Today this term refers to Arabs—Christian, Muslim, and Druze—whose historical roots can be traced to the territory of Palestine as defined in 1922 by the British Mandate borders. About 5.6 million Palestinians now live within this area, which is divided between the State of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip; these latter areas were captured and occupied by Israel in 1967. Today, over 1.4 million Palestinians are citizens of Israel, living inside the country’s 1949 armistice borders and comprising about 20 percent of its population. About 2.6 million Palestinians live in the West Bank (including 200,000 in East Jerusalem) and about 1.8 million live in the Gaza Strip. The remainder of the Palestinian people, perhaps another 5.6 million, live in refugee camps and in the diaspora, outside their national homeland.
Palestinian Israelis, referred to by the Israeli government as “Arabs inside Israel,” include Muslims, Christians, and Druze. The 1.4 million Palestinian Israelis comprise 20 percent of Israel’s population. They have second-class citizenship within Israel, which defines itself as a Jewish state rather than a state for all its citizens. Non-Jews, with the exception of the Druze, generally do not perform military service, which excludes them from services and benefits that Jewish Israelis enjoy.