Tag Archives: Lebanon

Biblical Canaanites DNA Linked To Modern-Day Lebanese

Genome sequenced from 3,700-year-old remains is found in modern-say Lebanese.  Modern-day Lebanese share 93% of their DNA with the ancient Canaanites.

In the first test, the researchers aimed to assess the ancestry of the ancient Canaanites and what they found was that ancient Canaanites shared a common ancestry with other ancient Levant civilizations including Phoenicians, Israelites, and Moabites. In the second test which aimed to identify the ancestry of modern Lebanese people, the DNA analysis showed that despite being separated by more than 3,700 years, the Lebanese genome shared as much as 93% of its composition with the genome drawn from the ancient Canaanites. Another interesting finding from the genetic analysis was that the Lebanese people have been isolated from other communities for thousands of years. WorldAtlas

Researchers supported by The Wellcome Trust were able to sequence the Canaanite genome from the remains of five individuals buried in the ancient port city of Sidon (modern Saïda, Lebanon) around 3,700 years ago. The results were compared against the DNA of 99 modern-day Lebanese residents.  NationalGeographic

Canaanite Secrets Unraveled

According to the Los Angeles Times, in the last 19 years, a team of archaeologists have been unraveling Canaanite secrets hidden for thousands of years at the Sidon excavation site situated in the Lebanon’s third largest city, Sidon. Archeologists have excavated 160 burial sites from this single excavation site from which they obtained numerous skeletons from the Bronze Era. Tests conducted on the skeletons show that they were over 3,700 years old. The skeletons from the necropolis are believed to be those of ancient Canaanites and this helped archaeologist to get a glimpse of their burial rituals where young children were buried in clay jars while adults were buried in the sand.

Canaanite individuals had been buried in large clay jars.

The Canaanites DNA

The Canaanites lived at the crossroads of the ancient world. They experienced wars, conquests and occupations for millennia, and as a result evolutionary geneticists expected that their DNA would become substantially mixed with incoming populations.

Astonishingly, new genetic analysis shows that scientists were wrong. According to a new study in the American Journal of Human Genetics, today’s Lebanese share a whopping 93% of their DNA with the ancient Canaanites.

The study also found that the Bronze Age inhabitants of Sidon, a major Canaanite city-state in modern-day Lebanon, have the same genetic profile as people living 300 to 800 years earlier in present-day Jordan.

Later known as Phoenicians, the Canaanites have a murky past. Nearly all of their own records have been destroyed over the centuries, so their history has been mostly pieced together from archaeological records and the writings of other ancient peoples. LATimes

The buried remains of a Canaanite adult whose DNA was sequenced in the study. (Claude Doumet-Serhal / The Sidon Excavation)

DNA

First, they investigated the genetic ancestry of the Canaanites themselves. They found that these Bronze Age inhabitants of Sidon shared about half their DNA with local Neolithic peoples and the other half with Chalcolithic Iranians. Interestingly, this genetic profile is nearly identical to the one evolutionary geneticist IosifLazaridis and his team found last year in Bronze Age villagers near ‘Ain Ghazal in modern-day Jordan.

This suggests that Canaanite-related ancestry was spread across a wide region during the Bronze Age and was shared between urban societies on the coast and farming societies further inland. This evidence supports the idea that different Levantine cultural groups such as the Moabites, Israelites, and Phoenicians may have had a common genetic background, the authors said.

The researchers were also able to determine that the genetic mixing of the Levantine and Iranian peoples happened between 6,600 and 3,550 years ago, a range they would be able to narrow down with more ancient DNA samples from the region…

As expected, they found some new additions to the modern Lebanese genome since the Bronze Age. About 7% of modern Lebanese DNA originates from eastern Steppe peoples found in what is now Russia, but wasn’t represented in the Bronze Age Canaanites or their ancestors. What surprised the team was what was missing from their genetic data.

“If you look at the history of Lebanon — after the Bronze Age, especially — it had a lot of conquests,” Haber said. He and Tyler-Smith expected to see greater genetic contributions from multiple conquering peoples, and were surprised that as much as 93% of the Lebanese genome is shared with their Canaanite predecessors.

Though a 7% genetic influx from the Steppe seems very small, that number might be covering some hidden complexities, said Lazaridis, who worked on the Bronze Age Jordanian samples but was not involved in the new study.

