A Palestinian historian and a senior PLO official have denied that the Jewish nation has any historical connection to the Land of Israel, Palestinian Media Watch reported on Tuesday.
It quoted historian Nabil Alqam, in an interview on official PA television, as first denying thousands of years of documented Jewish history in Israel and "then replacing it with 4,000 to 5,000 years of fictitious Palestinian history."
PMW noted that Israel had publicized many archeological finds in recent years, including coins with Hebrew writing and even stamps with names of biblical figures, and said it was possible that Alqam was responding to these when he went on to accuse Israel of creating "artificial Israeli symbols."
PMW provided the following transcript of their statements:
Historian Nabil Alqam:
"Why does the occupation [Israel] concern itself with stealing, [cultural] theft, distorting and erasing the Palestinian heritage? Because it [Israel] seeks a history [in the land] while [Palestinian] heritage is a history that proves our connection to the land... [The Palestinian heritage] has historical depth of 4,000 to 5,000 years. And here [Israel] attempts to steal these symbols to create fake Israeli symbols and identity."
Saleh Rafat, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said earlier this month that Israel has even stolen "cuisine, clothing [and] architecture" that were Palestinian in origin and claimed they are part of Jewish history. He denies that the Jewish Temple ever existed, arguing that the tunnels near the Western Wall of the Temple ruins are merely the remains of old aqueducts:
"We revive this [Palestinian] heritage and cling to it in order to counter all of the attempts by Israel, by the Israeli occupation, to steal the national heritage and to falsify it with the claim that it is their heritage - from cuisine to clothing, and architecture. Every part of our heritage in our land, they claim is their heritage - even the tunnels they are trying to dig beneath the Aksa Mosque and under Jerusalem. Many of these tunnels are ancient tunnels that carried water to Jerusalem, and they [Israelis] claim that they are seeking an alleged Temple."
The statements were made on Al-Filistiniya (Fatah) television on October 15, PMW said.