Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Now just where did the term "Palestinian" come from?"

Attended a conference this week, there were participants from many European countries. The object of the conference was to try to find ways of combating anti Semitism.

As the opening speaker put it, whereas in essence, the self declared elites of Europe found it necessary in the past to whisper their views in the corridors or over tea, they now feel able to openly declare their views and consequently it has become open season to deligitmize the sate of Israel.

Sitting next to one participant from Norway, he asked me “where is information available on the origin of the term “Palestinian”. Having been asked this question by a strong supporter of Israel prompted me to offer the following in this current blog. The full information can be found at

The term "Palestine" is derived from the Philistines, an Aegean people who, in the 12th Century B.C.E., settled along the Mediterranean coastal plain of what are now Israel and the Gaza Strip. In the second century C.E., after crushing the last Jewish revolt, the Romans first applied the name “Palaestina” to Judea (the southern portion of what is now called the West Bank) in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. The Arabic word "Filastin" is derived from this Latin name.

Jews entered the Land of Israel about 1300 B.C.E., and the second king, David, established Jerusalem as the capital around 1000 B.C.E. The northern part of Israel lasted until 722 B.C.E., when the Assyrians destroyed it, and the southern kingdom survived until the Babylonian conquest in 586 B.C.E. The Jewish people enjoyed brief periods of sovereignty afterward before most Jews were finally driven from their homeland in 135 C.E.

In fact, if not for foreign conquerors, Israel would be 3,000 years old today.

Prior to partition, Palestinian Arabs did not view themselves as having a separate identity. When the First Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations met in Jerusalem in February 1919 to choose Palestinian representatives for the Paris Peace Conference, the following resolution was adopted:

“We consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria, as it has never been separated from it at any time. We are connected with it by national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic and geographical bonds.”

In 1937, a local Arab leader, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, told the Peel Commission, which ultimately suggested the partition of Palestine: "There is no such country [as Palestine]! 'Palestine' is an invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for century’s part of Syria."

The representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the United Nations submitted a statement to the General Assembly in May 1947 that said "Palestine was part of the Province of Syria" and that, "politically, the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity."

A few years later, Ahmed Shuqeiri, later the chairman of the PLO, told the Security Council: "It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria."


Anonymous said...

thanks for the interesting information

Samer said...

the name Palestine or Velesten waw derived feon greek which is how they called the oand where Pal or Veles are the greek pronounciation of theArabian god ''Baal'' and Sten means land, they called it the land of Baal whrer thi deiety was worshipped throughout arabia. In Arabic and canaanite arabic it was called Canaan which means netherland fir obvious resnons. Arabs hace always called it Cnaan as can be traced to ibn khaldoun weitings..arabs called syria Eram which meqns highland.