PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas speaks at United Nations in New York
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas speaks at United Nations in New YorkReuters

In his recent appearance at the UN, on May 15, 2023, Mahmoud Abbas, in a serious of other scurrilous remarks, reportedly [1] said, “the Palestinians were descendants of the biblical Canaanites” and that this was proven “in religious scriptures, including the Torah”.

The Bible does make mention of the Canaanites in most derogatory terms, including reviling them for their abhorrent practices such as child sacrifice [2]. In this regard, those self-identifying as Canaanites may have found their spiritual albeit not actual ancestors, because they too have adopted child sacrifice in their Pay to Slay ritualistic-like murders.

The Bible, which Abbas claims to rely on, if anything, disavows any claim of title to the Land of Israel by the Canaanites.

The Bible is the oldest extant written record of title. It is careful to note that the Canaanites are descendents of Canaan, a child of Ham [3]. Thus, as a careful reader of title would note, the Canaanites had no legitimate claim to the Land of Israel. It was a part of the inheritance Noah allocated and bequeathed to his son Shem [4], when Noah apportioned the Earth among his sons.

The Canaanites were actually illegally occupying the Land of Israel. As the Bible notes [5], when Abraham came to Israel, the Canaanites, at the time, were also in the Land. The otherwise superfluous reference to ‘at the time’ is not casual or coincidental. The Maharal [6] explains it was meant to allude to the fact that the Canaanites were not there before, because it was not their land and they were not entitled to be there. Instead, they came to rob the Children of Israel of their heritage.

Rashi [8] notes that the Canaanites were gradually conquering the Land of Israel from the descendants of Shem. It had been allotted to Shem. Hence, the Bible [9] makes reference to Malchi-Tzedek (also known as Shem), as the king of Salem (Jerusalem).[10] Therefore, G-d assures Abraham that in the future, the Land of Israel would be returned to his descendants, the Children of Israel, who, as noted above, are also lineal descendants of Shem [11], and the rightful inheritors of title to the Land of Israel.

Abraham was a descendant of Shem [12], and as the Bible records, he and his descendants were vested with title to the Land of Israel, as their inheritance [13]. Title then passed to his son Isaac [14] and then to his son Jacob [15] (also known as Israel). Jacob then vested title in his progeny, known as the Children of Israel.

Therefore, as the Bible declares [16], when the Children of Israel enter the Land, then known as Canaan, it is the land that was vested to them as a part of their inheritance.

The Bible explicitly describes[17] the boundaries of Canaanite territory as extending only as far as Sidon in the north, the approaches to Gaza in the south, and as far as the approaches to Sodom, Gomorrah, etc. in the east; but not extending into the Land of Israel proper. To the west of the Land of Israel is, of course, the Mediterranean Sea and, hence, not a concern in delineating the boundaries of Canaanite territory in terms of not encroaching on the Land of Israel.

It is bracing to appreciate how timeless these survey and boundary considerations are in delineating a title description with landmarks and markers. In this regard, it should also be noted that the Bible sets forth the commandment [18], “not to move a neighbor’s boundary landmarks (markers), set up by previous generations, in the inherited property vested in you, in the land that G-d has given you as an inheritance”.

The survey description of the Land granted as an inheritance to the Jewish people is set forth in the contractual commitment G-d originally made to Abraham, as recorded in the Bible.[19]

Abraham even did a walkthrough.[20]

Title to the Land of Israel was reconfirmed again to Moses and the Jewish people [21], including in a more detailed description in the Book of Numbers, in the Bible [22]. Indeed, as a part of Moses’ penultimate testament in the Bible, he called upon the Heavens and the Earth to bear witness[23] to among other things that the Land of Israel was the inheritance of the Jewish people [24]. The Bible also reconfirms that it is the inheritance of Jacob [25] to the exclusion of any other progeny of his forbearers Abraham or Isaac [26].

