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Why "Palestine" is a euphemism for "get rid of the Jews"

Since many of those commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict use the terms "Palestine" and "Palestinian people" and even "Israel-occupied Palestinian territories" I think it is high time to educate readers on the background of this term. The information in this article will undoubtedly surprise some readers who have this view that in 1948 Zionist colonists invaded "Palestine" and displaced the indigenous people there. This article effectively debunks that idea. For instance, Nablus, a major Palestinian city, was actually named by the Romans as "Naples" but the Arabs couldn't pronounce that name--hence Nablus. Hebron was a Jewish City until an Arab massacre in 1929. Please look at the comments that will undoubtedly come (unless this info is completely ignored) and see if they refute any of the facts presented or instead go on about what a racist I am. I welcome intelligent refutations.
The History and Meaning Of "Palestine"
and "Palestinians"
by Joseph E. Katz
Isralert (at) aol.com source:

to see the origninal article: www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/meaning.html



"There is no such thing as a Palestinian Arab nation . . .

Palestine is a name the Romans gave to Eretz Yisrael with the express purpose of infuriating the Jews . . . . Why should we use the spiteful name meant to humiliate us?

"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


Palestine has never existed . . . as an autonomous entity. There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc. 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.Com,
11 October 2000



From the end of the Jewish state in antiquity to the beginning of British rule, the area now designated by the name Palestine was not a country and had no frontiers, only administrative boundaries..

-- Professor Bernard Lewis, Commentary Magazine, January 1975

Talk and writing about Israel and the Middle East feature the nouns "Palestine" and Palestinian", and the phrases "Palestinian territory" and even "Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory". All too often, these terms are used with regard to their historical or geographical meaning, so that the usage creates illusions rather than clarifies reality. Is Jordan Palestine? Here are two Jordanian State Stamps. On the left, one from 1949 with a picture of King Abdullah of the kingdom of Jordan and bears the label of Palestine in English and Arabic. On the right, a 1964 stamp bearing the likeness of King Hussein and pictures Mandated Palestine as an undivided territory including both present day Israel and Jordan.

(to see the stamps, go to the link provided above)



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 Philistines were mediterranean people originating from Asia Minor and Greek localities. They reached the southern coast of Israel in several waves. One group arrived in the pre-patriarchal period and settled south of Beersheba in Gerar where they came into conflict with Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. Another group, coming from Crete after being repulsed from an attempted invasion of Egypt by Rameses III in 1194 BCE, seized the southern coastal area, where they founded five settlements (Gaza, Ascalon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gat). In the Persian and Greek periods, foreign settlers - chiefly from the Mediterranean islands - overran the Philistine districts. From the time of Herodotus, Greeks called the eastern coast of the Mediterranean "Syria Palaestina".

The Philistines were not Arabs nor even Semites, they were most closely related to the Greeks. They did not speak Arabic. 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"; which is derived from the Peleshet, (root Pelesh) which was a general term meaning "dividers", "penetrators" or "invaders". This referred to the Philistine's invasion and conquest of the coast from the sea.

The use of the term "Palestinian" for an Arab ethnic group is a modern political creation which has no basis in fact - and had never had any international or academic credibility before 1967.

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 was forced to convert to Islam and adopted the Arabic language. They were subjects of a distant Caliph who ruled them 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 Palestina-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.

THE JEWISH NATIONAL HOME

Travelers to Palestine from the Western world left records of what they saw there. The theme throughout their reports is dismal: The land was empty, neglected, abandoned, desolate, fallen into ruins.

Nothing there [Jerusalem] to be seen but a little of the old walls which is yet remaining and all the rest is grass, moss and weeds -- English pilgrim in 1590

The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population" -- British consul in 1857

There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent [valley of Jezreel] -- not for 30 miles in either direction. . . . One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings.


For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee . . .

Nazareth is forlorn . . . Jericho lies a moldering ruin . . .


Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature . . .


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 . . . .


Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes . . . desolate and unlovely . . . -


- Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, 1867


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, committed 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 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 -- killed or drove out virtually the entire 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 (Jew-free) must forever remain so. In contrast, Israel eventually allotted 17 percent of Mandate Palestine has a large and growing population of Arab citizens.

FROM PALESTINE TO ISRAEL

What was to become of "Palestine" after the Mandate? This question was taken up by various British and international commissions and other bodies, culminating with the United Nations in 1947. During the various deliberations, Arab officials, spokesmen and writers expressed their views on "Palestine".

"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the
Zionists invented. . . . Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it."
-- Local Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937

"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not"

-- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian to Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, 1946

"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria."

-- Delegate of Saudi Arabia to the
United Nations Security Council, 1956,

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.

