On an educational program on PA TV, two senior Palestinian Authority [PA] historians went to great lengths to deny ancient Jewish history and erase the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. At the same time they describe an ancient Palestinian - Arab history, creating a historical connection to the land that never existed.
Two central components of this Palestinian myth consist of turning Biblical Israel into Muslim- Arabs, while teaching that the Palestinians are the descendents of the Biblical Canaanites, who are also turned into Arabs. With both the Canaanites and Israelites becoming Arabs and the religion of ancient Israel becoming Islam, the PA takes authentic Jewish history, documented by thousands of years of continuous literature, and crosses out the word "Jewish" and replaced it with the word "Arab".
This creative historical revisionism is not new in the PA. Denying the thousands of years of Jewish connection to the Land of Israel, coupled with the invention of "Palestinian" history of thousands of years, have always been of supreme importance to the Palestinian Authority. The PA is struggling with the challenge of creating a Palestinian national identity when no Palestinian national history exists. Even the term "Palestine" historically had nothing to do with Arab identity, and most of the population only migrated in the last century after the improved living conditions and work opportunities brought about by the Zionist movement.
Thus, incessant denial of Israel's history and right to exist, and the invention of a PA history have been backbones of PA indoctrination and education for years.
In the broadcast last week on PA TV the following are some of the main points of the"history".
1. The Hebrews of the Bible have no connection to the Jews today.
2. The Hebrews of the Bible were Arabs.
3. The Prophets of the Bible were Muslims.
4. Biblical King Solomon was a Muslim Prophet.
5. Solomon's Temple was not built by Israelites but by Arab Canaanites.
6. The Canaanites are the forefathers of the Palestinians
7. The Bible is legends based on what Jews imagined and not on history.
8. The Jews today are descendents of a 13 th Century Khazar tribe with no history in the Land of Israel.
9. The location of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is a Zionist invention.
10. Zionism is Racism.
The following are selections from the discussion on PA TV:
Dr. Jarir Al-Qidwah, Head of the PA Public Library and Arafat's Advisor on Education
Dr. Issam Sissalem, Senior Historian and Educational TV host, former head of History Dept. of PA University
Moderator: Mohammed Albaz
To view part of the discussion, click here PA TV, Aug. 2, 2004
Albaz: "Where did the story of Solomon's Temple come from?"
Al-Qidwa: "Solomon's Temple, I believe, was built by the Canaanites who were the neighbors of the Israelis, the Israelites... I want to state several words clearly: the Bible became an archival document, not representing what the Israelis and the first Jews were, but what they thought they were, what they imagined. The Temple is the fruit of their imagination. In any case, when our nation or our Canaanite forefathers came to Palestine, they built the Temple... a temple in Jerusalem"
Sissalem: "We, as the Palestinian nation fighting for its freedom and liberation, must not focus to much attention on these false [Biblical] legends. The history of our land continues more than ten thousand years. The land of battles and wars, [many] armies, tribes and commanders came through. I want to point out that we should not focus much on what is called the [Biblical] Hebrew tribes, who are in fact Bedouin - Arab tribes. There is no connection between them and these Khazar Jews [of Israel today]. Those [Hebrew - Arab] tribes were erased and ceased to exist and no traces were left of them... That group did not have a pure religion. They claimed that Solomon, may he rest in peace, built the Temple. Does the land testify to this? Solomon was a prophet and we see him as a Muslim and part of our [Islamic] heritage... There is no historical text that proves the existence [of the temple] or that it has a real history other than the Bible, and the Bible as we have previously mentioned... was written based on ancient legends."
Sissalem: "The Quran came directly from the Prophet [Muhammad]... while supporting all that preceded it in the [Biblical] Prophetic inscriptions, that, as you noted, appeared in the Quran as Muslims believing in the one and only God, and these [the Hebrew prophets of the Bible] are part of our [Muslim] heritage. They have no connection to the Imperialistic - Settlement Jews [Israelis] and nor to those that were destroyed."
Al-Qidwa: "The Jewish presence in Palestine and Jerusalem ended approximately in the year 70, when Titus utterly destroyed the Second Temple of Herod."
Sissalem: "When the Zionist movement started to set in motion the Imperialist - Settlement plan, it tried to base itself in the biblical legends, as we said, The Bible expresses a tradition of legends, that has no connection to history."
Viewer calls studio: "We say that when the Israelites... migrated to America. But the World Zionist Movement and the Free Masons drove them, while distorting the Bible and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the newly prepared Bible, drove them to come here [Israel]... these [the Jews] are the foreign invaders that will pass as the others passed, Allah willing."
Al-Qidwa: "Allah willing."
Sissalem: "Allah willing."
Albaz: "Allah willing."
Caller continues:"And Palestine will be for them a cemetery, Allah willing..."
Al-Qidwa: "Zionism is racist movement... that mixes or wears religious cloak, and it is false, but it mixes the nation and religion, like the mixture of the Jews. The Jews are a religion and not a race. The peculiar mixture we mentioned in the beginning is meant to follow the historical roots of the Bible, establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, and a so-called Jewish temple in the place of the [Islamic] Al Haram."
Al-Qidwa:"The issue of the temple is a Zionist innovation. No one said that the temple that was built in Jerusalem, neither the Canaanite nor Roman, no one said that it was in the place of the [Islamic] Al Haram."
Al-Qidwa: "These Jews, [after being conquered by Rome] were dispersed ... among many nations. The last, after many hundreds of years, the Khazar Jews, [are the ones] who live in Palestine [ie, Israel] today. When these people started to write the Bible they found that it was written in a [foreign] language... when they reached Palestine they had no knowledge or culture."
Albaz:"And without any historical or other link [to the land]."
Al-Qidwa: "And without any historical or other link... At first they were Shepherds. When they needed agricultural instruments, they went to the Canaanite cities to buy metal rods and knives and other things..."
Sissalem: "...About the Jews of Khazar... they had a state [in the Kavkaz (Caucasia)] and it was destroyed by the Vladimir Family and the Mongolian attack, that invaded them in the 13 th century. They dispersed in seclusion in ghettos, in what is called Russia, Ukraine, and Poland, and came to us [to Israel] in the 19 th century, with false Zionist claims based on legends."