Setting the Record Straight

It is time once and for all to teach the world a lesson in history they either might have missed, fallen asleep in or simply are to mentally challenged to grasp.

Let me try very slowly.

The name “Palestine” which is so loosely used by many nowadays needs some explaining. It does not refer to a political entity. There never was such a sovereign country and there is not one yet. Yes, there is such an animal as the “Palestinian Authority,” but that one is a new one and it is not of a full blown country or state.

When one uses the term, “Palestine,” one refers, knowingly or otherwise, to an area, more precisely to the region spreading from the Eastern Mediterranean coast to the Jordan Valley to the area covering the lake of Galilee in the north and the southern Negev Desert. When the region was placed under the British mandate following World War I, it also included present day Jordan.

Before it was given the arbitrary name, “Palestine,” the area had a different name. The original name of that area, of that land, was Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.

Am I clear thus far?

Now, you may ask why did I say “the arbitrary name ‘Palestine’”?
Simply because that is exactly what it is. The name “Palestine” was arbitrarily given to Eretz Yisrael by  the Romans in the year135 C.E. after they crushed the Bar Kokhba revolt. It was a name deliberately selected by the Romans and for the sole purpose of adding an insult to injury to the Jewish people.

You see, the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem and exiled the Jews from Eretz Yisrael. Yes, there was actually a strong Jewish presence in Eretz Yisrael which the Romans tried to end, albeit unsuccessfully. The Romans must have been very upset with the Jews who had been a sore spot in their Empire. So what a better way to further punish them than attempt to minimize Jewish identification with and memory of Eretz Yisrael and name it after  the Philistines, one of the worst enemies the Jews ever had?

Still following me?

The only problem with the name “Palestine” is that its origin lies in the term “Pleshet”.  This is a name appearing frequently in the Bible which in English started to be known as “Philistine” The world root of “Plesheth” lies in the word “palash” a term which means “to invade” and refers to the Palestinian’s conquest of the coast of Mediterranean.

Herein lies my problem.

If those that call themselves “Palestinians” want to convince the world that they are the original dwellers of the land, the “indigenous people” of this land, why would they adopt and use a term that indicates a foreign invasion into a land that at the time of their invasion had already been populated by the original inhabitants, the Jews?

One final point, the word Philistine, or Filastine, just like Jerusalem, never appears in the Koran, not even once!

I hope we are all on the same page now, dear world and students of history.

About the Author
Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks is an English teacher and a pro Israel advocate. She lives in Israel and has recently published her first novel, "On A Wing From The Holy Land."