In the preface to the book, Enemies and Neighbors: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017, Guardian writer Ian Black notes:
A Note on Terminology and Transliteration
The terminology used in this book generally reflects contemporary usage. In Ottoman times it was common to refer in Arabic, Hebrew and English to Muslims, Christians and Jews, reflecting the primary identity of the communities living under the imperial millet system of religious autonomy. The term ‘Arab’ became more widely used in Palestine and beyond in the first years of the twentieth century. …Before 1948 the term ‘Palestinian’ was far less widely employed than it is today and it made no distinction between Arabs and Jews. ‘In those days people didn’t use the word “Palestinian” so much’, as the economist Yusif Sayigh explained. ‘There were many things that were called Palestinian, but official names usually had the word “Arab” – for instance al-Hay’a al-Arabiya al-‘Ulya, the Arab Higher Committee, not the Palestinian Higher Committee. Because the Jews were Palestinian too.”
The country’s leading English-language newspaper was the (Zionist) Palestine Post, founded in 1932. (It was renamed the Jerusalem Post when Palestine ceased to exist.) Its leading Zionist institution was named The Jewish Agency for Palestine but in Hebrew the country was always referred to as Eretz-Yisrael. The use of the words ‘Israel’ and ‘Israelis’ followed the creation of the state in 1948, but the word ‘Jews’ (Yahud) continued to be commonly used, especially in colloquial Arabic. The refugees who were driven out, fled and dispersed in the Nakba (catastrophe) were widely referred to as ‘Arabs’ in the 1950s and 1960s. In English the term ‘Palestine Arabs’ was common. Usage changed gradually after the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964, while Arab recognition of the PLO as the ‘sole legitimate representative’ of the Palestinian people in 1974 reinforced that trend. …
Arabic-language Palestinian media in the West Bank and Gaza Strip nowadays often describe Israel simply as al-ihtilal – the occupation.
Black is quite sympathetic to Palestinian Arabs, but even he makes clear that they did not have that identity until relatively recently.
It makes the occasional article or tweet about “Palestine Airlines” or Palestine currency and stamps seem even more stupid than they already were.
And notice that even today, Arabs refer to Israel -not the territories, but Israel altogether – as “the occupation.”
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