Definitions of Palestine
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The term Palestine has several overlapping (and occasionally contradictory) definitions.
Palestine and Philistia
Palestine originates from the Greek "Palaestina", a geographic definition of an area within Levant, which exact borders are not precisely defined in historic writings. Though some writings in Greek mention the term before common era, there is a possibility that the term was inserted in the early Middle Ages, upon rewriting early works of historians such as Herodotus (original writings didn't survive). The term in Greek is generally considered to originate from Canaanite Pentapolis of Philistia (including Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, Ekron and Ashdod), which existed on the Mediterranean coastline of Southern Levant during the Late Bronze and early Iron Age.
Palestine as a geographic term
The term, in the form palashtu, is first used as a general geographic descriptor by the Assyrians in the 7th and 8th centuries BCE. It was later used in the Roman Latin and Greek, and also other languages taking their geographical vocabulary from them.
Palestine as a geopolitical term
The Romans united Iudaea with the Galilee to form the Roman sub-province of Syria Palaestina (encapsulating territories of ancient Canaan, Kingdom of Israel, Judah, Moab, Ammon, and Philistia) and thus included much of the land on both sides of the Jordan River although with further political sub-divisions along the Jordan River valley.
In colloquial everyday usage member-states of the Arab League continue using the name for the entire region of Historic Palestine (as defined by the boundaries of Mandatory Palestine).
Palestine as the West Bank and Gaza Strip
Palestine as the Palestinian National Authority
Sometimes people use the term Palestine in a limited sense to refer to the parts of the Palestinian territories currently under the factual administrative control of the Palestinian Authority, a quasi-governmental entity which governs an autonomy, but lacks full sovereignty. Since the late 1990s, this has included the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank. Since 2007, however, the Palestinian Authority lost control of the Gaza Strip to Hamas, retaining its control of significant portion of the West Bank.
Palestine as a state
Modern usage of the term Palestine often refers to a prospective Palestinian state, incorporating both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Some who oppose the existence of a Jewish state in the region regard all the land west of the Jordan River as the territory of a possible Palestinian Arab state "from the river to the sea," in denial of Israel's existence or right to exist in the future.
The term is also used to convey the sense that Palestine is already a state, either (a) consisting only of Gaza & West Bank or (b) including as well all land held by Israel. Since the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence, the UN General Assembly has recognized the PLO mission there under the name "Palestine."
- Geography of Israel
- Palestinian Christians
- Palestinian Jews
- Palestinian people
- Palestine (disambiguation)
- Carl S. Ehrlich "Philistines" The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible. Ed. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan. Oxford University Press, 2001.
- "The Palestine Exploration Fund". The Palestine Exploration Fund. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- "Palestine:". JewishEncyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- Pappe, Ilan (2006). A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-68315-7.
- Kramer, Gudrun (2008). A History of Palestine: From the Ottoman Conquest to the Founding of the State of Israel. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-11897-3.
- Ahlstrom, Gosta (1993). The History of Ancient Palestine. Augsburg Fortress Publishers. ISBN 0-8006-2770-9.
- Thompson, Thomas (2004). Jerusalem in Ancient History and Tradition. T&T clark. pp. 3–4. ISBN 0567083608.
- Eric Suy, Karel Wellens (1998). International Law: Theory and Practice : Essays in Honour of Eric Suy. Martinus Nijhoff. p. 378. ISBN 90-411-0582-4.
- The Cry of the Children in Palestine by Henrietta Szold to the Executive of the Vaad Leumi. September 13, 1936.