Interestingly, the Bible makes use of the term Chevel (measuring rope [27]) in connection with the recording of Jacob’s inheritance of the Land. This unusual reference is cogent, because the Chevel was used to measure out a metes and bounds description of a parcel of land. Moses is then allowed visually to survey the Land and, as the Bible records [28], this is the inheritance of the Children of Israel.

The Bible is, thus, the record of title that shows from the beginning of the world, through Israel’s miraculous retaking of the land from the illegal occupiers and since, the Jewish people’s legal title to the Land of Israel, as a fully vested inheritance, is just and right [29], as G-d intended. There is no comparable source of record legal title to the Land of Israel.

It is important to note that Arabs claim descent from Ishmael. As recorded in the Bible [30], on his father’s side, Ishmael was a child of Abraham. On his mother’s side, he was a child of Hagar, a descendant of Mitzraim, one of the other sons of Ham; and not Canaan.

Thus, being an Arab negates being a Canaanite and vice versa. It must be difficult for those inventing a false narrative and people out of whole cloth, in furtherance of a wholly political agenda, to keep track of their absurd meanderings, uttered with such enthusiasm and unfounded certainty. Even the PLO Charter and Hamas Covenant proudly proclaim that the so-called Palestinian people are a part of the Arab nation.

It also clearly identifies Philistines as being a distinct people from the reviled Canaanites. It should also be noted that Canaanites are not explicitly mentioned in the Quran or the New Testament and the Quran does not refer to Palestinians.

It is interesting to note that that the Talmud [31]records a legal action was brought, approximately 2,350 years ago, by descendants of the Canaanites [32], who as noted above were ancient occupiers of the Land of Israel. The Judge was no less a personage than Alexander the Great.

At the trial, Geviyah, representing the Jewish people, examined the plaintiffs and asked what proof they had to support their claim to title to Israel. They testified the Bible [33] was their proof of record title. Well, Geviyah handily countered that assertion. He cited the very same Bible [34] to defeat the Canaanites’ claim. As noted above, the Bible reports title to the Land of Israel was vested in the Children of Israel as an inheritance. The Canaanites had no legitimate claim to title to the Land. Moreover, the Canaanites had compounded their illegal occupation of the Land by sinning mightily and G-d assured the Jewish people the Canaanites would be dislodged [35]. Alexander the Great ruled in favor of the Jewish people.

A similar scene occurred in the early 20th Century. This time the context was the end of World War I. Representatives of the victorious allies, including the United States, Britain, Italy, France and Japan, met in Paris in 1919. They had triumphed over the central powers, Germany, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire and they received presentations by various delegations of all sorts of claims to lands previously comprising a part of the German, Ottoman and Austrian-Hungarian Empires. Thus, for example, in Europe, Poland was reborn, the borders of Czechoslovakia and Romania were fixed and recognized and the country of Yugoslavia was created.

Thereafter, in 1920, the Supreme Council of Allied Powers met in San Remo, Italy, in order to resolve many of these claims. The context is important. The Central Powers ceded control of portions of their Empires to the Allied Powers, under the Peace Treaties signed with them. This included the area referred to as Palestine (now the country of Israel), as well as, the areas that would become Turkey, Armenia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

Under International Law, the Supreme Council had the power to dispose of these various territories that were formerly a part of the Ottoman Empire. It was in this capacity that the Supreme Council dealt with the claim of the Jewish people to an area referred to as Palestine (now the country of Israel). The claim was based on their historic title to the Land of Israel. The Jewish people sought to reconstitute their national home in Palestine, as an autonomous commonwealth. The Arab people also presented their claims.

The Minutes of the Meeting of the Supreme Council [36]on the matter of Palestine are most illuminating. They reflect that representatives of the United States, British Empire, France, Italy and Japan were present. The meeting also considered the matter of determining the borders of Turkey and Armenia, as well as, issues related to Syria and Mesopotamia (current day Iraq).

