Did Israel Steal the Ancestral Home of the Palestinians? Part 1
Did Israel steal the home of the Palestinians as we have heard so many times claimed? We look at this and explore the history of these people, see what truth is and what is fiction. This is a three part series, at the bottom of the page you can either go to part two or part three; each can be read separately but were written to be read together.
Did Israel Steal the Home of the Palestinians?
I have heard over the years that Israel is a criminal nation, is guilty of apartheid, has stolen land from the Palestinians, created a state out of the ashes of another, but is this narrative we hear true?
First, let’s deal with the historical claim that we are presented; the Palestinians are the descendants of the Philistines or Canaanites, depending on whom is making a claim, they were there. First, the Jews came, stole their land and their homes, and after trying to slaughter them, they ran them all out of the land. The claim is if you break down all the claims, they are simple; they were there first, the Jews came and stole their sovereignty over the land, they are the only rightful owners of the land.
First, let’s deal with the claim that the Palestinians came from the Philistines. The Philistines depending in what source you look at, be it biblical or archaeological speak of two different Philistines, one was during the Abrahamic times, these would be different from the ones at the time of the ancient Hebrew Kingdom’s that is the ones we are going to concentrate on, there is no connection between the two.
These Philistines or Sea People as the Egyptians referred to them as they were named פְּלִשְׁתִּים (Plištim) by the ancient Hebrews, all it means is invaders, in other words, these people were viewed as invaders in the land, something most historians and archaeologist agree with, they were from the Mediterranean, had settled in the area, were most likely of Aegean origin, thus had imported some of the same traditions as you find in that part of the ancient world. The ancient Philistines seemed to be a loose confederacy of Philistine states, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath, these were each ruled by a king or lord, at times it seems they had one king or lord that would rise in superiority and lead them as a group.
In the early Hebrew writings, they were warlike, had subdued the early Hebrews and forced them to live in the mountainous regions, that is where you early Judges came in, the most famous being Sampson. By the time of the first recorded king, King Saul, they had not subdued the Philistines, in fact, it is stated Saul and his sons were killed in a battle with them. David who knew and had run to them for safety conquered the Philistines, then he and his following heirs used them as their own personal bodyguards. By the time the ancient Hebrew kingdoms were weakening so were the Philistines, first you had Gath destroyed by the Aramean king Hazael around 830 B.C.E, the cities then were weakened even more by the Hebrew kingdoms, finally you had Assyrian king Adadnirari III go in and sack Philistine cities, collect tribute from them, after this the Babylonians came and wiped out the cities, the distinction of the Philistines has never been seen past this point, the cities disappeared to history .
A recent discovery of a Philistine cemetery, all the remains buried in circler graves as they are in the Aegean gives credence to the Aegean origin theory. The claims that they like the Palestinians today were Arabic is nonsense, the Arabs did not spread to the area known today as Israel until after the time of Mohammad.
So, what about the Canaanites, the other claim of origins? The Canaanites were for years thought to be the first people there, DNA testing found they were a mix of Aegean and Iranian stock , the earliest records speak of them. So they would have been there from the time of the earliest written records, we are told in early Hebrew writings that they were, for the most part, wiped out, but DNA tests show that they weren’t, in fact, their DNA is shown in the blood of Hebrews. There is also a theory now that the ancient Hebrews originated from the Canaanites, there are archaeological finds that show Canaanites with two distinct set of relics, one has the typical idols that one would expect from the day, yet there are communities where while they have much of the same artifacts all idols are missing . As a distinct culture the Canaanites disappeared during the time of the early Hebrew kings, there are no historical or archaeological finds to show anything after this period, many experts feel they were absorbed into the early Hebrew’s thus folding into the stock that was created from them in the first place.
Last there are claims that the Palestinians came from ancient Hebrew’s, they were converts, many point to DNA testing, yet the problem with this comes from the Arabic narratives of Mohammad, the slaughter of Jews and forcing the children into adoption, any child at the age of puberty, if they were male were also put to death, the girls were forced into marriage as well as the wife’s of Jews in this time period, this would have instantly added a large influx of Jewish DNA to the Arab stock, does not mean they are from the Jews, rather they had forced Jewish DNA by forced marriages into their bloodlines, thus having Hebrew DNA in Arabs, considering they did come from the Arabian peninsula would make complete sense.
Further, if you look at the DNA testing, you find that it states that DNA shows a separation between the two about 2,500 BCE , that would be the time of the Abraham narrative. The DNA does show that Jews and Palestinians are closer to each other than the Jews are to the host European countries many came from . The studies further go on to show that there is a similarity between the two, but it most likely had to do with 2,000 years of Jews living in Arab lands .
What this more seems to show is you had the typical intermixing you see with the Arabs in the Arabic peninsula, the Arabs arrived in the Levant during the time of the conquest, they were a smaller population, due to this the Arabs and the Jews would have had some intermarriage, but most of the Arabs today claiming to be Palestinians are just Arab migrants, that I will show reasons for next. In conclusion for this part, could the Arabs have come from the Canaanites or the Philistines, at this point, I would say that is impossible. While I can agree that some may have a lineage that traces back to the ancient Hebrews, they are a minority, the rest are migrants, and migrants from not long ago.
- Aren M. Maeir, “Philistines and Their Cities,” n.p. [cited 30 Sep 2017]. Online: https://www.bibleodyssey.org:443/en/places/related-articles/philistines-and-their-cities
- Tzmon, G; et al. (2010). “Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era: Major Jewish Diaspora Populations Comprise Distinct Genetic Clusters with Shared Middle Eastern Ancestry”. American Journal of Human Genetics. 86 (6): 850–859. PMC3032072 . PMID 20560205. doi:1016/j.ajhg.2010.04.015.
- Nebel; et al. (2000). “High-resolution Y chromosome haplotypes of Israeli and Palestinian Arabs reveal geographic substructure and substantial overlap with haplotypes of Jews”. Human Genetics. 107: 630–641. PMID11153918. doi:1007/s004390000426.“According to historical records, part, or perhaps the majority, of the Muslim Arabs in this country descended from local inhabitants, mainly Christians and Jews, who had converted after the Islamic conquest in the seventh century AD (Shaban 1971; Mc Graw Donner 1981). These local inhabitants, in turn, were descendants of the core population that had lived in the area for several centuries, some even since prehistorical times (Gil 1992)… Thus, our findings are in good agreement with the historical record…”