In the on-going agon that is much of Middle Eastern politics, history has been the first victim. This is readily apparent in the question of Palestine. In other words, to whom does the land that’s now Israel belong? Alas, the answer comes not from history but from postcolonial ideology.
This is the familiar narrative: the Palestinians were the original indigenous inhabitants of what is now the state of Israel. Then, nasty Zionists from Europe showed up, took over the land, and forced the helpless Palestinians into fringe settlements.
Thus, the Intifada, or the wrestling match between “the conquerors,” and “the conquered,” for the vanquished must overcome their defeat by winning back their native land from the Zionist occupiers.
This is the narrative propounded by western media and politicians, and it has consistently brought desired results – peace-talks, negotiations, mega-cash, much handwringing, and the customary committed do-gooders eager to have their bleeding hearts be thoroughly exploited.
The usual logic of postcolonial ideology is deployed to assert that Jews stole the land from the native Palestinians. This Pavlovian trick succeeds in raising the emotions to feverish pitch. And the narrative will likely continue long into the future.
But here is the problem – Palestinians are not indigenous inhabitants of Israel who have been usurped from their native soil by evil exploiters. “Palestine” and its “people” were created precisely as a weapon against Jews. History clears this up rather quickly…
The term “Palestine” is not Arabic – it’s borrowed from Europe. Ultimately, this word goes back to the ancient Greek “Palaistinoi” (“Palestinians) refers to people inhabiting parts of modern-day Syria in antiquity.
However, this Greek term itself is not Arabic either, for it stems from a place-name, that is, Palaeste, which was a city in the region of Epirus, and mentioned by both Julius Caesar and Lucan. In other words, the “Palaistinoi” were inhabitants of Illyria (the Balkan regions).
How did these European people end up in parts of the Middle East? During the great Bronze Age Collapse (1200 BC to 900 BC), when civilization vanished in Eurasia (over forty great city-states were destroyed), because of massive invasions. One such group of invaders were known as the “Sea Peoples,” who were a conglomerate federation of pillagers who went from one city-state to the next, leaving vast swaths of ruination.
Among the Sea People were the Palaistinoi, that is, Illyrian raiders who eventually settled in Syria and Canaan. These would become the Philistines of the Old Testament, whose champion, Goliath, David famously slew.
As a side note, the name “Goliath” is Philistine, but it is not Semitic. Rather, it a “Hebrewized” Carian name, Wliat (which means, “Mighty”). The Carians were Indo-European people living in regions of present-day Western Turkey – and were closely associated with Illyrians.
This explains why “Palestine,” or “Philistine” has no Semitic etymology. By the way, the Koran also does not mention this term anywhere.
The term, Filastin, which is the Arabic form of “Palestine” (Arabic lacks the “p” sound and replaces it with closest sound, “f”), was brought into Arabic, from English, as a specific designation for Moslems living in the Levant. As such, the term was “invented” by Haj Amin Al-Husseini (1893 – 1974), whom the British called, “The Grand Mufti.”
Al-Husseini is the father of Palestinian nationalism, and it was he who established the parameters of the logic of the Palestinian desire to oust Jews from Israel and “take back” the land. This self-imposed victimhood cannot be backed up by any historical evidence.
Thus, “Palestinian” is not an ethnic designation whatsoever – rather, it’s the name of an ancient European, co-opted by Al-Husseini into a political agenda, which seeks the removal of all Jews from the Holy Land. In effect, “Palestinian” is code for anti-Semitism.
Moslems were never the majority population in the Levant. If we look at any early account which describes the Levant, no one mentions any Arabs – and obviously, there is never any mention, or record” of an “indigenous” population called the “Palestinians.”
When populations are mentioned, those living in the Levant are identified only as Jews and Armenian and Arab Christians. There are hardly any Moslems to be found anywhere in these early records. As well, most of this area is described as being poor, desolate and very sparsely inhabited.
Since those living in the Levant were Jews and Christians, the legal landholders in this area were either Jews or Christians.
When European Jewish migrants began arriving into this area in the late 1890s and early parts of the last century, they bought parcels of land from these legal landowners and on this land established communes, farms, and eventually cities. The landowners were eager to sell this land, since it was considered barren and worthless. These parcels of land would eventually become the core of the state of Israel. So, the notion that evil Jewish colonizers “stole” the land of peaceful Palestinians is more rhetoric than fact. This is simply postcolonial ideology being transposed on to a spurious claim of ownership by a “people” created as a tool to achieve anti-Jewish ends.
This influx of European Jews into the Levant, greatly upset Al-Husseini (who was an avid hater of Jews), and he began to openly advocate violence against the new Jewish settlers – while also promoting the wholesale inrush of Syrian Moslems as settlers in the Levant, to counter the Jewish settlers. Toward that end, he very actively cooperated with the Nazis (and some have even suggested that it was Al-Husseini who encouraged Hitler to undertake the Final Solution against European Jews who were funding the settlers in the Levant).
When the state of Israel was established in 1948, these same Moslem settlers were encouraged, by other Arab states, to leave the places they inhabited, because they were told to get out of the way so that Israel could be destroyed. Around 630,000 such Arabs heeded the call and rushed into neighboring Arab countries, where they were put into “refugee camps.”
The other side of this coin that no one bothers to mention is that when Israel was established in 1948, Jews historically living in Arab lands for far longer than Arabs in Israel were systemically expelled. Thus, all the Moslem countries created Jewish refugees, who moved to Israel, having no other place to go to.
It is indeed curious that Arab states refuse to integrate “Palestinian refugees” into their own societies, even though there is no cultural, linguistic, religious difference. Rather, these “refugees” are kept in the very same camps they came into in 1948. Why? Could it be that these “refugees” are needed to fulfil Al-Husseini’s initial purpose?
Jerusalem has no religious or cultural importance in Islam – this has simply been a political move to give legitimacy to the Palestinian cause.
The Koran never mentions Jerusalem. There is only the vague reference to a “mosque far away” (al-masjid al-aqsa), from where Mohammed supposedly took a quick trip to Paradise. The location of this far-away mosque was never given in the Koran.
The present-day Al-Aqsa mosque is actually, a seventh-eighth century Byzantine basilica dedicated to St. Mary. The inscriptions inside this Christian church record this history clearly.
These many facts only lead to one conclusion – the various claims of indigenous status by the Palestinians are false, and therefore, their demands for some sort of restitution is hardly a viable grievance.
The Arabs labelled as, “Palestinians,” rather, fulfill a convenient role for housing and politicising anti-Jewish hatred – and in this cause, history has been the first victim, having been twisted and fabricated in order to serve anti-Semitic propaganda.
So, the question that now needs to be asked is simple enough – why has a group of Arabs co-opted an ancient Indo-European ethnic designation for itself? There is much cash and political advantage in playing the victim. And besides who really knows any factual history anymore to be able to cogently ask the questions that need asking?