Field of Science

The shared genetic heritage of Jews and Palestinians

The Times recently carried this unusual report on an Israeli Jew (Tsvi Misinai, a retired computer expert) who's hoping to prove that Palestinians are descended from Jews. Apparently, he thinks that proving this will help to stop the bloodshed. His idea is that modern Jews are descended from emigration in the first few centuries of the Christian era. The Jews who stayed put in Palestine converted to Islam, and became Palestinian Arabs. There's hope that genetic tests might be able to prove this.

Well, there is good news and bad news on that score.

The good news is that the genetics of Arabs and Jews have been pretty extensively researched. The classic study dates to 2000, from a team lead by Michael Hammer of University of Arizona. They looked at Y-chromosome haplotypes - this is the genetic material passed from father to son down the generations.

What they revealed was that Arabs and Jews are essentially a single population, and that Palestinians are slap bang in the middle of the different Jewish populations (as shown in this figure).

Another team, lead by Almut Nebel at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, took a closer look in 2001. They found that Jewish lineages essentially bracket Muslim Kurds, but they were also very closely related to Palestinians. In fact, what their analysis suggested was that Palestinians were identical to Jews, but with a small mix of Arab genes - what you would expect if they were originally from the same stock, but that Palestinians had mixed a little with Arab immigrants. They conclude:
We propose that the Y chromosomes in Palestinian Arabs and Bedouin represent, to a large extent, early lineages derived from the Neolithic inhabitants of the area and additional lineages from more-recent population movements. The early lineages are part of the common chromosome pool shared with Jews (Nebel et al. 2000). According to our working model, the more-recent migrations were mostly from the Arabian Peninsula...
So, as far as male lineage goes, the genetic story is very clear. Palestinians and Jews are virtually indistinguishable.

Women are a bit more tricky...
Up until last year, the matrilineal heritage of Jews also seemed pretty clear. Analysis of elements in mitochondrial DNA (which is passed from mother to daughter) seemed to show that Jewish populations around Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East were derived from at least 8 unrelated 'founding mothers'.

Where they came from wasn't clear, but the most likely explanation was that they were from local populations that bred with immigrant Jewish males. Their offspring became absorbed into the Jewish community.

In 2008, a more sophisticated analysis was published that made use of whole mitochondrial DNA sequences. They found no evidence for the genetic bottle necks that indicate founding mothers in the large Jewish populations. Instead, they found a complicated picture with a very diverse gene pool suggesting intermarriage both with local populations and other Jewish groups.

The overall conclusion is that the female Jewish line deviates a lot more from the Palestinian heritage than the male line, but the heritage is still there.

So that's the good news. Jews and Palestinian Arabs are blood brothers - although this close genetic relationship probably stems from pre-Judaic times, rather than any more recent conversion of Palestinian Jews to Islam.

And the bad news? Well, this basic story has been known for the best part of a decade now. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, it hasn't lead to the warring sides laying down their weapons and engaging in a group hug. This is a religious conflict, not a genetic one.

Mr Misinai is, sadly, on a hiding to nothing.

ResearchBlogging.org

M. F. Hammer (2000). Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97 (12), 6769-6774 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.100115997

A NEBEL, D FILON, B BRINKMANN, P MAJUMDER, M FAERMAN, A OPPENHEIM (2001). The Y Chromosome Pool of Jews as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East The American Journal of Human Genetics, 69 (5), 1095-1112 DOI: 10.1086/324070

M THOMAS (2002). Founding Mothers of Jewish Communities: Geographically Separated Jewish Groups Were Independently Founded by Very Few Female Ancestors The American Journal of Human Genetics, 70 (6), 1411-1420 DOI: 10.1086/340609

Doron M. Behar, Ene Metspalu, Toomas Kivisild, Saharon Rosset, Shay Tzur, Yarin Hadid, Guennady Yudkovsky, Dror Rosengarten, Luisa Pereira, Antonio Amorim, Ildus Kutuev, David Gurwitz, Batsheva Bonne-Tamir, Richard Villems, Karl Skorecki (2008). Counting the Founders: The Matrilineal Genetic Ancestry of the Jewish Diaspora PLoS ONE, 3 (4) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002062

56 comments:

  1. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a religious one - it is primarily about land.

