TEL AVIV – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has wildly claimed that Palestinians are indigenous to the land of Israel and are the “Canaanites who were here 5,000 years ago” in a fiery speech he gave over the weekend in which he also declared that Jewish settlements in the West Bank would disappear into “the dustbins of history.”
The Palestinians did not start using that namesake until the early 1960s despite Abbas’s attempt to trace a history to “5,000 years ago.”
His fire-and-brimstone diatribe was delivered during an extremely rare visit to a refugee camp in the West Bank days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a ceremony marking the construction of new homes in the nearby settlement of Beit El, the Times of Israel reported.
“We will remain and no one will be able to move us out of our homeland. He who wants to do that: ‘Go.’ The unexpected visitor in this country has no right in this country. Thus, we tell them: ‘Every brick you laid in our land and every house you built in our land will vanish, if God permits,’” Abbas said, speaking at the Jalazone refugee camp north of Ramallah.
“Whatever homes they announce here or settlements there, they will all disappear, if God wills it. They will be in the dustbins of history and they will remember that this land is for its people, its residents and the Canaanites who were here 5,000 years ago. We are the Canaanites,” he added.
Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki on Tuesday said that Abbas’ comments referred to settlers in the West Bank and not all Israelis.
“He was only referring to them,” he told the paper, adding that “all settlement homes are illegitimate and illegal, according to international law.”
Abbas’ aide Mohammed Odeh said that the PA president’s comments were also a response to Netanyahu’s remarks that Palestinians have roots in the Arabian Peninsula.
“He was refuting Netanyahu’s claim that Palestinians don’t have deep roots in the land and stating that we have a long history here,” Odeh said in a phone call Tuesday.
Netanyahu last month tweeted: “There’s no connection between the ancient Philistines & the modern Palestinians, whose ancestors came from the Arabian Peninsula to the Land of Israel thousands of years later.”
He accompanied his tweet with an article on a study that shows the biblical Philistines, who some Palestinians claim to be the descendants of, came from somewhere outside the Middle East.
In his speech, Abbas also said that Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians despite the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the subsequent transfer of its embassy there.
“In spite of what they say — it’s the united [capital of Israel], it moves its embassy or does that — Jerusalem is ours,” he said. “All of the Palestinian people and the entire Arab, Muslim and Christian nations, all of them, will enter Jerusalem,” he said.
Abbas also accused the Hamas terror group, longtime rivals of his own ruling Fatah party, of collaborating with Israel.
“Enough of this division. In whose interest is this division? It is in the interest of the enemy and Hamas’s leaders are working for the enemy,” he said.