Who are the “Palestinians”?

Posted by on Feb 22, 2024

How does the Google Ngram Viewer answer the question: Who are the people who call themselves today “Palestinians?

Who are the people, who live in the land on both sides of the Jordan River, and where did they come from? And where did the Edomites (the brothers of the Israelites, who lived on the eastern side of the Jordan before them) go? Another question that is almost forced upon us is: Who are the people today, who call themselves “Palestinians”, and where did they come from, for we find no such ancient people in the annals? The Google Ngram may provide the answer.

The Google Ngram Viewer and the "Palestinians".

The Google Ngram Viewer and the “Palestinians”.

The Google Ngram Viewer or Google Books Ngram Viewer is an online search engine that charts the frequencies of any set of words found in printed sources published between 1500 and 2019 in English, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. When a word phrase such as “Palestinians” is entered into the Google Ngram Viewer, it can be seen that “Palestinians” began appearing only after WWI when the British Mandate over the Middle East territories of the former Ottoman Empire was established. Back then all people living in the British Mandate were called “Palestinians”: Arabs, Jews, Bedouins alike. “Palestinian people”, as a political term, appears in Google Ngram Viewer with its peak after the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when the Soviets created it in retaliation of the humiliating defeat of their proxies in the war.

So, how did the tiny sliver of land the Eternal gave to His people become “Palestina” and then “Palestine”, and who are the people called “Palestinians”?

Suggested readings in the light of “Swords of Iron”—the 2023 war against Hamas:

The Palestinians—the Indigenous People in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

The Question a Troubled Prophet Asked: Why the Silence?