Words that Deceive

Explaining words that impact opinion on Israel’s rights…

What Is The Truth?

The Truth of Israel and Palestine under a magnifying glass

ICEJ Australia

“Do not be snared by the words of your mouth.” Proverbs 6:2

Words that may seem truthful may in fact pervert truth or be only a part truth of a wider context. The scripture often refers to words as arrows, used as weapons, against the people of God (Ps 64:3).

Therefore, those who stand with Israel, need to be careful not to follow the deception.

Many terms that are used in the media, or by governments, quickly become accepted as the norm, but endorse a perspective on the conflict in the Middle East that slants away from the original meaning until a new ‘truth’ is accepted in the collective mind of the world.

Below, we examine and shed light and truth on some of those words and terms.

Misconception: You’ve heard about a country called Palestine.

Response: A “State of Palestine” never existed in history.

  • The areas now described as Palestinian were once part of the British Empire and the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
  • In 1948, Egypt captured the Gaza Strip – and Jordan captured Judea and Samaria, renaming the territory “the West Bank”.
  • Egypt and Jordan controlled these areas until 1967. During that time, no country in the Arab World called for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Gaza and the areas under the Palestinian Authority, is not called ‘Palestine’. When referring to Gaza and the areas under the Palestinian Authority, the name ‘Palestine’ is not applicable.

When the Jews were finally crushed by the Romans in 135 AD, the area around Jerusalem, the Biblical Judea, was renamed Palaestina, the Latin term for the long term enemies of the Jews, the Philistines, in an attempt to erase the Jewish connection with the land of Israel.

From the Roman time until 1948, there were about 17 different rulers of Palestine, but not one of them had their own country there with its own capital – save a brief Crusader kingdom. Otherwise, it was always ruled from another country with its capital in Rome or Baghdad or Istanbul or Cairo or Damascus or elsewhere.

Even during 400 years of Ottoman rule from 1517 to 1917, most of the region was considered part of the province of Southern Syria. It was only during the brief British Mandate period that the area was again referred to as “Palestine.”

This changed when in 1948 the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel was proclaimed. It followed the U N resolution on the 29th of November 1947 which approved a Partition Plan that stated: ‘Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, … shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in any case not later than 1 October 1948.’

The Arabs never accepted the Partition Plan in order to establish their own Palestinian State and launched a war in which they were defeated. Jordan continued to control the area which they named West Bank.

The new State was formally renamed Israel in 1948 and the name Palestine should no longer refer to any area of land.

This changing of the name of Palestine to Israel is similar to other countries which have been renamed. The former country of Ceylon is now called Sri Lanka, and the former Burma is now called Myanmar.

Misconception:You’ve heard about an indigenous population group called Palestinians.

Response: Before 1948 in British Mandated Palestine, the local Arab population refused to be called “Palestinians”.

In 1890 there were about 43,000 Jews in Palestine and 430,000 Arabs.

Due to the pogroms in Russia and persecution in Europe, the number of Jews in Palestine in 1947 had risen dramatically (14.7 times) to about 630,000 and the Arab population to about 1,180,000 (2.7 times).

During the 1948 War of Independence, about 700,000 Arabs left, leaving about 500,000 in Israel.

Before 1948 in British Mandated Palestine, the local Arab population refused to be called “Palestinians”, preferring to be referred to as “Southern Syrians.” It was actually the local Jewish community which referred to themselves as “Palestinian Jews” at that time.

However, in 1964, Yasser Arafat founded the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), and from then on, the term Palestinian became increasingly associated only with Arabs living in Israel as part of the PLO’s newly-founded nationalist movement. It is a great anomaly of modern history that an Arab people would invent a national identity for themselves using an ancient Latin word which they cannot pronounce, as there is no letter “P” in the Arabic language, and yet the world accepts this contrivance.

Read More Here

Misconception: You’ve heard that Gaza is the world’s ‘Largest Open Air Prison.’

Response: Many Gazans worked in Israel, patients were treated in Israeli hospitals, goods flowed in.

