Palestinian Acknowledgement

In International politics, Terrorism on July 27, 2006 at 11:05 pm

New York is a great city for walking around and overhearing fragments of random and funny conversations. So, today I’m walking in the East Village and I overhear one guy saying to another:

“You watch CNN and they’re talking about Palestinians. There’s no such thing as a Palestinian! Arafat invented it.”

First of all, if you invent something, doesn’t it exist? Plus, I’d say that the common and frequent usage of the term in media means that Palestinians do exist.

Either way, it’s a statement that intrigued me and inspired me to brush up on my knowledge of the word.

Wikipedia has a good article on the history of Palestine and Palestinians here, and according to the article, the guy on the street was at least partially right. It says “The idea of ethnic ‘Palestinians’ was the brainchild of the PLO in the 1960s in an effort to promote nationalism.”

However, right before that it says

“Between July 1922 and 1948, the term Palestine referred to the British Mandate of Palestine. The term referred to all of what is now Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip and was used by both Arabs and Jews without any ethnic connotations. For example, the Jerusalem Post, an Israeli newspaper, was known as the Palestine Post from its founding in 1932 until 1950.”

So even though the word Palestinian is used in terms of ethnic origins today, it isn’t always used that way, and it existed long before the PLO reframed it. It can be used in terms of ethnic origin, place of origin, citizenship, the old British mandate, or birthpalce. The way this area and the people in it have been redefined and recategorized so many times in the past 100 or so years makes it quite interesting, and I suggest that people who want to learn more read the entire article.


Now that the history/vocabulary lesson is over, did the media forget that right before the fighting between Hezbollah and Israel started in Lebanon, Isreal was putting a major assault on Palestinians in the West bank and Gaza strip. Remember, the whole thing about Hamas kidnapping an Israeli soldier and Israel responding with bombings and attacks?

Well guess what, it’s still going on. Don’t allow the conflict in Lebanon let you forget about the other part of Israel’s fight.

Here are a couple of articles about what’s going on in these areas:


Oh, and for more NYC street conversation fun:



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