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Are Palestinians a People

Reader comment on item: Is There a Palestinian People? Can It be Defeated?

Submitted by Liatris Spicata, Jan 11, 2017 at 21:28

I do not think it is silly to deny the existence of a "Palestinian people". Some pertinent questions I might ask are:

1. Did they historically consider themselves a separate people, or a separate culture from other Arabs in Greater Syria, or Egypt or what is now Jordan? If not, it makes their claim to peoplehood suspect.

2. Are they distinct from other Arabs in the area in terms of language?

3. Did they have proscriptions against marrying other Arabs from the aforementioned areas?

4. Were their ancestors from Palestine?

5. Historically, were there movements toward an independent entity- separate from the Ottoman Empire- among residents of Palestine?

If the answers to the above questions are negative, or largely negative, then I think it is quite reasonable to question the Palestinian sense of "peoplehood". Mere resentment some other group who defined themselves as a separate people set up shop in Palestine is no reason to for the rest of us to designate "Palestinians" as a separate people.

I suspect that historically, a greater sense of differentiation was along the lines of religion, in which, the Moslem/Christian divide looks like a more natural grouping of "people" than the geographical one of having ancestors residing in Palestine after, say, 1900.

Submitting....

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