Inside Israel

Palestinians Dig a Good Propaganda Opportunity

A farmer has discovered a 4,500-year-old sculpture of an ancient goddess in the Gaza Strip, and the propogandists have discovered a new opportunity to milk it for what it’s worth:

A farmer in the Gaza Strip discovered a 4,500-year-old sculpture of an ancient goddess while he was working on his land. 

The sculpture represents the head of Anat, “the goddess of love, beauty and war” in Canaanite mythology, said Jamal Abu Rida, a spokesperson for the Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. 

Nidal Abu Eid, the farmer who made the discovery, said he was working his land as usual Monday in the Qarara area east of Khan Yunis, a city in the southern Gaza Strip, when he happened upon the sculpture.

“While I was plowing the land to plant it, we discovered this statue,” he said Wednesday. “What caught our attention is the inscription of the snake on the head, which means it is very important.” 

In the sculpture, Anat wears a snake as a crown, a symbol of strength and invisibility. The goddess was most likely an inspiration for Athena, the Greek goddess of war, who is also frequently portrayed surrounded by snakes.

The 6.7-inch-tall limestone head is estimated to date to 2,500 B.C, the ministry said. It is being displayed at Qasr al-Basha, a small museum with an antiquities department in Gaza. 

For Abu Eid, the find also had a deeper historical significance.

“This statue documents the history of the Palestinian people on this land and that its origins are Canaanite,” he said. Abu Eid added that he had not thought of selling the piece and instead donated it to the museum, as he felt it belonged to the Palestinian people. 

Abu Rida, the antiquities ministry spokesperson, said at a news conference Tuesday that the land of the Gaza Strip “has passed through many human civilizations, whether they were Canaanite, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic and other human civilizations.”

The name “Canaan” appears in ancient Egyptian writing from the 15th century B.C., as well as in the Old Testament. In the texts, “Canaan” refers to lands that include parts of modern-day Syria, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

At the news conference, Abu Rida also framed the discovery of the Canaanite goddess geopolitically: “Such discoveries prove that Palestine has civilization and history, and no one can deny or falsify this history,” he said. “This is the Palestinian people and their ancient Canaanite civilization.”

Notice how it is Hamas and a farmer – not archaeologists – making the claim that “the statue documents the history of the Palestinian people” because their “origins are “Canaanite.”

This is not the first time we have heard the claim. The PA has been claiming the Canaanite connection for years. Then again, they’ve also been claiming they are descended from Jebusites, Philistines, and even the Flinstones in a classic case of double quadruple dipping. Others, like Saab Erekat, Ilhan Omar, and Linda Sarsour, have claimed Jesus was palestinian, which again contradicts the Canaanite claim, given it is accepted he was Jewish.

In short, the palestinian Arabs throw up all sorts of claims like Molotov cocktails.

Yet other palestinian Arabs have let down their guard before and pretty much admitted the truth – their history in the area began with the Islamic conquest in the 7th century.

True, some people argue that the genetic heritage of the Canaanites survives in many modern-day Arabs, but those very people say the same about the Jewish people. The palestinian Arabs have absolutely no claim they were here before us, and we are considered to be indigenous by all acceptable definitions of the term.

Hat tip: Michal

Tags: Archaeology Gaza Palestinian

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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