[This is the third and final instalment of a series of articles showing the myth, false historicity and deception of a group of migratory Arabs calling themselves “palestinians”]
It is variously claimed by the Arab Moslem Palestinians (Erekat, 2014) that their indigeneity and culture and history in the currently occupied territories goes back thousands of years to the times of the Canaanites (over 5,500 years allegedly) and that they thus precede the arrival of the Abraham and the Hebrews.
Indeed, in their published paper “The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict” (2001), Jews for Justice in the Middle East states that “Between 3000 and 1100 B.C., Canaanite civilization covered what is today Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon and much of Syria and Jordan…Those who remained in the Jerusalem hills after the Romans expelled the Jews [in the second century A.D.] were a potpourri of farmers and vineyard growers, pagans and converts to Christianity, descendants of the Arabs, Persians, Samaritans, Greeks and old Canaanite tribes” But no Jews, it would appear.
Illene Beatty in her paper (1957) “Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan” states that “The Arab invaders (of Canaan) of the 7th century A.D. made Moslem converts of the natives, settled down as residents, and intermarried with them, with the result that all are now so completely Arabized that we cannot tell where the Canaanites leave off and the Arabs begin.” Again, as this historiography goes, the area apparently remained devoid of Jews as inhabitants of the Levant.
But then Beatty goes on to write that the Jews under King David conquered Canaan in 1000 BC until they were “wiped out” in 586 BC thus ending 414 years of Jewish rule in the area. This means that, Jews lived, worshipped and died in the area of Judea and Samaria including Jerusalem (David’s City…) some 1300 years before Arabs and Islam appeared in the Levant.
The Jewish Bulletin (1998) quotes Eli Shuikrun and Ronny Reich saying that “Recent archeological (sic) digs have provided evidence that Jerusalem was a big and fortified city already in 1800 BCE…Findings show that the sophisticated water system heretofor (sic) attributed to the conquering Israelites pre-dated them by eight centuries and was even more sophisticated than imagined…Dr. Ronny Reich, who directed the excavation along with Eli Shuikrun, said the entire system was built as a single complex by Canaanites in the Middle Bronze Period, around 1800 BCE.” However, this time, it may be noted that while Jews are mentioned in antiquity, no mention is made of Palestinians, Arabs or Moslems.
Others like Henry Cattan (1984), a Palestinian Christian jurist and writer born in Jerusalem says: ‘The Palestinians are the original and continuous in- habitants of Palestine from time immemorial.”
And still others the PA President Mahmoud Abbas earnestly claim (2016): “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.”
For the novice reader in the Arab-Israeli conflict, such discrepancies in nationalistic historiographies may seem a little confusing. This paper will show that this does not have to be so and that the “history” of the “indigenous” “Palestinians” denied an “historic homeland” through Zionist machinations, started on May, 1964 at the Arab League Summit in Cairo. In other words, the “palestinian” conflict is an extension of the Arab-Israeli hostilities 1948-2019 (though even that is now being turned on its head).
I will start off by stating that
- The “Palestinian” Arab people, nation or culture have never existed.
- Islam arrived in the Levant 2,500 years after the establishment of Judaism and 750 years after the birth and spread of Christianity.
- Arabs arrived in the Levant some 2,500 years after the establishment of monotheistic Judaism and continuous Jewish presence in same and that ALL Arab commentators acknowledge the conquest of the Levant circa 700 CE….
- By the time Jewish Kingdoms were established in Judea, no Canaanites, Hittites, Moabites, Amorites, Horites or Jebusites existed. Even the genuine remnants of the Canaanites (Phoenicians of Gaza, Tzur and Sidon (last two-named now in Lebanon) had long before disappeared through intermarriage with the Hebrews.
The Canaanites are historically acknowledged as the first inhabitants of the Land of Israel, before the Hebrews settled there. Indeed, the correct geographic name of the Land of Israel is Canaan, not “Palestine” (a Roman invention, as we will see later). They were composed by the different tribes mentioned above, and who could be distinguished in two main groups: the Northern or Coastland Canaanites and the Southern or Mountain Canaanites.
The Northern Canaanites, better known in history by their Greek name Phoenicians, settled along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea from what is modern port of Alexandria to the proximities of the Gulf of Haifa. The Phoenicians called themselves “Kana’ana” or “Kinachnu”. Their language was adopted from their Semitic neighbours, the Arameans, and was closely related to Hebrew (not to Arabic!). Phoenicians and Israelites did not need interpreters to understand each other. During the Islamic invasions and occupations of what became known as the Middle East, they were Arabized, yet, never completely assimilated, and their present-day state is Lebanon. It is not coincidental that generational Lebanese look nothing like their co-religionists in Syria, Jordan and Egypt. And it is for this reason today that Lebanon today is the only one of Israel’s immediate Muslim neighbours not known as the Islamic Republic of…
The “palestinians” are not Lebanese. Therefore they are not Phoenicians (Northern Canaanites).
The Southern Canaanites lived in the mountain region from the Golan southwards, on both sides of the Yarden (River Jordan) and along the Mediterranean coast from the Gulf of Haifa to Yafo; the Canaan of Jewish and Christian biblical note. Through intermarriage and war, by the time of King David, the Canaanites had been absorbed into the Israelite nation. After all, when the Assyrians overran the Kingdom of Israel, they did not leave any Canaanite aside, as they had all become Israelites by that time. The same happened when the Babylonians overthrew the Kingdom of Judah.
