Where did the name “Palestine” come from?


There was an area in the Bible called Philistia, which ran along the coast of Israel. In biblical times it was the territory where the Philistines lived, but no Arabs today are descendents of the Philistines. The first time “Palestine” was used was in the days of the Roman Empire, when Rome sought to annihilate the Jews and to eliminate Israel and Jerusalem from the map. They changed the name of Israel to Palestina. Then around the turn of the 20th century the term emerged again and was used to describe the colonial mandate Britain received from the League of Nations to develop a homeland for the Jewish people. The Arabs, however, thought of the region as an extension of greater Syria. Only since the PLO was created in Egypt in the mid 60’s has the name Palestine been used for an Arab homeland.

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