There have been many books written on Palestinian identity and history but none are as scholarly and authoritative as Assaf A. Voll’s “A History of the Palestinian People, From Ancient Times to the Modern Era.” Voll’s exhaustive account of Palestinian history is summed up in 120 fact-filled pages brimming with substantive information that most will find useful.
University students working under harsh time constraints will find the book particularly suitable because it can be read cover-to-cover in a matter of seconds. That’s because all the pages are blank save for a quote in the beginning of the book attributed to the Seinfeld character George Costanza – “Just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.”
The notion of “Palestinian history” is farcical and Voll’s understated but illuminating point unabashedly exposes this abject lie. The name “Palestine” is an invented name concocted by the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
In 132 AD, the Jews of Judea (alternatively known as Eretz Israel) launched an open revolt against Roman occupation of their land. Led by its charismatic leader, Simon Bar Kochva, the anti-Roman insurgency nearly succeeded, as evidenced by archaeological discoveries and historical accounts but was ultimately suppressed some three years later after intense and bitter fighting.
Hadrian was keenly aware and understood that the Jews could never be defeated by force of arms alone. He believed that in order to defeat the Jews, he needed to break their spirit as well. He therefore embarked on a bitter campaign of severing the Jewish nexus to the Land of Israel. Among his many cruel edicts was the renaming of the city of Jerusalem to “Aelia Capitolina” and the Land of Israel to “Palestine.” While the former name was never accepted, the latter abominable renaming unfortunately stuck and over time supplanted the land’s historical and original naming.
To be clear, there has never in the history of mankind been a Palestinian state, a Palestinian capital, a distinct Palestinian language, currency or culture.
In December 2011, Newt Gingrich noted this indisputable fact and made the following observation;