The Supreme Council Minutes record the discussions regarding the area denominated as Palestine and it being a national home for the Jews. In this regard, it is important to appreciate that presentations were made by Jewish, as well as, Arab delegations, asserting claims as to Palestine. Members of the Syrian Delegation [37] met with the Supreme Council on February 13, 1919. They argued that Palestine should be a part of Syria. On February 6, 1919 [38], Emir Feisal, as head of the Hedjaz Delegation, is reported to have said, Palestine should be left on the side, for the mutual consideration of all parties concerned.[39]

Reference was made to the new projected State in the area denominated as Palestine and its borders. Consideration was also given to the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish communities residing in Palestine.

The Supreme Council considered the claims of the various parties, deliberated and decided title to Palestine was vested in the Jewish people [40].

In furtherance of the foregoing, the Supreme Council determined that Palestine would be reestablished as a national home for the Jews and a mandatory would be entrusted with implementing the foregoing, under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. The terms of the mandate were to be formulated by the Principal Allied Powers, who constituted the Supreme Council and submitted to the Council of the League of Nations for approval. This occurred and the terms of the mandate were approved, as noted below. The effect was to confirm, as a matter of International Law, the reestablishment of Palestine as a national home for the Jewish People.

The Council of the League of Nations [41]unanimously adopted the San Remo [42] Resolution [43] on Palestine. [44] It thereby became an international agreement, binding on all of the member countries, which, in effect, confirmed title to Palestine (Israel) in the people of Israel, under International Law. It recited that recognition had been given to “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home [45] in that country”.

There are a number of very important legal concepts embodied in this provision of the Council resolution. It effectively confirmed the Jewish people as the recognized indigenous people of Palestine for over three thousand five hundred years and, as noted above, rejected the claims of others. This absolutely demolishes the fallacious claim that Jews are just modern-day colonialists.

The Council resolution also did not purport to grant the Jewish people a newly minted right to Palestine; it recorded that recognition had been given to the “grounds for” reconstituting their national home in that country. Thus, it was a pre-existing legal right that was recognized and acknowledged. Consistent with this principle, it called for “reconstituting” the Jewish people’s national home in their homeland of Palestine, not building a new national home there, which had no prior existence.

The use of the term ‘country’ in the Council resolution is also cogent. It was no longer referred to as a geographical territory in the former Ottoman Empire; rather, Palestine was now referred to as a country. The sovereignty and legal title to the country of Palestine was vested in the Jewish people.

Article 4 of the resolution provided for a Jewish agency to be recognized as a public body and putative government to assist in the reestablishment of the Jewish national home, including taking part in the development of the country.

Article 6 of the resolution provided for settlement of Jews on the land, including State lands.

Article 11 of the resolution provided for the Jewish Agency to be able to construct or operate public works, services and utilities and develop any of the natural resources of the country.

The Council entrusted a Mandate to Britain to implement the resolution of the League of Nations. Of course, the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in the country were not to be prejudiced and the granting instrument so provides.

Thus, Article 2 of the resolution provided for the Mandatory to place the country under such ‘political’, administrative and economic conditions as shall enable the reestablishment of the Jewish National Home and the development of self-governing institutions. Political rights were reserved only to the Jewish people. As to all the inhabitants of Israel, their civil and religious rights were to be safeguarded, but only the Jewish people were granted political rights.

Article 7 of the resolution expressly provided for the administration of Palestine to be responsible for enacting a nationality law, which shall include provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine. In essence, International Law expressly provided for a law of return for Jews to their native homeland of Palestine [Israel]. No similar provision was made for anyone else.

As Eugene Rostow [46] makes clear [47],

By protecting Arab "civil and religious rights," the mandate implicitly denies Arab claims to national political rights in the area in favor of the Jews; the mandated territory was in effect reserved to the Jewish people for their self- determination and political development, in acknowledgment of the historic connection of the Jewish people to the land. Lord Curzon, who was then the British Foreign Minister, made this reading of the mandate explicit.

Lest there be any doubt, Article 5 of the Council’s resolution provided that “no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power”. In essence, the title to the country of Palestine granted to the Jewish people at San Remo could not be revoked or granted to another by the Mandatory authority or the League. This legally includes the UN, as the successor to the League. Palestine belonged to the Jewish people.

