Palestinian National Council president Rawhi Fattouh said at a May 22 “Nakba Day” event in Algeria that the Palestinians have been living in Palestine for more than 1.5 million years, and spoke about a Neanderthal civilization that lived on Mount Carmel 60,000 years ago.
His claim was in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement that the Jews have been in Jerusalem for 3,000 years. Fattouh added that the Palestinians’ Jebusite “forefathers” established Jerusalem in 5,000 BC, and he emphasized that it belongs “exclusively to the Palestinians, the Arabs, and the Muslims.” Fattouh’s speech was aired on Palestine TV on May 26 and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a nonprofit press monitoring and analysis organization.
While Fattouh’s claims sound absurd and have no supporting archaeological or anthropological evidence, they are common among Palestinian leaders. Israelly Cool, an Israel advocacy website run by David Lange, documented several other cases. He noted that Travel Palestine, a website described as “The Official Site For Tourism In Palestine”, claimed that “Palestine has a history that envelops more than one million years” and was the “crucible of prehistoric cultures”. Despite being a veritable font of such amazing facts, Travel Palestine is now offline.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) documented that in 2014, Fatah Central Committee Member Saeb Erekat claimed Palestinians arrived in Jericho as Natufians 10,000 years ago. The website also documented when Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs and Supreme Shari’ah Judge, claimed they were descended from Canaanites and Jebusites from 5,000 years ago.
These claims are challenged by overwhelming archeological evidence of thousands of years of an independent Jewish nation living in Israel and no evidence of a Palestinian state. One example is a 3,200-year-old lead curse tablet discovered at Mount Ebal in Samaria two years ago. The tablet, discovered by Dr. Scott Stripling, is the oldest example of Hebrew found and contains a three-letter name of God.