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    1. Wrong it is a religious struggle (-conflict) before anything else. Religion which requires to breng the whole world to Islam, by the sword if needed! Land that was once conquered by Islam must remain Islam's property forever. Whatever land-mass Israel might give up for some illusory peace will never satisfy them...

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    2. That is not at all true. Arab Christians, Jews, Muslims and Druze have lived in the region long before Israel was founded. Palestinian is a national identity shared among Christians and Muslims, if not Druze. This is about land. Demonizing Islams is stupid. This is a nationalist struggle.

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    3. Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, was openly atheist. So you can't shoe horn this one into the religion as the source of all conflicts paradigm. Its political-and its about settler colonialism.

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    4. I think it is about class and land. I would contend that the Roman Empire destroyed their world when they destroyed their Temple of Solomon. The place a permanent crater in their ethnic history. Especially since they unfortunately made the mistake of combining religion with government. If they would just agree to religious freedom and separate the religion from government, they might stand a chance to start healing the old divisions. Perhaps they can become one people again someday. They need to stop killing each other and realize this is not what Yahweh wanted for the decedents of David.

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  2. Yeah, but why are they fighting over the land?

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    1. Because a population about as large as the local population was transported from various European origins to what is now Israel around the year 1948.

      Imagine moving, say, 300 million Chinese people from China to America within a few months or years. What will happen?

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    2. Sure, but why has this group of people maintained a distinct ethnic identity and then decided to emigrate en masse to this particular location?

      Religion, that's why. Yes, they are fighting over land. But the reason they are fighting over land is religion.

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    3. Actually, just as many "Arabs" flooded into the region at the same time as Jews returned to their ancient homeland. I love how this is always left out of the narrative.

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    4. WRONG. Their issues are deep rooted in the Hebrew bible. Their pain is curied by huge lapses in their stories. If they would pick up a pen and parchment and continue the story they started in the time of David, they might be able to reverse the damage.

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  3. There's no need to ask why they are fighting about land. Most wars are about land, or water, or associated resources. Often all three.

    The role of religion and nationalism is to make compromise harder by presenting a simple conflict of interest as a holy war or struggle for national liberation/survival. Thus turning an economic issue, subject to compromise, into a conflict of absolutes.

    At root, this war is about land and water. Of course, there's also the small matter of history and historic grievances ... but there are always grievances.

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  4. That's true in a general sense but in this specific case it's difference because religion has been the cause of a mass migration to a specific location, and thereby precipitating the land dispute.

    In that way it's different to, say, the dispute between Greece and Turkey. That's a land dispute that's exacerbated by religion.

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    1. Not religion, but nationalistic idea of race! Israel has been founded more upon socialistic ideals than religious. The mass immigration happened mainly because of them being persecuted in Europe. The Holocaust has been their primary and main motive and excuse of supporting a Jewish State. Jewish arabs have suffered the sudden infiltration and invasion of European culture and it is well known that many of them have been treated as "lower class". The conflict itself is not religious, Arabs,Christian and Jewish lived for centuries well sharing the same culture..

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    2. It's not so simple. Actually, you left out the 800,000 Jews who came to Israel, after being ethnically cleansed from Arab countries in 1947 and later. Also, Israel was originally a monarchy, based on religion. This is backed up by archaeological artifacts. And as there was always a remnant of Jews in that land that remained, it is not inaccurate to refer to the reestablishment of the state as being socialist. Also, if one studies population figures before 1947, it is also crystal clear that there were times before then when the Jewish population was just as high (if not greater) than the locals in Jerusalem. Also, it is documented that Arabs from surrounding countries also came flooding in, once they saw Jews coming from Europe. Not so simple.

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  5. This is a religious conflict, not a genetic one.

    No. The conflict is still a genetic one even though Jews and Palestinians share a genetic heritage. Although the two groups may come from the same place genetically speaking, they are today different enough from each other genetically that they view themselves (rightly) as different peoples. They're obviously all more related to each other than any of them are to Australian Aborigines, for instance, but these things are relative.

