When the Zionist movement entered Palestine at the end of the 19th century it encountered an indigenous largely sedentary population in hundreds of agricultural villages and towns. Even Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Ben Zvi acknowledged in a book they wrote together that the indigenous Palestinian fellaheen (peasants) were descendants of the ancient Hebrews and as such they thought of including them in the prospective Jewish state as labour force, but changed their mind after the indigenous people opposed their colonial venture. Palestine is at the crossroads between Asia and Africa. It saw many invaders, including the armies from the Arabian peninsula. These armies encountered an INDIGENOUS population on which they left their genetic and cultural mark. The Palestinians therefore - especially the peasant in their villages in the remote valleys who would never leave unless expelled like in 1948 - are the rightful owners of Palestine's ancient cultural heritage, incl. Tell Balata.
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from the article: Palestinian archeology gets int'l boost ahead of 2011 statehood plan