In a bustling fish restaurant in Jaffa, the ancient sea port just south of Tel Aviv, an Israeli Jewish man tries to convince the eatery's Arab owner that everything he has ever thought about his Palestinian heritage is wrong - that the conflict that has killed so many and which is claiming hundreds more right now in Gaza - has been nothing more than a tragic case of mistaken identity. Khamis Aboulafia, a well-known figure in the Israeli Arab community, listens politely as Tsvi Misinai, a retired computer expert and pioneer of Israel's IT sector, reveals the burning vision that has consumed him for years. He believes that the Palestinians with whom Israel is at war are, in fact, descendants of Jews who stayed on the land when the Roman legions sent most of their countrymen into exile 2,000 years ago.This idea has been brought up before, but now it can actually be verified through genetic testing (though - I don't know the reliability of such tests..):
The theory was originally developed by David Ben Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister. But it has gained a new lease of life since a study into a rare blood disorder shared by Jews and Palestinians revealed a closer genetic match between the communities than between Palestinians and other Arabs. “It's all a tragic mistake, a tragic misunderstanding,” said Misinai, who divides his time between tracking down Palestinians who acknowledge their Jewish heritage, and lobbying ministers, ambassadors, religious leaders and activists in both communities.And here is how Mininai connects it with history:
According to his theory, when Jewish fighters waged a series of unsuccessful campaigns against the occupying Roman forces in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, the Romans exacted a heavy price: they destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and exiled the vast majority of Jews.
Those who ended up in the Diaspora - mostly city dwellers - were determined to keep their Jewish identities during exile. But according to Misinai, many were allowed to stay behind to work the fertile uplands of Judea and Samaria - now known as the West Bank - to supply Rome with grain and olive oil.
Gradually, these people lost their ethnic identities, converting first to Christianity under Byzantine rule and then to Islam, as power in the land changed hands and rulers sought to homogenise the population, either through force or the offer of social privilege and tax incentives.
“We, the Jewish people, have kept our Israeli or Jewish identity by the book, by our religion, but we disengaged from the country,” said Elon Yarden, a lawyer and close associate of Misinai, who has also written on the subject. Those who stayed behind, in what became Palestine, “did not leave the country, but lost their identity”.
Hmm...ok - But can't we live and let live simply by the fact that all humans are in a sense related to one another? Yes, yes, there is the land issue - but then we have land issues every where on the planet - and Palestinian and Israeli area is no more special than Congo or Sri Lanka. But to be fair, I doubt that thinking in the Middle East will change simply because of this genetic link. In any case, read the full article here.