09/09 Links Pt1: President Sisi’s gift; “Hamas” by Ari lesser; India warns of terror attacks on Israelis
Caroline Glick: President Sisi’s gift
Sisi’s offer, even with Abbas’s rejection of it is a gift to Israel. And Israel’s challenge in the weeks and months ahead is to make the most of it.
If the Americans force Abbas to accept Sisi’s offer, Israel and the Palestinian people will benefit.
And if Abbas successfully scuttles it, Sisi’s offer will show that Israel is correct that it cannot satisfy Palestinian demands on its own, and indeed, it demonstrates how unreasonable those demands are.
Sisi’s offer demonstrates that for non-jihadist Sunnis, not only is Israel not the problem in the Middle East, a strong Israel is a prerequisite for solving the region’s troubles. Here is a major Arab leader willing to stand with Israel even if it means discrediting the PLO .
As a consequence, Sisi’s offer is a challenge to the US and Europe.
Sisi’s offer shows Washington and Brussels that to solve the Palestinian conflict with Israel, they need to stand with Israel, even if this means abandoning Abbas.
If they do so, they can take credit for achieving their beloved two-state solution. If they fail to do so, they will signal that their primary goal is not peace, but something far less constructive.
JPost Editorial: The Sisi solution
Of course, Sisi’s motives are not altruistic. Egypt has been battling Salafist forces in the Sinai for years. The breakdown of law and order on the peninsula is a major strategic threat to Egypt. The creation of a stable sovereign state in this anarchic region could be a stabilizing factor. Ensuring that the PA controls the enlarged Gaza Strip would neutralize Hamas, whose connections with the Muslim Brotherhood make it an enemy of the present Egyptian government.
We must not delude ourselves. Egyptian society remains deeply antagonistic to Israel. And an enlarged Gaza will not solve the underlying cause of the conflict: Palestinians’ refusal to reconcile themselves to the existence of a Jewish state. Nevertheless, Egypt and Israel share common interests which include a desire to weaken Hamas, stabilize Sinai and see Egypt and other “moderate” Sunni nations take a more active role in confronting Islamic extremism. Sisi’s Gaza initiative could lead to a major breakthrough in what has become an atrophied Israeli-Palestinian negotiation process, provided the Palestinian political leadership gives it a chance.
“Hamas” by Ari lesser
In perhaps the most openly hostile comments made publicly by a senior Israeli official against former ally Turkey, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Monday said Istanbul, along with Qatar, was openly backing terrorism.
Ya’alon, speaking at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, expressed outrage that the international community would allow nations to back terrorism while remaining full members of respected international organizations such as the UN and, in Turkey’s case, NATO.
“The command center of Hamas’s overseas operations sits in Istanbul. Saleh al-Arouri is the man sitting there,” he said, referring to the senior Hamas official, alleged by Israel to have played a key role in orchestrating the abduction and killing of three Israeli teens in June, who is based in the Turkish capital and enjoys the support of local officials.
“Where is the world on this matter?” Ya’alon asked. “When speaking about the war on terror, [you must] start by whether you are willing to accept such phenomena — such countries who support terrorism and terror activity without hiding it.”
Indeed, Ankara should be thinking offense. The Erdogan government is part of NATO’s “core coalition” targeting ISIL. Why are U.S. planes and drones striking Islamic radicals operating next door to Turkey when Ankara’s forces could take the lead? If the Islamic State consolidates its position, Turkey is likely to be a site for the group’s expanded activities. Last year ISIL troops told a captured Turkish photojournalist that Erdogan and other top officials were “infidels” and claimed that “Turkey is next.” One insurgent brigade was made up mostly of Turks.
Political leaders in Washington and Brussels alike seem to confuse defense with welfare. If a U.S.-led NATO still has relevance today, it is to confront major threats which require a collective response. America, since NATO really stands for North America and The Others, should focus on tasks that no one else can perform, such as deterring a (currently nonexistent) hegemon.
ISIL is evil, but that does not make it a serious military threat against America. The Islamic State is a much more significant threat against Middles Eastern states, such as Turkey. These nations also hold the key to its defeat. They have the interest and capability. They also have the credibility, as Islamic nations themselves.
