What is Palestine?

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the geographic term “Palestine” was predominantly associated – from biblical times until the 1948 establishment of Israel - with the Jewish people, Jewish history and Jewish geography. It was the crux of Jewish national aspirations, the Jewish homeland.

In 135 A.D., Judea was renamed “Palestina” by the Roman Emperor Hadrian following the suppression of the Jewish uprising, in order to eradicate Jewish nationhood and to uproot the inherent Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel. Similarly, Jerusalem was renamed “Aelia Capitolina,” in honor of Aelius Hadrian and the Roman Capitol, in an attempt to obliterate Jewish association with the spiritual and physical core of Judaism.

Since 1949, and increasingly since 1967, the term “Palestine” has been employed by Israel’s enemies in order to delegitimize the existence of the Jewish state. In April 1950, Judea and Samaria were renamed “the West Bank” by the Jordanian occupation, in order to assert Jordanian rule and expunge Jewish connection to the cradle of Jewish history. Until 1950, all official Ottoman, British and prior records referred to "Judea and Samaria" and not to the "West Bank.”

"Palestine" is a derivative of the Hebrew term “Plishtim” (invaders), the Biblical name of the Philistines, non-Semites from the Greek islands and from Phoenicia, who migrated in the 12th century B.C.E. to Pleshet, along the Mediterranean. The term "Palestine" was established, in the 5th century B.C., by the Greek historian Herodotus and adopted in 135 A.D. by the Roman Empire in an attempt to erase "Judaea" from human memory.

According to Professor Bernard Lewis, the icon of Middle East historians (International History Review, January, 1980), “the earliest attempts at a territorial definition of the country later known as Palestine are in the Bible.” In its attempts to devastate Jewish national aspirations, the Roman Empire attached Palestine to the province of Syria. In 400 A.D., Palestine was split into Palestina Prima – with its capital in Caesarea – and Palestina Secunda – with its capital in Bethshean, further diminishing the stature of Jerusalem....

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