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Focus On: Ideas of Nationality

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim national identity and the right to form their own nations.

Those who were born in the British Mandate of Palestine from 1922 to 1948 were known as Palestinian regardless of race, language, religion, or their ancestry.

The definition of who is a Palestinian includes those who are inhabitants of the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, excluding Israeli settlers and the majority of Armenians. As well, Israeli Arabs who include Druz and Bedouin are considered Palestinian. There are a minority of Israeli Jews who are descendants from those who lived in the British Mandate of Palestine who are Palestinians. Those who were born in the British Mandate of Palestine, but moved to other countries are still Palestinian.

Within Israel the population is mixed with about 19.5 percent made up of Arab Israelis. The Arab Israelis are made up of Muslims and Christians. The remainder of the population of Israel is Jewish.

Both the Palestinian and the Israeli groups can be defined as national groups that make national claims to territory. The main issue is that both these group claim the same land.

These are some of the same issues that have arisen in Canada with the First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples. An example were the issues of land claims and ownership during the 1995 Quebec referendum as the French Quebec and the Mohawk claimed the same land base. There are also ongoing negotiations in some regions over Aboriginal claims to the land.

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