All that’s lacking is the necessity. If Washington or NATO rushes in to relieve them of responsibility, they likely won’t act. For once Turkey and other nations should be held responsible for their past policies.
How do you defeat an armed ideological movement with a territorial base if you are unwilling to fight in that base?
Neither Israelis nor Americans are prepared to control enemy territory as a means to determine the ultimate outcome. But that means there will be no destruction, no elimination of the enemy; no “victory.”
Control of territory and the ability to subject one’s enemies to enforceable rules are the only known mechanisms for ending, rather than managing, a war.
The U.S. has been in South Korea since the 1953 Armistice, allowing a democratic, technologically advanced society to emerge. The withdrawal of American forces from South Vietnam allowed North Vietnam to capture the territory.
Mohamed Elibiary, a controversial senior adviser to the U.S. Homeland Security Department, stepped down Sept. 3 from his position after receiving backlash for a controversial post he made on Twitter in June.
Responding to a question about the Islamic State group, Elibiary wrote, “As I’ve said b4 inevitable that ‘Caliphate’ returns.”
The tweet was part of a string of posts deemed inappropriate for a senior government advisor, including one where he said he considered the United States to be an “Islamic country” and another where he suggested that those in the national security “uber hawks camp misread 9/11.”
After the June tweet, Elibiary was asked if he supported the “inevitable Caliphate,” and he responded by saying that the U.S. is moving towards engaging with radical Islamic groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
In the interview Choudary says terrorism is authorised by the Koran, no distinction should be made between civilians and soldiers and the Islamic State’s terrorism is “pro-life”.
From his interview, an insight into the kind of Islam preached in parts of Britain…
Terrorism is “part of Islam” and killing civilians is legitimate:
“Allah mentions in the Quran in fact, if you look in Chapter eight, verse 60, he said “Prepare as much as you can steeds of war to terrorise the enemy.” So terrorising the enemy is in fact part of Islam, I mean this is something that we must embrace and understand, as far as the jurisprudence of jihad is concerned. Secondly, I think that think that people need to appreciate is that in war, the Muslims are not distinguishing in general between civilians and military. Because those very civilians are those that put the people in charge, and those people in charge – Barack Obama and others – are sending their troops to Muslim countries. So they’re not making that distinction, let alone between people who are journalists, who are considered to be the right hand in fact, and the propaganda machine of the Obama administration.”
James Foley and other journalists are seen as the enemy:
“I don’t know the details of Mr James Foley… But what I can definitely tell you is that journalists in general from the West, the civilians from places like America, at the current time are in a position where there is no sanctity for them in Muslim countries. There is no one to give them that sanctity. We are uprising against our own regimes, and they are seen as enemies of the Usama Muslims.”
Anyone discussing Israel for long enough will eventually come across a conversation like this: “Everything is so expensive in Israel, why am I paying three times what Europeans pay for olive oil?” The response: “Israel is a young state and has been under siege since its inception; surrounded by enemies, prices simply can’t be a priority.”
This mentality of Israel, the “young” state, always “under siege” or surrounded by enemies baying for its blood, is a common motif.
It is also a narrative that feeds not only into fear-mongering and excuses for failings, but has also has led to increasing numbers of people leaving the country and calling into question its permanence.
Let’s start with one of the most historically naive myths, namely that Israel is a “young” or “new” country.
The efficacy and threat level of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has heightened after Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Dr. Michael Oren stated Monday – and allegedly justifies a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
Israel’s economic, political, and cultural status has already been damaged existentially across the globe, Oren warned, due to the constant campaigns for “Israel Apartheid Week” on college campuses and European divestment from the Jewish state.
Speaking at the fourteenth International Conference of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Oren noted that BDS is merely the beginning of the global campaign to isolate Israel – which is the ultimate goal of both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority’s ruling party, Fatah.
The PA’s ambassador to Egypt, Jamal al-Shobaki, said that the Arab League resolution issued a day earlier calls for the head of the Arab League to push the idea in the UN Security Council and other regional and international groups.
Al-Shobaki said the foreign ministers are consulting over the draft resolution to be put to the council, according to AP.
