Updated: Oct 22
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Many years ago, a news anchor confidently declared the following words, referring to former White House correspondent Helen Thomas’ statement that the Jews should "get the h*** out of Palestine." He said,
“[Thomas] remembers [before 1948] when Palestine was a nation.”
Somehow, an educated journalist believed a lie that Israel came into being by taking over an Arab country called Palestine. He is not alone. Thus, here is a short fact sheet on the history of Israel and the Palestinian narrative. Facts are needed to combat the myths in the mainstream media.
Are you aware that Palestine was not a nation in 1947, 1946, or 1945, not in 1847 or 1047, or even 47? In fact, Palestine has never been a nation. So many reporters simply assume these things from what they pick up in other media and from agenda-driven pundits.
So, let's look at these 15 historical facts.
15 Facts About Palestine
I. Palestine was NOT an Arab nation in 1948 when Israel was created. The Jewish people did not take over someone else's country.
Great Britain, in fact, controlled that region of the Middle East until she grew tired of governing the volatile area and asked the UN to decide what to do with it.
Before Great Britain was tasked with administrating the region after WWI, the Turks had controlled it since the early 1500s. Turks are not Arabs.
In fact, Palestine has never been the name of any country!
II. Where did the name "Palestine" come from?
In an effort to rid Judea of its Jewishness, the Romans renamed the area Filistia (Palestine) in the mid-130s CE. They were tired of pesky Jewish uprisings (70 CE, 132 CE) and so decided to deport the Jews and change the name. The name came from the ancient Philistines, who have no connection to present-day Arabs. The Philistines were wiped out in 600 BCE by the Babylonians.
It was a region and never a nation. There has never been a president of the state of Palestine or a government. It could be compared to New England, which is a region in America and has no government.
Furthermore, the region of Palestine never had any connection with an Arab ethnicity.
III. The UN Partition Vote (Nov. 29, 1947) did not merely give Israel authority to create a state, but granted the Arabs living on the West side of the Jordan River also to create an independent Arab country next to Israel.
The Arabs rejected "Partition." They could have had their own nation in 1948, but they said no.
The Jews accepted "Partition," and on May 14th, 1948, Israel was re-birthed.
The Arabs in the West Bank became part of Jordan, and in Gaza, they became part of Egypt.
The Arabs declared war on Israel the day after the UN vote. Five Arab nations, plus the local population, attacked the new Jewish state and lost.
Again, they could have had peace and their own Arab nation but chose war.
IV. When the PLO was created, Jordan controlled the West Bank.
The goal of the PLO was to liberate Palestine. However, the West Bank was already in Arab hands. Jordan controlled it. And Egypt controlled Gaza.
The "Palestine" they wanted to liberate was Israel proper.
In other words, if their goal was to create an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, then they should’ve been fighting Jordan and Egypt, not Israel!
Of course, their goal was Israel’s complete demise. Its original charter called for the liberation of all Palestine. Their maps make no mention of Israel.
PLO map from 1978 shows no Israel, just a Palestinian state.
V. Before Israel was re-birthed in 1948, any person who lived in that region was considered Palestinian: Arab or Jew. The Jewish-owned newspaper was called the Palestine Post.
1. Why would any Jew name his newspaper after another people group?
2. Why would any Jew name his paper after an Arab country?
Of course, he would not. The word "Palestinian" never referred to an Arab ethnic group—remember, it came from the Romans. It was an invented narrative. That is why former US Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich referred to the Palestinians as an "invented people."
(NOTE: That does not mean that they are bad people. Each one of them was made in the image of God. We're not talking here about their value, which is great before God, but history.)
VI. Jerusalem was the capital of Israel under King David. It has never been the capital of any other country—including Palestine. It has never (until Israel controlled it) been significant to Arabs.
In other words, you will not find these words in the Koran but in the Hebrew Bible: If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. (Ps. 137: 5-6)
The Ottoman Empire ruled over Jerusalem for 400 years. It meant nothing to them, even though they were Muslims.
When Mark Twain visited Palestine under Turkish rule he wrote that it was a "desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds...a silent mournful expanse...We never saw a human being on the whole route. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country."
It only became important to the Arab and Islamic world, after the Jewish people began to return and redeem the land.