    Two groups don't have to be very different genetically from each other to go to battle over land/resources. Think Northern Ireland. Or, better yet, think about what happens in other animals -- meerkats, for instance. Even though neighboring meerkat groups interbreed with one another, they still battle it out over territory. Meerkat extended family groups are different enough from one another to create feelings of antipathy towards outsiders due to conflicting genetic interests.

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about (at least) two distinct biological groups fighting over land/resources in a dispute that has been couched in religious rationalizations ('cause people are weird like that).

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    1. This argument doesn't exactly fly as many Jews look very much like Palestinians and Jews in themselves across all races and varieties.

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    2. Even though we, human beings biologically are animals, we are endowed as well with a sharp, developed intellect. If we do not make use of this intellect, not only we become like animals, we could be easily considered worse or inferior than animals. It is a shame that you compare us humans to meerkats in behaviour.....while we could easily love, instead of hate, using our heart and mind in the right place.

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  6. what land are they fighting over exactly? israel?
    i have a school project due and i really have to know the answer to this question. if anyone can help me out here comment back

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    1. The land was called Palestine prior to 1948 and was governed as the British Mandate of Palestine.

      In 1948 the State of Israel declared sovereignty over the land and started calling it Israel which is currently the norm in the so-called West now which backs the State of Israel in the ensuing conflict.

      In the so-called Islamic World the land is still called Palestine.

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  7. Or could it be more easily seen as one of identity vested in my culture. My culture,its factual and mythical history,its conjectured destiny;its value system is superior, sacred etc. I am prepared to die for it and its symbols--my assertion of it is sufficient--I don't need your acceptance of its validity.My culture is the only authority I am morally bound to. My identity is my cause, my culture is its expression. If I even think you pose a threat I give myself the right to attack you and dispose you.

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  8.    Comparative genetic study of Palestinians and Jews to promote peace

       LAS VEGAS, Feb. 21 – “Palestinians have as much Jewish genetic
    material in their blood as most Jewish immigrants in Israel do,” said Dr.
    Brigitte Boisselier, spokesperson for the International Raelian Movement.
    “With our new “Stop Killing Palestinian Jews” foundation, we intend to
    demonstrate that fact scientifically so this massacre between Semitic
    brothers can finally stop!”

    Boisselier said similarities of genetic makeup between Jews from
    different regions have been amply studied over the past decade. But related
    studies yielded a surprise.
    “Hundreds of genetic markers on the Y chromosome and the mitochondrial
    DNA, as well as most of the remaining genome, have confirmed the common
    origin of the different Jewish communities,” Boisselier said. “But recent
    studies also show that some of the similarities linking different Jewish
    groups to a common ancestry are found in a large portion of the Palestinian
    people as well, despite their more open breeding culture.”

    She said a book on the Israeli bestsellers’ list, “When and How Was the
    Jewish People Invented?” by scholar Shlomo Zand, presents some
    corroborative historical evidence.

    “Zand says Palestinian Arabs who’ve lived for decades under the heel
    of the modern Israeli state are in fact descended from the very same
    ‘Children of Israel’ described in the Old Testament,” Boisselier explained.
    “He estimates that around 10,000 ancient Judeans were vanquished during the
    Roman wars. Of those remaining, Zand says some converted to Islam and
    assimilated when Arab conquerors subjugated the area. Others fled and
    became the spread-out Jewish communities we know today.”

    Boisselier said Zand’s explanation of the historical Palestinian
    population is substantiated by the few genetic studies made thus far that
    compare Palestinian and Jewish DNA.

    “That means the Gaza massacre really amounts to massive fratricide, and
    we need to demonstrate that fact so all this violence and hatred can stop!”
    she exclaimed.

    Rael, spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement, initiated the creation
    of the “Stop Killing Palestinian Jews” foundation to enable a
    comprehensive, scientific study that will compare the genetic makeup of
    Palestinians and Jews.

    “This new study will be based on the entire genome of the sample
    subjects,” Boisselier emphasized. “We plan to have at least 500,000 genetic
    markers checked for each individual so the common Judean ancestry of
    Palestinians and Jews can be overwhelmingly demonstrated. It’s our hope
    that when the two warring parties realize they are literally blood
    brothers, they will stop fighting to create a united Palestine .”