The San Remo Resolution was also a part of the Treaty of Sevres [48]with the Ottoman Empire and, in effect [49], ratified by the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 with Turkey.

The Resolution of the Supreme Council of Allied Powers at San Remo was also endorsed in the Anglo-American Treaty on Palestine [50]. It actually incorporated the text of the resolution of the Council of the League of Nations, referred to above.

Whether Abbas identifies as an Arab, Canaanite or the flavor of the week, the matter of title to Israel has long been resolved in favor of the Jewish people because it is just and right. As a matter of fact and law, it is indisputable that title to the Land of Israel is vested in the Jewish people.

Leonard Grunstein, retired attorney and banker, founded and served as Chairman of Metropolitan National Bank and then Israel Discount Bank of NY. He founded Project Ezrah and serves on the Board of Revel at Yeshiva Univ. and the AIPAC National Council. He has published articles in the Banking Law Journal, Real Estate Finance Journal and more.


1 Abbas disavows Jewish ties to Temple Mount, compares Israel to Nazis, by Tovah Lazeroff, in the
Jerusalem Post, dated 5/15/2023.
2 Deuteronomy 13:31.
3 Genesis 10:6.
4 Chizkuni, Genesis 1:1. See also Tur HaAruch, Genesis 10:5.
5 Genesis 12:6 and see Rashi commentary thereon.
6 Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, a 16 th century sage, known as the Maharal of Prague or Maharal, in
his Gur Aryeh commentary on Genesis 1:1.
7 The HaEmek Davar (by Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin) notes the term ‘Makom’ HaCanaani (place
of the Canaanites), as opposed to HaAretz (land), is used in Exodus 3:8, to emphasize that it was truly.not their land from the beginning of creation, rather it was just a place they were occupying at the
8 Rashi commentary on Genesis 12:6.
9 Genesis 14:18.
10 BT Nedarim 32b notes Abraham, a descendant of Shem, was also invested with the hereditary
priesthood originally conferred on Shem.
11 Both patrilineally and matrilineally. This includes Rachel and Leah, as well as, Bilhah and Zilpah
(Pirke D’Rabbi Eliezer 36), who were all daughters of Laban. It should also be noted that Judah’s wife
Tamar was also a descendant of Shem (Genesis Rabbah 85:11).
12 Genesis 11:10-27. Shem was one of Noah’s sons (Genesis 10:1). Abraham’s lineage is traced from
Shem (as noted in Genesis 11:10-27), as follows: Shem to Arpachshad, to Shelah, to Ever, to Peleg, to
Reu, to Serug, to Nahor, to Terach, and then to Abraham.
13 Genesis 12:7. The Bible uses the terms ‘Achuzah’ or ‘Nachalah’ meaning, inheritance, in describing
the Nation of Israel’s vested title to the Land of Israel, numerous times. See, for example, Genesis 17:8
and Deuteronomy 26:1.
14 Genesis 26:3-4.
15 Genesis 28:13.
16 Numbers 34:2 and see also Deuteronomy 17:14.
17 Genesis 10:19 and see also Rashi commentary thereon.
18 Deuteronomy 19:14.
19 Genesis 15:18-21.
20 Genesis 13:17. See also Targum Jonathan thereon, which describes how Abraham thereby
exercised his dominion and control over the length and breadth of the Land of Israel.
21 Exodus 23:31.
22 Numbers 34:1-13
23 Deuteronomy 32:1 and see Rashi and Kli Yakar commentaries thereon.
24 Deuteronomy 32:8-9 and see the Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Rashbam, Bechor Shor, Rosh and Chizkuni
commentaries thereon.
25 This reference is made to negate any unfounded claim by Esau, Jacob’s twin brother, who received
the Land of Edom, as his inheritance, as well as, Abraham’s son Ishmael or the children Abraham
fathered with Keturah. Abraham vested title to the Land of Israel solely in his son Isaac. Isaac had two
sons Jacob and Esau. Isaac similarly vested title to the Land of Israel solely in Jacob. Abraham’s other
children received other gifts from Abraham. This subject is more fully discussed below in this book.