Abbas floated the idea last month as a way to refocus international attention on his demands for a state after failed efforts to reach a negotiated peace deal with Israel. The move is a unilateral one and is in direct violations of the Oslo Accords.
In another sign of the growing disunity in the “Palestinian Unity Government” between the West Bank and Gaza, The Arab League, meeting in Cairo on Sunday, forced an address by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas into a closed-door session, Israel’s Walla News reported.
Less than a minute into his comments, as Abbas began to list historical fractures between the PA and Hamas, an aide hurried over with a note for Abbas, and the video coverage of the open session abruptly ended.
“I don’t understand – to close…?” Abbas asked the aide on-mike, momentarily confused in the midst of his speech.
“Only if you’d like to…” the aide answered.
As Abbas waited, a spokesmen then requested repeatedly that reporters and guests leave the hall, according to the report.
Senior Fatah official Nabil Sha’ath said if Israel does not agree to a West Bank pullout in the next round of talks, the Palestinians would challenge the Jewish state politically, “all over the universe.” One thing on the future agenda, according to Sha’ath, is to urge the international community to handle Israel “as it did apartheid South Africa.”
Sha’ath said their dream of statehood was not over and that they would turn to the UN Security Council to take over the peace process.
PA chief Abbas is slated to ask the UN for a deadline for a full Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 lines, and will set a three-year window for the pullout.
Taking on the US, Sha’ath said its “plan has not worked out,” as he urged the global community to adopt a different plan.
New revelations Tuesday about Hamas’ alleged August 1 cease-fire violation shed light on a behind-the-scenes miscommunication between Israel and the chief mediators of the 72-hour cease-fire agreement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The cease-fire ended when Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel opening and attacked a Givati infantry patrol inside the Gaza Strip. In the attack, the commander of the brigade’s reconnaissance unit, Maj. Benaya Sarel, was killed, along with platoon commander Lt. Hadar Goldin, whose body is still being held by Hamas, and Staff Sgt. Liel Gidoni.
While the Americans, the United Nations and Israel were adamant that Hamas had violated the cease-fire, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal consistently claimed that Hamas was not guilty of doing so, and that in actuality his organization never accepted the principle of restraint against Israeli forces inside the Gaza Strip during those 72 hours.
Israeli officials confirmed that Mashaal, in retrospect and despite the assurances that were given to Israel, primarily from the U.S., never promised to accept the ongoing IDF presence in Gaza.
Indian intelligence officials have learned that al-Qaida elements and other fanatic groups may be planning to commit terrorist attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets in advance of the anticipated influx of tourists during the upcoming holiday season, according to news reports.
India has traditionally been a popular destination for Israeli hikers and backpackers, particularly during the Jewish holiday season. Israelis are known to congregate in the dozens of Chabad-operated community centers in the country, where they celebrate the holidays and observe religious customs.
Last week, Indian authorities learned that al-Qaida operatives have established sleeper cells throughout the country. According to reports, intelligence services believe that the organization is planning attacks, with Israeli and Jewish institutions high on the list of at-risk targets.
Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri released a videotape declaring the organization’s intention to wage jihad on the Indian subcontinent.
Israel and the US Missile Defense Agency tested an improved Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile at an Israeli test range over the Mediterranean Sea Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“An Arrow 2 missile was launched and performed its flight sequence as planned. The results are being analyzed by program engineers,” the statement read.
Defense Ministry spokesperson Jonathan Mosery said that the Arrow 2 system, which has been operational for years and is intended for use against long-range threats, “like Iron Dome, undergoes ongoing improvements” to software and hardware and other components.
Israel is in the process of developing a five-tiered system of air defense, offering protection against projectiles ranging from mortars to ballistic weapons.
Sometime in the coming days a governmental committee is to convene to decide whether a new Qatari-funded Arab city in the heart of Samaria will be populated.
It is currently expected that Israel will remove the last barrier blocking the city – which is already near completely-built – and allow the city to be connected to Israel’s water supply.
A deal has now been worked out, however, whereby both sides will approve the other’s projects – which means that the city of Rawabi will soon be a “fact on the ground.”
