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Revelation: I'm A Palestinian!
Analyzing Dr. Elizabeth Bentley's writings about "Palestinian crocodiles," I was led into a new direction of research, and I discovered something amazing: I'm a Palestinian - and an indigenous one!
Here is how I came to that realization.
There are different definitions of the word "indigenous." According to Wikipedia, indigenous peoples are "culturally distinct ethnic groups whose members are directly descended from the earliest known inhabitants of a particular geographic region and, to some extent, maintain the language and culture of those original peoples." With that definition, neither Palestinians nor Jews are indigenous inhabitants of Palestine - the Canaanites were here before either of us.
However, many people prefer to use the term more broadly. According to Dr. Bentley, representing the Journal of Palestine Studies, the Ghawarna Bedouin are indigenous Palestinians. This is the case even though they are largely descended from African refugees who came to Palestine within the last few centuries.
Yasser Arafat was likewise a Palestinian, even though he personally was born in Egypt and grew up there. And the same goes for all the people born to Palestinians around the world, who are classified as Palestinian.
And the main Muslim population of the Land of Israel are likewise Palestinian, even though they are descended from Muslim Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula who violently conquered Palestine in the 7th century, or from groups that came in the 19th century. (Perhaps the 7th century invaders should be called settler-colonials?)
Accordingly, in order to be Palestinian, you can be born outside of Palestine, and you can be descended from people who immigrated to Palestine, whether they did so by way of seeking refuge from persecution or by way of violent conquest. As long there is some point in your history or ancestry which involves living in Palestine, you are classified as an indigenous Palestinian.
The ramifications of this are very interesting. I live here now, and I am descended from ancestors that lived here. (And there has been a continuous Jewish presence in Palestine/Israel since Temple times, such as with the Jews of Peki'in pictured here, and those who left always dreamed of coming back.) And so I qualify as an indigenous Palestinian on two counts!
The only way to not classify me as an indigenous Palestinian is to use a racist definition whereby Muslims and Christians can be Palestinians but not Jews. And surely nobody wants to be racist!
Maybe this can be a new tactic in countering anti-Israel propaganda. We can point out that we are indigenous Palestinians, too!
For an excellent full-length study of this topic, see "Zionism, Imperialism, and Indigeneity in Israel/Palestine: A Critical Analysis" by Ran Ukashi, which you can freely download here. The final sentence notes that "Despite the complexity and emotions involved in this iconic conflict, it is apparent that by any measure in which Palestinian Arabs can express legitimate indigeneity to the land, so too can the Jewish People."
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