It should be noted that the Jews purchased the land and did not steal it. How could they? They were under Turkish rule. They started the Jewish National Fund and lawfully purchased land in Palestine.
In 1919, there were approximately 500,000 Arabs in what is now called Israel. That number mushroomed to about 1.3 million by the time Israel declared independence. In other words, over those 30 years (1919-1948) well over half of the Arabs in Palestine were not born in Palestine. They came as immigrants from all over the Middle East because of the economic opportunities that the Jewish pioneers were creating as they were clearing the land and establishing farms. Once again, this proves that there is no long history of Palestinian culture and that they are just after the city.
VII. When Israel captured Jerusalem in 1967, it was not from Palestinians but from Jordan.
Why didn’t Palestinians demand Jerusalem when Jordan controlled it (1948-1967)?
Why didn’t the Jordanians create an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank in 1948? It was certainly within their power.
The reason is simple. Jordanians made no distinction between Arabs who lived east of the Jordan and those who lived west of the Jordan. VIII. Israel had no plans to attack Jordan during the Six-Day War.
Jordan's King Hussein believed the false reports from Egyptian President Nasser of Egypt that they were winning the war against Israel. King Hussein, in hopes of getting more land, attacked Israel, and his troops were driven back over the Jordan River in a matter of days. That is how Israel ended up with Jerusalem in 1967. Taking Jerusalem was not one of the military objectives of the Six-Day War. It was a gift from Jordan.
Israel sent word to the king of Jordan through the United Nations that Israel would not attack their forces if they did not enter the war. Had they heeded that advice, Jerusalem would still be part of Jordan.
IX. There is no language known as Palestinian.
Palestinian Arabs speak Arabic like Jordanians, Syrians, and Egyptians.
X. There is no rich Palestinian history.
You will not find history books that detail Palestinian culture going back centuries.
XI. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians, Lebanese, Egyptians, Iraqis, and others.
I want to continue to be clear. There is nothing wrong with being Arab. We are not arguing any type of racial superiority. That is not of God. We love the Arab peoples and want their best. We are simply making the point that there is no Palestinian Arab ethnicity or history.
XIa. Most of the Arab countries in the Middle East are relatively new.
Jordan was created in 1922 by Great Britain. They took 80% of ancient Palestine and created Transjordan. She achieved independence in 1946.
The Syrians were under French control until 1946 when they became a nation.
Lebanon achieved independence from France in 1943.
Iraq became an independent nation in 1958.
These were nations created after World War I from within the Turkish Ottoman Empire. None of them existed before the San Remo Conference in 1920. The purpose of this conference was to decide which Allied nations would take responsibility for the different regions of the now-defeated Ottoman Empire.
XII. The total land mass of Arab states (and this doesn't even include non-Arab states in the Middle East like Iran and Turkey) is 98.4 compared to Israel's 1.6 percent.
XIII. When the Jewish people began to return to ‘Palestine’ in the late 1800s:
The Turks, not the Arabs, controlled it.
Every bit of land was paid for by the returning Jews—nothing was stolen!
Even in 1948, when Israel declared independence, the Arabs were invited to join the new state. Many did, becoming the most liberated Arabs in the Middle East, enjoying freedoms never known in Syria, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia. (I regularly see Arab women taking driving lessons!) Israeli Arabs are the only Middle Eastern Arabs with full civil liberties like freedom of speech and religion.
However, roughly 800,000 Arabs fled Israel, assuming that the five Arab nations would crush the new Jewish state. The gamble didn't pay off, and they became refugees.
The Arab nations did nothing to help integrate the refugees into their society but kept them in refugee camps until today.
XIV. Israel was a swamp-infested wasteland that no one, including the Arabs, really cared about.
Until the Jews returned, the land suffered neglect. It was only after the Jews came back and made the land prosperous and fruitful again that the Palestinian Arab narrative was invented.
XV. Religious Significance of Jerusalem
Jerusalem or Zion appears nearly one thousand times in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, whereas it never appears in the Koran.
Again, this is about history, not about any type of superiority or racism against Arabs. God loves the Arabs and made them to love him. He also loves the Jewish people and will not ignore the covenant he made with Abraham and confirmed with Isaac and Jacob.