Palestines, Philistines, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Jews, Muslims
Who are the Palestinians and who is occupying what?
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Muslims constantly scream and whine about Israel occupying Muslim lands in Israel. Newspapers and T.V. newscasts talk about Judea and Samaria being “occupied” by Israel. The U.S. State Department and other government entities refer to parts of Israel as “Israeli Settlements.” So the question must be, “Is Israel occupying part of Palestine or are the Muslims occupying part of Israel”?
The Torah portion for last week included the following passage (A Torah Portion is a weekly section of the Torah studied by Jews which enables them to read and understand all of the first five books of the Bible in one year. Marcia and I study it every week along with the commentaries).
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”
2 God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’ “
The Bible proves that God gave the Land of Canaan to His Chosen People Israel. The above is, of course, only one of many references to this historical and biblical fact.
Historical Proof that Israel is Jewish
About six years ago Marcia and I visited the community of Gush Etzion near Hevron (Hebron). As part of our tour we went along an old road and saw several Mikvot (plural for Mikva, the ceremonial pool used for ritual cleansing) that dated back about 2,500 years. This is just one of the thousands of proofs that Israel was continually inhabited by Jews for more than 3000 years.
A recent discovery in Israel sheds new light on the period of King David and proves once again (as if more proof were needed) that Israel existed as a nation more than 3000 years ago.
In an article on the Arutz Sheva website, Avi Yellin reports that a pottery shard was discovered a little over a year ago at excavations that were carried out near the Elah valley, south of Jerusalem. But until recently, archeologists were unable to confirm that the language on the shard was actually Hebrew rather than some other Semitic language.
Now a professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa has deciphered the inscription and proved that it is the earliest known example of Hebrew writing and that it was written during the reign of King David.
You can read more about professor Galil’s research elsewhere, but two examples should be enough to show why he authenticated this discovery. The verb “asah” used in the text means to do and the verb “avad” means to work and each of these verbs are used only in Hebrew. In modern day Hebrew and Arabic there are many similarities because they both come from Semitic language roots. But 3000 years ago there were no other languages that used the same verb forms as are found on this piece of Hebrew inscribed pottery. The Arabs were not there. They were in Arabia.
It is also interesting to note that other cultures at the time referred to multiple gods while the Hebrews were the only people who believed in the One God. This fragment of text on the pottery parallels passages in the Bible in which Jews are called upon to support the weaker members of society including widows and those who are strangers living in the Commonwealth of Israel at the time.
This new evidence proves once again that the Biblical account is true. Israel existed as a State over 3000 years ago. Those who claim that Israel is occupying Arab lands haven’t a leg to stand on. Muslims have absolutely no reason to be in the Land of Israel other than that the Israelis tolerate them and allow them to live there.
Where did the name Palestine come from?
To cut a long story short, the name Palestine is derived from Philistine which is a translation of the Biblical “Plesheth”. Translations and mis-translations cause much confusion. An amusing example of this occurred when President Carter in a speech said that he loved the Polish people. The interpreter translated it as “I lust after the Polish people.” I hear that the translator is now working as a dishwasher in Warsaw and so should some of those who translated the Bible into English.
The word plesheth meant migratory referring to the migration of the Philistines into the sea coast of Israel. So the Palestinians of 3000 years ago were, in fact, the Philistines. The Philistines were not native to Israel, in fact, as their name implies, they came from somewhere else. Most scholars agree that they came from the Greek Islands, most likely Crete. Obviously, they did not speak Arabic and they were not Semitic like the Jews and Arabs. The Arabs came from guess where?—Arabia.
From the fifth century BCE, the Greeks called the eastern coast of the Mediterranean “Philistine Syria” using the Greek language form of the name. In the year135, after putting down the Bar Kochba revolt, the second major Jewish revolt against Rome, the Emperor Hadrian wanted to wipe out the name of the Roman “Provincia Judaea” and so renamed it “Provincia Syria Palaestina”,
The name “Falastin” is the Arab pronunciation of the Roman “Palaestina”. Golda Meir the Chicago schoolteacher who became the Prime Minister of Israel said,
“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.”
So the Philistines occupied part of the Land of Canaan at one time and they came into conflict with Israel. But there are no Philistines left today. The so-called Palestinian people have absolutely no connection to the Philistines and, therefore, no connection to the Land. Yet the world continues to call the area “Palestine” because the rulers of this world have no regard for God.
At the end of the first essay in this series I remarked that I was ready for an onslaught of hateful mail from Muslims and others who do not believe in God. Well, there were no letters from Muslims and, I think, only one from an atheist. The overwhelming majority of the comments came from people who agreed with and applauded the article. Many were thankful to me for explaining the truth about Israel. One of those readers, however, went a step further and commented on the second, as yet not published, article in the series. He reminded me of a little know fact from World War II that is quite interesting.
