Late PLO leader and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat. (AP/Enric Marti) AP/Enric Marti
Yasser Arafat


The idea of a ‘Palestinian people’ did not even become popular until the founding of the PLO in 1964.

By Ben Rappaport, United with Israel

In a recent fundraising letter to supporters, Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the anti-Israel “Boycott, Divest, Sanctions” (BDS) movement against Israel calls to “Help us celebrate more BDS victories as we build towards the ‘S’ in BDS.”

Rallying supporters, Barghouti invokes the image of the Jewish People as a foreign invader in the land of the “Indigenous” Palestinians.

“Despite 75 years of its ongoing Nakba [catastrophe] against the Indigenous Palestinians, Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid has utterly failed to colonize our minds with despair.”

But are Palestinians really “Indigenous” to the land of Israel?

There are no historical records pointing to a “Palestinian people” distinct from other Arab nationalities which inhabited the land of Israel before the founding of the modern state of Israel.

Indeed, most of the “Palestinians” of today are descended from Arabs who immigrated to the land of Israel due to the economic opportunity created by the renewed Jewish settlement during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Until the founding the of the modern state of Israel in 1948, the term “Palestinian” actually referred to Jewish residents of the land of Israel, not Arabs.

References to a nation known as “Palestine” and a “Palestinian Arab people” only became popular with the founding of the PLO in 1964.

Even then, the PLO emphasized in its charter that it had no demands for control over Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and Gaza – presumably where “Palestine” is located – since, after all, these were at the time controlled by Jordan and Egypt. It wanted the territory controlled by Jews.

“This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields,” the 1964 version of the charter states.

In 1968, after Israel had liberated Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and Gaza in the Six-Day War, the PLO amended its charter to include demands for those areas, as well.

PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein in 1977 put it most succinctly when he admitted to Dutch newspaper Trouw that “Palestinians,” far from being indigenous to the land of Israel, are indistinct from other Arabs.

“The Palestinian people does 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,” he said.

The claim of Palestinian Indigeneity, then, is simply another tool to promote the destruction of Israel.

On the other hand, biblical and historical texts and archaeology point to a continuous Jewish presence in the land of Israel going back over three thousand years.

If anyone can lay claim to being Indigenous to the land of Israel, it is the Jews.



Farmers near the Gaza border lost family, friends and workers. Spring is here, and they desperately need help to replant the farms. Join us in blessing the People and Land of Israel.

“I will ordain My blessing for you…” (Leviticus 25:4)