Who Are the Palestinians?
You may be familiar with modern-day Palestine, especially in regard to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. But who are the Palestinian people, and what is their history?
The Palestinian people are Arabs who live—and have lived throughout history—in a certain geographical region in the Middle East. Generally, Palestine is used to refer to the geographic region spanning from the Mediterranean Sea in the east to the Jordan River in the west.
Historical Palestine is made up of the current Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank—referred to as the State of Palestine—and the country of Israel. Both of these territories were captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. In these areas combined, there are around 7 million Palestinians.
This region has played a major role throughout history, as it is important to several of the world’s major religions—with nearly 98% of all Palestinians being Muslim—since it includes the city of Jerusalem and other holy lands. In ancient times, Palestine was part of the region of Canaan, which was made up of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel. This has resulted in constant political conflict, land seizures, and even war. Still to this day, Israel and Palestine continue their dispute over the land.
The term “Palestine” is derived from the Greek word Philistia, which referred to the ancient state of the Philistines. This name was given to the region by Greek writers in the 12th century B.C. Another term that is used to describe this region of the Middle East is “Levant,” which is an area generally defined as encompassing modern-day Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
Currently, millions of Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Israel under the control of the state of Israel. The conflict over these lands has left these Palestinians facing humanitarian crises, like lack of water, food, electricity, and little access to proper medical care.
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) continues to provide humanitarian aid to children and their families through our hospitals, pediatric medical programs, health initiatives, hospital infrastructure projects, orphan and refugee sponsorships, and medical missions. These efforts help to ensure that children in need get the vital assistance they require.
PCRF is not a political or religious organization. Our mission is to provide medical and humanitarian relief collectively and individually to Arab children throughout the Middle East, regardless of their nationality, politics, or religion. We rely on charitable giving to provide medical treatment, surgeries, safety, shelter, and support to children and their families in Palestine and the Levant. Find out how you can get involved and help make a difference in children’s lives today!