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PA Negotiator Saeb Erekat Claims Family was Canaanite, in Israel for 9,000 Years

February 2, 2014 11:17 pm 9 comments
Chief Palestinian Authority Negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Chief Palestinian Authority Negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator for the U.S-brokered peace talks with Israel, claimed at a conference in Munich that he is a direct descendant of the Canaanite tribes who lived in Israel some 9,000 years ago, according to reports in the Palestine Press and Times of Israel on Sunday.

Erekat said, “I am the proud son of the Canaanites who were there 5,500 years before Joshua bin Nun burned down the town of Jericho.”

However, his family tree, posted on Facebook, shows his clan descends from Arabia, not Canaan. His family is part of the Huwaitat tribe, now one of the largest in Jordan, who migrated from Medina to the desert and the Levant settling on Aqaba, then coming to Israel many decades ago, but not centuries nor millennia.

Also inaccurate was Erekat’s reference to the Biblical prophet Joshua, who lived some 3,300 years ago. According to the Bible, Joshua famously circled his troops around the city of Jericho, and, after blowing a shofar, a ram’s horn, the walls collapsed, the city was never torched.

As for Jericho, itself, Erekat wasn’t born there. He is from Abu Dis, a town two miles from Jerusalem, but, since 1996, he represents Jericho in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

His exaggerations were all countered Sunday by blogger Elder of Ziyon, who cited an interview conducted by al Rai Media with an Erekat relative, also from Abu Dis, describing their family’s more recent provenance, including when they first came to the village from Jordan to water their flocks outside Jerusalem.

For the past 23 years, Erekat, a political science professor who was also on the editorial board of the Al-Quds newspaper for 12 years, has been a lead negotiator for the PA.

In 1991, he was deputy head of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Conference and the subsequent follow-up talks in Washington, between 1992 and 1993. In 1994, the PA appointed him Minister for Local Government and chairman of the Palestinian negotiation delegation. In 1995, Erekat served as Chief Negotiator for the Palestinians during the Oslo period. He was involved as an adviser and English interpreter for PLO leader Yasser Arafat at the Camp David meetings, in 2000, and the negotiations at Taba, in 2001, then participated in the Annapolis Conference, in 2007.

Before the current round of peace talks that began last year at the insistence of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Erekat, who was often called upon as an international spokesman for the PA, was known for a widely viewed CNN interview in 2002 with Wolf Blitzer that also focused on his exaggerations.

According to a transcript from CNN, Blitzer began, “Mr. Erakat, you probably know that you’ve come under some widespread criticism here in the United States for initially charging that the Israelis were engaged in a massacre in Jenin. Perhaps 500 Palestinians murdered in that massacre, you suggested. But now all of the evidence suggests that perhaps 53 or 56 Palestinian civilians and combatants died in that fighting in Jenin.”

“Do you want to use this opportunity to give us your assessment now, based on what you know, how many Palestinians were killed? Blitzer asked him, adding that U.S. Secretary of State “Condoleezza Rice, only a few minutes ago on this program, said she didn’t see any evidence of a so-called massacre.”

Erakat responded, “It depends — first of all, on the number 500, I said 500 but I said at the same time I cannot confirm them because I didn’t have the chance to go and pull the rubble out and to clean the rubble out, and I don’t know exactly, and I said I cannot confirm it.  But what defines a massacre? Israel called, when they had this bombing in the Netanya restaurant, 26 people, they called it a massacre. So what’s a massacre?”


  • Maybe us who worship Baal should be entitled to a little land in our own homeland, don’t you think?

  • It’s easy for Joshua to lay claim to the destruction of Jericho, and Ai, but archeology indicates they were wasted long before while Jericho is reinhabited only many centuries later so why waste energy – Erekat is all Muslim taqiya.


  • Some people say that Arabs are “native Palestinians”, while Jews are “invaders” and “settlers”. But I read the biographies of Israeli and Palestinian political leaders, and I was confused.

    Who of Israeli or Palestinian leaders were born in Palestine?


    BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Born 21 October 1949 in Tel Aviv.

    EHUD BARAK, Born 12 February 1942 in Mishmar HaSharon, British Mandate of Palestine

    ARIEL SHARON, Born 26 February 1928 in Kfar Malal, British Mandate of Palestine

    EHUD OLMERT, Born 30 September 1945 in Binyamina-Giv’at Ada, British Mandate of Palestine.

