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Are the remains of the cemetery of Ashkelon evidence of the assets of European Palestinians or Shami?


Imran Abdullah

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the ancient Palestinians came from southern Europe while the origin of their ancestors is contemporary to the Arabian Peninsula, citing a recent genetic study of the origins of the ancient Palestinians, claiming that their association with the "Land of Israel" is nothing compared to forty thousand years of the Jewish people .

But the study itself, which Netanyahu put down below, says that, contrary to what he said, according to the journal of the American Association of Advanced Sciences, it is difficult to distinguish genes from samples of skeletons of an ancient Palestinian cemetery of more than 3,000 years ago from the genes of the local population of the Levant.

The Palestinians' connection to the Land of Israel is nothing compared to the 4,000 year connection that the Jewish people have with the land.

- Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) July 7, 2019

In the Ashkelon excavations, researchers analyzed the DNA of four children buried under old Palestinian homes on the site, and found a genetic proportion belonging to the origins of ancestors from southern Europe, which was considered a slight and temporary European and quickly disappeared according to the study published in the journal Science Advances.

European genes
The results of the genetic study clearly indicate that the "European spot" of the genes was lost quickly after only a few centuries. The subsequent Palestinian tombs bear signatures that are very similar to the local population who lived in the area even before the "emergence of the Palestinians".

According to the study, the eastern Mediterranean region experienced a state of exceptional cultural chaos at the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age, due to the collapse of thriving economies and cultures in Greece, Egypt, Anatolia and the Levant.

During the 12th century BC, Ashkelon was distinct from its neighbors in the architectural and cultural traditions that were considered to be similar to the culture of the Aegean Sea, and researchers interpreted this phenomenon as a supposed Palestinian migration from south-eastern Europe to the eastern Mediterranean.

However, a study of the genomes of the Levant shows a high degree of genetic continuity of the local component, which later mixed with elements from Anatolia and Iran, and from south-eastern Europe, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Association of Advanced Sciences.

It also indicates that the inhabitants of Ashkelon whose samples were taken from most of their ancestors derive from the local heritage of the Levant. In contrast, the genetic influence of the ancestors of south-eastern Europe was very limited and short-lived.

After examining the human genome data of ten people between the Bronze and Iron Ages at the Ashkelon Cemetery, the researchers found that early Iron Age people were genetically different from a certain European combination, but this genetic signal is no longer detectable in the late Iron Age.

This may mean that the migration of some Europeans from the Aegean and Sardinian regions has been assimilated and melted into local communities, and their rapid marriage with their new neighbors has resulted in their fusion between the Levant and the Eastern Mediterranean.

"We have been able to follow this movement to people coming to Ashkelon from southern Europe," said Michael Feldman, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute, who participated in the study. "It disappears very quickly in 200 years." Perhaps because they were mating, Among the local population. "

Although genetic maps indicate that southern Europe is an area of ​​origin or migration, there are limits to DNA tests dating back 3,000 years, says Feldman, who also works as an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University.

Feldman considered that the ancestors of the ancient Palestinians had certainly passed through the Mediterranean Sea and arrived at Ashkelon sometime between the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age, as she put it.

However, the study did not include confirmations that the remains of the DNA graves were dated to ancient Palestinians. They may have been immigrants, traders or invaders who came to the historic city of Ashkelon with maritime connections to the ancient world, and did not show a sample of ten individuals sufficient to Absolutely to represent the people of the entire housing area of ​​the vast geographical area of ​​the ancient Levant.

Media and political recruitment
The study of genes and genetic engineering is assumed to be an independent scientific field. It is customary for the study of the laboratory and the remains of ancient tombs. However, the coverage of the results of this study in the media was highly confused. Mixing ancient biblical texts and stories with contemporary Palestinians, including holding them responsible for historical events such as the seizure of the Ark of the Covenant and the fighting with giant Goliath against the Prophet David and others.

The Bible mentions a place called Caphtor, which is probably modern-day Crete. There's no connection between the ancient Philistines & the modern Palestinians, which ancestry came from the Arabian Peninsula to the Land of Israel thousands of years later.

- Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) July 7, 2019

Netanyahu cites his Twitter account that the origins of the ancient Palestinians date back to southern Europe, adding that the Bible mentions a place called Kaptor (probably the modern island of Crete). The Palestinian foreign ministry described the tweets as "racist and an extension of Netanyahu's disinformation campaigns" and condemned what it called attempts to divert the reality of the conflict from political to religious and ethnic.

Jumping from the results of the genetic study to political conclusions seems to be somewhat arbitrary. In addition to the statistical problems of the study, the work of the researchers did not include any study of contemporary Palestinian genes.

Source: aljazeera

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