For this documented (verifiable) reason, the only people that can trace a lineage back to the ancient Canaanites are the Jews, not the “palestinians” per Erekat (2014). The Canaanites simply did not exist as a definable ethnic group any longer after the 8th century BCE. If the “Palestinians” were indeed descendants of the ancient Philistines, would they not be speaking Hebrew, or, indeed, clamouring for a return of Lebanon as their rightful national homeland?
The name “Palestinian” is a modern political creation for a group of Arabs wedded to the idea of a Jew-free Middle East using various guises such as indigeneity, history and colonial theory. In the 20th century, a main protagonist of this colonial theory was the post-colonialist Edward Said. But even he could not remain consistent in his life’s work of removing Jews from the Middle East. In his seminal 1979 book “The Question of Palestine” he states “Palestine became a predominantly Arab and Islamic country by the end of the seventh century (emphasis mine). Almost immediately thereafter its boundaries and its characteristics — including its name in Arabic, Filastin — became known to the entire Islamic world…for its religious significance…”
This is curious on two counts: Firstly, it “disappears” Jewish presence, religion and indigeneity during the millennia which preceded the Arab Moslem invasion, and it ignores the fact that after 1071 CE when Jerusalem and surrounds were captured by the Seljuk Turks, it never again came under Arab rule until after the invasion of Jordan into Judea in 1948. The Turks were not Arabs and the term “Islamic” was a word which developed out of Arab nationalism AFTER the disintegration of the Seljuk Ottoman Turkish lands post 1918. Further, there is no record of any country called Palestine until such was created by the British in San Remo in 1925 for the express purpose of actualising their 1917 pledge to create a Homeland for the Jewish People (see my previous blog for details of this).
And secondly, in his anti-Jewish zeal, in 1979 Said goes so far as to state that Palestine became known to the “entire Islamic world” for its religious significance after the Arab Moslem invasion of the Levant. This is a curious statement because the following quotes (and dates) will amplify that this was definitively not the case either before OR after the Arab Conquests:
- Qur’an 17:104 – “And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd.’”
- Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are considered the THIRD holiest Moslem site as opposed to the Holy of Holies by the Jews.
- In 985 c.e. the Arab writer Muqaddasi complained that in Jerusalem the large majority of the population were Jewish, and said that “the mosque is empty of worshippers…” .
- In 1377, Ibn Khaldun, one of the most creditable Arab historians, wrote: “Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel extended over 1400 years… It was the Jews who implanted the culture and customs of the permanent settlement”.
- Comments by Christian travellers/pilgrims concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s: “The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it”.
- The chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated: “The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years”.
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937: “There is no such country as Palestine. ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. ‘Palestine’ is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it”.
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946: “There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not”.
- Representantive of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956: “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria”.
- Zuhair Muhsin, military commander of the PLO and member of the PLO Executive Council (1977?): “There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity… yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel”.
- Syrian dictator Hafez Assad to the PLO leader Yasser Arafat (date undetermined): “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria. You are an integral part of the Syrian people, Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people”.
But, WHEN did the world first hear of a “palestinian” people, a people fabled in antiquity going back to pre-Canaanite times?
The answer is that the world first heard of the term “Palestinians” in May 1964 at the first Arab League Summit in Cairo. The League had convened to develop ways to destroy the State of Israel and the formation of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in May 1964 was the tool and umbrella organisation used to organise disparate Arab paramilitary groups in and around the new state of Israel for this purpose.
Initially, the PLO’s legislature, the PNC, did little to further the “interests” of the new nation of “palestinians”. These “interests” started with the elimination of the State of Israel per Article 1 of their Charter.
Specifically, Article 1 stated that 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.
It is easy to see here that even in 1964, the Arabs could not decide if they were interested in strengthening pan-Arabism (Arab homeland), a Palestinian nation-state or an extension of a wider Arab ummah. What was never in doubt, though, was the intent of the newly formed “palestinian” (read Levantine Arabs) “people” to destroy the State of Israel.
Article 21 of that same covenant of the newly formed PLO was even clearer: “The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which are substitutes for the total liberation of Palestine and reject all proposals.”
And in case the reader nurtured any lingering doubts that palestinianism was anything other than the new tool on the block to avenge a stunning 1948 Arab defeat at the hand of a tiny Jewish enclave, the organisation through which Arafat rose to prominence was named the Palestine Liberation Organisation. The title of the organization included the word “Palestine” rather than “Palestinian”, since it was seen as a pan-Arab organization dedicated to the liberation of Palestine, rather than a Palestinian movement, and its leadership was appointed by the Arab League.
In the intervening years, the PLO was replaced by the Palestinian Authority (full name Palestinian National Authority; a name change of significance….), and the methods used to end the existence of the Jewish state morphed from mostly up-front physical violence to political and economic substitutes; all unsuccessful.
In the 54 years since “Palestinians” entered our terminology, very few institutions of state were ever enacted. “Palestinians” in the east of Israel would gladly rip the hearts out of those in the west of the country. The “palestinian” President hasn’t held elections for over fourteen years. And Sunni Arab and Moslem support from formerly major players in the 1964 Cairo Conference which created the PLO have moved away from a feckless group of mostly migratory Arab pawns to the east and west of Israel who are anything but indigenous, ancient, a nation or a people.