Seven historical facts on the Palestine and Israel conflict
Important facts to remember about the Israel-Palestine conflict
- The Palestinians in the Middle East (Gaza Strip and West Bank) are not descendants of ancient Philistines.
- In 134 A.D., Emperor Hadrian changed the name of Judea (Southern Kingdom of Israel) into Palestine (Syria-Palestina).
- The British referred to Judea (Kingdom of South Israel) as Palestine, referring to both “Palestinian Jews and Arabs.”
- British census in 1864 shows Jews constituted a majority of the population of Jerusalem—not Arabs.
- The Arab population that lived in Israel’s region started calling themselves Palestinians in 1964.
- Palestinians as we know them today are NOT indigenous people, nor have they existed in the last 5,000 years.
- Israel must defend and reclaim its lost territories to secure its borders from endless attacks.
- The State of Israel is a legally, internationally sanctioned country that has the right to exist.
1. Israel’s right to exist
We often hear claims about the Palestinians being 5,000 years old and indigenous people, including the claim that Jesus was a Palestinian. In a highly politicized public opinion war, it’s worth asking: what are fact and fiction?
The State of Israel, having gained legal and international sanction, was acknowledged as the rightful homeland of the Jewish people, endowed with the right to exist.
The Kingdom of Israel established in 1050 BCE
Israel was the name bestowed on Jacob (Genesis 32:22-32). He is the father of the “12 tribes of Israel” who settled in the “Promised Land” or the “unified kingdom” of Israel around 1400-1300 BCE.
Israel was one nation, but after King Solomon’s rule, it split into two kingdoms, the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah, because of rebellion, taxation, and bad leadership.
The Kingdom of Judah in the South
Eventually, Northern Israel fell to the Assyrians in 722 BCE. Still, the Kingdom of Judah in the South survived because of its strategically defensible location and the religious significance of Jerusalem, home to the First Temple. Jesus would later be born in Bethlem, a region of Judah.
The “Land of Judea” is a Greek and Roman adaptation of “Judah.” Judah was later conquered by the Romans in 2 A.D. and by 134 A.D., Emperor Hadrian renamed it “Syria Palestina” to spite the Jews.
The promise of a national home for Jewish people
The conflict in Palestine began in the late 19th century during Ottoman rule. Muslims, Christians, and Jews coexisted peacefully. At the same time, Jewish nationalism, called Zionism, emerged when the British defeated the Ottomans in WW1 and ruled the region.
In 1917, the Balfour Declaration promised a Jewish national home in the region the British called Palestine (whose original name was the Land of Judea). However, it created tensions between Jews and the Muslim Arab group (Egyptians, Syrians, and Jordanians) because the Jewish population threatened the Arab group.
Rejecting the offer for a Palestinian State
In 1917, the British promised to return the Jews back to their ancient land. After World War II, the Holocaust became the catalyst to fulfill the decades-old promise.
In 1947, the United Nations unanimously voted to partition the Palestine region between Palestinian Jews and Arabs.
However, the Arab group (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, Saudi Arabia) refused and instead united to attack the newly formed State of Israel on the eve of its independence in 1948.
Israel won, and Arab countries took the area where Palestinians lived. Jordan annexed the West Bank, and Egypt took control of the Gaza Strip. As a result, the Palestinian State did not push through.
The Palestinian group continuously refused peace talks and instead sought the destruction of Israel.
The war that Arabs initiated affected the hopes for a future Palestinian state. Since then, the Arabs (now referred to as Palestinians) have been displaced—blamed on Israel.
2. Where did the name Palestine come from?
Renaming of the Land of Judea to Palestine
Emperor Hadrian changed the name Jerusalem to Aelia Capitalina
In 129 CE, roughly 70 years after the siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, Roman Emperor Hadrian established a new (pagan) city, Aelia Capitalina, on the ruins of Jerusalem. It led to the last Jewish revolt led by Simon Bar Kohba.
To punish the Jews, Hadrian issued a decree that banished the Jewish race and forbade the Torah’s reading. He sold Jewish prisoners into slavery, and the Jews were never to return or look at Jerusalem from a distance. [Harris] [Britanica]
Emperor Hadrian changed the name of Judaea to Palestina
Emperor Hadrian renamed Judaea or Judea (Land of Israel) into Syria Palaestina or Palestina in 134 A.D. to wipe out the remaining Jewish identity in the Roman province. He chose Palestina to spite the Jews because the Philistines were the hereditary enemy of the Israelites.
Hadrian renamed Judea into Syria Palestina in 134 A.D.
3. Palestinians and Biblical Philistines are different groups
Palestine propagandists often claim that “Palestinians have been on this land for 5,000 years,” but today’s Palestinian Arabs have no direct connection with ancient Philistia.
