Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas last week met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in Jeddah. In an exchange of gifts in keeping with diplomatic protocol, Abbas handed the Saudi monarch a framed copy of the old daily Palestine Post.
In a gesture indicative of the Palestinian narrative itself, the gift was an embarrassment.
The Palestine Post came into being in 1925 as the Palestine Bulletin. The newspaper was founded by Jacob Landau, founder of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The use of the term “Palestine” was at that time unambiguous – it was clear that Palestine was a Jewish entity. For example, a 1919 headline from the Jewish-owned Chicago weekly The Sentinel reads “rejoice over news of establishment of Palestine.” The jubilation, The Sentinel informs us, is over “the establishment of an autonomous Jewish state in Palestine.”
On February 1, 1948 a car bomb blew up in front of the Palestine Post offices, destroying the printing press and killing three people. Palestinian Arab leader Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, who was later killed in the famous battle of the Qastal, took responsibility for the attack.
The Palestine Post operated under that name from 1935-1950. It was only two years after the establishment of the State of Israel that the newspaper changed its name to The Jerusalem Post.
Seizing upon this faux pas, Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote on Facebook:
“Mahmoud Abbas this week gave the Saudi king a copy of The Palestine Post as a gift. Abbas apparently didn’t know that The Palestine Post was a Zionist newspaper that changed its name to The Jerusalem Post and is still published today, in Jerusalem our capital.”