Who Are the Palestinians Anyway?
“And Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had acquired, and the souls they had acquired in Haran, and they went to go to the land of Canaan, and they came to the land of Canaan….. And the Lord appeared to Abram, and He said, ‘To your seed I will give this land,’ and there he built an altar to the Lord, Who had appeared to him.” Genesis 12:5,7
“When one looks into what the Palestinians say about themselves, how each family describes its lineage, there is no trace of a ‘Canaanite’ ancestry. Most of the families find their origins in Arab tribes, some of them with Kurdish or Egyptian background, and there are even – by word of mouth – widespread stories of Jewish or Samaritan ancestry.” Pinhas Inbari, “Who Are the Palestinians?”
As the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs continues to drag on, with no end in sight, several things have become clear. There is a history of the Jewish people and one for the Arab Palestinians, and one of these histories gives the possessor a stronger claim to the ownership of the land.
If one wants to weigh in their opinion of the matter, for whatever reason, it is important to look into the competing historical claims. Along with histories there are traditions, and one of these two groups has traditions that reflect the importance of the land to their history. The history and traditions should have been conveyed from generation to generation, from ancient times to this present day, and this is reflected in each group’s narratives.
Anyone who has read Genesis in the Bible has read of the Jewish roots in Israel, which began when God directed Abraham to go to the land of Canaan, today’s Israel. His family lived there until the generation of his grandson, Jacob. At that time there was a famine so Jacob moved the family to Egypt. After 210 years in Egypt, Moses brought the Israelites home to Canaan. There they established a kingdom in their homeland, built two Temples to God, and maintained some kind of presence for at least the 3000 years since the first Temple, which was built by King Solomon.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus was documented as living in Jerusalem through the writings of the New Testament. In regard to the narrative of the Jews, the NT is especially interesting for all the historical detail it contains. Most of this history is confirmed by the writer Josephus, who documented the history of the time.
Every day the traditions and Biblical writing is confirmed by new archeological discoveries. Stamps have been found bearing the names of Biblical personages, and many other proofs of the Temples and Biblical characters have been found. Archeologists are digging in the City of David currently and are excavating a large home which they believe to be King David’s palace. When I visited the site, they had just uncovered what they considered to be ancient toilets!. Now, it may seem strange, but what could be more authentic than an ancient toilet to prove a building housed important people, and why would archeologists make up such an explanation for these very toilet-shaped artifacts? So it seems, 3000 years ago, King David used a kind of ancient toilet in his palace. Similar items have not been found in normal homes of the time, which gives credence to the idea that this was the home of someone important.
There are many such sites in Jerusalem and around the city that prove there was a Temple and there was a Jewish people as described in the Bible and by Josephus.
For centuries it was understood by the world that Israel had been Jewish and there had been Temples and important kings there. No one had contested this proof of the Jewish homeland in Israel.
Recently, many questioned the Palestinian Arab narrative of their roots being in Canaan, because they offered no proof. There has been no history and no record of any nation called Palestine. The name itself originated when the Roman name -“Palestina” – was given to it, following the defeat of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 CE. Roman Emperor Hadrian gave the name in the hopes of erasing its Biblical name “Judea.” So the name is not Arabic and has absolutely nothing to do with the Arabs. The Jews called themselves Palestinians when they lived in the land under other rulers, but never did any Arabs use that label for themselves until the last century.
Today the Palestinian Arabs continue to add to their history and narrative. Their leaders are reiterating that the origin of the Palestinians is the Canaani people. As we know, the Israelites destroyed their community and they either died or fled, and today DNA tests reveal that the remnant of the Canaani people may be today’s Lebanese.
Regardless, some Palestinian Arabs maintain that they are the Canaani and that the Israelites stole their homeland. Today, after thousands of years, they have decided to re-claim their homeland. They failed to show any interest in doing this when Jordan occupied the “West Bank” from 1948 until 1967. But when the Jews won the land back in 1967, the Palestinians suddenly remembered they were indigenous and they wanted their “homeland” back.
Recently writer Pinhas Inbari researched Palestinian Arab families in the area to try to ascertain their traditions and family history. He could not find one family who traced their roots back to the land of Canaan.