The ancient Philistines were an Aegean people who settled in the coastal areas of what is now Israel and the Gaza Strip during biblical times. They are distinct from the modern Palestinian population, which is primarily composed of Arab ethnic groups and has a different cultural and historical background.
Arab League and PLO
The Palestinians today are not descendants of the Philistines who inhabited what is now known as the Gaza Strip. They belong to various nationalities, to begin with, who formed a confederation to formalize their campaign against Israel’s presence.
Though Jews and Arabs were generally referred to as Palestinians (meaning both lived in Palestine or Judea), they were Arabs who began calling themselves Palestinians in 1964 to justify their claim over Gaza. The Palestinian Jews were referred to as simply Jews afterward.
Today’s Palestinians are Arabs, mainly from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, who formed the Arab League in 1945 and subsequently the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).
Ancient Philistines have no connection with the Arab League
Ancient Philistines were composed of Hittites, Canaanites, Amorites, Nubians, and Jebusites. They were the perpetual enemy of the Israelites, even before the Neo-Assyrian Empire and Neo-Babylonian Empire rose.
Just like other ancient groups, the Philistines were absorbed into the Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Achaemenid Empire and disappeared as a distinct ethnic group by the late 5th century B.C. [Meyers]
“Modern Palestinians” are not indigenous people in the area
- British census in 1864 shows Jews and Christians constituted a majority of the population of Jerusalem, and Arabs (modern-day Palestinians) were the minority.
- Jewish continuous presence is supported by historical records, ancient manuscripts, and archeological records in the last 5,000 years.
- On the other hand, “modern Palestinians” who seek Israel’s destruction cannot claim to be Palestinians historically.
- They only began calling themselves exclusively “Palestinian people” in 1964 when the PLO was established.
Arab Muslim presence in Palestine
The most critical Muslim invasion of Jerusalem began in 637 AD, led by Arab-Muslim Caliph Umar. It was followed by 1187 (Saladin), 1517 (Ottoman Empire), and 1917 (British forces).
Since then, Arabs have been living as a minority in the Land of Judea (later named Palestine). Hence there are Palestinian Arab Muslims (primarily Egyptians, Syrians, and Jordanians), and Palestinian Jews are indigenous in the area.
4. The British Mandate for Palestine in 1917
“Mandatory Palestine” was a geopolitical entity under the British administration—carved out of Ottoman Southern Syria after World War I. Syria-Palestina (formerly the Land of Judaea) fell into the hands of the British Empire in 1917.
‘Palestine Jews’ and ‘Palestine Arabs‘
The Land of Judea (renamed Syria-Palestina to spite the Jews) underwent numerous conquerors, including the Romans, Turks, and Muslims.
When the British took over, it was natural to refer to the area as Palestine. Hence, there were “Palestinian Jews” and “Palestinian Arabs” as Muslims and Jews both lived in the area.
Jewish Compromise: Israel’s territory reduced to 77%
The British Mandate initially proposed allocating approximately 120 square kilometers of territory for Jews. On September 16, 1922, the League of Nations approved the Palestine Mandate, which included provisions for a Jewish national home.
However, the territory was reduced by 77% from the initial proposal, according to the book ‘This Land is My Land,’ by Eli E. Hertz.
5. U.N. Partition Plan: Two-state plan rejected
In 1947, the British Mandate over the Land of Judea (Palestine) expired, and the United Nations voted to divide the area into an independent Jewish and Arab State.
The Jews accepted whatever piece of land was returned to them, but the Arabs refused the “two-state plan.”
- Two groups of people lived under the British Mandate of Palestine: the Arabs and the Jews.
- The U.K. promised to establish a national home for the Jewish people through the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
- Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred to the creation of modern Israel as a “Restoration to its ancestral home.”
- In 1947, the mandate expired, and the U.N. split the land into independent Arab and Jewish states.
- When the British left, the Arab group (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon) attacked the newly formed State of Israel on the eve of its independence in 1948.
- In 1949, Jordan annexed the West Bank, and Egypt took control of the Gaza Strip, but both lands were assigned to the Arab groups who lived in Palestine. As a result, the Palestinian State did not push through.
- In 1964, the Arab League formed the PLO (and called themselves the Palestinian people), demanded the entire area, and called for the destruction of Israel.
- The PLO proclaimed the “State of Palestine” in 1988, a quasi-state kind of “government-in-exile” whose first President was Yasser Arafat.
- Since then, neighboring Arabs attacked Israel. But the Jewish army kept winning and, as spoils of war, kept reclaiming their ancient land.
Arabs continue to reject the partition plan
- The Arab group (Palestinians) continued to reject the partition plan because they refused to share the land with Jews.
- They wanted Jews to leave Israel and “return from where they came from” while advocating for their destruction.
- In 2005, Israel returned the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Arabs, but they continued to attack Israel, placing their own civilian as pawns and using their resources to attack them.
