Israel's Netanyahu claims Palestinians' DNA proves they 'have no connection to the land'
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has dismissed Palestinian claims to the land as "nothing" compared to that of the Jewish people, citing a new Israeli study of DNA recovered from an ancient Philistine site.
"A new study of DNA recovered from an ancient Philistine site in the Israeli city of Ashkelon confirms what we know from the Bible – that the origin of the Philistines is in southern Europe," Netanyahu tweeted on Sunday.
"The Palestinians' connection to the Land of Israel is nothing compared to the 4,000 year connection that the Jewish people have with the land."
Researchers in Israel said they had pinpointed the site of an ancient Philistine town mentioned in the biblical tale of David seeking refuge from the Israelite king Saul.
DNA tests on their bones suggested their origin to be in southern Europe.
The Philistines are believed to have arrived in the region in the 12th century BC. They ruled what is today part of central and southern Israel and the Gaza Strip and were a feared enemy of the Israelites.
The word Palestine is thought to have derived from the Philistines, with ancient Greek rulers adopting the name 'Philistia' to refer to the coastal plains where Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories are now located.
The Roman Empire adopted the Greek terminology, later renaming the area 'Syria Palaestina', before Arab rulers adopted the name 'Falastin'.
Palestinians do not claim common ancestry with the Philistines to advance any political claims, instead referring to their continuous inhabitation of the land for several hundred years and rights enshrined by United Nations resolutions and international law.
Israel routinely weaponises archaeology and ancient history to deny any Palestinian connection, and therefore political claims, to the land.
Archaeology is frequently used as a tool to justify continued settlement expansion in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank by proving an ancient Jewish connection to the land, despite such claims having no relevance under international law.