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Palestine is a geographic region in Western Asia between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. The name was used by Ancient Greek writers, and was later used for the Roman province Syria Palaestina, the Byzantine Palaestina Prima, and the Islamic provincial district of Jund Filastin. It is usually considered to include Israel and the State of Palestine, though some definitions also include parts of northwestern Jordan. Historical names for the region include Land of Israel, the Holy Land, and Canaan. As the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, the region has a long and tumultuous history as a crossroads for religion, culture, commerce, and politics.

What was all of this area before the First World War when Britain got the Mandate over Palestine? What was Palestine, then? Palestine was then the area between the Mediterranean and the Iraqian border. Eastern West Bank was Palestine. ~ Golda Meir

See Also: 2023 Israel–Hamas war

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Quotes about



  • All the regimes in the world have taken advantage of the Palestinian situation. The Arabs have exploited it to cement their authority and the West has taken advantage economically. Everyone has played around with us. When you’re a card, you can never fully know who’s holding you.
  • People don't feel that safe being part of something that will be associated with the U.S. They get intimidated because they think they'll be on some type of grid.
  • The Hamas attack... shook the Middle East and shattered many assumptions and misconceptions about the region. It’s not that Israel was shocked at the daring nature of the attack, but that Israel had long assumed that the Palestinian problem is dead and that there is no need to engage in a so-called peace process — even if managed by the U.S., the least neutral party in the Arab-Israeli conflict outside of Tel Aviv.
  • It pains our people greatly to witness the propagation of the myth that its homeland was a desert until it was made to bloom by the toil of foreign settlers, that it was a land without a people, and that the colonialist entity caused no harm to any human being. No: such lies must be exposed from this rostrum, for the world must know that Palestine was the cradle of the most ancient cultures and civilizations.
    • Yasser Arafat, text of his speech to the UN General Assembly on November 13, 1974, archived by Al-Bab
His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people... ~ Arthur James Balfour


  • His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.
  • A lesson we ignore at our peril is that oppression undermines not only the rights, dignity, and lives of the oppressed but eventually the security of the oppressors as well. The apartheid system that’s been suffocating Palestinians for so long is now also undermining the safety of Israeli civilians.
  • I am an active duty member of the United States Air Force. And I will no longer be complicit in genocide. I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest. But compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers—it's not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal.


  • The legacies of Mandela and Arafat can never be underestimated. They were at the forefront of fighting for freedom for their people. Therefore it is important that we recognise the struggle of the Palestinian people and look at concrete ways in which we can assist them....We need to fight settler colonialism that is taking place in occupied spaces. We need action based on international law... we need your support to confront the continuous attacks that have been taking place at the UN and attacks against international legitimacy and the multilateral valued based international system.


  • Since completing this memoir in 1995 I've returned to Palestine every year. In fact, apart from traveling abroad to lecture, Palestine is the only place I've been since I first journeyed there 15 years ago. I sometimes fantasize vacationing in Greece or Italy but never do. If I have time and cost isn't prohibitive, I always return to Palestine. I do so mostly from a sense of duty - do I have a right to be elsewhere? - relieved by the authentic affection I've developed for friends. I cannot say I enjoy going back. From the moment I arrive, even before arriving, I count the minutes left before I depart. The eminent Hebrew University sociologist Baruch Kimmerling has described Gaza as "the largest concentration camp ever to exist." The West Bank ranks only a mite less awful. Once the Israeli wall currently under construction is finished, the West Bank will replace Gaza with top honors. Bordered on both sides by four meter deep trenches, fortified with guard towers at regular intervals, and topped with barbed wire, this massive barricade will stretch across fully 347 kilometers - twice the size of the Berlin Wall.


  • What do we know of the Palestinians? What would the Palestinians do to the Jews in Israel if the power imbalance were reversed? Well, they have told us what they would do. For some reason, Israel’s critics just don’t want to believe the worst about a group like Hamas, even when it declares the worst of itself. We’ve already had a Holocaust and several other genocides in the 20th century. People are capable of committing genocide. When they tell us they intend to commit genocide, we should listen. There is every reason to believe that the Palestinians would kill all the Jews in Israel if they could. Would every Palestinian support genocide? Of course not. But vast numbers of them—and of Muslims throughout the world—would.
  • Palestine is a state and the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction involving its cases, the ICC prosecutor ruled Thursday, which could pave the way for a war crimes investigation against Israel. A three-judge panel of the ICC Pretrial Chamber must now affirm the decision by Fatou Bensouda. Israel has been accused of committing war crimes in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip... Under Bensouda’s 60-page decision, the ICC may exercise its jurisdiction in “territory” that “comprises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.”
  • Until the arrival of Arafat and the Palestinian terrorists, Lebanon was a Christian democracy. But Islamic radicalism could not tolerate either Christianity or democracy. This — not the presence of tiny Israel (one hundred times smaller than its current antagonists) is the root cause of the violence in the Middle East. The cause is Arab intolerance and Islamic hate. One Jewish state among 22 Arab states was one too many. Six million Jews among 300 million Arabs was too much to bear. A sliver of land, less than one percent of the Arab land mass, which belonged to first to the Turks and then to the British was an imperialist outrage.
    • David Horowitz, (July 24, 2006). ""Lebanon is not Innocent"". Retrieved on 2010-01-04.


