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The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs (الفلسطينيون), are an Arabic-speaking people from Palestine. The total Palestinian population, including descendants, is estimated at approximately 10 million, roughly half continuing to live in the region of historic Palestine, an area encompassing Israel proper, the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip and Jordan. In this combined area, as of 2009, they make up a 51% of all inhabitants, some of whom are internally displaced persons. The remainder, just over half of all Palestinians, are what is known as the Palestinian diaspora, most of whom are stateless Palestinian refugees with no citizenship in any country. Of the diaspora, over two and a half million live in neighboring Jordan, one million is shared between Syria and Lebanon, a quarter million in Saudi Arabia, and Chile's half a million is the largest concentration outside the Arab world.
By religious affiliation, most Palestinians are Muslim, particularly of the Sunni branch of Islam, and there is a significant minority of various Christian denominations, as well as smaller religious communities. As the commonly applied term "Palestinian Arab" implies, the current language of Palestinians, irrespective of religion, is the Palestinian dialect of Arabic. For those who are citizens of Israel, known also as Arab Israelis, many are now also bilingual in Modern Hebrew. Recent genetic research has demonstrated that ancient Levantines live mostly with modern-day Palestinians and the Bedouins who live in the same region. Similarly, it shows that Palestinians as an ethnic group represent modern "descendants of a core population that lived in the area since prehistoric times," since before the Arabian Muslim conquest that resulted in their acculturation and established Arabic as the language, which eventually became the primary language of the locals, most of whom would over time also convert to Islam from various prior faiths.
The first widespread use of "Palestinian" to refer to the nationalist concept of a Palestinian people by the local Arabic-speaking population of Palestine began before World War I, and the first demand for national independence was issued by the Syrian-Palestinian Congress on 21 September 1921. After the creation of Israel, the exodus of 1948, and more so after the exodus of 1967, the term came to signify not only a place of origin, but the sense of a shared past and future in the form of a Palestinian nation-state. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) represents the Palestinian people before the international community. The Palestinian National Authority, officially established as a result of the Oslo Accords, is an interim administrative body responsible for governance in Palestinian population centre in the West Bank while the Gaza Strip is governed by Hamas.
Some well known Palestinians are:
- Yasser Arafat, Leader of PLO
- George Habash, Founder of Populer Front for the Liberation of Palestine
- Mahmoud Abbas, President of State of Palestine (West Bank)
- Ghassan Kanafani, Writer
- Mahmoud Darwish, Poet and Writer
- Edward Said, philosopher and literary theorist
- Ibrahim Al Nabulsi, Commander of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
- "Regrettable statistical error". Ynetnews.com. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- Abbas Shiblak (2005). "Reflections on the Palestinian Diaspora in Europe" (PDF). The Palestinian Diaspora in Europe: Challenges of Dual Identity and Adaptation. Institute of Jerusalem. Studies. ISBN 9950315042. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
- From 1918-22 the region of modern-day Jordan, then called Transjordan, was one of two constituent territories that comprised the British Mandate of Palestine (so-named after the other constituent, Palestine) which was separated to form a new Arab monarchy. Unless otherwise specified, this article uses "British Mandate" and related terms to refer to historic Palestine, that is, the 20% of the post-1922 mandate west of the Jordan river.
- Das, R; Wexler, P; Pirooznia, M; Elhaik, E (2017). "The Origins of Ashkenaz, Ashkenazic Jews, and Yiddish". Frontiers in Genetics. 8: 87. doi:10.3389/fgene.2017.00087. PMC 5478715. PMID 28680441.
- Gibbons, Ann (October 30, 2000). "Jews and Arabs Share Recent Ancestry". ScienceNOW. American Academy for the Advancement of Science.
- Hammer, et al. Figure 2: Plot of populations based on Y-chromosome haplotype data Archived 2008-04-05 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Palestine". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-29.
- Porath, 1974, p. 117.
- "Who Represents the Palestinians Officially Before the World Community?". Institute for Middle East Understanding. 2006–2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- "Mahmoud Darwish". www.aljazeera.com.