When Palestine Meant Israel

   The common theory about the name Palestine is that after suppression of the Jewish Revolt against Rome (66-70 CE), the Romans renamed Judea into Palestine, the Latin name for Land of the Philistines (פלשתים).  However, the origin of the name Palestine is not Roman/Latin - Romans just Latinized the much earlier Greek name of the land of Israel - Παλαιστίνη (Palaistinê).  Linguistically, the name is derived from the Greek παλαιστής (Palaistês) meaning wrestler. Jacob, patriarch of the Jewish people, was renamed Israel after he wrestled with an Angel of God - a translation of   ישראל (Isra-El) in Hebrew (לא יעקב יֵאמר עוד שמך כי אם ישראל כי שרית עם אלהים ועם אנשים ותוכל) (Genesis 32:24–28).  Thus the Greek Παλαιστίνη (Palaistinê) is the Land of the Wrestler (of God). El is considered a generic name for god(s) rather than a reference to the single Jewish Deity, and Greeks usually dropped the generic name for God in place names.   


[When Palestine Meant Israel, by David Jacobson, Biblical Archeological Review 2001]

UNRWA causes a humanitarian disaster

   The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was created in 1949, and has evolved into the UN’s single largest arm, employing more than 30,000 staffers, 99% of which are made up of locally recruited Palestinian Arabs. On the other hand, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) deals with all the world’s refugees except for Palestinian Arabs. At the end of 2015, UNHCR employed about 9,700 people, working in 126 countries. UNHCR has one staff member for every 5,500 refugees and other persons of concern. UNRWA has 30 times higher ratio: one staff person for every 182 people registered by UNRWA.” [Source, March 2015]. Unlike all other refugees in the world, (including a similar number of Jews expelled from the Arab countries after creation of Israel) who are resettled, status of the Palestinian refugees is perpetuated, and children educated under the UN auspices are weaponized. UNRWA’s continued existence, nearly seventy years after it was set up as a temporary fix for a relatively small problem, is part of a bizarre narrative in which a legion of UN insiders keep marketing it as part of the solution when in reality it is a core and essential component of the problem. This is a humanitarian disaster that many prominent politicians and diplomats prefer we don’t comprehend or see. There is no hope for peace until what UNRWA does is understood and stopped.