Palestinians Try to Replace Jews With Samaritans

Champions of the Palestinian cause need a more compliant, non-Zionist ‘Jew’ to fit their new narrative for the Holy Land

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: Samaritans
A Samaritan priest raises a Torah scroll at Mount Gerizim in Samaria. These are the "good Jews" that the Palestinians have no problem allowing to remain in the Land.
A Samaritan priest raises a Torah scroll at Mount Gerizim in Samaria. These are the "good Jews" that the Palestinians have no problem allowing to remain in the Land. Photo: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90

The Palestinians seem to be abandoning their quest to remove the Jews entirely from the equation in the Holy Land, and instead would like to replace them with a more compliant, non-Zionist version.

This year, Passover, Easter and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan converged.

The ruling party in Palestinian politics, Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah, took the opportunity to present itself as a champion of all three faiths.

A caricature posted to Fatah’s social media channels showed a Christian, a Muslim and what appears to be a Jew marching arm-in-arm through the streets of Jerusalem, Palestinian flag in hand, and knocking over a police barrier meant to represent the “Zionist occupiers.”

That guy on the left is wearing a Star of David, thus giving him the appearance of a Jew. But what’s that funny hat on his head?

The image is that of a Samaritan. You might remember the name from the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. Or from Jesus’ interaction with a Samaritan woman in the Gospel of John (chapter 4).

Yes, they’re still around. And just as in Jesus’ time, they aren’t considered by Jews to be Jews, though they practice the ancient religion of Israel.

Nor would a Samaritan be caught wearing a Star of David, the common symbol of the Jewish people. Historically, as we see in those New Testament verses, Jews and Samaritans don’t get along well.

See: Who Are the Samaritans? Israelites, Pseudo-Jews or Assyrians?

So that begs the question: Why did Fatah stick a Samaritan depicted as a Jew in a political cartoon suggesting that the Palestinian Authority promotes religious pluralism?

The answer is that they’d like to change the narrative of this land. And since the abundance of written and archaeological evidence doesn’t support removing Jews from the picture altogether, they need to find a suitable replacement.

They don’t necessarily have a problem with Torah-following pseudo-Jews remaining and practicing their religion. The Palestinians have a problem with Zionist Jews, those who believe in and enact the biblical promises related to Israel’s place in this land. At least that’s the message conveyed by the caricature. What Palestinian Arabs, especially Muslims, really think of the Samaritans is likely a little less amicable.


Silver lining

Despite the clear anti-Israel message of the caricature, it does still represent a small step in the right direction.

Traditionally, the Palestinian leadership has denied any historical Jewish connection to the Holy Land. So to include a “Jew” among the religions that belong here means they are beginning to accept they can’t sell that particular lie.

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