Gaza has an area of approximately 40 x 9 km. Its northern and eastern border is with Israel, west the Mediterranean Sea and southern border of 14 km with Egypt. Due to the increased rocket and terror attacks from Gaza after Hamas seized control of Gaza from the PLO in 2007, both Israel and Egypt have maintained strict border controls around the Gaza Strip ever since.

However, until October 6 2023:

  • Between 17,000 and 20,000 workers from Gaza were allowed into Israel each day. In Israel these workers are paid 6 times more than those in Gaza, (Times of Israel 22 September 2022)
  • Over 100,000 trucks of supplies entered into Gaza from Israel and Egypt. Shopping malls, swimming pools, restaurants, boutique shops, mansions and much more were plentiful that indicated a prosperous lifestyle.
  • Patients could travel to hospitals in Israel for treatment with permission and many Israelis were involved in facilitating the process.
  • Gazan fishing boats operated in the Mediterranean Sea.

The border restrictions by Israel are justified as Hamas is a sworn enemy of Israel.

Read More Here

Misconception: You’ve heard that the West Bank has always belonged to ‘Palestine’.

Response: The ‘West Bank’ is the historic area of Judea and Samaria where about 80% of all events recorded in the Bible took place.

When David Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 over what was formally Mandate Palestine, five Arab countries attacked Israel – Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon with a contribution of forces from Saudi Arabia.

When a ceasefire was declared, Israel had gained control of all of the former Mandate Palestine, except what is now called the Gaza Strip which was occupied by Egypt, and the area now called the “West Bank” was illegally occupied by Jordan. The name West Bank referred to the land Jordan captured as it was “on the west bank of the Jordan River”. Jordan was east of the Jordan River.

Jordan annexed the West Bank in 1950 but it was only recognised by two countries, the United Kingdom and Pakistan. In 1988 Jordan renounced its claim to the territory which subsequently was claimed by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), now operating as the Palestinian Authority. The name West Bank has no legal standing and has no legally binding borders. The so-called boundary is the 1949 armistice line – the Green Line.

The ‘West Bank’ is the historic area of Judea and Samaria, where about 80% of all events recorded in the Bible took place. Judea and Samaria are the Biblical heartland of Israel and includes many sites with rich biblical heritage. Jeremiah 31 foretells both the exile and return of the Jewish people to Judea and Samaria. The New Testament refers to Judea and Samaria for example when Jesus commissioned his disciples: “… and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8b).”

Misconception: You’ve heard that Israel is the illegal occupier of all of the Land of Israel/Holyland.

Response:The Jewish people’s right to sovereignty in their homeland has been firmly established in international law.

In 1917, the British Government issued the Balfour Declaration, which explicitly called for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”.

Following World War I, the Allied powers convened in San Remo, Italy. This conference created the basis for the British Mandate of Palestine, giving Israel the legal right, based on international law, to become a sovereign nation under the oversight of Great Britain. The San Remo Resolution was later approved by the entire 52-member League of Nations in 1922, further entrenching it as international law.

In 1947, the newly created United Nations, voted to partition the British Mandate of Palestine into two states: one for the Jewish inhabitants of the Mandate, and a second one for the Arab inhabitants. The Jewish residents accepted this resolution. The Arab residents rejected it and launched a war of annihilation against the new Jewish state, joined by five outside Arab armies.

International lawyer Jacques Gauthier describes Israel right to its territory under international law.

In the war of June 1967, Israel came into possession of the ‘West Bank’, Golan Heights and Gaza Strip. Because Israel won these territories in a war of self-defence, Israel had a right, according to international law, to occupy or possess these areas until there is a binding peace treaty.

With the West Bank there is no other country with which Israel can have a peace treaty. Consequently, the West Bank is best described as an area under dispute, but currently legally occupied by Israel.

