Russia Created a Palestinian Identity Way Before Arafat was Born

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  1. November 9, 2020

    […] The name Filastin, or Palestine, … had never been used by Jews, for whom the normal name of the country, from the time of the Exodus to the present day, was Eretz Israel.10 It was no longer used by Muslims, for whom it had never meant more than an administrative sub-district and it had been forgotten even in that limited sense. It was, however, widely adopted in the Christian world. In the Middle Ages, Christian writers had usually spoken of ‘the Holy Land,’ or even of Judaea. The Renaissance and the revival of interest in classical antiquity gave a new currency to the Roman name Palestine, which came to be the common designation of the country in most European languages. European influence brought it to the Arabic-speaking Christians, the first of the country’s inhabitants to be affected by western practices and usages. The second Arabic newspaper to appear in Palestine, published in 1911, was called Filastin and was edited by an Arab Christian of the Orthodox Church. [Note added by Sheri Oz: Zachary Foster’s recent PhD thesis describes how Russian missionaries to “The Holy Land” in the mid 1800s taught their Arab pupils that t….] […]

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