    “Love, not war, is the only real solution to the Gaza massacre,” Rael
    said in a recent news release. “Only love can save humanity. A two-state
    solution is not the solution, for it’s perpetuating a terrible apartheid.
    Those who lost their land, homes and children will never be able to forgive
    and live side by side with their tormentors. A one-state solution – a new
    Palestine united by brotherly love – is the only real solution.”

    Boisselier said Rael’s solution would please David Ben Gurion and
    Yitskhak Ben Tsvi, who also knew of the genetic link between the two
    peoples.

    “By presenting indisputable scientific evidence that Palestinians and
    Jews were one and the same people just a few hundreds years ago, we hope
    both groups will take the sole path to lasting peace – the one-state
    solution of love described by Rael,” Boisselier said.

    She said a team of scientists from ‘Stop Killing Palestinian Jews’ is
    currently designing the protocol for the study. Collection of genetic
    samples is slated to begin in May.

    Contact: Panteha Naghi, 702-513-2387, media@rael.org>usa-media@rael.org


    "My awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power, no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain -- especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state."

    Albert Einstein

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    1. What massacre? Perhaps we should keep this site focused on genes, and not potentially emotive politics.

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  9. Palestinians and the Jews are two different races and have different cultures. They have nothing in common. If they shared common ancestry, we wouldn't find them fighting nowadays, it is as simple as that.

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  10. Jews and Palestinians are the same race.

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    1. Jews were never a release. Proof positive of this comes from the Hebrew Bible itself, which has multiple examples of people joining the House of Israel who were definitely not Jewish. Can we please stop spreading falsities?

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    2. I would continue and say that after the siege of Jerusalem things changed. The Roman Empire destroyed the heritage of a peaceful nation. Turning brother against brother. The saddest thing in my opinion, is that the storys of the Exodus was false. These people were Canaanites. Their world was so brutally impacted by the destruction of the Temple of Solomon, theystill have not recovered.

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  11. Look at the REAL mixture of peoples in the US and in other countries - why dont we find the same intolerant bloodshed?

    What to focus on people:
    Because of the geopolitical location of Israel itself (thanks to the powers that be for reinstating that reality.. hint hint.. England USA and Russia) it will forever be a conflicted area -US wants controlling interest - Arabs want controlling interest - Russia wants controlling interests - Why do you think Israel can buy nukes from the USA? Its just 1 chess move on a chessboard - 1 move that constantly chooses to involve way too many people and begs for sympathy for political reasons not any real human ethical value reasons.
    Using the Bible to justify ANYTHING is like using a Bronze Age
    knife and hammer to perform modern open heart surgery

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  12. Yes, I agree, the war is mostly over land and water, and two groups wanting the same piece of land. But history and religion matter, because it is the preservation of Jewish story and memory that led to the Zionists thinking that returning after 2000 years of exile was a legitimate national idea. The whole frame of that statement is religiously rooted. But other writers are correct that similarities do not prevent warfare, on the contrary from Freud to Volkan, we know that the narcissism of small differences makes for good conflict. And then there is the overriding issue of one land for two peoples that was bound for conflict from the inception of Zionism.
    No, the importance of the genetic story, its significance and tragic beauty, is its moral force. So that when people engage in this hellish and self-destructive hatred, they have to face the fact that they are killing their own family. This does give people pause sometimes. And I would like to see this become more common knowlege. Much of my work and writing is dedicated to Israeli/palestinian reconciliation, for twenty five years. It will happen someday.
    Marc Gopin
    www.marcgopin.com

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  13. Here's a proposed solution to the conflict by a spiritual leader.

    This makes sense:

    http://raelianews.org/news.php?item.369.5

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  14. The genetic similarities are only part of the story. Some Palestinian clans have distinctive customs that set them apart from standard Muslim practices: they light candles for the dead, light a menorah in the winter time, have special Friday evening prayers, use talismans that are ancient phylactries, etc. Other subsets apparently have surnames that appear to Jewish but Sephardic (Spanish) in origin, such as Elbaz and Abulafia. The assumption is that some Sephardic Jews immigrated to the area from Spain at the time of the Inquisition and then converted to Islam.