Because the Golan Heights were virtually free of any Syrian Arab population and had been used by the Syrian military to repeatedly attack Israel, it was annexed by Israel. Recently, the United States recognized Israel’s legal and historic claim to the Golan. Syria still claims it as its territory. According to international law, it is legally occupied by Israel, awaiting a binding peace treaty with Syria to settle the dispute.

Regarding Gaza, as Israel moved all Israelis out of Gaza during the Disengagement in 2005, until 7th October 2023, in no way could it have been said that Israel occupied Gaza. However due to the Israel/Hamas war, the situation is currently indeterminate.

Read More Here

Misconception:Jewish people are occupying a land that they have no legal right to.

Response:The Jewish people’s right to sovereignty in their homeland has been firmly established in international law.

Although it is popularly thought that the boundary between the ‘West Bank’ (Judea and Samaria) and Israel delineates an official border, its proper name is the 1949 Israel-Jordan Armistice Line, commonly referred to as the Green Line, which is the ceasefire line established in the Rhodes armistice agreement of 1949 between the armies of Israel and the Arab countries that attacked it in the 1948 War of Independence. The Rhodes agreement expressly stated the Green Line was not to be considered an internationally recognized border. UN Security Council resolution 242, adopted in the wake of the June 1967 war, sets up a suggested negotiating framework that envisions Israel withdrawing to “secure and recognized boundaries” in exchange for peace with its Arab neighbours. In the case of Egypt and Jordan, this was accomplished in negotiated peace treaties with Israel, but these borders have yet to be settled with Syria, Lebanon, and the non-state actors PLO/PA.

Misconception: You’ve heard that Israel’s Separation Fence is a concrete wall to hinder free access to Arab towns and communities?

Response: Between the year 2000 and 2005 over 1,000 Israelis were killed, mainly by Arab suicide bombers entering Israel from Judea and Samaria so a mainly chain wire fence was built to save lives.

Between the year 2000 and 2005 Israel experienced the Second Intifada when over 1,000 Israelis were killed, mainly by Arab suicide bombers entering Israel from Judea and Samaria, aka West Bank. In the years following 2002, Israel built a separation barrier, generally along the route of the Green Line, to keep out the suicide bombers. The barrier is mainly a chain mesh fence, but in proximity to Jewish habitation, it is a concrete wall. The fence/wall does not represent a border fence, and it has definitely proven to save lives on both sides.

Misconception: You’ve heard ‘From the river to the sea Palestine will be free’! 

Response: This statement does not refer to Jews and Arabs living peacefully side by side in Israel.

Following October 7, pro-Palestinian protests on the streets of cities across the West have used the slogan “From the River to the Sea, Palestine shall be free!” as a protest chant against Israel. Often, the non-Muslim participants do not know what it means and what it denotes.

The expression, in one form or another, has been used for many years, but in recent times it has been popularised by pro-Palestinian and Hamas supporters who have taken it from clause 20 of the Hamas Charter, May 2017 which states: Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.

The statement in the above context calls for the liberation of the area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea (Israel) from all Jews. The statement does not refer to Jews and Arabs living peacefully side by side in Israel, but, at a minimum the end of Israeli occupation, and in the extreme case, the extermination or ejection of all Jews from Israel. In other words, it is a call for the ethnic cleansing or genocide of all Jews from their ancestral homeland.

Misconception: You’ve heard it said Israel is an Apartheid State.

Response: Israeli Arabs are full citizens of Israel, they vote, serve in the parliament, government and Supreme Court, play for the national sports teams, compete in (and win) nation-wide beauty pageants.

Among the accusations of Israel’s relations with Palestinians living within Israel’s recognised borders and/or in Palestinian areas, is that it is an Apartheid State

An Apartheid (from the Afrikaans word meaning apartness) State is a state where one race (the lower race) is completely separated from another race (the upper race) as once practised in South Africa, and where a minority race rules over a majority race.

Just a few examples of an apartheid state follow:

  • The races cannot marry or even mix socially
  • The lower race cannot sit on chairs allocated for the upper race
  • The lower race cannot use toilets allocated for the upper race
  • The lower race can only have menial and low paid jobs
  • The lower race must always defer to the upper race.

