Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Palestinian origins

"A DNA study found genetic evidence in support of historical records that "part, or perhaps the majority" of Muslim Palestinians descend from "local inhabitants, mainly Christians and Jews, who had converted after the Islamic conquest in the seventh century AD". They also found substantial genetic overlap between Muslim Palestinians and Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, although with some significant differences that might be explainable by the geographical isolation of the Jews or by immigration of Arab tribes in the first millennium."

Today there are a total of 4.6 million Palestinian Arabs (including Gaza 1.2 m, WB 2.4 m, Israeli Arabs 1 m) compared to 5.0 million Jews in Israel and the WB. It's true that this is not much of a difference, but the Arabs are more split than the Jews, with Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the WB being irreconcilable. There is a small split in Israel between the mainstream in Israel proper and the settlers in the WB, but the latter are split between those who would obey the Israeli Government and those who are currently fighting Israeli Governent orders to leave outposts and smaller settlements.

Suppose the settlers and the Israeli Government had a campaign to try to educate and persuade the Palestinians that they are in fact mainly descended from people who were originally Jews. Of course this would be very difficult, because apostasy is punishable by death under Islam and Muslims believe that everyone is born a Muslim but incorrect (Jewish or Christian) beliefs cause them to be stray from the true path of God. So it would be an uphill battle, but I predict that over time, as Israel is more successful and the Muslims are less successful in building a modern democratic state, that some Palestianin Arabs will become absorbed into Israel and will live as secular Jews. There are already many doing that, including Arabs living as Jews in Netanya and Tel Aviv and often married to Jews (mainly women). They just don't want to be known as such, not because they are afraid of the Jews (that too) but mainly because they are afraid of the Arab Muslims.


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