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The term "Palestine"
Summary The international community has for more than 50 years been in the practice of referring to the Land of Israel by the term "Palestine" and the Arab inhabitants of that land as "Palestinians." The use of these terms, however, is the perpetuation of a historical inaccuracy.
Historical usage


  1. The term "Palestine" is derived from the ancient Philistines, an Aegean people who colonized the Mediteranean coast of what is now "Israel proper" and the Gaza Strip in the 12th century BC.
  2. While the ancient Philistines disappeared from history in the second half of the first millineum BC, the term "Palestine" was kept alive by the Romans in the second century AD.
  3. Following the defeat of the second Jewish revolt under Simon Bar Kochva in 135 AD, the Roman Emperor Hadrian renamed Judea as Palaestina, in referrence to Israel's ancient enemy, as a slap in the face of the defeated Jews.
  4. Prior to Hadrian's act of hatred, the Land of Israel was consistently referred to as Judea by Roman era writers such as Pliny, Tacitus, Plutarch, Strabo and Ptolemy.
  5. Eusebius (ca. 300 AD) writes of Hadrian's law, which "ensured that not even from a distance might Jews have a view of their ancestrial soil..." (Ecclesiastical History, IV:6)
  6. The New Testament, written during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, never uses the term "Palestine", but rather refers to the region as the "Land of Israel" or "Judea."
  7. The Koran, written in the 7 century AD, never uses the term "Palestine", but rather refers to the region as the "holy land" and as being divinely assigned to the Israelites. (Sura 5:12, 20-21)
  8. "Palestine" was used off and on during the centuries of Muslim control, but was always understood to be a part of Syria - this is evident from the 1946 Arab testimony before the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry on Palestine, which referred to "Palestine" as part of "Greater Syria."


  1. The respected Encyclopedia Italiano (Vol. 26, ca. 1930) tells of "Palestine" becoming the preferred term for the region in modern times as part of the revival of Latin as the "scientific" language.
  2. Despite the resurgence, the famous eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1911) continued to associate "Palestine" with the "Hebrews."
  3. Until the mid-20th century, "Palestine" remained a Western geographical term that never defined a nation or a people group.
  4. Following the 1967 Six Day War, the Arab world intensified efforts to transform the geographical term "Palestine" into one denoting an ancient Arab culture.

Eliyahu Green writes:

"Is 'Palestine' the proper or rightful name of the country? The name of a country, any country, has to be looked at as a historical object, for if otherwise, a land might as well be called XYZ or No. 14. A country's name is associated with events and personalities and sentiments. 'Palestine' too must be scrutinized in that light.

"The Roman change of name was part of a complex of related oppressive measures of national despoliation, punishment, and oppression.

"The name 'Palestine' cannot be divested of the negative overtones of its history, from the circumstances of its Roman official origin. It cannot be considered a 'neutral, value free,' purely 'scientific' term, as some would have. Felix Abel, the noted Catholic historian of the country, frankly states that the name change was 'another indication of the anti-Jewish orientation of imperial policy.' Should the continued use today of the name 'Palestine' be seen otherwise?"

© 2002 Jerusalem Newswire

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Sources: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (; Myths and Facts by Mitchel Bard; The Jerusalem Post, September 25, 2002 edition

Moshe Feiglin: Jerusalem is not in the Koran; it say Israel belongs to the Jews

Jewish Leadership member Elitzur Segal of Ofrah tells the following story: Shortly before the death [in May 2001] of Feisal Husseini, who was appointed by Arafat to be responsible for Jerusalem affairs, Husseini and Jewish Leadership founder Moshe Feiglin held a debate in the Tzavta Club in Jerusalem.

The debate was held under the auspices of a left-wing organization, and was attended by foreign reporters. The moderator attempted to have Feiglin and Husseini shake hands, but Feiglin refused, saying that he does not shake hands with people who wish to destroy him. "This of course lost Feiglin some points amidst the mostly left-wing crowd," reports Segal.

When Feiglin's turn to speak came, he pulled out a Koran and asked Husseini, "Is this your holy book?" When Husseini said yes, Feiglin pulled out a Tanach (Bible) and said, "And you agree that this is my holy book, correct?"

After that point was agreed as well, Feiglin said, "In my holy book, Jerusalem is mentioned hundreds of times by name, and additional hundreds in other references," and he gave several examples from various verses.

After this point was also agreed upon, Feiglin said, "Now you show me one place where Jerusalem is mentioned in your holy book!" Husseini almost "swallowed his tongue," Segal reports, and after a few uncomfortable seconds of silence, a loud wave of applause swept the room.

"Although it was clear that the debate had ended," Segal concluded his story, "the moderator asked another question or two in order to soften the impression, but it was clear the Moshe had won with a total knock-out. A few days later, Husseini set off for the Persian Gulf, where he died of a heart attack."

Elitzur Segal also tells this story: "When a security road was being paved for the community of Ofrah, a resident named Amram met an Arab who lived nearby, and the Arab asked him, 'Who gave you permission to pave this road?'

Amram: "You tell me."
Arab: "Arafat?"
Amram: "No!"
Arab: "Then who?"
Amram: "Ask your father what it says in the Koran!"

After a few days, they met again. Amram said, "So, did you ask your father what it says in the Koran?"
The Arab said, "My father doesn't know the Koran, so I asked the village wise man about it.
He said that the Jews are right, and that the Koran says that the Jews will come to the Land of Israel and it will be theirs.

I then asked the wise man, 'If so, what are we making war for?'
And he told me, 'The Jews will in fact return to the Land of Israel and it will be theirs, but it's our job to get in their way.'"

Arutz Sheva News Service <> Monday, Feb. 3, 2003

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