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Who are the Palestinians

Reader comment on item: Pipes criticises Middle East leaders
in response to reader comment: Palestinians, who were they before1963?

Submitted by Natalia Wood (United States), Jul 17, 2006 at 18:57

Just stumbled upon your website researching the history of the Middle - East and looking for feedback. It seems your correspondents all have some info on past history going back to a certain point. No one seems to be specific about dates, however.

I am attempting to trace back about 6,000 years of history. I go to Israel from time to time and have both Israeli and Palestinian friends, who, by the way, are very good friends and are teaching their children forgiveness, not hate and fear.

Sure, they are a minority. We are a community of peace-activist Christians from all walks of life. We strive for change from within one person at a time. We are many, and growing world-wide but you will hear nothing about these small "grass roots" movements on the news media. It is imperative, I believe that chronology is put into correct perspective, though it will no doubt become "An Inconvenient Truth" for some.

Just for now, in a nutshell, Bibical records in history show the Land of Canaan as having been originally settled by Jewish settlers in the days off Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Their names were not Ishmael or Mohammed. They set up towns, farms, factories, shops and Synagogs. They became merchants and naturally attracted interest all over the Middle Eastern Region. This land was fought over by the Philistines and eventually the Syrians. At one time in history this land was called Philista. The Philistines fought for it and sometimes won. Enter, King David. Remember him? David and Goliath? These people have been at it for centuries.

The Syrians and Philistines were his enemies. They and other Arab tribes now comprise what is known as the modern-day Palestinians. The entire region, which included many countries, was changed to Palestine by the Romans who occupied all these lands during the time of Christ. Later maps show the original land of Caanan which is now commonly known as the Territories, West Bank, and Gaza strip as having gone into the hands of the Syrians. Remember the 6-day war? Syria invaded Israel and tried to push them back to the Dead Sea...that was their plan. It back-fired. The Israelis pushed them back to the Mediteranian and the Gaza strip in six days. One of the shortest wars in history. Under international law, they had no obligation to give it back to Syria, so they kept it.

Since that time they allowed Arabs to occupy the region as they had for centuries - this part is true. The Arab people living in this region are from many tribes, including the original Philistines, who were later called Palestinians by the Romans who left long ago. The name was re-adopted after the six-day war, and is actually a derivative of the name Philistine. This real estate which is not comprising the entire original land of Caanan, only a portion, most recently, before it was in the hands of the Israelis, was in the hands of the Syrians, not the Palestinians. I read articles about the country of Palestine comprising the territories, the West Bank and The Gaza strip, and there are people saying the Israelis did a pre-emptive strike and took this land from the people of Palestine, but there was no Palestine, it was actually Syria., and they attacked Israel. There has not been a Palestine for a very long time. If you took all the countries in the Middle-East that comprised this part of the Roman Empire thousands of years ago, even the Syrians, the Lebanese, the Israelis, etc., etc. would actually be called Palestinians. There was no country of Palestine on the world map before the six-day war. There still isn't.

Peace we would all love to see. Sadly, there is very little correct historical information out in the media or on the internet these days. These people know their history. The Israelis know it well and have records of land ownership, occupation, and maps of lands even promised to them in the scriptures and the Torah. Who is really entitled to it depends on your political and /or philosophical beliefs. As for the real estate itself, you'd need an awful good title company to search out the transfer of title year by year for centuries and centuries. The only real records kept back that far seem to be in scripture and ancient maps which don't seem to be shown on the media. It seems the very first settler in the region was Abraham.

Perhaps if the Palestinians were not Islamic the Israelis would not fear them so much. Some of the Islamic world conspired with Hitler to keep the Jewish people from returning to the region, and they were sent to concentration camps in Europe. It is documented. Bad blood runs deep, and very red. Guess you can't just tell 'um to "get over it." Sad days are ahead. I am sorry for many Palestinians. They are caught between real fear on the part of Israel, and the manipulation by Hamas and Hesboleh (sp?). Kinda like Yosarian in "Catch 22." Now Israel gets invaded by Lebanon unexpectedly. The Palestinians and Israelis have both been victims of Islamic extremism. Most of them are truly not extreme. I've been traveling in and out of Israel for 20 years. On both sides I've met some of the kindest, friendliest and generous people, who have somehow managed to stay reasonably calm and even keep a sense of humor. My heart is heavy for them.Truth...they don't all fight each other, but their leaders and military officials control their lives. Kinda sound familiar???

Not to worry though...China will no doubt own everything one day. A recent CNN poll showed about 70% of Americans feel they have more to fear from China than the Middle-East. Fasten your seat-belts! It's gonna be a bumpy ride. Best to be kind and stay calm. Pray if you know how.....pray for Peace!


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