However, as the grassroots “Cities of Israel” (Mattot Arim) organization has pointed out, the security implications of a Qatar-funded city in Israel have not been sufficiently taken into account – especially now that the extent of Qatari support for Hamas during the recent war in Gaza is well-known.
Israel’s honorary consul to Wales, UK has called for the dismissal of the Deputy Lord Mayor of Cardiff, the country’s capital, after the latter dismissed Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians as “firing toy rockets” at an August rally.
Labor party councillor Ali Ahmed’s comments were made at a hard-left “No NATO” rally, as part of a larger, rambling speech in which he railed against Israel and western states – whom he blamed for “creating ISIS”.
“We all know what’s happening in Iraq. We all know what’s happening in Gaza, Palestine, Ukraine, Syria and Palestine. Who created all this? It’s us, America, Mr Cameron,” he said, addressing the British prime minister.
“When Israel decided what they wanted to do in Gaza, in Palestine – we didn’t want a war – the Palestinians defended against Israel with rockets. They’re toy rockets.
Jerusalem’s security forces are to get reinforcements to combat a continued rise in violence, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Tuesday, as riots in the capital appeared to erupt for a third day running.
Aharonovitch did not provide details about the type of reinforcements the city would receive in the wake of violent riots in the capital, following the Sunday death of an East Jerusalem teen shot by police during a demonstration last week.
“The residents are right if they feel a lack of security following stone-throwing and harassment,” he said as he toured several sites damaged by rioters in recent days, including the Jerusalem light rail and a gas station.
“It is [the government’s] responsibility to give them security. In Jerusalem there are still complicated events, the district has gotten and will get reinforcements.”
The results of an official inquiry into Israel’s emergency response phone system, initiated after the failure of emergency operators to properly respond to a call from one of the three Israeli teens kidnapped and killed in the West Bank in June, revealed “serious flaws” that shocked investigators.
In certain areas, call center operators currently work with a system that sharply limits the amount of time they can stay on the phone, leading to dropped or ignored calls. A senior officer told Army Radio that in at least two regional call centers, the situation was so bad that callers sometimes didn’t even have time “to say hello” as many calls were immediately disconnected the moment they were answered.
The inquiry recommendations would yield a comprehensive overhaul and modernization of the system, Israel Police said in a press release Monday.
Emad Halabi first worked in Israel when he was 16 years old. Now, at the age of 50, he still takes jobs in the Jewish state or in Jewish communities built on land Israel acquired in 1967 when he can get them. The money he made helped support his large family.
While he passed his college entrance exam, he dropped out of two separate universities twice. He took a job cleaning at Hebrew University in Jerusalem because it paid well.
“When you landed a job working in Israel or the “settlements”, people envied you and considered you lucky because there’s no substitute. That’s still the case today,” he told The Media Line, adding that he was never harassed for being Palestinian.
Even when the first Intifada (Palestinian uprising) broke out in 1987 Halabi continued working in Israel to achieve the Palestinian goal: save up money, build a house and get married, which is what he did in 1990. Without the work in Israel, this would not have been possible. In Israel, he says, he makes $80 per day as a laborer, compared to $60 per day in the Palestinian territories.
“I tile one square meter (for a Palestinian project) in the West Bank, I get $7. In “settlements”, the same amount gets me $14, while inside Israel its $28.
Halabi says on average, a Palestinian makes $420 a month working in the West Bank, while in Israel workers earn double this.
“When I see my kids can’t eat until I go to the settlement to work, of course I’m going to go so I can not only feed them but give them a good life,” he said. An estimated 25,000 Palestinians work in construction in Jewish communities in the West Bank, and some Palestinians have said they should quit because they are entrenching the Israeli occupation and making an independent Palestinian state less likely.
Emad Halabi is one of 40,000 West Bank residents with an Israeli permit to work in Israel. According to the Palestinian Labor Ministry, an additional 30,000 work without permits.
A senior military official and state media say that Lebanese troops are advancing near Syria, almost separating a border town from rebel-held areas in nearby fields.
The military official and the National News Agency said Tuesday that troops captured a post they lost when Islamic extremists overran the town of Arsal last month, killing and capturing a number of soldiers and police officers.
