Historical Overview

The Palestinians are the indigenous Arab inhabitants of the historic land of Palestine (and their descendents), most of whom were driven out of their homes by Israeli forces in the 1948 war which resulted in the creation of the state of Israel on most of historic Palestine. Palestinians refer to this act of ethnic cleansing as an-nakba (“the catastrophe”). The Palestinians were driven into the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (both part of historic Palestine), as well as the states of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

In 1967, Israel invaded and conquered the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria. During this act of Israeli aggression, another forced exodus of Palestinians occurred from the West Bank and Gaza. Those left in the West Bank and Gaza were forced to deal with life under Israeli occupation in addition to many living in impoverished refugee camps. Those forced into Jordan, Lebanon and Syria were left waiting to return to their homelands, while being given few rights and little social status in their host countries (though they were granted citizenship in Jordan).

Today the Palestinians hope to build a future of their own making, free from the everyday Israeli brutality of house demolitions, political assassinations, mass arrests, torture of political prisoners, checkpoints and closures, and the continuing expropriation of land and resources solely for the benefit of the Jewish population of Israel and the racist Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank. Palestinians hope to end the humiliation of the occupation so that one day Palestine can rise to stand side-by-side with the nations of the world in peace and justice.