Guardian Letter: Palestinians are indigenous to the land, descendants of Canaanites

A letter published in the Guardian on Dec. 3, by Maher Othman of London, opened with the following passages:

Though I agree with Giles Fraser’s analysis (Loose canon, 29 November) that “Netanyahu’s nationality bill is at odds with [the] Hebrew Bible,” and contradicts Israel’s declaration of independence, which affirms “complete social and political equality for all its citizens, regardless of religion, race or gender”, his quotation from the Book of Numbers – “The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you” – raises the question of who is and who is not a foreigner in historic Palestine.
The Palestinians consider themselves the indigenous people of the land and descendants of the Canaanites, while the population of Israel, which was established in part of Palestine in 1948, is made up of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Arab countries, Europe, the US and other countries.


Whilst such shameful attempts to erase Jewish history is nothing new within the milieu of anti-Zionist rhetoric, the Palestinians as Canaanites narrative is indeed a relatively new phenomenon – a claim made in spite of the fact that the Canaanites disappeared roughly three thousand years ago, and little if anything is known about their descendants. 
Moreover, in testimony before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, Palestinian-Arab leaders only claimed a connection to the land dating back no further than the 7th century – the period of conquest by Muhammad’s followers.
David Mukay, Professor of Middle East Studies at the University of Haifa, wrote the following in Middle East Quarterly:

Most of the population now known as Palestinian descended from migrants originating from the surrounding Arab countries and from local Bedouins. Many migrated in waves from the middle of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century. Others were imported by the Ottoman Empire and by the British for infrastructure and agricultural projects, or migrated to the region following Zionist economic success, which produced a staggering population growth. Palestinians are perhaps the newest of all peoples, comprising many scattered groups. In fact, in origin they are more Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese, and mainly Bedouin, than Palestinian.

Of course, the mere fact that no serious historian questions the more than 3,000 year Jewish connection to the Land of Israel, nor suggests that Palestinians are descendants of the Canaanites, did not cause the slightest cognitive dissonance for Othman – nor evidently the slightest concern by Guardian editors that they were legitimizing a Palestinian lie parading as historical fact.

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