Nationhood is irrelevant to statehood. Russians are closer to Ukrainians than Tatars, but Russians form a state with Tatars rather than Ukrainians. Spaniards are closer to Portuguese than to Basques, but form a state with Basques separate from Portuguese. African tribes are not nations, but the withdrawing colonial powers allotted the tribal entities statehood. States are often formed against national wishes, such as when various European newcomers to North and Central America built their states by annihilating the existing nations. A question whether Palestinian Arab are a nation doesn’t bear on their demands of statehood, but has some importance for the foreigners who assert the actually non-existent right of the Palestinians to statehood.

Palestinian Arabs existed in several distinct groups. Palestinian hill farmers are typical Syrians. Palestinian dwellers of port towns are close to their Lebanese counterparts. There was a considerable enmity between Palestinian farmers and port dwellers. Foreign Arabs recognized Palestinian hill farmers as Syrians, and applied the term “Palestinians” to port towns’ dwellers only. While the foreign Arabs are contempt of Syrians for their cowardice and dishonesty, they hate the port-town Palestinians as brigands – an attitude toward port communities shared worldwide. The Palestinian national identity is often extended to include Jordan Bedouin who, though visually similar to the West Bank Palestinian farmers, are drastically more backward and lack any communal culture even in the vaguest sense of the term. Palestinians also include a significant number of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa who came to Palestine since the mid-nineteenth century to find jobs in the booming citrus industry. Today, a major Palestinian group is the professional refugees who live in Lebanon and Gaza camps for generations and developed into brigands with no productive skills and the accumulated hatred which would take generations to dissipate.

Those groups of Palestinians lack a unique common culture, dialect of Arabic language, religious tradition, or history. Other nations molded from various groups with distinctive ethnic, religious, linguistic, or cultural features. Palestinians lack the distinctiveness which characterizes a nation or even a tribe. Palestinian Arabs had little chance to develop distinctiveness: common Islamic religion, written Arab language, Syrian influence, and subsistence economy precluded cultural diversity. Palestinians are only a nation in the sense of nation-state. That’s the horse and the carriage question. Other peoples first developed as nations, then amalgamated their territories and built states. Palestinian Arabs, on the contrary, are treated as a nation because they settle a territory.