At the Munich Security Conference last week, chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat told attendees that his government simply can not recognize Israel as the "Jewish state" because the Palestinians have been in the region longer than the Jews.
Erekat asserted that his ancestors had lived in the land for "5,500 years before Joshua Bin-Nun," the biblical leader of Israel's entry into the Promised Land.
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has issued a strong responseto Erekat's fanciful retelling of history.
"Since the Muslim Arab conquest of Palestine occurred only in 634CE, the credibility of this Palestinian claim is questionable, to say the least," the JCPR noted.
On the other hand, mountains of written and archaeological evidence point to a Jewish presence going back thousands of years. Even Muslim sources acknowledged the ancient Jewish connection to the land.
"The Jewish presence in the land can be documented as dating back for millennia, while the politically-motivated claims made up by Palestinian leaders in an attempt to refute the long-standing history of the Jews in the region lack any such proof," the JCPR concluded.