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Palestinians are no more native than Israelis are

May I thank Peter McEvoy (Write Back, January 22) for his compliment that I am "well-aware of Palestinian history" - something of which his letter demonstrates his almost total ignorance.

He obviously takes it as self-evident that the Palestinians are the indigenous people of the land, while the Israelis are recent immigrants from countries who "forcibly evicted" them. A survey of Palestinian family names demonstrates the falsity of this.

One of the commonest is al-Masri, meaning 'the Egyptian' in Arabic. Its prevalence is a result of the policies of Ibrahim Pasha, son of the Khedive (ruler) Muhammad Ali of Egypt, who settled large numbers of Egyptian peasants along the coastal plain in the 1830s.

These Palestinians are no more indigenous than the Jewish immigrants from Lithuania and the Ukraine, who began arriving in the early-1800s. Other common Palestinian names, such as al-Halabi (from Allepo), or al-Tarabulsi (from Tripoli, probably the town in Lebanon) suggest an ancestor who infiltrated the porous land borders during the period of the British mandate.

Mr McEvoy is merely regurgitating Palestinian propaganda designed to hide these "inconvenient" facts and hoodwink the world into supporting their programme to eliminate Israel.

MARTIN D STERN

Salford, Greater Manchester

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