Date of Award

Fall 2006

Degree Type



Margarita M. Balmaceda, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ambassador Azmat Hassan (Ret.) M.A., M.Sc.


Homeland politics shaped Arab and Palestinian nationalism over the course of three political administrations in historic Palestine. Policy administered under the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate directly affected the national identity of the indigenous population. Just before the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, 'Palestinian' came to refer to the Muslim and Christian majority, and excluded the Jewish minority, as a consequence of homeland politics. This study focuses on the impact of these policies on emigrants from Palestine under the Ottoman Authority, the British Mandate, and after the creation of the State ofIsrael in 1948. The political environment in the Middle East since the mid 1800s shaped the national identity of its inhabitants, affecting in particular the Palestinian Arabs. This thesis confirms that the impact of these changes occurred gradually over the course of the transition between colonial powers. Emigrants were affected differently under each political administration. Select cases of Diaspora Palestinians are chosen and differentiated by the date of departure from the homeland, to compare the political situation during that period and its impact on national identity. The impact of homeland politics on constituent national orientation is reflected in the Diaspora differently depending on the: level of awareness, relationship maintained with the homeland, and experience in the host country. In addition to the impact of homeland politics during the above three periods, the identity of emigrants from Palestine was also affected by conditions in the host country. Certain levels of assimilation and integration also contributed to their identity distinguishing them from other Palestinians who had undergone separate experiences. The findings of this study conclude that irrespective of the above conditions, a fundamental characteristic that unites all Palestinians is that they share an attachment to their homeland and heritage.