Is the name Palestine an accurate name for Israel?
No, it is not. Israel is often called Palestine which is a derogatory term used by her enemies in the past. There was never a Palestine and there is no such thing as Palestinian people until the conflict of our modern time. Israel is referred this by the Arabs because the Arabs want to insinuate they stole the land from them.
The Bible never uses the name of “Palestine”, but calls it the land “Judah” or “Israel”. Mt. 2:20-21: “Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead who sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.”
To understand this name we must look at some historical background. In Joel 3:4: “Indeed, what have you to do with Me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Philistia?
The Philistines were not Middle Eastern or Arab. The Philistines are believed to be an Aegean people (from the Adriatic sea near Greece.) who, in the 12th Century BC, settled along the Mediterranean coast of what is called the Gaza Strip.
The Moslem/ Arabs in that area started calling themselves “Palestinians” nearly 40 years ago. “Palestinian” refers to people who live in Palestine: Arabs (“Arabic speaking peoples”), Bedouins, Druze, Christians, and Jews. No people or nation ever ruled as a sovereign national entity on this land there is no Palestinian language or culture in past history. Palestine, as a country does not presently exist. No Arab nation has their historical roots on the land and no one have claim to this territory other than the Jews. The Jewish rule of this land extended over a period of over 2000 years. Israel became a nation in the land in 1312 BC. God gave them the land in a covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20) and they lived there.
The Romans before they conquered Jerusalem had called Israel Judea. In 70 A.D. (almost 2000 years ago), the Roman army conquered ancient Israel and destroyed the second Jewish Temple (build under Herod), much of its Jewish population were either killed, captured as slaves, or fled. But in the centuries that followed many Jewish people continued to maintain ties to their homeland. In subsequent centuries, the Jews had returned to their land in small numbers always having a presence in the land. The Roman government issued a coin with the phrase “Judea Capta,” which means “Judea has been captured.”
After the second Jewish revolt under Bar Cochba (A.D. 132-135) it is said the Roman emperor Hadrian renamed the land of Israel and Judea as Palastina (‘Palestine’) after the ancient enemies of the Jews – the Philistines. Because of his hatred of the Jews, it was meant to be an insult to dishonor them and remove their history. Hadrian built Aelia Capitolina, in the area of the destroyed Temple and dedicated it to Jupiter-Zeus demonstrating the supremacy of the Roman deities in Judea. He then forbid the Jews from entering.
The land kept this name until 1948 when the British Government gave up its mandate to partition Palestine between the Jews and the Arabs. The majority of the land was given to the Arabs. However, the Arabs refused this offer as they wanted ALL of the land and attacked Israel. Today Palestine is used like it was from its inception-as an anti Jewish term.
The name Palestine was adopted by the Moslem residents of the Holy Land and used for their advantage. “Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel… “ (Zuheir Muhsin, late Military Department head of the PLO and member of its Executive Council, Dutch daily Trouw, March 1977).