    The point that genetic concordance simply means that Jews and Palestinian Arabs share a similar lineage is well taken. It is certainly possible that the genetics are all from a 'pre-Canaanite' era. The customs that are at odds with prevailing Muslim practices, do give one pause. There are also odd factoids like an entire clan of Cohens that live in Jordan.

    I think the combination of genetic evidence and customs do point to the fact that at least some Palestinians could be of Jewish descent. Sadly, as you also pointed out, shared genetic heritage and even customs don't change the facts on the ground...

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  15. Real genetic Jews are Palestinians?

    Source: http://www.rense.com/general89/mid.htm

    Mideast Jews, Palestinians Virtually
    Genetically Identical
    Scientific Journal Axes Gene Research
    On Jews And Palestinians
    By Robin McKie
    Science Editor - The Observer
    First Published Sunday 11-25-1
    2-22-10


    A keynote research paper showing that Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinians are genetically almost identical has been pulled from a leading journal.

    Academics who have already received copies of Human Immunology have been urged to rip out the offending pages and throw them away.

    Such a drastic act of self-censorship is unprecedented in research publishing and has created widespread disquiet, generating fears that it may involve the suppression of scientific work that questions Biblical dogma.

    'I have authored several hundred scientific papers, some for Nature and Science, and this has never happened to me before,' said the article's lead author, Spanish geneticist Professor Antonio Arnaiz-Villena, of Complutense University in Madrid. 'I am stunned.'

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/nov/25/medicalscience.genetics

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  16. You state it is a religious conflic? The majority of Israelis are not that religious. For a minority it might be a religious conflict. Hence, I would think for the majority it would have to be more of a cultural conflict. To fight over cultural differences is not far removed from fighting over colour differences which is completely uncivilised.

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    1. The real source of inequity is the cash flow from the USA. It was the billions of dollars infused that allowed the disparity to grow to this size. Money makes money. Money leads to power, and the power corrupts everything. This once innocent people of religion and balance before the Romans, are now the opposite of what King David or the descendants of Jacob, the mountain Jews, the Canaanites, or any Rabbi ever wanted. It was the USA that created this mess.

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  17. Given the evidence, the so called Palestinians can just all convert to Judaism, return to their ancients roots, and then the conflict would end. Let us invite the Palestianians to return to their ancestral roots, then and return to Judaism and give up the 8th century lie that is Islam.

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  18. Good idea. They can also give up the 2nd millenium BC lie that is Judaism.

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  19. Great idea - they can all embrace the eternal truth that is Christianity!

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  20. This you think is unpopular?

    Look at the evidence the Samaritan Torah is the original one.

    At best, modern mainstream Judaism uses a version from the Babylonian captivity which isn't even in the same alphabet as the archaeological finds in Israel.

    At worst, the oldest copy of the version we use is from 1000 AD and it doesn't match any of the older texts.

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  21. I thought the modern day white Jews is a convert from khazar kingdom & have no blood connection to Hebrews of the bible times that looked more like the Palestinians.

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  22. What do you mean by saying "white Jews"? May be you concider Italians and Spaniards or Greeks being "black"?
    Your Khazar "theory" stands on very weak legs and is debunked by genetics and philologists. Why European Jews (with an exeption of Spanish and Portuquese Jews) spoke High German if they came from Khazaria (Modern Ukraine)? Russia and Ukraaine is no exception. By the way they called themselves "Germans" (Ashkenazim in Hebrew).

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  23. My personal opinion is that this conflict should be traced back at least to the Cold War era. The Soviet Union and the USA could not wage a direct war on one another, so the Russians backed the Arab countries in the ME area, while the Americans backed Israel. Both superpowers were exploiting previous local tensions and hatred to confront one another by proxy in this geopolitical area in pretty much the same way as they did in other areas around the globe. This had a price: fostering further local hatred and violence. So today the Cold War is gone, the Middle Eastern conflict is not (yet).