    ITZHAK RABIN, Born 1 March 1922 in Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine.

    ITZHAK NAVON, Israeli President in 1977-1982. Born 9 April 1921 in Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine.

    EZER WEIZMAN, Israeli President in 1993-2000. Born 15 June 1924 in Tel Aviv, British Mandate of Palestine.


    YASSER ARAFAT, Born 24 August 1929 in Cairo, Egypt

    SAEB BERAKAT, Born April 28, 1955, in Jordan. He has the Jordanian citizenship.

    FAISAL ABDEL QADER AL-HUSSEINI, Born in 1948 in Bagdad, Iraq.

    SARI NUSSEIBEH, Born in 1949 in Damascus, Syria.

    MAHMOUD AL-ZAHAR, Born in 1945, in Cairo, Egypt.

    So, Israeli leaders, born in Palestine, are “settlers or invaders” while Palestinian Arab leaders were born in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Tunisia are “native Palestinians” ?

    • well,very valid points,,how ever,,if you go back far enough,you will be shocked to learn that t orign of the palestinians,are from a small part of north of GAZA,they were called the “plishtim”,,the bible is there to prove it,,they had nothing to do with jerusalem or the west bank. palestinians,or so called,are everywhere,,just as much as jews,,in the arab world,,

      • If u are referring to the philistines, you should do some more research. The name itself means invaders, and they were actually a sea faring tribe based from Greece, that invaded Israel in the time of the Canaanites. They were enemies of the Israelites and the Romans deliberately named the land “Palestina” after the philistines, the mortal enemies of the Israelites. They did this on purpose to insult the Jewish polulation., whome they were exiling and at war with. They also renamed Jerusalem, but that name hasn’t stuck as well as Palestinian.

        This whole argument just boggles my mind, how can you negotiate with a people that fundentally value martyrdom more then life and children, and want to eliminate every Jew and non Muslim from “their land”. They want to KILL EVERYONE who isn’t of their own belief, and we want to give them more land??? What is wrong wth people.?? The said part is that most Muslims are peace loving hard working people who just want their own religious freedoms protected, that are being controlled and destroyed by the extremist wing of their religion.

  • Jeffery Sikes

    Good, that solves it then.
    For it is written that those who occupied canaan prior to the tribes of Israel moving in and taking the land by under the order of our Father were all sons of Cain (Son of Satan and Eve).

    The land of canaan was given in a covenant forever by our Father to Abraham and his seed (Genesis 15, 17). The seed of Abraham was defined to be in Isaac (Genesis 21). That covenant was passed down from Isaac to his younger son Jacob (later called Israel) and from Jacob to Joseph’s younger son Ephraim (Genesis 49). After captivity to the Assyrians, Ephraim went with the 10 Norther tribes, through the Dariel Pass of the Caucasus Mountains (its where the name Caucasian came from).

    The really interesting part of this factual story is that the name British is actually made up of two Hebrew words Bayrith and ish which means Covenant Man. Further interesting is that Briton matches to a tee the description given of Ephraim given in Genesis 49.
    What makes this even more interesting is that it was the British who occupied the land of Israel in the late 1940s. It was the British who gave the key to the city of Jerusalem to their brother Judah which accomplished the prophecy as proclaimed by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 24).

    So this man Saeb Erakat, who claims his family was in canaan prior to the covenant is identifying himself as a son of Cain who was the son of Satan and Eve as it is written in the book of Genesis. Christ would later identify these sons of Cain (kenite’s) as the ones who were out to kill him (John ch 8).

  • 9000 years! Wow! That’s before recorded history! And more than three thousand years before creation. Maybe he is the “missing link”. See &

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Mr. Erekat, as a professor of political science, you most assuredly are very well aware that many narratives exist along the path to the truth. A fortiori, it is the truth that parses out the possible, the probable, and the absolute. For years, your narratives about the origin of your family, the history of the Palestinian people, and the rights of the Palestinian people to the land of Israel have met with remonstrance of a risible quality. Truly, your proclivity to use hyperbole ad nauseam has now reached a new level with your “admission” that your family originated from the Canaanites. Mr. Erekat, you surely know the story of Pinocchio: If I were you, I would be very concerned that the length of your nose not reach your mouth in which case you might be speaking with a wicked case of rhinorrhea. I would aver that there is a vast difference between a deaths incurred during a military operation in a war zone, even those of civilians who are on the scene and unintentionally victimized and the victims of a homicide bombing.

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