Who Are the Palestinians?

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Pinhas Inbari - Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat frequently claims that the Palestinians are descended from the Canaanites who lived in the land of Canaan before the Israelite tribes settled there. The name "Palestine" is not Arab. The Roman Emperor Hadrian named the land "Palestina" after defeating the Jewish Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 CE, erasing the name "Judea" in order to negate any connection of the land with the Jews. According to Palestinian historian Muhammad Y. Muslih, during the entire 400-year period of Ottoman rule (1517-1918), "There was no political unit known as Palestine." In Arabic, the area was known as the holy land or southern Syria. After the First World War, the Palestinians defined themselves as part of Syria. The Zionists called themselves "Palestinians" - with institutions such as the Anglo-Palestine Bank and the Palestine Post - while the Arabs simply identified themselves as Arabs, with institutions such as the "Arab Higher Committee." Almost every Palestinian family describes its origins as either from Egypt, the northern Arabian tribes or Yemen. We did not find a single Palestinian family or tribe that referred to a Canaanite origin, including the Erekat tribe, which locates its lineage in the northern Arabian tribes. A study published in 2017 by the American Journal of Human Genetics reports that descendants of the Canaanites have indeed been found - they are "modern Lebanese." The writer is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent for Israel Radio.

2017-08-08 00:00:00

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