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    1. Actually, both supported Israel at the onset but when Israel moved away from socialist structure of the kibbutz is when Russia ended its support for Israel. Europe and Great Britain were much more against idea of Israel than Russia.

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  24. Political conflicts between Palestinians & Jews reflects their historical ignorance of spiritual laws. By studying the roots of their religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), they'll discover that they were all derived from Canaanite, Egyptian, Sumerian and Zoroastrian beliefs, which in turn evolved from primitive beliefs. There is a logical continuity in the evolution of our common ancestral beliefs, and not an instantaneous divine interference causing "revelations" in contradictions with pagan beliefs. The "missing link" between classical polytheistic beliefs and Jewish monotheistic beliefs can't be found in texts bec they were taught orally in initiatic philosophical & esoterical schools, which Jews had the merit to encode in the bible, and later Christians and Moslems as well. But bec this link has been lost, each one thinks that he has gotten the right interpretation. The only solution is the study and evolution of those roots instead of the infantile advocating "divine"
    interpretations parachuted from tribal Arab & Hebrew instincts. The truth, whether we like it or not, is that our "civilized" spiritual roots were neither Hebrew nor Arab but Assyro-Sumerian and Egypto-Canaanite. Hence, our indentity is ultimately "Levantine" and our geographical embrace is mainly the Mediterranean where local laws of nature (created by God) made us what we are--lost, degenerated tribes incapable of unifying the extremely ancient heritaqe of their civilized forefathers. To solve the issue we must transcend Palestinian & Isreali nationalisms to ascend to Levantine nationalism. Synthesis is the end game evolution and not antithesis. This is what "God" has meant for us and this is what shall happen sooner or later.

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  25. actually, i think their common genetic heritage probably dates to back somewhere between the 1st jewish diapsora and the second one, especially since the Y-chromosomal Aaron is common in palestinians males also.

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  26. "The truth, whether we like it or not, is that our "civilized" spiritual roots were neither Hebrew nor Arab but Assyro-Sumerian and Egypto-Canaanite. Hence, our indentity is ultimately "Levantine" and our geographical embrace is mainly the Mediterranean where local laws of nature (created by God) made us what we are--lost, degenerated tribes incapable of unifying the extremely ancient heritaqe of their civilized forefathers."

    I have come to realize the same thing. The moon god of Islam and the Hebrew JHVE are distorted scraps from our common pagan and polytheistic roots!

    Look at Zoroastrianism and European paganism as well as Egyptian ancient beliefs. Worship of the Sun AND the Moon. Of Fire and Earth. Male war Gods and FEMALE Gods of love.

    This is our natural religious instincts expressed, but with the advent of Judaism, Christianity and Islam this has been denied, hidden away and labelled as apostasy. Pagans have been persecuted. But still Judaism, Islam and Christianity realized that they must keep something of this in order for people to be attracted to their cold, puritan and law abiding religions. That is why we have angels, saints and Holy Mary. That is why there is Kaballah and Sufism.

    One could argue that the making of only One God is apostasy to all of humanity and all of the Creators creatures.

    Carving out one male God from the palate of gods and spirits in our nature is to deny our history. Here also is embedded the destruction of Cults that worshiped the Feminine Divine, motherhood and fertility such as Astarte, Ashera , Freja and Isis!

    Remember the names of the old Gods! call upon their names! Rid of the false and corrupt political Monotheism that has infected our world and caused massive destruction. It seeks only to control and diminish us.

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  27. Since there never has been a country, ethnic group, or other self-contained entity called Palestine or Palestinian, it's a fool's errand to find Jewish "Palestinians". There may be Arabs with Jewish genes, and there may be Jews with Arab genes, but there aren't any Palestinians.

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    1. That's a pretty hilarious thought. Then that would make them all Hebrews.. descendants of Eber regardless.

      Furthermore, saying that there's no such thing as Palestinians is like saying there's no such thing as Americans using your logic. The land is called Palestine. Just like the land over here is called America. now, we can bicker about what genes belong to whom all day long in the 50 + DC and territories and annexes, but people still call us Americans. The case over yonder is both religious and political, considering that even in what some call Biblical times church and state were never separate.

