The US State Department, under President Trump, has changed its standard description of East Jerusalem Arabs. The Arabs of East Jerusalem, who until now were referred to as “Palestinian residents” have now been referred to as “Arab residents” or “non-Israeli citizens” in an annual global human rights report released on Wednesday according to Algemeiner.
The term ‘Palestinian’, was originally given to the land of Israel by the Roman Empire after conquering it from the Jewish people in 135 AD. The then emperor of Rome, Hadrian, called the land ‘Syria Palestina’. The goal was to erase the Jewish Biblical connection to the land. After beating the Ottomans in World War 1, the British called it ‘Mandatory Palestine’. And although the Arabs in Israel today call themselves “Palestinians”, they originally rejected the title as it was considered by them to be a colonialist name.
But during the Cold War, when America and Russia were both trying to stake their claim on the land of Israel, the Russian KGB advised PLO leader Yasser Arafat to begin calling the Arabs in Israel ‘Palestinians’ as a means of duping the West into thinking that it was those very Muslims, and not the Jews, who are indigenous to the land.
But the truth is that ‘Palestinians’ in Judea and Samaria are mainly Iraqis who migrated to Israel during the first Aliyah (1881-1903) for better economic opportunities. ‘Palestinians’ in the Gaza Strip are descended from Egyptians. Even the head of the PLO himself, Yasser Arafat was born in Cairo. When compared to other Arabs in the Levant, there is no unique Palestinian culture or shared history. As historian Newt Gingrich said, the ‘Palestinians’ are an “invented people.”
In fact, many leading rabbis hold that it is this invented people that the God of Israel refers to in the Book of Deuteronomy:
They incensed Me with no-gods, Vexed Me with their futilities; I’ll incense them with a no-folk, Vex them with a nation of fools. (Deuteronomy 32:21)
However, Trump’s landmark decision to refer to the Arabs in East Jerusalem as ‘Arabs’ rather than ‘Palestinians’ puts a major dent in the psychological warfare that’s been waged against the Jewish state since Israel liberated Judea and Samaria from Jordan in 1967.