Who owned the land first Israel or Palestine? Unraveling the Ancient Ownership Mystery

The question of who owned the land first, Israel or Palestine, is deeply rooted in history, and the answer is complex. The land, known by different names over the centuries, has been inhabited by various groups, each with their own historical and cultural ties to the region.

Historical Context:

  1. Ancient Israel:
    • The name “Israel” first appears near the end of the 13th century BC within the Egyptian Merneptah Stele, referring to a people inhabiting what was then known as “Canaan.”
    • A few centuries later, two sister kingdoms emerged in the region: Israel and Judah. The Bible mentions a monarchy comprising both, referred to as “Israel.”
    • In about 722 BC, the kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian empire, and the term “Israel” as a geographic entity disappeared.
  2. Judah and the Jewish Temple:
    • Less than 150 years after Israel’s conquest, Judah was overthrown, its capital Jerusalem was sacked, and the Jewish Temple was destroyed. Many inhabitants were exiled to Babylonia.
    • After the exile ended, the territory of the former kingdom of Judah remained the heart of Judaism for almost seven centuries.
  3. Introduction of ‘Palestine’:
    • In AD 135, after a failed Jewish revolt, Roman Emperor Hadrian renamed the city and surrounding territory as “Syria-Palestina.” The name “Palestina” was derived from the coastal territory of the ancient Philistines, adversaries of the Israelites.
    • Following the Islamic conquest in the seventh century, Arab peoples began to settle in the former “Palestina.” The land remained predominantly under Muslim control for nearly 1,200 years, with a significant Arab population.
  4. Zionism and British Control:
    • In the late 19th century, the Zionist movement emerged, driven by the desire of Jews in the Diaspora to return to their ancestral land. This movement was fueled by increasing anti-Semitism in Europe and Russia.
    • The land was under the Ottoman empire’s control and was divided into three administrative regions, none named “Palestine.”
    • In 1917, the British took control, and in 1923, “Mandatory Palestine” was established, which also included present-day Jordan.
  5. State of Israel:
    • In November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 181, proposing the partition of the land into “Independent Arab and Jewish States.” The Arab side rejected the resolution.
    • On May 14, 1948, the Zionist leadership declared the establishment of the state of Israel. The new state faced immediate invasion by several Arab countries and Palestinian militias.


The historical ties to the land are intricate. The term “Israel” predates “Palestine” by over a millennium. However, both Jews and Arabs have deep-rooted historical and cultural claims to the region. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has witnessed numerous wrongs and brutalities on both sides, making the path to peace challenging. Recognizing the shared history and legitimate claims of both parties is crucial for understanding the complexities of the issue.

Source: The Conversation.


  1. Frederick Conteh says:

    I like your post. It stated some facts but not all. For example, the Arabs and Muslims came there as allows and migrated there by the Romans and following the Islamic conquest. Although you mention how the Arabs got there, however, you did not mentioned how the Jewish( Hebrews) got there. The original inhabitants of the land were the Canaanites, Jebusites, Hittites, Amorites etc. it was neither Jews nor Arabs. But how did the Jews gets there? The answer can be found in the Holy Bible. The true God who made the heaven and the earth gave them the land. So it belongs to them.

    • Hyptor says:

      If it is for history to decide , whose land is this? Jews and Arabs share a common genetic heritage that dates back several thousand years. So with a common ancestor, Abraham, the land belongs to both the Arabs and Jews.
      If it is for the humanity to decide, then being human, the Arabs and the Jews should learn to share and treat each other equal, and stop this killing of innocent human lives.

  2. Ron Spencer says:

    According to Jubilees the land was part of Shem’s inheritance. The decendance of ham syoke it.

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