The parliament of the Palestinian Authority approved on March 28th the new Hamas government. After the vote, one of the PA legislators called out loud, "The Koran is our constitution, Mohammed is our prophet, jihad is our path and dying as martyrs for the sake of Allah is our biggest wish."

A few months earlier, Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar gave an interview on Al-Manar TV. Among other things, he stated: "In this region we have faced Roman occupation, Persian occupation, Crusader occupation, British occupation - they are all gone. The Israeli enemy does not belong to the region. It does not belong to the region's history, geography or faith."

Irresistible. Typical figments of that legendary Arab imagination at work again. But repeat a lie enough times and the ignorant -- innocent or not -- will accept it. So, allow me to burst the bubble.

Let's start with the assertion of how alleged Arab aborigines -- not Jews -- faced Roman occupation in "Palestine". And rather than relying on Zionist sources, let's let those Roman and Persian occupiers Al-Zahar mentions speak for themselves.

There was no country or nation known as "Palestine" during the Roman occupation. In fact, there was never an Arab country of Palestine. The land was known as Judaea and its inhabitants were Judaeans; ie., Jews.

Tacitus, Dio Cassius and Josephus were famous Roman or Roman-sponsored historians who wrote extensively about Judaea's attempt to remain free from the Soviet Union of its day, the conquering Roman Empire. They wrote during, or not long after, two major revolts of the Jews in 66-73 CE and 133-135 CE. They make no mention of this land being called "Palestine" or its people "Palestinians". As can be seen below, they knew the differences between Jews and Arabs as well.

Listen carefully to this quote from Vol. II, Book V, The Works of Tacitus:
Titus was appointed by his father to complete the subjugation of Judaea.... [H]e commanded three legions in Judaea itself.... To these he added the twelfth from Syria and the third and twenty-second from Alexandria.... [A]mongst his allies were a band of Arabs, formidable in themselves and harboring towards the Jews the bitter animosity usually subsisting between neighboring nations....
Some things change, some things never do.

After the first revolt, Rome issued thousands of "Judaea Capta" coins, which can be seen today in museums all over the world. Notice, please: "Judaea Capta", not "Palaestina Capta". Additionally, to celebrate this victory the towering Arch of Titus was erected, showing Roman legionnaires carrying away the giant menorah, other spoils of the Jewish Temple (which Arabs deny existed), and Judaean captives.

When, some sixty years later, Emperor Hadrian decided to further desecrate the site of the destroyed Temple, it was the grandchildren's turn to take on their mighty conquerors.

Listen next to this quote from Dio Cassius: "580,000 men were slain, nearly the whole of Judaea made desolate. Many Romans, moreover, perished in this war [the Bar Kochba Revolt]."

"Judaea," Al-Zahar, not "Palaestina". Roman sources, Al-Zahar, not Zionist.

The Emperor was so enraged at the Jews' struggle for freedom in their own land that, in the words of the esteemed modern historian, Bernard Lewis, "Hadrian made a determined attempt to stamp out the embers not only of the revolt but also of Jewish nationhood and statehood... obliterating its Jewish identity." Hadrian renamed the land of Judaea "Syria Palaestina"; "Palestine" was named after the Jews' historic enemies, the Philistines, a non-Semitic seafaring people from the eastern Mediterranean or Aegean area.

So, sorry Hamas, trying - as your brethren have done with airplanes - to hijack the Philistines' identity or that of the Jews won't work either.

Palestine became largely "Arab" the same way that most of the almost two dozen states that call themselves "Arab" today did: by conquest, occupation, settlement and forced Arabization of non-Arab peoples and their lands. Muhammad and his successors' imperial armies burst out of the Arabian peninsula in the 7th century CE, spreading Arabism and the Dar Al-Islam by the sword. Any and all who resisted becoming part of what Arabs like to call today "purely Arab patrimony" were eliminated. Think of it as an earlier variation of the Arabs' modern day gassings of Kurds, genocide against and enslavement of black Africans, murder of Copts, Jews and Berbers, and so forth.