Kenneth Tremble from Australia said that During WW II there was a Jewish Brigade fighting alongside the British Forces against the Germans. They were known as The Palestinian Brigade. He correctly accuses the U.S. State Department, with Hilary Clinton in charge, of being corrupt in refusing to acknowledge that the Jews are the Palestinians, NOT anybody else. He also states that Hilary will be accountable to God for her treatment of Israel.
Right on Kenneth, thanks for the contribution.
And let us not forget that the Germans had their allies too. They were the Muslims who wore German Uniforms and fought against the allies.
So where did these so called “Palestinians” come from?
At one time, before Yasi Arafat came on the scene, I had many Arab friends in Israel. That was before Arafat infected so many of them with such a hatred for the Israelis. I remember on one occasion asking one of them where the Palestinians came from. He told me that his father was from Syria and his mother from Saudi Arabia. Curious, I asked another of my friends and he told me his family was from Iraq. Another said his mother was Lebanese and his father was Egyptian. Not one of their families was native to Israel. Incredulous, I asked if they knew any families who had lived in Israel for a long time. They mentioned the Kourie family who had lived in Jerusalem for three of four generations. But it did not amount to much more than that. So, how is it possible that the United States government has been fooled into thinking that Israel has occupied Palestinian lands if there has never been a country called Palestine with an Arab government, parliament, flag and official borders and there are only a handful of families who have actually lived there for more than a few generations?
Perhaps we should ask a member of the P.L.O about this. After all, it was the P.L.O. who first championed the so called Palestinian rights and brought these people to the attention of the world by hijacking aircraft and murdering passengers.
On March 31, 1977, the Dutch newspaper Trouw published an interview with P.L.O. executive committee member Zahir Muhsein. In which he said he said:
“The Palestinian people does 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.
For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.”
It is true that some Muslims have lived in Israel ever since the Muslim invasion of the seventh century but, most of the time; it was only a handful of them. Frankly, they did not want the land because it was largely barren after the Romans sought to purge the Land of Jews between 70 and 73 following the destruction of the Temple in the year 70. Some Jews escaped and stayed in Jerusalem and nearby towns guarding their God-given right to the Holy Land and the Holy City.
A few Arab nomadic shepherds and traders crossed the land moving in and out with their sheep and camels and trading with the Jews. Some of the Arabs actually settled in the Jewish villages and were welcomed as a part of the community. But there were always Jews living in the Land and there was always a steady stream of Jews coming back from the Diaspora drawn by the magnet of Jerusalem.
Those of you who would like more detail of the continuous Jewish presence in the Land can see a wonderful essay with many maps on the website
What does the Khoran say about the Land?
Well, believe it or not the Khoran states emphatically that the Land belongs to the Jews.
The Khoran is actually a collection of writings by many people and the teachings of Mohammed. It also includes some works of science and parts of the mystic writings of eastern religions known in the seventh century. Many people would be surprised to learn that it also contains verses from the Bible and reveres some biblical prophets as prophets of Islam. However the following verses will come as a real shocker to most people.
Then We [Allah] said to the Israelites: ‘Dwell in this land [the Land of Israel]. When the promise of the hereafter [End of Days] comes to be fulfilled, We [Allah] shall assemble you [the Israelites] all together [in the Land of Israel].”
There is an amazing Imam living in Italy and actually he is head of the Italian Islamic Union. I say he is amazing because he fully believes in and teaches Zionism and absolutely believes that the Jews are the rightful heirs to the Promised Land. The only mystery is how he has lived this long with such profoundly pro-Jewish statements. To see his thesis on “What the Qur’an really says” (Qur’an is just another translation of Khoran or Koran) please go to this website because he can say it far better than I.
And to see a video of him in Hevron visit
Can the Muslims claim the land through Ishmael?
Some people including many Muslims stake a claim for the Arabs through the line of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and his wife’s Egyptian servant Hagaar. The thinking is that if God promised Abraham that his family would be a blessing to the whole earth and that anyone who blessed them would be blessed and those who cursed them would be cursed, that must include the children of Ishmael who in fact was Abraham’s first son. That theory does make sense using man’s logic. The truth is that God made an executive decision to separate the children of Yitsak (Isaac) from the Children of Ishmael. It doesn’t sound fair does it? But who are we to question the Wisdom of the Almighty? Take a look at Genesis Chapter 17.
18And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
19And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
20And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
21But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
So God, Himself, refused to give the Abrahamic Blessing to Ishmael and the Arabs. Instead they received all the oil in the deserts of Arabia. Well, of course, the Muslims have their own story of this covenant. They believe that Ishmael received the Covenant. They also claim that it was Ishmael who was taken and almost sacrificed by Abraham on Mount Moriah, later to be called the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem. But remember one thing, the Bible was written hundreds of years before Mohammed was born and he and the other Muslims scribes took the parts of the Bible and other books that they liked and changed the parts they did not like in the seventh and eighth centuries.
If you want to call any group of people “Palestinians” it should be the Israelis.
Next part of the series “Shalom Means Peace.”