Since Palestine is situated at a strategic point on the Mediterranean between Asia, Africa and Europe, it has been a crossroad for religions, culture, commerce and politics. It is the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, and the area has been controlled by numerous powers. In addition, Palestine was among the earliest in the world to see human habitation, civilization and agricultural communities.
The term P-l-s-t or P-r-s-t, found in five Ancient Egyptian inscriptions (beginning with one at Medinet Habu from circa 1170BCE and ending with Padiiset’s Statue inscription from circa 900-850BCE) as the name of a people near Egypt, is traditionally taken to be cognate. Seven Assyrian inscriptions contain the word "Palas(h)tu" or "Pilistu", which is usually also taken to be cognate.
The first Assyrian reference to 'palashtu' or 'Philistia' appears in Adad-nirari III's inscriptions where, in the Stone Slab, he claims to have subdued Amurru in its entirety, defining it as, 'Tyre, Siden, Humri (Israel), Edom, Palashtu, as far as the great sea of the setting sun', and imposed tax and tribute upon them (Grayson 1996: 212–13).
Later, from Latine Palaestina (“Roman province of Palestine”), from Ancient Greek (Palaistínē, “Philistia and the surrounding region”), from Hebrew (p'léshet, “Philistia, land of the Philistines”),
Ancient Period – The Land of Canaan
Between 10,000 and 5000 BCE, agricultural communities were established with evidence in Tel ElSultan in Jericho, which is considered the oldest city in the world that has been continuously inhabited.
By Early Bronze Age, independent Canaanite cities were established with trade relations between them and Syria as well as Egypt.
Canaan was a semitic-speaking region in Palestine.
In the Middle Bronze Age, Canaan was influenced by other civilizations, primarily Egyptian, Phoenician, Mesopotamian, Hittite, Crete and Assyrian.
The Philistines (thought to be from Crete and, certainly, from the Aegean area) landed on the southern Mediterranean coast of the region known as Canaan in circa 1194 BCE after being repulsed in their invasion of Egypt (along with the Sea Peoples) by Rameses III. By then, the Canaanites had already established themselves in the area much earlier.
By 1500BCE the area was controlled by the new Kingdom of Egypt and continued until 1000BC when the Battle of Djahy (Canaan) between Ramesses III and the Sea Peoples marks the beginning of the decline in power of the New Kingdom in the Levant during the Bronze Age collapse.