Long before the Palestinian Arabs started their terror campaigns against Israel (2000-2005), they were fighting a history war, with the goals of erasing the Jewish nation’s 3,000-year history in the Land of Israel, and that there is no connection between the ancient generation of Jews and the new generation. The Holocaust and other aspects of Jewish history are alternately denied, downplayed or distorted. Another distortion is replacing the Jewishness of Jesus, who lived in the Land of Israel with a Palestinian Jesus who preached Islam, thus denying not only Jewish history, but also the history and legitimacy of Christianity. The other goal is to replace the real history with a fabricated Palestinian history that invents ancient Palestinian, Muslim and Arab histories in the land.
Palestinian leaders are inventing their history for political purposes and as a strategy in their fight against the legitimacy of Israel in the Land of Israel. They have manufactured a false claim, that they are descended from Canaanites and are therefore the indigenous people of the area, present before the Hebrews occupied the land around the year 1500 BCE. “The Palestinians are the original owners of Palestine, who lived on its land when they moved from the western Mediterranean basin to its east in 7000 BC” It started first in 1998 at a conference of Palestinian historians when Chairman of History Department in Khan Yunis Educational College in Gaza, Dr. Yussuf Alzamili called on all universities and colleges to write the history of Palestine and to guard it, and “not to enable the [foreign] implants and enemies to distort it or to legitimize the existence of Jews on this land… “
These PA academics’ fictional claim that Palestinians Arabs populated the land of Canaan in Biblical times and even earlier are all historically impossible. First of all, the name “Palestine” instead of the Land of Judea/Israel was given by Rome in 136 C.E., centuries before Islam was established in 610 C.E. Second, Arabs first arrived in Israel with the Muslim invasion in 637 C.E. Nevertheless, this so-called claim that Biblical Canaanites were Arabs, is being broadcast many times on PA TV. For example: “The Arab Canaanites established ports on the coast of Canaan, known today as Palestine. Palestine was attacked by invaders, but its Arab Canaanite features withstood attempts to change them. Jaffa was one of the cities whose Canaanite origins the invaders failed to erase.” [PA TV, repeatedly, 2005-2007.]
Another distortion of history is that the Arabs are the victims of exile from the land caused by the Roman invasion, not the Jewish kingdom of Judea. “Seventy years have passed since Palestine’s Nakba (tragedy,) from which 6 million Palestinian refugees continue to suffer from the cruelty of exile and loss of human security. They continue to wander the world after the loss of their peaceful and stable lives in their homeland. They are part of the 13 million Palestinians, whose country has not yet been recognized as full Member State of the United Nations, despite the numerous resolutions reaffirming their right to self-determination and statehood on their national land.
We are the descendants of the Canaanites that lived in the land of Palestine 5,000 years ago and continuously remained there to this day. Our great people remain rooted in their land. The Palestinian people built their own cities and homeland and made contributions to humanity and civilization witnessed by the world. They established institutions, schools, hospitals, cultural organizations, theaters, libraries, newspapers, publishing houses, economic organizations, businesses, and banks, with wide regional and international influence.
All of this existed before and after the Balfour Declaration issued by the British Government in 1917, a declaration by which those who did not own, giving to those who had no right. The British Government bears responsibility for the catastrophic consequences inflicted on the Palestinian people as a result…”
True and Documented History
The Land of Israel changed to Palestina by the Romans after the expulsion of the Jews from the land in 136 C.E, was never an Arabic country or considered as such by geographers and historians. Historian Josephus, as well as other Roman geographers, placed Arabia beyond the boundaries of Palestina, (Judea as it was then called.) The land was conquered in 636 A.D by Muslims and occupied by Muslim-Arabs until 1071. A large percentage of the Arabs who now call themselves Palestinians are descendants of Arabs and Muslims who immigrated to the Land of Israel a few centuries ago illegally from Arab and Muslim countries.
The Palestinian Arabs or the Arabs of Trans-Jordan never ruled Palestina. The Arabs who conquered it came from the outside, they were not natives of Palestina. Conquerors like the Mamelukes and later the Turks, were not even Arabs or Semitic, but an entirely different race.