Finally, in 1964, the Palestine Liberation Movement 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 an alteration in 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 of 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 claimed. Lord Balfour once expressed his hope that when the Arabs had been given so much, they would "not begrudge" the Jews the "little notch" promised to them.

[Some of the material cited above is drawn from the book From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters.]. Source: This essay is from the 15 February issue of "Time to Speak", except the paragraphs from "Is Jordan Palestine...1967" was contributed later to EretzYisroel.Org This page was produced by Joseph E. Katz
Middle Eastern Political and Religious History Analyst, Brooklyn, New York
Portions Copyright © 2001 "Time to Speak" Magazine, Portions Copyright © 1984 Joan Peters, Portions Copyright © 2001 Joseph Katz, All Rights Reserved
 
 


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Comments

Re: Why "Palestine" is a euphemism for "get rid of the Jews"

Why is "Becky Johnson" a euphemism for "get rid of the Palestinians"?
 

Article Filled with Inaccuracies

The first paragraph of the article by Becky Johnson is sprinkled with inaccuracies. But, while she accuses those who don't agree with her of lying to sway those who don't follow every fact, she speaks in an authoritative tone to convince people that what she says is accurate while it is not.

1) Becky says: For instance, Nablus, a major Palestinian city, was actually named by the Romans as "Naples" but the Arabs couldn't pronounce that name--hence Nablus.

Nablus was the name of the town beginning in 636. The Romans Crusaders rechristened it "Naples" in the 12th century. The author uses a demeaning tone when implying that the Arabs couldn't pronounce the word, a revealing statement.

2) Hebron was a Jewish City (sic) until an Arab massacre in 1929.

Hebron was not a Jewish city. There were roughly 800 Jews among a population of tens of thousands.

===============================================

There are too many distortions and inaccuracies to go through one by one, but it is sufficiant to say the following:
There is a widespread push currently to aid the Israeli cause in the media. It is focussed and unified. Becky Johnson is definately participating. But it is sad that she does the Israelis more harm than good.
 

Palestinian National Identity

If the Palestinian Arabs are serious about forming a national identity as "Palestinians" separate from Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, and Egyptian, this is fine. It is their right to do so if they so choose.

But to claim that they have been a "Palestinian nation" for centuries is patently false. No Palestinian Arab fought for independence from Jordan on the West Bank from 1948 to 1967. It was only after Israel decisively conquered the West Bank and Gaza that any movement towards a national identity as "Palestinians" developed.

Cynics claim this was only a cultural propaganda tool to counter Israel's brilliant military victory.

And Steve---when have I EVER advocated for transfer, killing, or "getting rid" of the Palestinians? Look back at the hundreds of comments I have posted here and find one shred of evidence that I have ever supported that position.

You libel me.
 

Hebron and Nablus

Reply to Aka: Don't you just love Google???
I was able to debunk your so-called refutation in about 3 minutes by typing in "Hebron" and "Jewish City". (not sure why you used the word SIC here. I guess you thought they are all "settlements" implying that they are very recent additions to the landscape)

Here is a quote from one article:

In 1890, Hebron had a population of 1,500 Jews with an impressive number of yeshivot and religious schools. And in 1925, the famous Lithuanian Yeshivah of Slobodka was transferred to Hebron. The 38-century-old continuous presence of the Jews in Hebron was briefly interrupted following the 1929 brutal massacre by the Arabs of Hebron upon their Jewish neighbors. In this pogrom, scores were killed and wounded and the Jewish hospital Beit Hadassah was ransacked, together with the medieval Avraham Avinu synagogue, which was burned down with its Torah scrolls.

The surviving Jews fled for their lives, only to return two years later (1931) in an attempt to rebuild their shattered community. This attempt came to an end in the aftermath of the 1936 Arab riots, making it impossible for Jewish residents to live there for the next 32 years. Hebron was at long last liberated by the Israel Defense Forces in the Six-Day War of 1967.

to read the entire article go to:

www.jdl.org/israel/hebron_facts.shtml

In another article it says: * Hebron has been a Jewish city since it was the first capital of the Jewish state under King David nearly 3,000 years ago.

* Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs is the revered burial site of the biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the biblical matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah.

* There has been a Jewish community in Hebron continuously since biblical times, interrupted only by the Arab massacre of 67 Hebron Jews in 1929 and the apartheid-like policy of the Jordanian government that prevented Jews from living in Hebron during the Jordanian occupation of 1949-1967.

Another long article with a detailed description of Hebron's history can be found at: www.hebron.org.il/history.htm

I think this more than amply proves that Hebron was Jewish City, and indeed, one of the oldest of Jewish cities.

As for Nablus, I found many references that support your statement that Nablus was renamed Naples by the crusaders.

