According to the The Invention of the Jewish People:

During the Byzantine period, despite the persecutions, a good many synagogues were built. But after the Arab conquest, construction gradually came to an end, and Jewish prayer houses grew scarcer. It is reasonable to assume that a slow, moderate process of conversion took place in Palestine/Land of Israel, and accounted for the disappearance of the Jewish majority in the country.

But this is disputed by DanielPipes.org (Daniel Pipes is a pro-Israeli Zionist writer and member of the Middle East furam.) which says in a post:

More about the largely vacant desolate land of Israel "Palestine" in the 1800s - massive Arab immigration following Jews' return = the true origin of the (today's) so called "Palestinians"

How odd that such last names as al-Masri (the Egyptian,), al-Djazair (the Algerian), el-Mughrabi (the Moroccan), al-Yamani (the Yemenite) and even al-Afghani are so common among those claiming to be "Palestinians."

Today's Palestinians are immigrants from many nations:

"Balkans, Greeks, Syrians, Latins, Egyptians, Turks, Armenians, Italians, Persians, Kurds, Germans, Afghans, Circassians, Bosnians, Sudaneese, Samaritans, Algerians, Motawila, Tartars, Hungarians, Scots, Navarese, Bretons, English, Franks, Ruthenians, Bohemians, Bulgarians, Georgians, Syrians, Persian Nestorians, Indians, Copts, Maronites, and many others." (DeHass, History, p. 258. John of Wurzburg list from Reinhold Rohricht edition, pp. 41, 69).

Are today's Palestinians immigrants from many nations?

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    Since concepts of nations are rather new in most part (XIXth century), it is a hard question to answer. Also, large population moves and mixing is very common throughout history, so this question makes maybe only sense if we specify the scale or other attributes of population move that makes it non-trivial. I don't see though how Europeans (besides slavery) would make a significant part of the population in the region.
    – Greg
    Mar 31, 2017 at 6:48
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    The funny thing with this idea is that it somehow (and curiously, in a way that matches the author's agenda) classifies some people coming from England, Bohemia, Germany, Balkans, etc. as "immigrants" and other people coming from England, Bohemia, Germany, Balkans, etc. as "non-immigrants"... Anyway, there is an article in Wikipedia about demographic history of Palestine that clearly does not show any base for that idea, do you have any doubt about what the article states?
    – SJuan76
    Mar 31, 2017 at 8:50
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    Also, all the narratives about the Crusades that I have read leave no doubt about a majority of Muslim population at the time...
    – SJuan76
    Mar 31, 2017 at 8:54
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    "How odd that such last names as al-Masri (the Egyptian,), al-Djazair (the Algerian), el-Mughrabi (the Moroccan), al-Yamani (the Yemenite) and even al-Afghani are so common" - and how odd that Americans of Irish origin never have "Irish", "Irishman", or "of Ireland" as surnames. No; people got named "Al-Yamani" in much earlier ages; that cannot be used as evidence of massive immigration in the 19th century. Plus, Palestine was under Ottoman control up to WWI; technically we would not call someone migrating from Ottoman controled Syria to Ottoman controled Palestine an "immigrant". Apr 3, 2017 at 10:32
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    The post from Daniel pipe looks like it mixes two things. Immigration during the 19th century, and immigration / invasions during the last 4000 years ("latins" looks like it refers to roman rule, and "franks" to the states established by crusaders ) Apr 6, 2017 at 23:05

2 Answers 2


The short answer to your question is "no". The evidence lies in some understanding of the history of the region (which I study as an Arabist) and a look at some of the linguistic aspects.

It is widely known that the Levant was the terminus of the Silk Road in the west. What is typically lost on many people is that that trade often involved the vast movement of people. Similarly, you can find many people with foreign surnames throughout the rest of the middle east.

Linguistically, the Palestinians have their own dialect of Arabic that is divergent enough from the dialects of its neighbors to suggest that it is quite old. One aspect of this is the use of the Sheen to negate verbs.

None of this is to say that Palestinians are Arabs in the strictest sense, either. Many people who study the area will readily admit to you that as you get further from the Hijaz, the people you encounter become less and less Arab and more; Assyrian, Chaldean, Akkadian, Kurdish, Turkman, or Armenian.

Also, if Palestine were to be unoccupied by Arabs until the 1800's (if I understand the quote correctly), then how can one account for all of the accounts of the Crusades wherein the Normans were fighting Arabs? What also of the Mamluks who occupied the lands of Palestine and subjected its Arab population prior to Ottoman conquest?

Palestine has been occupied by Semitic peoples (both Arabs and Jews) since the beginning of the Bible and there is no interlude to its continuous population by such peoples. The only itinerant residents of Palestinian lands have been the Israelites, who took long hiatuses and returned after periods of exile (those which did choose to return and not stay in their land of exile).

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    Just a side point, when I visited Israel -Palestine as part of a Christian church group, some of the Palestinians we met said they were amused when visitors asked when they "converted" to Christianity, as they regard their Christian heritage as one of the oldest, indeed original ones. So presumably they were there to adopt Christianity!
    – TheHonRose
    Mar 31, 2017 at 14:06
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    Re "...accounts of the Crusades wherein the Normans were fighting Arabs", I would suspect that those accounts considered all Muslims to be part of a single group. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that the Muslims of that time fundamentally thought of themselves as part of a whole. The nation-state is a relatively recent invention, and one that the West has to some extent imposed on the rest of the world. (E.g. all those straight lines on a map of the Middle East.)
    – jamesqf
    Mar 31, 2017 at 18:27
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    @jamesqf No. While IIRC there is the concept of "Islamic community" or Umma, at the time the Muslims were very divided into a multitude of kingdoms/emirates/etc. In "The crusades as seen by the Arabs" it tells how they fail to present an united front, they would frequently fight between them (even to the point of helping the crusaders), and in the few cases of being allied against the Christians, how often the Muslim army would simply disolve because each emir decided that it should be "the other emirs" those who risked their armies (while keeping his own fresh and intact).
    – SJuan76
    Mar 31, 2017 at 19:59
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    @SJuan76: Yes, that's what I meant. There were these shifting kingdoms depending on which strong man held sway over some amount of territory, but there doesn't seem to be the idea of nationhood that takes precedence over religion, in the way that westerners today would identify primarily as American, British, French, German or what have you, and only secondarily (if at all) as being a member of a religious community.
    – jamesqf
    Apr 1, 2017 at 5:30

What about Hamas Ministers claim that Palestinians Just Arabs Saudis, Egyptians, Sudanese? He does not any his origin What differs Arabs From Palestinian?
Hamas Official: There are no Palestinian people. We are Egyptian Sudanese Saudis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-umTdeh_bQ&t=7s Arab Immigration to West Palestine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0ARecp7pvo Arab Women's Union of Ramallah – 1928 Note Not Palestinian https://imgur.com/FxrwxMw Identity card issued by the British authorities to an Arab in Jerusalem, 1930. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histoire_de_J%C3%A9rusalem#/media/File:Palestine_Jerusalem_al-Maliha_NK27662.jpg Inventing the "Palestinian Nation" https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=42&v=aYMviMHH0nc

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    This answer verges on current events vice history. I have purged comments.
    – MCW
    Apr 10, 2018 at 14:03
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    The answer is also basically just a list of links. Please explain the relevance of the information being linked to, as links, especially youtube links, often eventually break.
    – justCal
    Apr 10, 2018 at 15:06

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