Wednesday, August 28, 2019

  • Wednesday, August 28, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
In June, Nazmi Al Jubeh, Associate Professor of History and Archaeology, Birzeit University, told a UN conference in Geneva that there was no scientific evidence linking Jews to Jerusalem.

This is the state of Palestinian academia.

But I found another article of Jubeh's apparently from 2006 where he discusses Palestinian identity, and while he insists it is a real thing, his supporting evidence says otherwise.


The Palestinian people are not different from other Greater Syrian (Bilad al-Sham) peoples. They are the result of accumulated ethnic, racial, and religious groups, who once lived, conquered, occupied, and passed through this strip of land. Wars and invasions have never totally replaced the local population in any period of history; they rather added to, mixed with and reformulated the local identity. The Palestinian people are the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Jabousites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Aramaeans, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Turks, the Crusaders, and the Kurds, who once settled, conquered, occupied or just passed through Palestine. 
The question is whether Palestinians could reflect their identity in a different manner than they do now. I think the answer is yes. The artificial division of Greater Syria was imposed on the people. If there had been no Sykes-Picot Agreement, I am not sure that the Palestinian people would have chosen an independent state as a container of their identity. ...The idea of an independent Palestinian state was raised quite recently; as a matter of fact, the Palestinian national movement continued to market the conflict as an “Arab-Israeli” one and not as a “Palestinian-Israeli” one. The idea of the Palestinian independent state was raised in 1973 in the aftermath of the October War and specific international, regional, and national political developments; in 1974 the idea became the vehicle of the political program of the PLO. Since then and until now (I do not know for how long) Palestinian life has been completely organized according to it.

With the establishment of the PLO and the different resistance organizations, mainly in the 1960s, Palestinian identity went through an intensive politicization process. The PLO exceeded its national and regional importance, reaching wider circles all over the world. With the PLO, the Palestinian identity became “revolutionary” or at least designated as such. The Palestinian became a young man/woman wearing the kufiyya and carrying a machine gun. The PLO faced a complicated challenge, namely how to unify a nation and to develop a shared identity for people(s) living under different political regimes and living in different socio-economic contexts, Jordanian, Egyptian, Israeli, in addition to the regional and international diasporas. The PLO actually implemented different political, cultural, and social programs and worked very hard to strengthen, shape, reshape and develop a national identity, vis-à-vis an Arab identity, with the aim of creating a fighting nation seeking freedom. This, in the mid-sixties, was a dreamed approach, but it led to very tangible results. The shared political aspiration, which was not easy to maintain and to gather people around it, was efficiently used. This aspiration became the major vehicle in forming the current “Palestinian identity”. ...This hard work also led to recognition of the Palestinian people, first by the Arabs and then, slowly, by the rest of the international community

Even though other parts of his essay claims otherwise, he's pretty much admitting that there was no Palestinian people - either self-identified of externally-recognized - until the 1970s, when the PLO effectively created them. And his description of Palestinian identity before the 1960s does not indicate anything unique or different about them compared to the larger Arab identity of the region. Bu his watered down criteria, Palestinian identity is no more specific than "Delaware identity" would be - a bunch of people who happen to live in a region but share no other unique characteristics.

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