Mahmoud Abbas's folly
Mahmoud Abbas has lived a long time. He has said some stupid things. But perhaps the stupidest thing he ever said was that the people today calling themselves Palestinians are directly descended from the ancient Canaanites.
In a visit to the Jalazone Refugee Camp near Ramallah earlier this month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claimed that the Palestinians "will enter Jerusalem - millions of fighters." (snip)
Abbas went on to claim that the Palestinians are descended from the people of ancient Canaan, saying "This land belongs to the people who live on it. It belongs to the Canaanites, who lived here 5,000 years ago. We are the Canaanites!”
Watch the subtitled video on MEMRI here.
Palestinians are a highly mixed fruit salad of people. Some are Arabic in origin, sharing a genetic makeup that appears to be closely related to that of many Jews, which is to be expected, since Abraham was the father of both Ishmael, to whom Arabs look as a patriarch, and Isaac, who became the father of Israel. But in addition, the genetic traits of Palestinians show genetic connections with various other groups.
But in any case, "Palestinian" has its root in Philistine, a people unrelated to the Canaanite tribes. The Philistines (a name meaning invader in ancient Hebrew) came from Crete and perhaps other islands in the Mediterranean or Aegean Sea, more than 1,000 years before Christ, who invaded the coast of the Holy Land, establishing settlements mainly on the coast itself. They were captives of the Egyptians, until Egyptian power declined.
Philistines were not native to the Holy Land. Philistines were not Canaanites. And Philistines vanished from history through being conquered and assimilated into larger groups of people. But whatever else Philistines may be, they are not Canaanites.
If Abbas wants to think of himself as Canaanite, however, it is really of no consequence, except that, in an age when God has seen fit to reintroduce the people of Israel to the land that He promised forever to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, insisting upon being thought of as a Canaanite could be unhealthy. It was God, after all, who ordered the people of Israel to utterly exterminate the tribes of Canaan.
It merits mention that the descendants of Esau/Edom, as well as, perhaps, those of Ammon and Moab, also participated in that mass extermination, according to the second chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy. And Esau, as you may recall, married one of the daughters of Ishmael (or did he marry two of them?), so that their descendants, predecessors of today's Muslims, participated in the slaughter of the Canaanites. So that may mean that Abbas might have some difficulty explaining how his genetic makeup is compatible, not with Canaanites, but with those who slaughtered Canaanites.
The second chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy also mentions those of Caphtor as having participated in the mass extermination of the tribes of Canaan. It is speculated by some that the people referred to as Caphtorites or Caphtorim were the Philistines, not the Canaanites.
When all is said and done, it makes no significant difference what Abbas claims Palestinians to be, or whether those claims are factual. That which matters, in an immediate sense, is that the Jews of Israel have no intention of ceding Israel to anyone. And that which matters in an eternal sense is that God agrees with Israel on that issue.
It does not matter who is related to whom, who has a great argument, who wants what, or anything else under the sun, except that God is sovereign, and that his purposes will be fulfilled, as usual, which means, among other things, that anyone who opposes God's will is going to fail miserably.
So if you run into Abbas as he's trying to find a good Falafel in Jenin, tell him I send my regards.