Newt is right. The Palestinian people are a “made up” people. According to many authoritative sources, the modern day Palestinians are derived from various ethnic groups including Jews, Romans, Muslims, Turks, Egyptians, etc. who lived in or conquered the land that is called the Southern Levant which roughly encompasses modern day Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the state of Jordan and the southern parts of Lebanon and Syria. The name for the area comes from the Romans in 2nd century CE who called it Palestine.

Palestinians have never had their own government until recently, their own homeland per se, or specific culture as they changed with each group that invaded the Southern Levant. Genetic analysis suggests that the Palestinians were from Christian and Jews of the area but when the area was conquered by Muslims in the 7th century, many became converts to the Muslim religion. When the Ottoman Turks took over the area in the 13th Century and ruled it until the British took it in 1917, many of the “Palestinian” people intermarried with those conquerors.

While most “Palestinians” today speak Arabic, and are Sunni Muslim, there are also Palestinian Christians, Jews, Druze and Samaritans. Modern genetics shows that the Samaritans were also derived from the Jewish people and specifically the group called “the priests” or the Kohanim. They use the Jewish Torah but have different ceremonies, language and terms.

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Even though Jews had inhabited the area for over 5000 years, the Jewish people began their quest for a homeland from where they couldn’t be driven in the 1880’s when Zionists purchased much of the northern area of Israel from the Ottoman Turks. Mainly desert, the area was purchased and then developed by the early modern Zionists and Jews who turned it into a mecca of green and growing life. As funds grew, Zionists also purchased land along the ocean where Tel Aviv is currently located. They also migrated south and took the lands there.

Most scholars view the “Palestinians” as an identity that originated in the early part of the twentieth century. The Palestinians demand for independence and their own homeland came in 1921. It was a “political” push for statehood rather than a “religious” push and in the 1960’s they formed the political end by forming the Palestinian Authority.

Israel wanting peace, gave complete control over the the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians for their homeland. But rather than developing the area and making a place for their “people,” the Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip under the direction of Hamas and others, are still warring with Israel. They went to the United Nations in 2011 to have them declare that lands that Israel holds and has held for many years, belongs to the Palestinians.

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The Jews of course who actually bought the land where they created the State of Israel, say that if the Palestinians really want peace they would have to stop killing Jews and their own Palestinian people in Samaria and Judea, otherwise known as the West Bank. Israel is willing to also give up the West Bank but then Palestinians would have to agree that Jews could live in this area under a democratic Palestinian authority just as over a million Palestinians live in Israel and enjoy Israeli citizenship.

Until that happens, Israel will defend its lands and people and the Palestinians will still be a “made up” people without a “true” homeland.

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