The military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said “90 percent” of the area between the town of Arsal and its rebel-held outskirts that stretch to Syria was now held by troops.
The rebels’ incursion into Arsal in August was the most serious spillover yet of Syria’s conflict into the neighboring country.
Syrian rebels strengthened their hold of the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Tuesday morning, conquering the mountain Al-Mal in the Quneitra region where they have recently been capturing control from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.
In conquering the strategic point on Tuesday, rebel forces killed roughly ten Syrian soldiers according to Arab news sources cited by Walla!, with some reports assessing that all of Assad’s forces in the area were killed in the clash.
The victory gives the rebels full control over the mountain located roughly ten kilometers (just over six miles) from the border with Israel.
It also means Syrian rebels have essentially taken control of all of Assad’s bases in the Syrian Golan Heights since starting their conquest of the region around two weeks ago.
Stray gunfire from Syria wounded an Israeli soldier in the Golan Heights on Monday, the army said.
“An IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldier was injured by errant fire from internal fighting in Syria. He was evacuated to hospital,” an army statement said, without elaborating.
The soldier is reportedly from the Armored Corps., which is currently stationed along the Israeli-Syrian border.
The spokesman for the family of murdered American journalist Steven Sotloff accused the US government Monday of using hostages in Syria as “pawns,” and revealed that Sotloff’s location was sold to the Islamic State jihadist organization by “moderate” rebels for $25,000-$50,000.
Sotloff, a dual Israeli-US citizen, was killed by IS terrorists in a video released online last week. He was kidnapped on August 4, 2013, after crossing into Syria from Turkey.
Barak Barfi, a spokesman for the family, told CNN that other rebels at the border alerted Islamic State terrorists that Sotloff had crossed into the country, selling the tip for between $25,000 and $50,000.
“Somebody at the border crossing made a phone call to ISIS, and they set up a fake checkpoint with many people,” Barfi said.
Israel has provided the US with intelligence and satellite images on Islamic State positions, as well as information on Westerners joining its ranks, to assist Washington in its ongoing operation against the Islamic State, Reuters reported Monday, citing an unnamed Western official.
Israeli spy satellites were said to have greater access to the region, allowing the US to “fill out its information and get a better battle damage assessment” in the aftermath of its airstrikes, the diplomat said, according to the report.
The news came as a State Department spokeswoman said that more than 40 countries have already indicated a willingness to help out in some way against the militants, who have seized a swath of Syria and northern Iraq.
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said he doubts that a coalition of Arab League forces–now considered the likely “boots on the ground” needed to combat ISIL–will be sufficient in eliminating the terrorist army expanding its control across Iraq and Syria.
“I have no problem with having some Arab troops there,” Kristol said. “If you depend on the Arab League, we’ll end up with Libya.”
Kristol pointed out the failure of the Obama administration’s “leading from behind” strategy in Libya and the chaos it created there: “We’ve now ended up with jihadist groups controlling parts of Libya.”
“If you’re going to intervene, you have to intervene seriously,” Kristol told MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. Kristol also stressed the need to maintain a stabilizing troop presence after intervening against ISIL to avoid repeating the fiasco in Libya.
Senators McCain and Graham are right in demanding that sometime in, say, the last three years Obama should have developed a strategy for confronting the growing extremist spillover from the Syrian civil war. On September 2, a former Pentagon official revealed that Obama was given in-depth intelligence about ISIS in particular for at least a year before its surge this summer, yet a week after the first beheading, Obama admitted that “we don’t have a strategy yet.” Beinart’s false choice glosses over the President’s procrastination.
Too often Obama has treated foreign policy as a spectator sport. Recently he was surprised by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates’ bombing of Libya, even though those countries’ concerns about extremists’ gains have been growing for some time. His attitude towards governance more generally helps illustrate the theme. Obama was initially unaware of the problems with the website for his signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, and many other programs. An October 2013 article in the Washington Post summed this all up nicely when it cited former Obama Administration officials saying that “the President’s inattention to detail has been a frequent source of frustration, leading in some cases to reversals of diplomatic initiatives and other efforts that had been underway for months.”
