Palestinian people

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The timing and causes behind the emergence of a distinctively Palestinian national consciousness among the Arabs of Palestine are matters of scholarly disagreement.

In his 1997 book, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, historian Rashid Khalidi notes that the archaeological strata that denote the history of Palestine — encompassing the Biblical, Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad, Fatimid, Crusader, Ayyubid, Mamluk and Ottoman periods — form part of the identity of the modern-day Palestinian people, as they have come to understand it over the last century.[34] Noting that Palestinian identity has never been an exclusive one, with "Arabism, religion, and local loyalties" playing an important role, Khalidi cautions against the efforts of some Palestinian nationalists to "anachronistically" read back into history a nationalist consciousness that is in fact "relatively modern".[35][36]

Arabs first appeared in Palestine in the 7th century, during the Muslim conquest of Palestine.[citation needed] The Rashidun Caliphate annexed Greater Syria, and an Arab population took root in the region. Palestine was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1516, and the Ottomans subsequently conducted a census. Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal consider the 1834 revolt of the Arabs in Palestine as constituting the first formative event of the Palestinian people. In the 1830, however, Palestine was occupied by the Egyptian vassal of the Ottomans – Muhammad Ali – and his son Ibrahim Pasha. The revolt was precipitated by popular resistance against heavy demands for conscripts, as peasants were well aware that conscription was little more than a death sentence. Starting in May 1834 the rebels took many cities, among them Jerusalem, Hebron and Nablus. In response, Ibrahim Pasha sent in an army, finally defeating the last rebels on 4 August in Hebron.[37] Nevertheless, Benny Morris argues that the Arabs in Palestine remained part of a larger Pan-Islamist or Pan-Arab national movement.[38] According to Walid Khalidi, Palestinians in Ottoman times were "[a]cutely aware of the distinctiveness of Palestinian history ..." and "[a]lthough proud of their Arab heritage and ancestry, the Palestinians considered themselves to be descended not only from Arab conquerors of the seventh century but also from indigenous peoples who had lived in the country since time immemorial, including the ancient Hebrews and the Canaanites before them."[39]

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