The Jerusalem Post
In a post on his Facebook page, Sheikh Ahmad Adwan unabashedly declared that Palestine is a fabrication, and that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.
"I say to those who distort the Koran: from where did you bring the name Palestine, you liars, you accursed, when Allah has already named it 'the Holy Land' and bequeathed it to the Children of Israel until the Day of Judgment?" he wrote.
"There is no such thing as 'Palestine' in the Koran. Your demand for the Land of Israel is a falsehood and it constitutes an attack on the Koran, on the Jews and their land," he said.
Citing verses in the Koran (such as Sura 26, verse 59), Adwan argues that according to the Muslim holy book, Israel was given as an inheritance to the Jewish people and not to anyone else.
While it would be naïve to think that Adwan's pronouncements will bring about any significant change in how the Muslim world relates to Israel, it does offer a timely reminder of an important historical truth.
To put it simply: Palestine and the Palestinians are a modern invention, a fiction created with the aim of dismantling Israel and undermining its claim to its ancient patrimony.
The myth of Palestine is the diplomatic equivalent of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and the Abominable Snowman. Although plenty of people may persist in believing in these fairy tales, that doesn't make them true.
Indeed, prior to the 1947 UN partition plan, even Palestinian Arab leaders openly affirmed this to be the case.
Take, for example, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, who testified in 1937 before the Peel Commission, which was established by the British government to investigate the outbreak of Arab violence in British-ruled Palestine.
Abdul-Hadi told the commission that "there is no such country as Palestine! 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria."
A decade later, in May 1947, the representative of the Arab Higher Committee told the UN General Assembly much the same.
Palestinian nationalism only gained steam in subsequent decades, as the Arab states found it to be a useful proxy tool in their ongoing war against the Jewish state.
They cultivated a Palestinian national consciousness and identity in order to create a narrative of Arab victimhood and Israeli aggression which suited their political agenda.
Thanks to the Left and the media, the Palestinians' claims to the Land of Israel became amplified and even accepted by a large number of people around the world, many if not most of whom do not know the first thing about the Middle East.
Sadly, even many Jews are no longer familiar with the historical record and have come to accept Palestinian assertions as true, even though there has never been a Palestinian state in all of history.
And yet, not that long ago, this was a widely recognized and accepted fact.
Consider remarks made by the late Golda Meir. In an interview with The Sunday Times on June 15, 1969, Meir said, "There were no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state?" Furthermore, she noted, "It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist."
To our ears, such assertions may sound jarring because they are so at odds with what has come to be accepted as the conventional wisdom. But that is merely because we have succumbed to decades of pro-Palestinian propaganda and indoctrination which have virtually drowned out dissenting voices.
Indeed, the mainstream media uniformly ignored Sheikh Adwan's comments, failing to report them despite their newsworthiness. This should have been front-page news, if only because of its extraordinary nature.
After all, how often does a Muslim religious scholar come out with such pronouncements? Nonetheless, Adwan's brave remarks provide an important opportunity for pro-Israel activists to right the historical record and begin to undercut decades of successful Palestinian propagandizing.
We must seize on this opening to remind people of what many have forgotten: Palestine is an illusion with no basis in historical reality. It does not appear in the Torah, the Christian Bible or the Koran, or in the historical record.
The only place it does appear is in the imagination of those who wish Israel ill.
Our task must be to ensure that it remains that way.