Monday, September 29, 2014
'Palestine' and 'Palestinian' are presented as whole cloths, good or bad, by both friends and enemies alike but it seems to me that this concept resembles a Rubik's Cube much more than anything flatter.
If we start with the oldest aspect, that would have to be the Hebrew, if not Jewish, DNA that, according to Tsvi Misinai, is shared by 90 percent of the Israeli Arab/Palestinian population. Which indicates, under the radically different acculturations, they and Israel ARE brethren, however abhorrent both sides find this idea.
Such acculturations, beginning probably with Hadrian's bringing in non-Jews to settle in the land he renamed Syria-Palestina, going through overt and/or covert coercions to convert, first to Christianity and later to Islam, the Arabization accompanying the latter and the denuding and desertification of the land that went with that through the last pre-return 'resettlement' of the land around 1840 after a local rebellion, obviously complicate the recognition of this, maybe more than anything else.
But there's more: during the Mandate, slightly more Arabs than Jews entered 'Palestine' and they had, and have, lots of surnames indicating origin elsewhere--Egypt, Arabia, Hijaz, Syria, Levant, Iraq, etc.
These are, presumably, the people with Hebrew DNA markers on their genes. Makes me wonder if improved job prospects was just the tipping point for something in their unconscious--or something!
And you also have people like Zahir Muhsein, a top PLO official, admitting to an interviewer that 'there is no difference between us and the rest of Syria' and that the 'Palestinian people' is just the current strategic jive--or at least for the leadership. On the other hand, we have someone like Dean Obeidallah (who I personally respect) writing how his father spoke of 'Palestine in the heart' which points to, at least for some, a genuine attachment for that particular land.
I have a question myself: if the Israeli Arabs and Palestinians were to, as it were, re-Hebraicize themselves and bring themselves culturally into the 21st century, wouldn't they be effectively DE-colonizing themselves? To what extent is their Islam and the Arabization accompanying it a product of Arab imperialism? Maybe they, and Israel too, need to think hard about that?