This Nakba Day
(which means "Day of the Catastrophe") marks the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian
people's expulsion and dispossession of their homelands. According to the UN
, an estimated 711,000 Palestinians fled their homes and 160,000 stayed behind to become internal refugees in the newly formed state of Israel
Palestinians fleeing their homes in 1948
Situated at one of those great crossroads of civilizations, the Palestinian populace reflects the diverse cultural imprint in their ancient ancestors. Genetic evidence shows the Palestinians are descended from Amorites, Anatolians, Arabs, Arameans, Canaanites, Edomites, European crusaders, Hebrews, Jebusites, Lydian Greeks, Philistines and Romans. They practice various faiths like Christianity, Druze, and Islam.
Western media, however, tends to have a hard time accepting that not all Palestianians are Muslim. For example, when Ahmad Sa'adat
, the leader of the PFLP
(Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine) was arrested, the news I was watching described his organization as "Islamic Fundamentalists" even though it is secular, Marxist-Leninist and was created by George Habbash
, a Palestinian Christian. No correction followed.
A Ghassanid Palestinian family in 1905
In 1919, the First Palestinian Congress issued a statement opposing Zionist immigration but, when speaking of the 10,000 Jews already in Palestine, they stated "they are as we are, and their loyalties are our own."