Introduction / History
When Roman emperor Hadrian conquered Israel in 135AD, he named the land Palestine. He chose this name because the Israelites had such a strong dislike for the Philistines (Palastina). Culturally many Palestinians claim they are Canaanites, the people who settled the land hundreds of years before. Biblically, Ham was a son of Noah and Canaan was a son of Ham. The word canani means "trader." Mizram, another son of Ham, was the name given for Egypt in Hebrew. The Bible states that Hagar, an Egyptian, became a bond servant to Sarah, the wife of Abraham. Unable to have children, Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham. Culturally this was acceptable at this time, however, it would not have been God's choice. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. Genesis 16:12 says "His hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him." Ishmael had twelve sons who migrated into what are today the Arab nations. In Gen. 12:7-8 God said to Abraham that he would give him and his descendants the land (Israel) forever. In Deuteronomy 30:1-10, Gods promised to scatter Israel if they disobeyed him, but he would later restore them to their land. Because of their disobedience, the Israelites were taken into captivity to Assyria (approximately 734-732 BC.) and Babylon (587-585 BC). Israelis were scattered for many centuries.
What Are Their Lives Like?
This changed when Israel became an official nation in 1948. They expanded their land holdings following the Six-Day War in 1967. The occupation of the Palestinian Territories of the West Bank and Gaza meant that many Palestinians fled. Many lived in large refugee camps in neighboring Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Some immigrated to the United States, Canada, Europe, and a small number went to Turkey. Most of them in Turkey are either in Isthanbul or Ankara.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip often leave because of the Israeli blockade. Palestinian Arabs usually feel welcome in Turkey. Turkey is a country that is sympathetic to the Palestinian situation in the Gaza Strip and to Palestinians in general. Many of the Palestinians have been in Turkey for 30 years or more. Others continue to come, especially since they feel welcome. There is a good chance more will arrive in Turkey throughout the 2020s.
Palestinians have adapted well to life in Turkey. Palestinian Arabs have done well in learning the Turkish language. Some are university students, while others open shops and restaurants. Others are in the medical profession, education or engineering. They can become citizens of Turkey by working there for five years, marrying a Turk or by buying property in Turkey.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Most Palestinians of Turkey are Muslim, and they worship alongside Turkish Muslims. Both groups are almost always Sunni Muslims who believe Mohammed's prophesies in the Koran and the power of Allah. They celebrate the same Islamic festivals as their Turkish hosts. All of them would love to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia if they can afford it.
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are not finding employment, education or medical care. They face ongoing conflict with Israel, and Lebanon and Jordan are less likely to grant them asylum. For this reason, many Palestinian Arabs want to settle in other parts of the world where they can earn a living and have their needs met.
Palestinian refugees in Turkey must deal with cultural and linguistic differences, rejection, lack of employment, social isolation, and a lost hope of returning to the land of their origin.
Muslim Palestinians seldom find comfort in their religion. They desperately need to turn to the grace, guidance and love found in God's word. Only by allowing themselves to be spiritual healed through the eternal salvation of Jesus will the Palestinians of Turkey find relief from their emotional pain and have the peace found in accepting Jesus.
Pray that Palestinians in Turkey will be able to adapt to their new culture and find hope and peace through the grace, guidance and love found in God's word.
Pray that Turkey will be the place where Palestinian Muslims find their way to the cross and the empty grave.
May Palestinian Arabs and Turks study God's word together, learning to love and obey the only savior of mankind.
Scripture Prayers for the Arab, Palestinian in Türkiye (Turkey).