Islamist fighters in Iraq have killed hundreds of children including in summary executions and used some as suicide bombers, the top UN envoy on children and armed conflict said Monday.
“Up to 700 children have been killed or maimed in Iraq since the beginning of the year, including in summary executions,” Leila Zerrougui told the UN Security Council.
Zerrougui said Islamic State (IS) fighters were recruiting boys as young as 13 to carry weapons, guard strategic locations and arrest civilians.
“Other children are used as suicide bombers,” she added.
The head of Egypt’s Al-Azhar, one of Islam’s highest seats of learning, said on Monday that jihadists aligned with the Islamic State (IS) were “criminals” serving a “Zionist” plot to “destroy the Arab world.”
“These criminals have been able to transmit to the world a tarnished and alarming image of Muslims,” Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb said.
“These fundamentalist terrorist groups, whatever their names, and their backers are colonial creations that serve Zionism in its plot to destroy the Arab world.”
Al-Azhar is Egypt’s top religious authority and runs a university long seen as the most prestigious centre of Muslim learning.
It espouses a different school of theology within Sunnism than the radical Salafi views of the Islamic State and other jihadist groups, and has backed a government crackdown on opposition.
ISIS-affiliated terrorists tweeted a series of death threats to Twitter employees in San Francisco and across Europe, encouraging “lone wolf” attacks on the company’s workers as revenge for shutting down ISIS accounts.
The Twitter account, @dawlamoon, claimed to represent Al Nusra Al Maqdisia, which declared its loyalty to ISIS last February, Vocativ reports. The group, apparently displeased with Twitter for shutting down the accounts of ISIS terrorists, tweeted several threats to the social media giant’s workers, targeting those in San Francisco and Europe.
ISIS has attempted to use Twitter to spread its propaganda, and news of the two American journalists’ grisly murders spread quickly on the site. Twitter has been working to suspend accounts that belong to ISIS terrorists, but accounts can reappear quickly with slightly changed names. Twitter has already suspended the account in question several times, according to Vocativ, but it’s continued to pop up again.
On Friday, Sept. 5, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced that the kingdom is about to build a fence to protect its northern border from infiltration by “infiltrators and smugglers,” according to Saudi media.
The fence will cover approximately 560 miles. It will include five layers of fencing, reinforced by surveillance by watch towers, night-vision cameras and radar.
Iraq is Saudi Arabia’s northern neighbor, and relations between the two Arab Muslim countries have been, well, less than neighborly. According to the Saudis, outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki is to blame for the jihadist insurgency in his country. Al-Maliki is responsible, so the Saudi line goes, because he marginalized the Sunni minority, which enraged them to such a pitch they became homicidal genocidal bloodthirsty brutal murderers. As if al-Maliki is singlehandedly responsible for the birth and spreading contagion of ISIS.
Hatzor, Israel, September 9 – Archaeologists excavating the Canaanite stronghold of Hatzor have discovered an artifact that conclusively corroborates the Palestinian claim to descent from those pre-Israelite inhabitants: the shield of a Canaanite warrior, to which a small child has been bound.
The discovery was unearthed last month at the site, which has served as a rich source of data on Canaanite civilization for decades. Palestinian leaders have often contended that they, not Jews, are indigenous to the area, a claim that until now has been at odds with the archaeological and historical record, but still conveys the Palestinian narrative of the land being usurped from them by outsiders.
Whereas the consensus among historians has been that the Palestinian Arabs are descended from groups that migrated to the area from Jordan, Arabia, the Balkans, Syria, and elsewhere over the last 1,500 years, the new find directly links the Palestinian practice of using noncombatants as shields to the Canaanites, a loose amalgamation of city-states that were thought to have faded from history after the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests of the eighth and sixth centuries BCE. The term “Palestine” itself was assigned to the land of Judea, as ancient Israel was known at the time, by Roman Emperor Hadrian in the second century CE specifically as a way to erase the Jewish connection to it. It is derived from the Philistines, a Mediterranean people that invaded and colonized the coastal plain in the centuries before Israelite civilization emerged.