I don't think that anyone can seriously doubt that today there are a people who could accurately be described as "Palestinian."
But there is an incredible hue and cry whenever people say, accurately, that there were no such people that could be distinguished from the rest of the Arab world until relatively recently.
There is a very simple test that can prove which claim is more accurate, whether the Palestinian people have existed as such historically or not. The test is to look at newspaper archives from before the establishment of Israel and see how they used the word "Palestinian."
As is clear, at least in Palestine, the word "Palestinian" usually referred to Jews, not Arabs.
So while the word Palestinian as referring to Arabs who lived in the area does seem to predate the 1964 establishment of the PLO, it is not by much - and it seems pretty clear that the impetus towards the establishment of the PLO came from Egypt and other Arab states, not from the Palestinian Arabs themselves.
It's an interesting piece of research, stop by and check it out (includes the original newspaper clippings).
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