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Palestinian homeland

The concept of a Palestinian homeland as a separate entity from the rest of the Arab territory originated in the middle of the 20th century. It first took form in the UN 1947 partition plan for Palestine but that proposal didn't have much support from the local Arab Palestinian population.

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After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war where Israel was formed, the Gaza Strip incorporated into Egypt and the West Bank into Jordan. This lead to increasing national unity among the Palestinians that had previously been divided amongst themselves. In 1964 the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a guerilla group calling for the establishment of a Palestinian homeland was formed. This was a milestone in the formation of a Palestinian national identity.

In 1968 the Palestinian National Covenant was adopted. The (for this article) relevant articles are:

Article 1 Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.

Article 3 The Palestinian Arab people possess the legal right to their homeland and have the right to determine their destiny after achieving the liberation of their country in accordance with their wishes and entirely of their own accord and will.

Article 5 The Palestinians are those Arab nationals who, until 1947, normally resided in Palestine regardless of whether they were evicted from it or have stayed there. Anyone born, after that date, of a Palestinian father - whether inside Palestine or outside it - is also a Palestinian

Article 19 The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time, because they were contrary to the will of the Palestinian people and to their natural right in their homeland, and inconsistent with the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the right to self-determination

In 1974 the Arab states recognized PLO as the "sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people".

Advocates of the establishment of a Palestinian homeland generally assert that:

  1. there exists a distinctive group of Arabs called "Palestinians"
  2. these people deserve a homeland in the Middle East
  3. this homeland should be within the region bounded by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and the Mediterranean Sea.

All these points are today widely takes as truths. It is very hard to deny the existance of Palestinian Arabs (even if some conservative Jewish groups maintain that), and if that first point is true the two other points should be the logical conclusions. But when the Palestinians came to be a people separate from other Arab groups is hotly contested. Basically, the reasoning among some is that the younger their ethnicity is the less weight does their desire for self-determination and their aspiration for a state deserve.


Some advocates assert:

  1. that the definition of "Palestinians" is descendants of the inhabitants of the British Mandate of Palestine (see Palestinian).
  2. that accepting this definition implies that a Palestinian homeland has already existed
  3. that most of that land was conquered by the Jewish state of Israel
  4. that the Palestinians of today are therefore forced to seek a new homeland.

Jordan as the Palestinian homeland

In 1922 the British cut off the eastern three quarters of its League of Nations mandate of Palestine and Transjordan and created the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan in 1946.

At the time it was populated by Bedouins, but later many Palestinian refugees has settled there. Today about half of the population is of Palestinian origin. Some of them has integrated in the Jordanian society and have taken influental positions, King Abdullah's wife for example, is of Palestinian descent.

Of the 2.05 million Palestinians living in Jordan 300.000 of them lives in refugee camps and 1.2 million are registered refugees. Many Palestinians are both registered as refugees and Jordanian citizens. But almost all Palestinian Jordans have retained their Palestinian identity partly because of institutionalised segregation in Jordan between the Palestinian and the native population and because of strong emotional bonds to their previous homes.

Therefore some advocates mean that Jordan already is a Palestinian homeland and there is no need to create a second one.

A homeland to destroy Israel with

An idea that has taken root among many Israelis is that the whole "homeland" issue was concocted as an excuse to justify the total destruction of Israel, due to anti-Zionism, citing quotes by Arab leaders:

  • In a 1977 interview with a Dutch magazine, PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein said, "Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism. (source: Boston Herald column (http://www2.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/feder06242002.htm))

  • In 1993, in an interview on Jordanian television, Arafat said: "Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish a sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel." [this link is dead, need a better one]

External Link(s)

[[1] (http://www.netaxs.com/~iris/plochart.htm)]

See: proposals for a Palestinian state, Arab-Israeli conflict

See also: Palestine, Palestinian, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon

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