s history and replace it with the fiction of a Palestinian nation of high antiquity in “historic Palestine” is war by other means. And as in all wars, the 1st casualty is the truth. But what of the connection between today’s Palestinians and the Philistines ?

What does Palestine mean? Are the Palestinians Descendants of the Ancient Philistines? Apparently, one of the most famous nations associated with Ancient Israel in the Bible are the Philistines. Today, one of the most famous nations associated with that land are the Palestinians. Furthermore, the two nations share a similar name. For this reason, many people wonder, are the Palestinians the modern-day descendents of the Ancient Philistines?

Who were the Philistines?
They were a nation that lived on the Mediterranean coast of the land of Canaan. Their territory essentially started from Egypt’s border and stretched partway to the border of Phoenicia. Inland from them were the Israelites.

The Philistines appear to have emerged from two waves of migration. From around 2000 BCE, there is evidence of extensive Aegean expansion towards the Levant. The Minoans from Crete appear to have established colonies in this area. Perhaps these started off as trading colonies, but in any case, they became the Philistines known by patriarchs.

However, by the 5th century BCE, it appears that all historical and archaeological trace of them had disappeared. They may have survived as a group for some time thereafter, but Alexander the Great’s conquests in the following century certainly eliminated whatever trace of that nation was left.

Did the Palestinians come from the Philistines? Since the Philistines were completely destroyed during the 6th to 4th centuries BCE, it is clear that no modern nation comes from them, including the Palestinians. So where did the Palestinians come from?

The Greeks began using the term ‘Palestine’ to refer to the whole region between Egypt and Phoenicia. This term does come directly from ‘Philistine.’

Eventually, after the Jewish-Roman wars of the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, the Romans began using the term ‘Syria Palestrina’ for the entire area formerly covered by Judea and Samaria. This term for the region remained popular, evolving into the ‘Palestine’ of modern times. Gradually, in modern times, the people who lived there started identifying as Palestinians.

We can hardly imagine that the Babylonian and Greek conquests wiped out every single Philistine family. Even though these conquests wiped out the Philistines as a national or ethnic entity, there must be some descendants today.

Did the ancient Philistines become the Palestinians?

In conclusion, the modern-day Palestinians did not emerge directly from the Ancient Philistines of Biblical times. Rather, the term ‘Palestinians’ describes the population of modern Palestine. It is a population primarily comprised of Arabs. This population arrived in the area principally during the Islamic conquests of the Levant.

Some Ancient Philistine families must have descendants among the modern Palestinians , although they are completely imperceptible. As a distinct group.

Rabbi Doron Perez, Director-General of Mizrachi has posted, “The Philistines and Anti-Semitism Today”, a Series by World Mizrachi .It is breathtaking how to see how the Philistines of the Bible inform us to a deeper understanding of their namesake and spiritual heirs—the modern day Palestinians: although they have no religious, historical, or cultural connection to the ancient Philistines whatsoever!!!

With all this available knowledge, it is a shame that our leaders fail to draw attention to our being the only nation who can claim indigenous rights to the Land of Israel.

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.