He writes, “Not a single Palestinian tribe identifies its roots in Canaan; instead, they all see themselves as proud Arabs descended from the most notable Arab tribes …of Iraq, or Yemen. Even the Kanaan family of Nablus locates its origins in Syria. Some Palestinian clans are Kurdish or Egyptian in origin, and in Mount Hebron, there are traditions of Jewish origins.“
There was a video on March 23, 2012, featuring the Hamas Minister of the Interior and National Security, Fathi Hammad, linking the Palestinians’ origins to Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula:
He stated, “Who are the Palestinians? We have many families called al-Masri, whose roots are Egyptian! They may be from Alexandria, from Cairo, from Dumietta, from the north, from Aswan, from Upper Egypt. We are Egyptians; we are Arabs. We are Muslims. We are part of you. Egyptians! Personally, half my family is Egyptian – and the other half are Saudis.”
Inbari also looked into other narratives of the origins of the Palestinian Arabs. For centuries before the birth of modern Israel, the area was considered to be part of southern Syria. Even then, there was no desire for an independent state. The Palestinians wanted to be part of Syria.
As Inbari wrote. ”At the 1920 riots, Haj Amin al-Husseini held up a portrait of King Faisal of Syria and showed it to the Jerusalem Arab crowd: ‘This is your King!’ The crowd responded: ‘God Save the King!’ The focus of much of the protest at the time was on the imposed separation of British Mandatory Palestine from Syria, which came under a French Mandate. The goal was reunification not Palestinian independence.”
Most nations have a flag. The flag the Palestinians of today use was only adopted as their flag in 1964. It happens to the flag of the Baath party of Syria. In fact, historically, “The flag of Palestine is, then, one of the flags of ‘Greater Syria’. It expresses a pan-Arab commitment, which the flags of Jordan, the Baath Party, and the Hashemites during their short-lived regime in Syria also upheld.” (Inbari)
King Feisal of Syria was adamant that Palestine area should remain in Syria, but of course, King Feisal’s reign on the throne had to end. When it did, the Palestinians became cut off from Syria, which forced them to seek separate roots for their identity. That’s when they first came up with the idea that they were Canaani.
How does the PA counter the story in the Bible that puts Isaac as the first-born son and heir to Abraham and the one from whom the nation of Israel will come? In the Palestinian version, Ishmael is considered the first-born son and the rightful heir. This is problematic, not only because we consider the Bible to be inerrant, but in later stories, it is clear that Isaac is the older brother, while Ishmael did not grow up with Isaac and his parents. Hagar was sent away with her son by Sarah. From this, it cannot be reconciled that Ishmael is the child of the promise, but only Isaac.
That also set in motion the rewriting of much of Jerusalem’s history. Just this year, due to the Palestinian influence in UNESCO, many of the historical ancient Jewish sites were stripped of their Jewish history and given new identities as Palestinian sites. Even the two Temples were wiped out with a stroke of a pen, or computer keys, and we’re told there were no Temples. That means that the New Testament lied when it said Jesus was in the Temple or on the mount on certain occasions, and he was said to have been studying in the Temple with the priests. But if one believes the Palestinians, there were no Temples and no priests to teach the young Jesus. Of course, the Palestinians answer this by saying Jesus wasn’t even a Jew, but a Palestinian Muslim.
They don’t take that statement to its logical next step. If Jesus was a Muslim, what is Christianity? How did the New Testament come to be written by Jews, in a Jewish context, describing Jewish traditions and holidays?
It seems the Palestinians have painted themselves in a corner. Will they now rewrite the entire New Testament to prove how Jesus was a Palestinian Muslim? In fact, as preposterous as it seems, Muslims have already attempted to do so, within the Koran.
You might ask, how could Jesus have been a Muslim hundreds of years before Mohammed? No problem for Muslims, they now say Jesus was given a copy of the Koran by Allah himself. Makes perfect sense, right?
This contradiction is no problem for those who make up history, rather than rely on factual evidence. Jihad Watch leader Robert Spencer has covered this rewriting by Muslims of Christian tradition. They have written a forgery called the Gospel of Barnabas.. In this hoax, they state that Jesus said that the Messiah’s name would be Mohammed! But even though this “book” is a hoax, it is readily available from Amazon.
As we have dug deeper, we see that the rewriting of the Bible has already been done. Muslims have rewritten the Jews and the Christians out of the Bible and are trying to change the understandings the world has gained from ancient documents, ancient traditions, archeological evidence and the body of knowledge we have accepted for millennia.
Jews and Christians need to stand together and speak against these lies and forgeries. If the UN, as represented by UNESCO, has bought into the hoaxes, how long before this heresy begins to affect the public at large? We can’t ignore this; such lies have to be answered.
© 2017 Cathy Sherman – All Rights Reserved
E-Mail Cathy Sherman: [email protected]