Arabs used the term “Palestinian people” in 1964
Palestinian Liberation Organization
- In 1964, the Arab League founded the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
- The Arab League (previously defined themselves as Assyrians and Egyptians) began to refer to themselves as the Palestinian people.
- The PLO demanded the entire area of the British mandate and called for the destruction of Israel.
Arab aspiration focused solely on eliminating the state of Israel and killing all Jews who lived there, instigating another war in 1967, in which Israel gained control over the former mandate territory in the West Bank and Gaza.
Palestine National Council
- The PLO established the Palestine National Council (PNC) in 1964.
- PNC is the legislative body representing Palestinians and has been central to Palestinian politics, including the declaration of statehood.
- The “State of Palestine” was first used in 1988 when the PNC declared the “future establishment” of a State of Palestine.
Palestinian-Arab political control began in 1994
Before the War in June 1967 (6 days after the Third Arab–Israeli War), control of this land was divided between three states, and none of them was Palestinian.
The 2005 map would be accurate as it is presented in the original series, showing the first lands ever to be ruled by Palestinian Arabs.
By 1995, the map shows the withdrawals undertaken during the first two years of the Oslo process, up to but not including the 1997 Hebron Protocol.
6. Palestinian propagandist: Mainstream media and the Democrats
Misleading map perpetuated by media
The State of Israel today is being shown as the oppressor of Palestine when, in fact, it is the opposite. The Palestinians (Arabs) want Israel obliterated, and in defense, the Israel State can counter-strike military threats with its state-of-the-art weapon.
In 2015, MSNBC showed a map of Israel that appears to be the oppressor of the Palestinians. During a live on-air discussion between news anchor Kate Snow and a correspondent, a series of maps were displayed entitled “Palestinian loss of land 1946 – present.”
Before the Third Arab-Israeli War or Naksah in 1967, the area was divided between three states (Egypt, Jordan, and Israel), and none of them was Palestinian.
The first map of 1946 labeled the entire territory as Palestine, with the vast majority colored green, denoting Palestinian control—which was utterly wrong. Snow apologized for the incorrect information and said, “Not factually accurate, and we regret using them; clearly, that set of maps was wrong.“
Maps like these perpetuate the impression that a state of Palestine had existed in 1946 when the area was under British Mandatory rule until May 14, 1948. MSNBC later apologized for their inaccuracy.
Antisemitism: Hatred against the Jews
The term “antisemite” emerged in Germany in 1879, replacing “Judenhass” (Jew-hatred). Today, this hostility persists perpetuated by the PLO, which calls for Israel’s destruction (“From the river to the sea) while Palestinian children are groomed to hate Israel.
Liberals faction in U.S. Democrats also harbors animosity toward Jews.
The Gaza Strip has access to the open sea, but the Israeli naval blockade, aimed at preventing weapon smuggling to Hamas, has limited maritime trade. However, Palestinians have maintained some fishing and trading activities.
Before the war IN 1967, the area was divided between three states, and none of them was Palestinian.
7. Palestinians embrace terrorist leadership
Hamas is a Muslim Brotherhood founded in Egypt in the 1920s that became a political power that ruled the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip when they won the election in 2006.
- Israel controlled the Gaza Strip for four decades and handed it over to the Palestinians in 2005 to maintain peace.
- Palestinians finally had their own territory but were obsessed with destroying Israel and voted the Hamas “terrorist group” into leadership.
- Rather than establishing an effective government for the well-being of its people, Hamas has spent much of its resources to send suicide bombers and missiles to Israel for the last 18 years.
Palestinian’s misery is blamed on Israel
Hamas is a terrorist group
The Hamas group received significant funding, but instead of using it to alleviate poverty in Gaza, it waged war against Israel. As a result of bad leadership, the Palestinians remained poor, with a nearly 50 percent unemployment rate.
- Hamas used their funds for weapons to attack Israel.
- Sent suicide bombers to Israel.
- Converted water pipes to weapon missiles.
- Educated young children to hate Jews.
- Kidnapped families, raped girls, and killed babies.
- Like other Muslim extremists, Hamas openly called to obliterate Israel.
Gaza Disengagement Plan
After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, many Palestinians sought refuge in the Gaza Strip, which Egypt governed from 1948 to 1967.
In 1967, Egypt attacked Israel, known as the Six-Day War. Israel won and occupied the Gaza Strip, allowing for the coexistence of Jews and Palestinians in the area.
In 2005, Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip, allowing Palestinians more control over their destiny. Jewish residents in the Strip were forced to relocate to Israel.
In 2023, Hamas attacked Israel, took hostages, and killed innocent Israeli civilians. They built underground tunnels in civilian areas, allowing fighters to stay out of sight and smuggle weapons. [N.Y. Times]
Israel has had enough and retaliated with full force.