Palestine and Palestinians

Understanding Palestine and Palestinians

Negative use of the word “Palestinian” must be taken into account along with politics, when you talk about the Palestinian Christians in the Christian Holy Land. Too often Palestine is equated with Muslims only but there are Palestinian Christians as well as Palestinian Muslims all over the Middle East. 

Closed shops in Jerusalem protesting the Nation State Law
Closed shops in Jerusalem protesting the Nation State Law

The term “Palestine” has been used for the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River since 183 C.E. (A.D.) and the section on Indigenous Christians describes the history of Christianity in Palestine. Israel was established on a portion of that historical area. There were Palestinian Christians, Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Jews. Jews were even encouraged to "Visit Palestine".  There is a well-known poster encouraging Jewish visits printed by Aron Advertising in 1936.

Palestinians today are mostly Arabs and they have an important history. During the European “Dark Ages” the Arabs flourished in the fields of medicine, science and mathematics. They critiqued the Greeks and introduced experiments and observation to replace the philosophical science that had been previously put forward. Our present scientific and medical achievements grew from those developments of the Arabs. 

The WallJesus was a Semite and his native home language was Aramaic, which is an ancestor of today’s Arabic. He used Hebrew in the synagogue. Semitic is actually the title of a group of languages rather than an ethnic designation. These languages use clusters of consonants to mean a concept, and then add vowels to make a  particular word related to that concept. Since 1875 the term “Anti-Semitic” has been understood to mean “anti-Jewish” but technically Arabs and Jews both can claim the title "Semitic" because they both use Semitic languages. See the section on vocabulary to understand other ways in which people have changed the meaning of words.

When people contend that Arab or Palestinian women are weak or oppressed, it is important to remember that the Palestinian women are actually strong. They are often working to support the family when men’s wages are low because of occupation. They have formed societies and co-ops to earn money and they serve in governmental offices.

Often Israel has claimed that “the right to a state is a human right” and the Palestinians also believe that “the right to a state is a human right.” So they are asking to be recognized as a State and not just as residents of a territory, no longer named Palestine.