There Never Has Been a State of Palestine

AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File

There never has been an independent, self-governed national entity called "Palestine." 

In Biblical times, the region now encompassing Israel was known as Canaan, which included the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The term "Palestine" originally referred to a small area occupied by the Philistines (as one theory has it), from whence comes the name "Palestine." In Roman times, the area was known as Judea and was ruled by Jewish kings, and, under the Roman Emperor Constantine, became a Christian province generally known in Europe simply as "The Holy Land." The name "Palestine" was not legally applied until the British occupation starting in 1915.

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And, of course, following the Second World War and the Holocaust, the region was established as Israel, a Jewish state, although Arab Muslims have full civil rights in that nation. But an independent, self-governed state of "Palestine" did not exist.

That is the claim made and supported by my good friend Jillian Becker, who has traveled through Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) strongholds while writing her book "The Plo: The Rise and Fall of the Palestine Liberation Organization." Ms. Becker, who has also authored, among other works, "Hitler's Children: The Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang," is an accomplished author and researcher who has made a study of this topic. On the topic of Palestine, she writes:

If there is one issue in world politics on which opinions are held most strongly while being least informed it is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Vast numbers of people, almost certainly a majority, believe these falsehoods:

  1. The Palestinians had their country taken away from them by the Jews.
  2. The Israelis expelled the Palestinians.
  3. The Israelis illegally occupy territories that belong to the Palestinians.
  4. The Israelis refuse to negotiate for peace with Palestinian leaders.
  5. Israeli intransigence impeded a peace process that Palestinian leaders pursued in good faith.

We summarily dismiss points 1 and 2: –

  1. There never was, in all history, a State of Palestine.
  2. There is no evidence that any Arabs were expelled from the State of Israel. There is evidence that in at least one city – Haifa – they were implored to stay. There is also evidence that the Mufti of Jerusalem and Arab leaders urged them to leave before five Arab armies invaded the newly-declared State of Israel, promising them a victory after which the refugees would return to their homes. And there is absolute certainty that hundreds of thousands of Jews were forcibly expelled – stripped of all they possessed – from the Arab states. 
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Here's a key point that Jillian excerpts from a 2011 "Daily Mail" piece:

The claim that the establishment of a Palestine state would end the dispute is also ridiculous. Such a state was on offer in 1948; Israel offered to give up more than 90 per cent of the West Bank for such a state in 2000; and an even more generous offer was subsequently made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The Palestinian response was in every case war and terror. Yet all this is ignored, and Netanyahu is blamed instead for the impasse.

This is key. Since 1948, every offer of land for a Palestinian state has been rebuffed. These people, indistinguishable ethnically, linguistically, or culturally from any other Arab Muslim residents of the region, were given land in Gaza, and that land became the source of decades of attacks on Israel, culminating with the October 7th atrocities.

The burden of peace is not on Israel. They have made every effort that reasonable people would expect them to make, but the problem is that Israel is not dealing with reasonable people, not in Gaza, not in Lebanon, not in liberal enclaves in the United States, and certainly not in the United Nations. The refusals have been on the part of Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO, Iran, and the other usual suspects.

It's sad that so much unrest, so much hate, has arisen from an abysmal ignorance — or denial — of history. It's baffling how this ignorance or denial spreads, especially in the middle of the Information Revolution, when most of the free world literally has history's greatest library at its fingertips.

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As Jillian points out:

This information is the bare minimum a commenter needs before he is justified in expressing an opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An opinion formed with any less knowledge is worthless and potentially dangerous.

An informed opinion is a wonderful thing. An uninformed opinion is worth its weight in bull excrement. The two are not equal, nor should they be considered as such. But that is, sadly, all too often the case in these unsettled times.

I cannot recommend Jillian Becker's work highly enough. She has done a great deal of research into international terrorism, the causes of and key instigators and actors, and the responses by the civilized world. Her writing should be required reading for anyone who wishes to better understand this issue.

Read more RedState coverage on the Israel-Hamas conflict and the rise of antisemitism in America at these links:

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