A Descent Into Palestinian Descent

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Following yesterday’s post about the latest archaeological find indicating the palestinians have no relationship to the ancient Philistines, I was reminded of the fact that over the years, the palestinians have not been able to keep their story straight regarding their descent. Let’s have a look at some of their claims.

Descended From Canaanites From Over 10,000 Years Ago

In January, 2014, Fatah Central Committee member Saeb Erekat made the following statement:

canaanites“Concerning the Israeli side repeatedly saying that Israel is a ‘Jewish state’ – some say they intend to sabotage the refugees’ right to return, by this term. Some say they want to harm the status of Palestinian residents in the ’48 territories (i.e. Israel). You are in the city of Jericho. Our story began in this city 10,000 years ago when the Natufians founded it. The Canaanites were [here] 5,500 years before Joshua burned it down. Whoever asks me to accept Israel as a Jewish state, is asking me to alter my history, to change my religion, to revise my culture. That is not going to happen. He wants us to say it is a Jewish state, meaning that the land belonged to the Jews and that we are strangers to it.”

Descended From Canaanites And Jebusites From 5,000 Years Ago

On June 3rd, 2016, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs and Supreme Shari’ah Judge, claimed:



“They [the Jews] are thieves who stole the land, and who want to steal the history, but history cannot change and cannot be falsified. The facts bear witness to it. We have been here for the last 5,000 years, and have not left this land. We have not left this land. Our forefathers are the monotheist Canaanites and Jebusites. They are the ones who built Jerusalem, before Abraham was even here.”

Earlier, in December 2011, Fatah Revolutionary Council member Dimitri Diliani made a similar claim.

“The Palestinian people descended from the Canaanite tribe of the Jebusites that inhabited the ancient site of Jerusalem as early as 3200 B.C.E.”

Note how out of all the Canaanite nations, they chose the Jebusites, no doubt because of the Jebusite connection to Jerusalem.

Descended From Philistines From 6,000 Years Ago

On March 21, 2016, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said:

en-david-goliath“Our narrative says that we were in this land since before Abraham. I am not saying it. The Bible says it. The Bible says, in these words, that the Palestinians existed before Abraham. So why don’t you recognize my right?”

This is a reference to the Philistines, since the only Biblical reference Abbas could be talking about is the text that Abraham dwelt “many days in the land of the Philistines.” (Genesis 21: 34).

So clearly the palestinians have a hard time sticking to the one genealogical narrative – whether it be the exact people they supposedly descend from or the time period. These are details you just don’t get wrong if based on historical fact.

In his book Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, palestinian historian Rashid Khalidi – by no means pro-Israel – writes that palestinian nationalism really began in the early 20th century. Furthermore, he posits that it developed a historiography that “anachronistically read back into the history of Palestine over the past few centuries, and even millennia, a nationalist consciousness and identity that are in fact relatively modern,” and that this historical “outlook” created a “predilection for seeing in peoples such as the Canaanites, Jebusites, Amorites, and Philistines the lineal ancestors of the modern Palestinians.” In other words, he admits this is an artificial construct.

Besides the inconsistency, there’s an even bigger problem with palestinians hitching their wagons to non-Arab Canaanite nations and Philistines. The palestinian identity is predicated on being part of the Arab nation.

Take the Palestinian National Charter, article 1:

Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.

Similarly, the Hamas Charter is replete with references to the Arabs.


In contrast to these competing and inherently contradictory genealogical narratives, the Jewish narrative is consistent. Our forefathers were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and we ultimately became a nation at Mount Sinai under the leadership of Moses, before vanquishing the Canaanite nations and conquering the land of Israel. We are the indigenous people of the land, unlike the descendants of the Arab conquerors of the 7th century.

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An Aussie immigrant to Israel, David Lange is founder and managing editor of Israellycool. He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and single malt whisky.