The Palestinian people, Palestinians, or Palestinian Arabs may be defined as comprising the modern descendants of the peoples who have lived in Palestine continuously over millennia but who today are largely culturally and linguistically Arab, with some being Christians.
Origins of identity
In the 12th Dynasty of the Egyptian Kingdom (2000-1778 B.C.), Palestine was a region called Canaan and was part of the Egyptian hegemony. It was populated by Ishmaelites (Arabs) under a league of Amorite Kings. The vast desert valley across the bottom of Canaan leading to Petra was called the 'Arabah. During the reign of Pharaoh Rameses II (assumed the throne on 31 May 1279 B.C.) occurred the so-called Biblical Exodus of the twelve Jewish tribes northwards into Arab territory.
In the Christian Bible the name Arab is used from the time of King Jehoshaphat, between 900 and 800 B.C. The Jewish Talmud records a dispute between a delegation of Ishmaelites and Jews in the presence of Alexander the Great (circa 330 B.C.) whereby the Arabs presented a claim that "the land of Canaan is ours as well as yours". A similar story is told with regard to the Arabs in Samaria, whose presence was an old-established grievance with the Jews. From the 4th century B.C. history records the Nabateans who lived in Transjordan. In the last century before Christ the Nabatean kings controlled the country from the south of Aqaba (Sinai), on the Red Sea, through Transjordan and the Hauran, as far as Damascus, in the north. They were dynamic agriculturalists and great merchants and controlled the spice trade from the east. Though the inscriptions at their city of Petra are written in Aramaic there are grounds for thinking that they spoke Arabic, and were themselves Arabs. A governor of a Nabatean King was in charge of Damascus on the occasion of the conversion of the Apostle Paul.
In the fifth century the influence of the famous ascetic St. Simon Stylites, who spent many years upon the top of a pillar in the hills of Syria, near Aleppo, is known to have attracted great numbers of Arabs to Christianity. In this century occurred the rise to power of the Arab dynasty of Ghassan in the Hauran. They were Christians who adopted the monphysite faith. During the sixth and seventh centuries the language which we now call classical Arabic was the spoken language of the Arab world from Egypt to the Persian frontier, and from the Hejaz to Northern Mesopotamia. This made it relatively easy for the later teachings of the Prophet Mohammed to spread, from 613 AD onwards.
In the time of the Biblical Joab (c1000BC), in Psalm 60 in the Old Testament Philistia is specifically mentioned among other small states of the area. The term Palestine first appeared in the fifth century B.C. when the ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote in The Histories of a "district of Syria, called Palaistinê" between Phoenicia and Egypt.
The traditional image of Palestinians is that they are all dark-skinned Arabs, but some are light skinned as well. Some children even have natural light hair, including blonde.
At midnight on 14 May 1948, when the last British soldiers were departing and the new state of Israel was proclaimed, the Zionists captured the Arab quarters of west Jerusalem and proceeded to infiltrate the old city; they had taken Jaffa and opened a corridor between the coast and Jerusalem; and they destroyed dozens of Arab villages in these operations. In early April their most well publicized crime had been committed: the massacre of 254 civillians of Deir Yassin.
Many Palestinians have been expelled/moved from their original areas in association with the creation of Israel, later conflicts, and expansion of Israeli settlements. The Zionists have effectively ethnically cleansed Palestine of well over 750,000 Palestinians since 1948. These refugees are forbidden to return to their homes and properties most of which have been expropriated by the state of Israel.
There can be no doubt that many fled in terror of war, whether they were misled to leave, with the expectation of return, or with the expectation of victory, these people have never been allowed to return.
In October 2023 a new bloody conflict arose between the Palestinians and Israel. The far-off British Government, who for decades during the Palestine Mandate had been the victims of Jewish terrorist groups, now told the Israelis "We stand with you and want you to win!"
- Stanley, Professor Arthur Penrhyn, Sinai and Palestine, John Murray, London, 1858.
- Hadawi, Sami, Bitter Harvest: A Modern History of Palestine, Scorpion Pubs., Essex, U.K., 1st edition in 1967, revised edition, 1990. ISBN: 0-905906-85-3
- Hadawi, Sami, Palestinian Rights and Losses in 1948, Saqi Books, London, 1988, ISBN: 0-86356-152-8
- Barbour, Nevill, Nisi Dominus: A Survey of the Palestine Controversy, George Harrap & co., London, et al, 1946, pps:74-76
- Barbour, 1946, p.76-7.
- The Daily Telegraph newspaper, London, 20 October 2023.