Mike Evans: The Palestinians deserve a state

A father and his two children run down Israel’s largest dune near Ashkelon–one of the five ancient city-states of the Philistines. (Flash 90)


The reality is that the entire world is crying for the Palestinians to be given a state. I say, “Yes, let’s give them a state.” Now that we are agreed on that, the first thing we must do is to identify Palestinians. Neither they nor Palestine is mentioned in the Koran. Why?

A little lesson in history: The etymology of the word “Palestinian” in English is derived from the Old French word “Philistin”, from Late Latin it is “Philistinus”, and from Late Greek, “Philistinoi.” They were not an Arab or a Semitic people, but were more closely related to the ancient Greeks and originated in the Aegean region of Asia Minor. The word originally identified the area as the land of the Philistines, a war-like tribe that inhabited much of the region alongside the Hebrew people.

There is virtually nothing known about the language of the Philistines except some evidence that they spoke an Indo-European language. Ramses III defeated them in a battle on land and sea. He settled them on the southern coast of what is now modern-day Israel.

The Philistines never had a state in the traditional sense, but instead had city-states such as Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gath, Ekron, and Gaza. These cities were very small, no more than towns, and were concentrated along the coast and in a few inland valleys. Here, the Philistines wove cloth, crafted red and black pottery, and worshipped their many gods.

Any student of the Bible knows that the Philistines were enemies of Israel. The Philistines were an uncircumcised people whose name means “migrants.” They are found in the Old Testament 286 times. They worshiped two Babylonian gods—Ahn and Ashtaroth. When the statue of the god at Ashdod fell (I Samuel 5:4) it is said that its hands were broken off and only the great fish was left.

The Philistine infantry wore Greek-style breastplates, greaves as leg armor, helmets, and used close-combat weapons. At the Battle of Ebenezer in approximately 1050 BC, the Philistines crushed the
Israelites, destroying their shrine at Shiloh, captured the Ark of the Covenant and advanced into the hill country near Jerusalem. The prophet Samuel anointed two kings, Saul and David, who defeated the Philistines.

In the history of the Philistines is also the story of the young Hebrew man, David, son of Jesse, who was incensed that a Philistine warrior was allowed to challenge the one true God. The enemy of Israel had advanced to the Valley of Elah and there challenged the Israelites. They produced a Brobdingnagian champion, Goliath of Gath.

David volunteered to fight the giant and went out to face him with his slingshot and five smooth stones, and smote the Philistine on the forehead. He used the giant’s own sword to behead him. God gave David the courage and skills not only to face Israel’s enemy, but to kill the challenger. The Israelites pursued the Philistines all the way to the city of Ekron.

The Book of I Samuel tells the story of the Philistines and their battle with Israel. In Judges 16, Samson, a judge in Israel, was hated by the Philistines for having bested them numerous times. Delilah, a Philistine woman who lived in the Valley of Sorek close to Samson’s home, was bribed to finagle the secret of Solomon’s strength (his hair) from him.

He was then captured by his enemies, his eyes were put out, and he was used instead of an ox to grind at the mill. When Samson repented of his sins against God, his strength was renewed and he used that strength to pull down the temple of Dagon (the fish-god), where he was being paraded before and ridiculed by the enemies of Israel. The temple collapsed with all inside, and Samson was killed along with his enemies.

The Philistines were ultimately defeated, absorbed into the Babylonian/Persian Empire, and by the late fifth century BCE had disappeared.

In 135 CE, Simon bar Kokhba, a Jew, proclaimed himself the Messiah and led a revolt against the Romans. The Roman governor and two legions of soldiers were defeated. Bar Kokhba controlled the state of Israel from the Fort of Herodium just south of Jerusalem. His coins were inscribed, “Year one—the redemption of Israel.”

The Roman emperor, Hadrian, in response razed 985 villages and killed almost 600,000 Jews. Hadrian wiped Jerusalem and Judea off the map, and deliberately renamed the area Palaestinia after the Jews’
ancient enemy, the Philistines.

So, spread the word. Wanted: Non-Arab Philistines. As soon as all these peace-loving nations can prove that the Philistines are back, then let’s persuade the Arab League to absorb them as refugees the way Israel did with the Jews, and all nations have done. Let them then turn over the territories that have become a nightmare for the Jewish people to the Philistines.

You can be certain of one thing: There will probably be some pretty large dudes in the bunch. Goliath was a Philistine, and from what I know about him, he was not what you would call a “happy camper.” I expect life will not be too pleasant for mythological Palestinians when they meet the original Philistines.

To fulfill the reality of a Palestinian state, the world must demand that the vast majority of the land occupied by Arabs in Judea and Samaria be returned to Israel. The people that call themselves “Palestinians” must return to the Arab lands from which they came.

Then true Palestinians—the proven descendants of the Philistines—could have their land. Since there are none to be found on this planet, perhaps the next Mars rover will find them.

Dr. Mike Evans is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His latest book, The Protocols, addresses the role of anti-Semitism in the peace process.