Written by: Michael Kravshik.
Who are the Palestinians? A simple question with an extremely complicated, nuanced, and controversial answer.
This post is the introduction to a series of posts that will try to answer this question in the simplest way possible. Due to the controversial nature of the topic and the plethora of horribly biased sources, any source that pushed one of the two following concepts was not consulted for any information:
a) The Palestinians are 100% the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine
b) The Palestinians are 0% the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine.
Any half-decent student of history knows that both statements are simply untrue. History is always messier than that. There has been just too much conquering, raping and pillaging over the millennia for things to remain static. Being the crossroads of the world for most of history, the Middle East in particular has felt the weight of change more than most. I have previously argued that I am opposed to any sort of ‘national’ land rights for exactly this reason. This series will steer clear of any discussion of who rightfully owns the land, and will focus instead on the history and origin of the people themselves and their nationalist movement.
Keep in mind that Palestinians can be Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or otherwise. Religion has transformed drastically over the ages in the region. The assumption of some religious association with Palestinians in general would be incorrect, as this series will illustrate.
Being a KRAXFACTS series it will be fact-based. Unfortunately, given the fog of history, important information is sometimes missing. Summarizing millennia of history also inevitably results in much information being omitted. That being said, if anyone has sourced facts they would like to contribute and feel should be included, please comment.
The series will end where the oft-repeated story normally begins, in early 1948, when Israel declared its independence. My intention is to provide the less-told but equally important story of what happened before. Below, a table of contents provides the titles of the six parts and links to each of them (once they are posted). Additionally, a timeline of peoples or empires in control of Palestine pre-1948, and a reference list of sources used are provided.
A quick but important note about this series: The word ‘Palestine’ will be used in its historic context to avoid controversy. For much of history, borders in the modern sense didn’t exist. This means I will be referring to Palestine as a general region, with no defined borders. The historic region has included, at various times, land that is mainly now in modern Israel, West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan, but also includes parts of modern Lebanon and Syria. It is important to consider that the historic region of Palestine was inclusive of land both west and east of the Jordan River.
Additionally, addressing the history of Palestine and the Palestinians will inevitably result in much discussion of Jews and Zionists. This will be done within the context of answering the question, something with which they are intimately intertwined.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Who are the Palestinians?
Part 2: Evolution of the Inhabitants
Part 5: Nationalism and Revolt
Part 6: World War and Three Years
Amireh, Amal. “Between Complicity and Subversion: Body Politics in Palestinian National Narrative.” The South Atlantic Quarterly 102.4 (2003): 747-772. Web.
Hammack, Philip L. “Narrating hyphenated selves: Intergroup contact and configurations of identity among young Palestinian citizens of Israel.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 34 (2010): 368-385. Web.
Holland, Tom. In the Shadow of the Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World. London, England: Little Brown, 2012. Print.
Kimmerling, Baruch and Migdal, Joel S. The Palestinian People: A History. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2003. Print.
Miller, J. Maxwell and Hayes, John H. A History of Ancient Israel and Judah. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006. Print.
Muir, Diana. “A Land without a People, for a People without a Land.” Middle East Quarterly 15.2 (2008): 55-62. Web.
Muslih, Muhammad Y. The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. Print.
Parkes, James. A History of Palestine from 135 A.D. to Modern Times. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1949. Print.
Porath, Y. The Emergence of the Palestinian-Arab National Movement 1918-1929. London, England: Frank Cass and Company Limited, 1974. Print.
Porath, Y. The Palestinian Arab National Movement 1929-1939: From Riots to Rebellion. London, England: Frank Cass and Company Limited, 1977. Print.
As well as:
Britannica Encyclopaedia (Multiple sections)
This is a series on the Palestinians. What can you add?
Special thanks to Dorothy Charach for her editing advice
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An excellent siacriatl piece! However, the first question CAN be answered with some vague accuracy: the answer being “between 70 and 135AD by the Romans”. I have spent some time surfing about trying to get a better handle on the first usage of the word Palaestina, but it has proven difficult to get an accurate date. Suffice it to say, it doesn’t really matter what the answer to that is, as it’s GOD’S answer that matters! And His answer is that He gave ALL of Israel to the Jews as a PERPETUAL inheritance – forever. The Jewish nation may have been temporarily judged for it’s rejection of Messiah, but God is far from finished with His people (as is evidenced by the fulfillment of many prophecies with the recreation of Israel as a nation: Ezekiel’s “dry bones” come to mind…).Yet, all the arguments swirling about these days and the continual fixation of the world on “resolving” the “conflict” between the Ishmaelites and the Jews ignores the basic fact: this is a spiritual struggle between God and His people the Jews, and Satan and his people the Muslims / one worlders / atheists / socialists / humanists. And Israel is the front line. A shame that most people won’t “get” that until the Christian Church is removed and the Man of Sin is revealed… 😦
Michael: Thanks for reading and your comments Sarah, although I have to disagree. I don’t believe that Jews are the people of god, or that Muslims are the people of satan. Jews, Muslims, and everyone else on this planet are all just people. I think trying to determine the most accurate history (which of course can never be 100%) is extremely important if only to understand the roots of the conflict. This might be useful in bringing it to an end, but even if not than it can at least help people separate more clearly what is rhetoric, what is historical fact, and what is that blurry in between that may have strains of truth but have been shrouded by the fog of history. Perhaps it can even help us avoid these types of situations in the future. Once I’ve finally had a chance to complete all 6 parts of KRAXFACTS I will be writing a piece on my personal opinions on this history. However, this is purely the facts, or I should say the best collection of the facts that I have been able to gather given the difficulties of doing so.
I hope you consider the concept of us all being equal people. Muslims are not satanic or evil. Some are the very best of people, some are the very worst, and most are everywhere in between… just like the rest of us. If anything, this KRAXFACTS should make it clear how much we’ve all mixed with other over the ages. We are very much one species.
Well said, Michael. Living is such an international city as Toronto, I see every day how true that is.
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