Call it Palestine

Some Palestinian fellows told me that there are some Zionist activists in a European country are rallying towards derecognizing Palestine, as a name. Not just in the current transactions, but by recreating new documents and maps dating before the existence of the Zionist community in the what so-called Israel.
 Recently, a member of the Israeli parliament, Anat Berko, ridiculously stated in the Knesset that “Palestine” is a fabricated name. Her proof was that Arabic doesn’t have the letter “P”, ignoring the Arabic pronunciation, “Felasteen”.
One of the most strong comments on her statements was “Based on your claim, Jews do not exists because Hebrew doesn’t have the letter “J”.
 Names hold their meanings by the way we feel about them, how we imagine that meaning in our minds, how we live them, how we interact with the name holders whether they are real or abstract, and by how we dream of them as well.
 This year marks the hundred anniversary of Sykes–Picot Agreement between the colonial countries to divide Southwestern Asia and create what is called the Middle East. When discussing this, I normally ask my students; who had put the current Palestinian borderlines?
Voices arise: “Sykes–Picot Agreement”. Then I draw a rough sketch of Palestine (as much as I am able to). I draw the “of Sykes–Picot Palestine”. It shows that it includes about the half of the current Palestine; it cuts Palestine athwart at Rafah in the south (from east to west). The southern part to Egypt is a collateral. The northern part is deemed international subdivided among Russia, France, and Britain; whereas France hold control over Safad and Al Houla, and Britain takes Haifa and Akka.
 The Zionist movement threw a wobbly hearing of this plan, so they started protesting against it especially in Britain. They wanted “The great Palestine”.
What I want to mention in this regards is that the Zionist movement had a newspaper in Britain called “Palestine”, and it was their portal for the protest campaign.
 The Buraq Uprising raged in 1928-1929. I come to notice that it was called “uprising”, which some are against giving it to the current “revolution” (Intifada). It happened as a result of Zionists launching an immigration campaign to Palestine calling Jews to migrate.
“New Palestine” was one of the famous newspapers advocating the campaign. The First Zionist Congress in Basle 1897 came out with the resolution to “Conquer Palestine”. Many affiliate institutions of the Zionist movement were named with titles carrying “Palestine”.
I’ve searched for all online resources, I found that “Palestine” was removed. However, some remained such as the Bank Leumi, the biggest Israeli bank, was first established under the name “The Anglo-Palestine Bank” in 1902.
 When it comes to the west, “Palestine Society” was formed in London in 1804 to study the geography of the country. In 1865, “Palestine Exploration Fund” was established in Jerusalem chamber inside Westminster Church. Celebrating the 150 anniversary, the head of the Fund stated that “It was first established to study the southern side of the east land usually known as Palestine”.
Moreover, in 1870, “The American Society to Explore Palestine” was established.
In Russia, however, “The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society” is still active since 1882.
 David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of the Wartime Coalition Government in 1916-1922, called Palestine as “Canaan" in his diaries.
 From an eastern perspective, Omar Son of Al Khattab, in the seventeenth century, formed an administrative unite called “Army of Palestine”
 There are political and legal meanings of names, or even political application of them that can be fluctuant from one phase to another whereas some names are fought for in some times while in other times they are fought.
The name can hold a practical meaning as well. For example, many magazine subscriptions, newsletter subscriptions, and other online financial transactions do not have the name Palestine in their lists.
 A Jordanian business man once told me that he ordered the shipping of some materials from Europe to farmers in Akka, and he insisted on using the name Palestine in the address leveraging the ignorance of the European officers of the issue.
The shipment was delayed. Many talks and transactions were made. He was fined a delay penalty.
He, however, enjoyed creating confusion in the Scandinavian company and in all who don’t know the story of Palestine.
I enjoyed his story. It made us talk about the people, streets, memories, trees, smell, air, leaders, photographs, fine art, books, history, and the amazing wandering around the streets of that “Palestine”.  
 
Written by Ahmad Jamil Azem
Translated by Nael Khader