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    2. I have just read the above article. Perhaps lost in the pages of history of land grab, religious differences and the other differences stated by other contributors, we have forgotten to re-introduce the truth to those blinded by the past. Maybe- just maybe it is as simple as broadcasting this article that points out the blood relationship between two warring people and perhaps this would bring back some civility. Sometimes we get lost in our journey through life and we need to retrace our steps and find the source of our mission, existence and bonds.

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  28. As Mr. Flint noted, most wars ARE fought over land. I would phrase it slightly different though; virtually ALL wars are fought over the control of natural resources, land of course being THE pre-eminent natural resource. Religion, ethno-nationalism and any other codified ideology is merely an engine, a way in which to generate consensus in that eternal struggle over that old well...or oil well.

    I am suprised that the author's wemm conceived thesis never stoped to consider methodology and how it- along with other other facets- can be manipulated so as to steet results, or in the case of mere negligence hoplessly skew results. In most of the assays that a close similarity between "most Jews" and "most Palestinians," the Palestinian test subjects have all been collected in Hebron and/or Nablus District. This is significant because of all the governorates within Palestiniam Authority territory, these districts by far contains the largest number of Palestinians directly descended from Jews, in the former- and- Samaritans, in the latter. In most cases subjects have been recruited entirely from one.

    Prior to the creation of Israel in 1948 Palestinian society was by and large rural and village-based. One married in one's village, if not in one's own clan, and one often never traveled more than 30km in a lifetime. In cases like the so called "West Bank," where in the south there was a general concentration of Palestinians descended from indigenous Jewish converts who assimilated into the dominant Aeab Culture, and in the northern "West Bank," where the same dynamic exists amongst converted Samaritans who then likewise assimilated, any genetic assay is naturally going to show strong Jewish composition. Perhaps this bias could be mitigated by relegating selection to UNRWA Camps, where internal refugees have settled but ideally, a true investigation would use a much larger pool of Palestinians from all areas of Historical Palestine.

    That said, even if it then somehoe turned out that most Palestinians are indeed descended from Jews, it still would not mean much of anything- certainly not a reduction in geopolitical slash religious tension. Ethno-nationalism, the major engine driving this natural resource-based conflict, is a social construct. This conflict is NOT about "race," nor about anything relation to biology. This is entirely cultural.

    A great example would be my own family. I am a Syrian Jew. "Syrian Jews" are the Jews of what classicists would refer to as "Coele-Syria," all of Syria, Lebanon and Historic Palestine- which naturally includes Jordan. Most, like my own family, never left the Levant. Many, like my own clan, "Dwek," have branches that along the way assimilated the way of the invader and by "invader" I DO include the Arabs.

    In Hebron, my ancestral home, there is a branch who usually transliterate their surname as "Dweick" when writing in English. In fact, the imprisoned Speaker of the Palestinian Anuthority's PLC (Palestinian Legislative Committee), Aziz Dweick, is my cousin, as well as the HAMAS Commanding Officer of Hebron District. The clan diverged in the 15th Cwntury under the Mamelukes but both the Jewish and the Arab branches are quite cognisant of all related matters and history- and both despise each other. Sadly, when we were massacarred in 1920, and especially in 1929 it was by Arabs that included the Dweick (just as every pogrom since 1517 included them).

    Mr. Misnai's quixotic endeavour may be well intentioned, it may even change lives,* but it will never change the diametrically opposed cultures and religions that seperate Jews and Arabs. As long as Jews dare to claim an iota of the Levant there will always be Arabs- certainly Palestinians- who oppose them violently. Not all ideologies mesh with Western Humanistic values.

    Rachamim Ben Ami

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  29. To the anonymous poster who offered that Jews and Palestinians will only find common ground when they are able to move past their petty religious differences and discover that both Islam and Judaism are themselves manifestations of other, earlier religioius systems (I manages to say all that in one breath), a couple of basic errors of note: Israel is not a theocracy. It is a Liberal Democracy with secularism enshrined in its quasi-Constitutional "Basic Law." It regretably retained the Ottoman Status Quo- as it is known- and allowed all recognised religions to control matrimonial law with their respective demographics. This is slowly being cast off but aside from that centuries-old remnant, Israel is devoid of that which ails most of the Middle East.