The “Holy Land” was conquered since 636 CE by various Arab, Muslim, and Christian rulers, dynasties and tribes, including, among others, the Abbasid dynasty (750 CE), the Egyptian Fatimid dynasty in 969 CE, the Turks and Seleucids in the eleventh century, the Crusaders (1099) and then back to the Egyptian Fatimid dynasty, and then to the Muslims of Sallah-a-Din, Turks, Tatars (1260), Egyptian kingdom, Mongols, and Ottomans (1517). In 1187 Saladin, who was not an Arab, but a Muslim Kurd from Iraq, defeated the Crusaders and conquered Jerusalem. He took over other parts of the country while the Crusaders maintained their hold over the rest.
After Saladin’s death in 1192, an agreement was signed by his successors with the Crusaders, allowing them to return to the Galilee. The Crusaders then moved their capital to Acre. The Muslim Mamelukes conquered the Land of Israel from the Crusaders in 1260 and ruled it until 1516, when it was taken over by the Ottoman Turks who ruled Palestina for 400 years. Their rule ended in 1918, and a Mandate over the country was given to the British, thus ending the Muslim rule in Palestina.
During the Muslim occupation of the land, waves of immigration of Arabs came from the Arabian Peninsula and the subsequent arrivals of Arabs from Transjordan, Sudan, Libya, and Syria. During the nineteenth century, many Arab families came also from Egypt, Albania, and other North African countries, which led to the continued settlement of Arabs in the country.
Research studies show that Arab clans living today in villages in Israel and Judea and Samaria trace their roots back to families who immigrated to Palestine in the seventeenth century onward from Saudi Arabia and Yemen and afterward from Transjordan. Other studies show that the many waves of immigrants came to the land from Arab countries also during the period of the British Mandate.
Most of the country was not cultivated, and it was only toward the latter part of the nineteenth century that the country began to blossom after the Aliya (going up to Israel) of Zionist Jews who settled in barren areas and started cultivating the land (bought by wealthy Jews) and drying out the swamps.
The Arab immigrants were drawn to the land because Jewish settlement there created the development of economic opportunities as well as improvement in sanitation and medicine. They were seeking to benefit and increase their income from the relatively advanced development and modernization in the area brought about by the Jewish population.
The huge Arab Muslim immigration into the area was noticed by world leaders like U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Churchill who remarked that the Arabs, who were not even persecuted, poured into Palestina since 1921, outpacing the immigration of Jews during that same period, until the Arab population grew more than the Jewish population.
To the above were added raids and movement by Bedouin tribes from the western desert since the late nineteenth and up to the mid-twentieth centuries.
When Jews began to immigrate to Palestina in large numbers in 1882, fewer than 250,000 Arabs lived there, and the majority of them were not longtime residents but relatively recent arrivals. Palestine was never an exclusively Arab country, although Arabic gradually became the language of the majority of the population after the Muslim invasions of the 7th century.
No independent Arab or Palestinian state ever existed in Palestina. In fact, Palestina is not even mentioned in the Koran, rather it is called “the holy land.” Palestinian Arabs never viewed themselves as having a separate identity. When the First Congress of Muslim Christian Associations met in Jerusalem in February 1919 to choose Palestinian representatives for the Paris Peace Conference, the following resolution was adopted: “We consider Palestina as part of Arab Syria, as it has never been separated from it at any time. We are connected with it by national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic and geographical bonds.”
The representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the United Nations submitted a statement to the General Assembly in May 1947 that said, “Palestine was part of the Province of Syria” and that, “politically, the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity.” A few years later, Ahmed Shuqeiri, later the chairman of the PLO, told the United Nations Security Council, “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria.”
The Arab and Zionist national movements shared the desire for independence in their homelands. But there was an important difference: The Zionists were united in their attachment to Palestina, in the Jewish minds it was always the Land of Israel, while the Arabs were divided by the competing interests of individual leaders from different lands throughout the region. Until 1948, all who lived in the Palestina were called Palestinians. There were Jewish Palestinians, Christian Palestinians, and Arab Palestinians.
Palestinian Arab nationalism did not become a significant political movement until after the 1967 Six Day War and Israel’s capture of the West Bank. Prior to that time, when they were primarily under Jordanian rule, Palestinians did not demand self-determination or statehood.