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August 21, 2011
By Mohammed Bsiso
History is a very powerful political tool that if wielded correctly can produce far-reaching results. Unfortunately, Zionists and their supporters in the West have long consolidated their control on the historical narrative of ancient and modern Palestine; effectively manipulating and channeling information through institutions of scholarship and the mass media. No era in history has been construed to demonize Palestinians and Arabs more than the story of the Children of Israel’s mortal enemy; the ancient Philistines. According to traditional Muslim, Christian, and Jewish beliefs, these ruthless and barbaric peoples inhabiting Palestine were the enemies of God and his divine plan for the holy land.
Decades before and after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the invasion of Palestine, Zionist Jews and Christians constantly reference the biblical Philistines and their supposed ancestral ties to the Palestinians of today. This propaganda tool has served well in reaching out to the Christian masses and justifying the actions of occupiers which normally would be deemed unjustifiable. These same so-called ties have infiltrated Palestinian psyches and have even served as a false source of pride. It is common to hear a Palestinian proclaim that they are the ancestors of the ruthless and barbaric peoples that once occupied Palestine and cast fear into the hearts of the Hebrews at the time. This misguided and ill-informed sense of honor is rooted in the successful brainwash of a people occupied and humiliated for decades; ultimately accepting a distorted and altered historical narrative at their own reputational expense. In a sense, the Palestinians of today have been passed down the torch of infamy once carried by the Philistines of yesterday; at least in the eyes of the Western world.
So if this historical narrative is untrue and completely unfounded then the question remains; who are the Philistines and where did they come from? And are they really the defeated and accursed forefathers of the Arab Palestinians of today? Upon considerable research and inquiry into the history of this subject (much of which are done by Western and Israeli scholars themselves) and the most recent archaeological evidence excavated from historical sites, it becomes clear that these peoples were not in any way related to the Canaanites who are the historical ancestors of the Arabs in the Levant. In fact, the Philistines were not even native to the area. These invading “sea peoples” as they were called originated in the Aegean region (modern day Greece) and were ethnically and in some aspects culturally Mycenaean. As they invaded and eventually settled into Arab lands they adopted much of Canaanite culture and customs after having driven out many of them from their homes.
To simplify this ancient scenario, we can summarize it in the following terms. Powerful sea faring European forces expanded their empire into Canaanite (ancient Arab) territory, occupying and expelling its original inhabitants and causing regional instability. Sound familiar to anyone? The history of the Philistine invasion and occupation of Arab lands might as well be the same narrative of the modern history of Palestine under British colonialism with the mere shuffling of names and players. Would any rational Palestinian today proclaim proudly that they are the descendants of the British? I strongly doubt it and the same should be said about the Philistines.
It is important that Palestinians and all dignified supporters of justice around the world take back the historical narrative of this blessed land and its natural inhabitants. This can only happen if we remove ourselves from the vicious mental occupation of Zionism. The holy land always has been and will remain the center of struggle between righteous and accursed forces until the age of man draws to an end. True history will uphold the side of justice and has no need of alterations and disfigurement in order to justify a claim or grievance. More importantly, we must understand that politics and history are interconnected which means a failure in one field is a failure in both. Again, we must free ourselves from the Zionist narrative and take back our history!
- Mohammed Bsiso has a Masters Degree in History from The University of Texas at Dallas. He is a freelance writer originally from the Gaza Strip. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit his blog: www.islamicnewsandhistory.blogspot.com.