26 See the (authoritative Tannaic Midrash Halacha) Sifre (Deuteronomy 312:1).
27 See, for example, Bechor Shor and Ibn Ezra commentaries on Deuteronomy 32:9.
28 Deuteronomy 32:49 and see the Aderet Eliyahu commentary of the Vilna Gaon thereon.
29 Kli Yakar (by Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim ben Aaron Luntschitz, a 17 th century Biblical commentator) on
Genesis 1:1.
30 Genesis 16:15.
31 Megillat Ta’anit, Sivan 25; BT Tractate Sanhedrin, at page 91a; and Bereishit Rabbah 61.
32 See Jerusalem Talmud (JT) Tractate Sheviit 6:1, at page 18a of the Zhitomir edition, as well as, the
Maharsha, in his commentary on the BT Sanhedrin (page 91a) text noted above. The plaintiffs were
descendants of the Girgashites, who left the land of Canaan, as Joshua and the Jewish people entered
it. They resettled in a country, known as Afrikiya (see the Jerusalem Talmud Sheviit text, noted
above). They are referred to as the children of Afrikiya in the Sanhedrin text noted above and as
Canaanites in the Megillat Ta’anit (Sivan 25) and Bereishit Rabbah (61) texts noted above.
33 Numbers 34:2. It is interesting to note that this Biblical verse cited by the Canaanite plaintiffs
actually defeats their claim. It describes how the land of Canaan, according to its borders, is the land
that shall belong to the people of Israel.
34 Genesis 9:25. The Maharsha, in his commentary on the Sanhedrin (91a) text noted above, also
explains there are other verses in the Bible evidencing the Jewish people’s title to the Land of Israel.
Some examples are cited below. He also refers to the Rashi commentary on Genesis 1:1, summarized
35 See, for example, Deuteronomy 7:1 and 20:16. 36 Minutes of Palestine Meeting of the Supreme Council of The Allied Powers Held in San Remo at the
Villa Devachan-April 24,1920.
37 The Syrian Delegation included Chekri Ganem, an Arab Maronite Christian and Jamil Mardam Bey,
an Arab Muslim, who help organize the Arab Congress of 1913 in Paris and eventually became a
Prime Minister of Syria.
38 See, America and Palestine: the attitude of official America and of the American people toward the
rebuilding of Palestine as a free and democratic Jewish commonwealth, prepared and edited by
Reuben Fink, New York: American Zionist Emergency Council (1944), at pages 445-446.
39 Ibid, at page 442.
40 See Sovereignty Over the Old City of Jerusalem: A Study of the Historical, Religious, Political and
Legal Aspects of the Question of the Old City, by Jacques Paul Gauthier (2007).
41 By Resolution, dated July 24, 1922.
42 Interestingly, Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk (known for his seminal work, the Meshech Chochma)
referenced San Remo and the League of Nations reaffirmation of San Remo in a letter, citing it for the
proposition that it represented the legal sanction of the nations of the world to reestablish the Jewish
State of Israel and vitiating any concerns under BT Ketubot 111a. (The letter is reproduced in
HaTekufah HaGedolah, by Rav Menachem Kasher, Volume I, at page 207, et seq.)
43 Adopted on April 25, 1920.
44 The very same resolution provided for the establishment of Syria and Mesopotamia (Iraq).
45 In the Preamble to the Resolution unanimously adopted by the Council of the League of Nations.
46 Eugene V. Rostow, Sterling Professor of Law and Public Affairs Emeritus, Yale University;
Distinguished Research Professor of Law and Diplomacy, National Defense University; Adjunct
Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, and Honorary Fellow of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
47 The Future of Palestine, by Eugene V. Rostow, McNair Paper 24, November 1993, Institute for
National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.
48 Article 95.
49 Article 16.
50 It was also known as the Anglo-American Convention. It was signed on December 3, 1924 and
ratified by the U.S. Senate on February 20, 1925, as noted below.