In these examples and every other case, Israel does not even slightly qualify as an Apartheid State. Israeli Arabs are full citizens of Israel, they vote, serve in the parliament, government and Supreme Court, play for the national sports teams, compete (and win) nation-wide beauty pageants, etc.


Misconception: You’ve heard it said that Zionism = Racism.

Response: A Zionist is a Jew or a gentile who believes that the Jewish people have the right to a sovereign nation within their ancestral homeland – the Land of Israel.

A Zionist is someone who belongs to or supports the Zionist movement that had as its original aim the creation of a country for Jewish people in Eretz Israel. Modern Zionism is generally considered to have been founded by Theodor Herzl in 1897. 

A Zionist can be anyone who agrees that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people and believes in the right of Jewish national self-determination in that land. Being a Zionist does not mean you are an anti-Arab person.


Misconception: You’ve heard it said ‘Global Intifada’!

Response: When the slogan ‘global intifada’ is shouted, it conveys to Israelis the painful imagery of suicide bombers, rocket barrages, shootings and other terror attacks against civilians.

Intifada is an Arab word meaning uprising.  There have been two intifadas – first from 1987 to 1993, and the second from 2000 to 2005.

The first intifada began 20 years after 1967 when the Palestinians became frustrated over the continued ‘occupation’ of the West Bank.  The intifada generally involved Arab civil disobedience, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails among other acts.  It resulted in about 1,000 Arab deaths, 160 Israeli deaths and over 3,000 Israelis injured.

The second intifada was an event preplanned by PLO leader Yasser Arafat who was waiting for an opportunity to start it.  This opportunity came when the Israel PM Ariel Sharon went up to the Temple Mount in September 2000.  In the following three years over 1,000 Israelis were killed by Palestinians, mainly by suicide bombers entering cafes and busses.  Nowhere was safe in Israel during these years.  The security fence, now separating Judea and Samaria from the rest of Israel, is a result of this intifada, and its construction was largely responsible for its ending.  From this time the majority of Israelis who were enthusiastic about a Peace Plan, came to mistrust the Palestinians. 

When the slogan ‘global intifada’ is shouted, it conveys to Israelis the painful imagery of suicide bombers, rocket barrages, shootings and other terror attacks against civilians.

Misconception: You’ve heard it said that Jesus was born in ‘Palestine’, therefore a Palestinian.

Response: There is not a single shred of evidence that Jesus is or could have been a Palestinian.

According to the Gospels, Jesus was born in “Bethlehem of Judea” to Jewish parents from the Galilee in northern Israel. He lived and ministered in the historic Land of Israel all his life, both in the Galilee, Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. 

Only more than 100 years after his death and resurrection were these areas renamed “Palestine” by the Romans in an attempt to erase their Jewish heritage. When Britain ruled over Palestine between 1918 and 1948, only the Jewish residents referred to themselves as “Palestinians” at that time, whereas the local Arabs preferred to be called “Southern Syrians” – a term left over from Ottoman days.

Only after 1964, when Yasser Arafat founded the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), did the local Arab population finally begin identifying themselves as “Palestinian” in an effort to create a new nationalist identity separate from the Jews.

Misconception: Israel is committing genocide against the people of Gaza. 

Response: Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of a group of people because of their ethnicity, nationality, religion, or race.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of a group of people because of their ethnicity, nationality, religion, or race. The term, derived from the Greek genos (“race,” “tribe,” or “nation”) and the Latin cide (“killing”), was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-born jurist who served as an adviser to the U.S. Department of War during World War II, and he came up with the term to describe Nazi Germany’s systematic and intentional campaign to eradicate the entire Jewish population of Europe and North Africa.

In the present UN Convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide, the term genocide means the committing with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.

Israel is not committing genocide against the Gazan people as its only aim is to rid the area of Gaza of the terrorist group Hamas.  While war always has terrible consequences for civilians, Israel and the IDF go to extreme measures to protect the civilians of Gaza.

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