Lawrence Newman in his July 11 letter , categorically stated that "Jews have always lived in Israel." This is not the case because Israel simply ceased to exist between 720 BC when it fell to the Assyrians (134 years later the tiny kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians) and 1947 when it was created by the UN partition plan. A gap of just 2,667 years.
It would have been more accurate to say that Jews have lived in Palestine; a name given to the area by the Romans which derives from Philistia, the country of the Philistines, and a name that has been used ever since. [So Jews have, indeed, lived in the area but not at all times and not always in great numbers. For instance, they were only 2 percent at the end of the 19th century. It should also be emphasized that the Jews we are talking about are the descendants of the Hebrews and were not the only people who lived there. The Canaanites and the Philistines, the ancestors of the Palestinians, lived also in the area and were there even before the coming of the Hebrews. As for the Ashkenazi Jews, the descendants of the Khazars, who are, ethnically speaking, neither Hebrews nor Semites and who converted to Judaism in the 8th century Europe, their politically motivated interest in Palestine came about with the rise of Zionism late in the 19th century.
The fallacy of the "historic rights" of the Jews in Palestine is evident from the fact that out of 5,000 years, which is the period of Palestine's recorded history, the Hebrews controlled Palestine (and never all of it by the way) for less than 600 years, less than the Canaanites, the Egyptians, the Romans or the Muslims. Through manipulation and misrepresentation, Israel is asking the world, as Roger Garaudy put it in his book The Case of Israel, "to retain as significant for the history of Palestine only those moments when the Hebrews played a role."]
July 23, 1993