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The glossary is comprised of nearly 250 terms related to the Israeli-Palestinian context. Given the rapidly shifting landscape, these terms cannot capture the full range of nuances, narratives and historical events. This tool is meant as a starting point and we encourage you to continue your exploration of this topic through further research. Last update and review: September 2015.


The term Diaspora refers to communities of peoples living outside of their homeland. It was most commonly used to refer to the Jewish community in exile, particularly referring to the dispersion of Jews from Biblical Israel beginning in 586 BCE with the destruction of the First Temple. It is more recently used to refer to any large community in exile or in dispersion. Palestinians in exile (who were dispersed/exiled in waves which include Palestinian Christians leaving Ottoman-controlled Palestine, the 1948 War, and the 1967 War) are often called "diaspora" though there are some who feel that use of the word obscures Palestinians' status as refugees and their right to return to Palestine. See "A Shared Blessing for a Far-Flung People: 'At Home in Exile,' on the Jewish Diaspora, by Alan Wolfe," Michael Roth, The New York Times, Oct 26, 2014. See also "Rethinking the Palestinians Abroad as a Diaspora: The Relationships between the Diaspora and the Palestinian Territories," Sari Hanafi, The Palestinian Refugee and Diaspora Center, 2003; and "The Role of the Palestinian Diaspora," by Nadia Hijab, Khalil Hindi, Aziz Khalidi, Jaber Suleiman, and Antoine Zahlan. Al-Shabaka, 2010; and Palestinian Diaspora in Transnational Worlds: Intergenerational Differences in Negotiating Identity, Belonging and Home by Ismat Zaidan, Birzeit University, 2012.