  • At the beginning of 1968, the word Palestinian was generally used to refer to members of Arab guerrilla units, which were also frequently referred to in the Western press as terrorist organizations. These groups used the label Palestinian, as in the Palestine Liberation Front, the Palestinian Revolution, the Palestine Revolutionary Youth Movement, the Vanguard for Palestine Liberation, the Palestinian Revolutionaries Front, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. At least twenty-six such groups were operating before the 1967 war.


  • When were Palestinians born? What was all of this area before the First World War when Britain got the Mandate over Palestine? What was Palestine, then? Palestine was then the area between the Mediterranean and the Iraqian border. Eastern West Bank was Palestine. I am a Palestinian, from 1921 to 1948, I carried a Palestinian passport. There was no such thing in this area as Jews, and Arabs, and Palestinians, There were Jews and Arabs.
    • Golda Meir, "Iron Lady of Israeli politics", Thames TV (1970)
  • The Palestinian people [do] not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. 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... For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa. While as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.
    • Zuheir Muhsin, late Military Department head of the PLO and member of its Executive Council, in an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw (March 31, 1977)




  • Neither Israeli nor Palestinian society is a seamless, monochrome garment: hope as well as difficulty lies in this recognition.
    • Adrienne Rich "Jewish Days and Nights" in Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon, eds., Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2003) and A Human Eye: Essays on Art in Society, 1997-2008 (2009)
  • It is the psychological problem of how to reconcile two powerful movements — the time-old yearning of the Jews to return to the Promised Land and to possess a home which is theirs as of right, and the Palestinian Arab desire for promotion to national status.
    • Great Britain and Palestine: 1915 - 1939, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1937
  • When Israel attacks Palestine, it is American missiles that smash through Palestinian homes. And every year Israel receives several billion dollars from the United States – taxpayers money.
  • I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.


  • The pleasure of tending, tending
    something that will not be taken away.
    A family, a tree, growing for so long,
    finally fruiting olives, the benevolence of branch,
    and not to find a chopped trunk upon return.
    Confidence in a threshold. A little green.
    And quite a modest green untouched by drama.
    Or a mound of calico coverlets stuffed with wool,
    from one's own sheep, piled in a cupboard.
    To find them still piled. Is that too much?
    Not to dominate. Never to say we are the only
    people who count,
    or to be the only victims,
    the chosen, more holy or precious.
    No. Just to be ones who matter
    as much as any other, in a common way, as you
    might prefer.
    Stones and books and daily freedom.
    A little neighborly respect.
    • Naomi Shihab Nye “What Do Palestinians Want?” in Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners (2018)
  • Palestine is not the original home of the Jews. It was acquired by them after a ruthless conquest, and they have never occupied the whole of it, which they now openly demand. They have no more valid claim to Palestine, than the descendants of the ancient Romans have to this country. The Romans occupied Britain as long as the Israelites occupied Palestine, and they left behind them in this country far more valuable and useful work. If we are going admit claims based on conquest thousands of years ago, the whole world will have to be turned upside down.
    • Lord Sydenham, Hansard, House of Lords, 21 June 1922


  • The future will not change if we continue to think with the same concepts of the past... If we believe we have a right to this land and the Israelis believe they are the ones who have a right to this land, we must build a new model. If both of us believe that God gave us this land, we must put history aside and begin to think about the future in different terms.
    • Bassem Tamimi, Palestinian West Bank Protest Leader: 'Israel Killed the Two-state Solution', Haaretz, 17 February 2013




  • Both the Germans and the Zionists wanted as many Jews as possible to move to Palestine. The Germans preferred to have them out of Western Europe, and the Zionists themselves wanted the Jews in Palestine to outnumber the Arabs as quickly as possible. [...] In both cases, the purpose was a kind of 'ethnic cleansing', that is, a violent change in the ratio of ethnic groups in the population.

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