    Israel is the State of the Jewish People, not the State of Judaism. Indeed, Zionism at its inception was devoid of any religious trappings. Until 1977 the Government was led by Socialists who were atheists and agnostics. The country bases its claim on the land on good old 20th Century legalism which itself was generated by irrefutable historical claims.

    On the other hand, the Palestinian leadership is divided between HAMAS controlling Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (PA), controlling most of the so called "West Bank." HAMAS is an Islamo-fascist organisation whose endgame is the typical Islamo-fascist fantasy, world domination and extinction of the Jews, although in the interim it is merely aiming for "Palestine"...and...extermination of the Jews.

    The PA is dominated by Fatah (not to be confused with Fatah al Islam), an ostensibly Marxist-Leninist ourfit that in reality is neck deep in theocratic claptrap thanks to its blind struggle to outbid HAMAS in the never-ending struggle for Palestinian allegiance. Since the death of "President" Arafat the organisation's solid Marxist-Leninist foundation has been cast by thge wayside in the headlong rush for power. With the closely-affiliated al Aqsa Martys' Brigade and its by the books "Suicide Bombings" for 72 Houris the PA's secularist claim is tarnished for good. Witness then its official mufti giving his Juma'a homily each and every Friday on the organisation's Ramallah-based flagship TV station.

    A couple of things to add. Not all Palestinians are Muslims. In fact, although Christians are a comparatively small minority they do hold prominent positions in Palestinian militancy.

    Secondly, as noted in my earlier post, religion is merely an ideological vehicle, it isn't the race track, THAT is always going to be a natural resource, in this case the most basic of natural resources, land. It is easy to look at the Islamic Advent, the Rashidun Caliphate's hugely aggressive surge out of Arabia both East and West and how, within 120 years Arabs controlled the largest empire the world has ever known and to point TO Islam as the raison d'etre. However, Islam only served as the ideological glue to bind the rank and file. Land and the riches they held led Arabs to plant a green flag everywere from Western China in the East, to Morocco's Atlantic Coast in the West, from Tanzania in the South, to France in the North.

    Muslims "finding their roots" might lead to another Wahhabist revival but it will not solve the Israeli/Palestinian clusterfu*#.

    Rachamim Ben Ami

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  30. Since "Palestinian" is a Latinized form of the Semitic "Philistine", it probably makes more sense to assume that the Jews are descended from the Palestinians,since they were the original inhabitants of the land. Or does anyone still accept the idea of a Biblical genocide of the Philistines?

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  31. Its about religion, this's what Muslims believe:

    Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.

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  32. You all miss one important point. My parents, grandparents, and on were born in the land of Palestine. We owned homes, farm land, and we know where are ancestors are buried. IN 1948 my parents, as children, were evicted from their homes, and lands confiscated, they were denied the right to return after the fighting ceased. Why? BECAUSE EUROPEAN JEWS decided that the land was theirs, never mind the fact it was my family that shed their blood defending and liberating the Holy Land from the horrific Crusaders. Where exactly were the Jews? Living in Europe with no real attempt to come to the Holy Land.

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    Replies
    1. I am so sorry! So the future lies with us, this generation. We can not repeat the cycle, we must change it for the sake of the future generations.

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  33. My recent DNA testing has tied me to Middle East populations, as well as Norse/Scottish from my Dads side. I am descended from Druze, Bedouin, Palestinian, and Jewish populations (well we are genetically matched). This revelation has given me a whole new outlook, I have so much love for them all, and I want to promote peace from within to bring unity.

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  34. This narrative is false. The truth is Palestinians are the descendants of the Israeli Jews who lived there in Biblical times the notion that European Ashkenazim Jews are Semitic to the land is ludicrous Syrians are more likely Indigenous to the land than European Jews over time people either converted to Islam or Christianity the land is more indigenous to the people of the surrounding territory than to European Jews one has to ask how the Arabs who lived bordering what is now Israel/Palestine aren't indigenous to the land the answer is because they are indigenous to the land they just converted to Islam

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