Palestine is not a country or a state, it is a territory. The name Palestine is the English word that most likely came from the Romans who called the area Palaestina after they drove out most of the Jews in the area around 135 AD. The area in question is located within the state of Israel on the eastern border (which includes the West Bank and East Jerusalem) as well as a small strip in the southwest known as Gaza which lies on the Mediterranean Sea between Israel and Egypt. Both of these areas amount to approximately 2,400 square miles.
Those who reside in Palestine are called Palestinians. There is no Palestinian language or culture that is distinct from other surrounding Arabs in the area. There has never been a Palestinian government. In essence, Arab Palestinians are Arabs that migrated to the area from places such as Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Even the past Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Arafat himself, was not a “Palestinian”. He was born in Egypt. Jewish people who live in Palestine can also be referred to as Palestinians.
In essence, the area known as Palestine was named in 135 AD and given actual boundaries between the years of 1840 to 1947 AD. The most current geographical identity was drawn by the British following their conquest of the previous occupiers; the Ottoman Turks. In 1948 the United Nations partitioned Palestine (aka Israel) into two states, one Arab and one Jewish.
Almost immediately after the United Nations’ partition, civil war broke out. Jordan, the Arab state to the East, launched attacks even before Israel declared itself an independent state. The Jewish defenders had no artillery or warplanes and thus lost the Jewish Quarter of the Old City on May 2nd, 1948. The Arabs killed more than twelve hundred civilians and destroyed over two thousand homes. Jordan eventfully had been given more than five times as much of Palestine/Israel than the Jews were allotted. Still unhappy with this, the Arab countries took the West Bank and Egypt took the Gaza Strip. All Jews were expelled and all Jewish property was demolished or confiscated.
A note about refugees. Most people know that the Jewish Holocaust was responsible for millions of deaths. Those Jews that survived the concentration camps and the war in general had no place to go. Their homes had been taken, property confiscated, and thus, the Jews were indeed refugees looking for a home. Many might try and draw a parallel to what the media terms as “Palestinian refugees.” Do not make such a mistake.
When the surrounding Arab countries were not pleased with the United Nations partition plan in 1948, which simply allotted the Jews a tiny portion of their ancestral homestead dating back thousands of years, they began to war. Five wars in total. The Jews did not start one of these wars and the Jews also never told, demanded, or even suggested that any Arab Palestinians leave Israel/Palestine. It was in fact the Arab countries that warned the Arab Palestinians to leave or suffer the consequences of remaining in a war zone. Many Arab Palestinians chose to stay and they now make up over 20% of Israel’s voters with full citizenship rights. They were happy and stayed put. In contrast, no Jew is granted such rights in any Muslim controlled Arab nation.
The Arab Palestinians that did flee Israel/Palestine on the demand of the warring Arab nations found themselves without a home. Egypt did not take them in and offer them any land or any homes. Jordan did not take them in and offer them any land or any homes. Syria did not take them in and offer them any land or any homes. Arab Nations have 99% more land mass than Israel yet they would not take in their own people. They want the remaining 1% (Israel) and they created the idea of the Palestinian “refugee” to somehow make a gullible world believe they had no place else to go. Are these “refugees” suffering? Yes indeed they are. But not at the hands of the Jews holding 1% but rather form all of the surrounding Arab nations holding 99%. The numbers speak for themselves.