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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Could Saeb Erekat be a Canaanite and Not a Palestinian?

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                  

Playing "Can you top this,"  Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator with Kerry and Israel, asserted over the weekend at a Munich conference while on a panel discussion,  that  his ancestors lived in the region 5,500 years before Joshua had his battle with Jericho. Is he assuming that his ancestry has been there without any change for the past 5,500 years to its beginnings as a Neolithic settlement?   Jericho is a unique city.  It lies 825 feet below sea level and is one of the oldest settlements in the world.  It goes back to its beginnings to 5000 BCE.  People did live there through the Chalcolithic and Canaanite times until it was destroyed by Joshua.  It was revived during the reign of King Ahab of Israel (876-853), about 870 BCE by Hiel, the Bethelite (I Kings: 16:34).  In the times of Herod, the city was transferred from its former position near the spring to another, further south.  Jericho was destroyed by the Romans in 68 CE and later rebuilt in its present location.  3,000 people lived there in 1946.  Arab refugees moved there in 1948, of which Erekat's parents or grandparents  could have been among them.  61,000 people lived there in 1961.  Most fled to Jordan before Israel's IDF arrived in 1967 so that 8,500 lived in Jericho then.

Erekat was born in Jericho in 1955 when it was under Jordanian rule since 1948 illegally.   The Palestinians are having a hard time accepting who they are and that there never was a state of Palestine. In 2012 he had a heart attack and was hospitalized in Ramallah.
                                             Archaeologist studying areas of Jericho.

He lacks knowledge of history.  Canaan,  a group of city states, was overtaken by the Israelites.  There is documentation of this in the book of Joshua, Joshua 6:  1-27.  Joshua took the city in his first battle during their conquest of the land.  According to the story, the walls of Jericho fell after Joshua's Israelite army marched around the city blowing their trumpets.  The vibration caused by the noise was enough to bring those walls tumbling down.

Canaanites were all killed or assimilated into the Israelite population.  There were none left.  This took place after Moses died, which was in about 1271 BCE.  Moses knew he wasn't going to enter the land at age 120 but was dying, so made Joshua the leader to take his place.

Therefore, Saeb cannot claim that Palestinians are Canaanites or that he, specifically, had ancestors from Canaan, thus Jericho.  The 2nd reason is that they are not all native to the land.  Most all came from surrounding countries in the 1880's looking for jobs from the Jews that came from Russia at that time and were building.  They were able to get jobs that they couldn't find in their own native countries at that time.  Most all Palestinians said they were Syrians.

Archaeologists have had a field day working in and around Jericho, the city my husband and I  used to drive through on our way from Safed to Jerusalem.  The first scientific investigation of the site of Jericho was done by Charles Warren in 1868 which was just a site-survey.  In 1907-1909 and again in 1911, digging was done by 2 German archaeologists, Carl Watzinger and Ernest Sellin.  They believed that they would be able to prove the Biblical story of Jericho's destruction by Joshua and the Israelites but came to a different conclusion in that they said it was unoccupied at the time of Joshua, which they calculated to be 1400 BCE.

Their results were tested in 1930-1936 by John Garstang at the suggestion of William F. Albright, who was the main archaeologist at that time.  Garstang discovered the remains of a network of collapsed walls which he dated to be from about 1400 BCE, the time he thought the Israelites were on their conquest and thought that the walls had really fallen from some dramatic cause.   So his findings reversed the previous findings.

Albright asked Kathleen Kenyon to excavate at Jericho once more and she dug from 1952 to 1958 and traced the entire history of the city from its earliest Neolithic settlement.  She claimed that Garstang was wrong and the Germans were right.  Jericho had been deserted at the date of conquest.  Now I see we have a discrepancy in dates.  My Jewish encyclopedia differs from the Christian dating that they are going by.

In 1990, another archaeologist whose forte was Canaanite pottery and others thought that the pottery recovered pointed to a destruction date of the city to be 1400 BCE rather than 1550 BCE as concluded by Kenyon.  In 1995, Kenyon's result was corroborated by radiocarbon tests which dated test samples to 1562 BCE plus or minus 38 years with a certainty of 95% from a piece of charcoal sample.  Then it was corrected to 1590 or 1527 plus or minus 110 BCE.

My point is that there was a Jericho back in the time when Joshua was the leader and took Canaan a very long time ago.  If Erekat would take a DNA test to find his haplogroup and do another autosomal test to see who matches up with segments of his chromosomes which hold his genes, it would be most interesting.  The Canaanites, according to biblical genealogy recorded, descended from Canaan, son of Ham.  They were divided into 11 different peoples who lived in the area between the Nile and the Euphrates (Gen. 10: 15-19).  The people of Syria applied Canaanites to themselves.  By origin, the Canaanites seem to have been a mixture of Horites, Hittites, and Hebrews, dating back to the Hyksos period of the 17th century BCE.  They were almost entirely obliterated or assimilated by the Israelites in about the 13th century BCE, and the Philistines along the coast in the 12th century BCE and the Arameans in the north in the 11th century BCE.  The remnants were subjected by Kings David and his son, King Solomon and absorbed this way.  Later, the name Canaanites, was remembered only among the Sidonians and Phoenicians.

My ancestors do not go back 3, 285 years to have lived on the same land of the home my parents lived in in Portland, Oregon, USA.  There is a whole unique history of Indians and  pioneers who may have lived there before us, as well as becoming farmland.  So Erekat really knows nothing of his past heritage until he takes a DNA test, and then he'll have a glimmer,  which is better than a lie.  Already we know that the Canaanites were wiped out and or a few were assimilated.

At best, the Muslims interested in their genealogy try to trace their trees back to the time of Mohammad who was born in 570 CE and died in 632 CE, and some claim descent from him.  Before that, there was no reason to keep track of one's family tree.

Rulers way back then transported people from one place to another. Right off, Jews were enslaved in Egypt and kept there for 400 years working on building.   Other slaves were part of the work force as well.  When Moses left with the 600,000, he took with him the descendents of Jacob and a multitude of others.  Later,  Jews were taken to Babylon from Jerusalem.  Rulers would rather do this than mass murdering people.  People were useful.  They would pay taxes and work for you in many ways.  So the whole population in the Middle East at times were traded about.  Who knows where Erekat's most distant ancestor came from without a DNA test?

The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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