A few months ago I posted photos taken in the Casba, here in Hebron, of big red stenciled letters on the walls, “Welcome to Palestine.”
This morning we woke up to find the same thing painted onto storefronts between Ma’arat HaMachpela – the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and the Avaham Avinu neighborhood. Also written was ‘no Zionists here.’
So, just who is a Palestinian? Actually, I have a document from July 28, 1944 which identifies one Esther Alhanaty, from Jerusalem, as a Palestinian. The document, numbered 40186, was issued by the Government of Palestine, and is an identity card. Esther Alhanaty’s ‘race,’ as listed in the card, is Jewish. Thirty five years after this document was issued, Esther Alhanaty, by then, Esther Eli, became my mother-in-law. If she was a Palestinian, well I guess that means my wife is too, a Palestinian. And my kids too. And Grandchildren!
Frequently, when speaking with groups here in Hebron, I ask if anyone knows where the name ‘Palestine’ originated? More often than not, no one replies. So, let’s set the record straight.
This place, this land, where we live, is Israel, Eretz Yisrael. Some 2,000 years ago, following destruction of the second Temple by the Romans, those invaders and conquerors decided to erase all Jewish identity from Israel. They changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina and the name of the land from Israel to Palestina. The word ‘Palestina’ – Palestine, was adapted from the word ‘Pilishtim’ or Philistines, a people who had lived here, and died out, a thousand years previous to the Roman conquest.
So it happened that Israel became Palestine. People who live here became ‘Palestinians’ – be they Jewish, Moslem, Christian or anything else. For that reason my mother-in-law too, was a Jewish Palestinian.
What about a Palestinian people? According to Wikipedia, different peoples who have ruled this land include since the Romans include: Byzantines, the Muslims, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mameluks, Ottomans, the British, and The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Prior to the Romans: Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Ancient Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Ancient Greeks.
What about the Palestinians? When did they rule in this land?
No such people ever existed. And they never ruled here, or anywhere. The ‘Palestinian people’ as it is classified and defined today, is a figment of the world’s collective imagination.
I know this is an unpopular idea – but what can you do – sometimes the truth hurts. The ‘Palestinian people,’ as such, on the verge of being accepted into the United Nations, is the greatest PR bluff since the Greeks pushed the Trojan Horse into Troy.
Much has been written on this subject – see Eli Hertz’s writings.
Why were they invented? Simply to dispel any Jewish rights to our homeland, Israel. This is nothing less than a continuation of Hitler’s Nazi plans to annihilate the Jewish people. One of the first such Palestinian leaders, Haj Amin el Husseini, who met with Hitler in Berlin in 1941, called Arafat his ‘successor.’ This monster incited and initiated the 1929 riots which left 67 Jews dead in Hebron and over 150 killed throughout Israel.
The point is: such graffiti, painted on storefronts in Hebron, ‘welcome to Palestine’ is a Nazi anachronism. Palestine went out with the end of the British Mandate in May, 1948 as did Nazi Germany in 1945. It is no more.
We are in Israel. We includes: Hebron, Beit El, Shilo, Eli, Beit Chagai, Sussya, Jerusalem, and also Tel Aviv Beer Sheva and Haifa.
Israel is alive.
Welcome to Israel!
About the Author: David Wilder is the spokesperson for the Hebron Community.
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