I also found this: the Romans founded a new town in AD 71 for veteran legionaries to settle. It was named Flavia Neapolis ( from which the present name derives) in honour of the Emperor Flavius Vespasian. The town acquired all the civil and religious structures of a Graeco- Roman city: agora, hippodrome aqueducts, fountains, colonnaded, streets, temples and, later, basilicas, ramparts and, on the slopes of Mount Ebal, a necropolis. Traces of this Roman city have been excavated recently, and a length of aqueduct survives to the west of the town.

Maybe you missed my point (about Arabs not being able to pronounce Naples). What I meant is that even the name is not authentic Arab but a left-over name from a previous conqueror--now long gone. If Nablus were an Arabic city, wouldn't it have an Arabic name? There is so little that is authentic about Arab ownership of Israel historically or currently. In order to even have a history, its necessary to make it up.
 

More Inaccuracies

Even my eight year old knows that one cannot use a google search as 'proof' of an argument. If the writer had bothered to read through her own reference materials (www.hebron.org.il/history.htm) she would have found that Hebron was historically a large Arab population with a small Jewish population under its control. What follows are excerpts from the author's own resource:

=========================================================
The name Hebron is explained as deriving from the root hbr (friend), the name *Habiru, or the Arabic word haber ("granary").

The first period of Arab conquest (638-1100) was a relief for the Jews of Hebron, as for the other Jews of Palestine, after the cruel Byzantine rule.

In 1925 the *Slobodka Yeshivah from Lithuania was established under the leadership of Rabbi M. M. Epstein, and the Jewish population rose to 700 in 1929 (out of a population of 18,000).
==========================================================

I probably will not respond to this thread again as, frankly, I don't have time.

If Johnson wants to paste large portions of google search returns here then there's nothing stopping her. However, I would warn readers that her voluminous posts are no evidence of fact. I do not know if the author is sincere, but if she is, she is doing a poor job of convincing people that she is a reliable source. I believe this is a disservice to Israelis and Jews everywhere.
 

Re: Why "Palestine" is a euphemism for "get rid of the Jews"

Becky Johnson asks, "And Steve---when have I EVER advocated for transfer, killing, or "getting rid" of the Palestinians?"

Becky, you advocate these crimes against Palestinians in many ways. Here are four:

1. You do so in your support for the Israeli government and constant posting of lies regarding Israel's transfer, killing, and getting rid of the Palestinians.

2. In your constant claims that the Palestinian people as a whole are responsible for the violence in "Israel".

3. In your constantant denial of the right of Palestinians to a homeland, a name for their homeland, or a name for their nationality.

4. In your support for the massive military aid the U.S. government gives to the Israeli government.
 

So just tear up the Peace Treaty Steve? Is that your solution?

Steve: Not ALL Palestinians are responsible for the criminal attacks on Israelis. the majority, according to various opinion polls, support them. And the Palestinian leaders ---all of them.

The Palestinians themselves have rejected a national homeland again and again. I believe it is because they have no intention of living peacefully side-by-side with the Israelis.

Yes I support the Israeli people and, to some extent, their government. I do not support attrocities committed against the Palestinian people which have happened--but not as part of an official Israeli govt. policy.

I do NOT support involuntary transfer, killing, or "getting rid of" the Palestinian people. I note you could not find one quote in my dozens of postings in which I advocate any of this. Just more of your general bullshit overview and groundless accusations.

$3 billion a year is not "massive" military aid. (Didn't George Bush just get authorization for another 87 billion for the latest leg of the Iraqi war?) As I have stated before, this aid was guaranteed by the USA in the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt (Egypt gets $2 billion/yr) in exchange for Israel giving up 94% of the land it conquered in 1967. DO YOU RECOMMEND THAT THE USA JUST TEAR UP THAT PEACE TREATY WITH EGYPT?????

If you read what I posted above, you will see that I acknowledge the Palestinians movement towards a national identity but dispute claims by you and others that this has been the case since time immemorial.

to AKA: Gee, it almost sounds like you regret that I can post articles here like anyone else. May I remind you that in a democracy a vigorous discussion of the issues is not only allowed but desirable?
 

Deliberate Misinformation by becky johnson-

So called, becky johnson, your research is untrue, full of holes, bogus, you do a great dis service to this site. What a waste of cyber space on your uploads. Brainwashed through and through >you appear.
 

Kill the messenger?

Hermes: Are you saying my name is not Becky Johnson? Did you read above about the 8 waves of Arab flight (mostly but not completely) in 1948 with specific studies quoted, dates, times, and numerous press sources at the time?

What in particular is innacurate and can you present the corrected version with its own documentation?

Or is it just a case of my research conflicting with your currently held positions and since the news is bad, kill the messenger?
 

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