As I've often written, imperialism is only deemed nasty by Arabs when they themselves are not indulging in it.

Al-Zahar next spoke of the Persian occupation. Listen to what Euthychius, the Patriarch of Alexandria (and certainly also no Zionist), had to say about this in the Annals of Euthychius I (216): "The Persian commander went to Damascus and destroyed the land, and the Jews gathered together to help the Persians.... [T]he Jews of Jerusalem, Hebron, Nazareth, Damascus and Cyprus came together until they numbered an army of 20,000...."

And this was almost five centuries after the Roman decimation of the Jews in their land and the onset of the Great Diaspora.

Furthermore, unquestionable archaeological and historical corroboration from other "non-Zionist" sources testifies to the Jewish presence in the region for numerous centuries long before the Roman occupation.

So much for Hamas's lies regarding the alleged non-Jewish connection to the region. But let's move on to Al-Zahar's comments about the Jews' faith.

Putting it bluntly, when Al-Zahar's ancestors were still practicing fertility rites and worshipping idols, over two thousand years before the prophet of Islam was born, Jews were introducing the G-d of Eternity to the world from that very region. The Koran itself is filled with such references to the Children of Israel.

When Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, fled Mecca to Medina in 622 C.E. (the Hijrah), its mixed population welcomed him. Medina had been developed centuries earlier as a thriving date palm oasis by Jews fleeing the Roman assault (the Banu-Qurayzah and Banu-A-Nadir tribes, etc.). Muhammad learned much from the Jews. While the actual timing of his decision on the direction of prayer may never be known, during his sojourn with the Jews of Medina, his followers were instructed to pray towards Jerusalem. Early prominent Arab historians such as Jalaluddin stated that this was done primarily to win support among the influential Jewish tribes (the "People of the Book") for Muhammad's religio-political claims.

It is from the Temple Mount of the Jews in Jerusalem that Muslims believe Muhammad ascended to Heaven on his winged horse. A mosque, the Dome of the Rock, would later be erected there after the Arabs' imperial conquest of the land in the 7th century CE. The holy sites for Muslims in Jerusalem (the mosques erected on the Temple Mount of the Jews) are now deemed "holy" precisely because of the critical years Muhammad spent after the Hijrah with the Jews. The Temple Mount had no prior meaning to pagan Arabs.

Despite Arab distortions of the truth such as those spouted by Hamas, there is no doubt among objective scholars that the Jews of the region had an enormous impact on both Muhammad and the faith that he founded.

When the Jews refused to recognize Muhammad as the "Seal of the Prophets", he turned on them with a vengeance. Before long, with the exception of Yemen, there were virtually no Jews left on the Arabian peninsula. And the direction of prayer was changed away from Jerusalem and towards the Ka'aba in Mecca instead.

Some six centuries ago, Ibn Khaldun was one of the world's most important thinkers and is perhaps the greatest scholar the Islamic world has ever produced. He was also a Zionist.

In The Muqaddimah, he devoted much attention to the evolution of the Jewish nation, its early struggles, and its later fight for freedom from the Roman Empire and its consequences. He followed this with an analysis of the Jews' tragic condition of powerlessness throughout subsequent generations.

The Muqaddimah stressed that Jews were forced to wander in the desert for forty years due to their "meekness". Ibn Khaldun stated that this was necessary so that a new generation would arise with a new, more powerful 'asabiyah (group feeling). The Zionism that Arabs condemn today is just the prescription Ibn Khaldun was intimating. At a time when homicidal Arabs are demanding their 22nd state, a second one in the original 1920 borders of the Palestine Mandate (Jordan was created by the British in 1922 in some 80% of it), chances are more than good that this great Muslim scholar would have viewed the resurrection of Israel as an answer to the unique plight of the perpetually victimized, stateless Jews.

It's now baseball spring training here in Florida. So, regarding Hamas's assertions regarding the Jews' non-connection to the region, historically, geographically and religiously - it's one, two, three strikes and you're out.