Not much is known about the migrations of these eastern Steppe populations, he said. If the genomes of the incoming people were only half Steppe, for example, 14% of the Lebanese genome could have come from the new migrants.  LATimes

Online:  LATimes – The DNA of ancient Canaanites lives on in modern-day Lebanese, genetic analysis shows

National Geographic – Living Descendants of Biblical Canaanites Identified Via DNA

Study:  Continuity and Admixture in the Last Five Millennia of Levantine History from Ancient Canaanite and Present-Day Lebanese Genome Sequences,” and published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Video:  The DNA Of Ancient Canaanites Lives On In Lebanese | Los Angeles Times

Media Trumpets That Bible Is Wrong
Oops, media wrong again.

After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Canaanites?” Judges 1:1

after a scientific study asserted that human remains dating to roughly 3,700 years ago from ancient Canaanites had DNA quite similar to Lebanese, many media outlets trumpeted that the Bible was wrong when it claimed the ancient Canaanites were completely destroyed.

David Klinghoffer, in Evolution Newslisted the plethora of media headlines emblazoned with the idea that the Bible was wrong:

  •  “Study disproves the Bible’s suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out” (The Telegraph)

  • “Bible says Canaanites were wiped out by Israelites but scientists just found their descendants living in Lebanon” (The Independent)

  • “Bronze Age DNA disproves the Bible’s claim that the Canaanites were wiped out: Study says their genes live on in modern-day Lebanese people” (Daily Mail)

  • “Scientists Find Evidence That Ancient Canaanites Survive Today: Was The Bible Wrong?” (Tech Times)

  • “New DNA study casts doubt on Bible claim” (Mother Nature Network)

  • “The Bible was WRONG: Civilisation God ordered to be KILLED still live and kicking” (Express)

  • “Genetic evidence suggests the Canaanites weren’t destroyed after all” (Ars Technica)

  • “Canaanites Weren’t Annihilated by Ancient Israelites After All” (Newser)

  • “Study disproves the Bible’s claim that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out” (Click Lancashire)

  • “Canaanites survived Biblical ‘slaughter’, ancient DNA shows”(ABC Online)

  • “DNA vs the Bible: Israelites did not wipe out the Canaanites” (Cosmos)

  • “The Bible got it wrong: Ancient Canaanites survived and their DNA lives in modern-day Lebanese” (Pulse Headlines)

As Klinghoffer continues:

The first chapter in Judges lists all the places in Israel where the Canaanites persisted, “to this day,” “for they did not drive them out,” “he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land,” etc. God is not happy with this, for “they shall be as snares to you, and their gods shall be a trap to you” (2:3). From the Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 1 (“Canaan”), “The persistence of Canaanites within Israelite territory was a theological problem variously addressed by biblical writers.”

Nor did Asher drive out those living in Akko or Sidon or Ahlab or Akzib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob. Judges 1:31

Klinghoffer notes:  The ancient DNA evidence comprises the “complete genomes of five Canaanite individuals who lived almost 4,000 years ago in what’s now the modern-day Lebanese city of Sidon” (Science Daily). Interestingly, the Canaanites in that ancient city are among those that the Bible specifically says lived on (Judges 1:31) to cause serious trouble for the Israelites. DailyWire

Palestinian Refugee Camps Or Terrorist Bases?

ain-al-hilweh
Ain Al-Hilweh

Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon over the last decades have increasingly become bases for various militias and terrorist groups.

ISIS is on the mind of the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership. Top PA officials have expressed concern that jihadi groups, including ISIS, have managed to infiltrate Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

Lebanese authorities are also worried — so worried that they have issued a stiff warning to the Palestinians: Stop the terrorists or else we will take security into our own hands.

According to Lebanese security sources, more and more Palestinians in Lebanon have joined ISIS and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, a Sunni Islamist militia fighting against Syrian government forces. In response, the Lebanese security forces have taken a series of measures in a bid to contain the problem and prevent the two Islamist terror groups from establishing bases of power in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

The Lebanese authorities are concerned with ISIS and Al-Nusra Front in the Palestinian refugee camps, especially the Ain Al-Hilweh refugee camp, the largest camp in Lebanon, with a population of more of than 120,000.

Alarmed by the success of ISIS and Al-Nusra Front in recruiting dozens of Palestinians to their ranks, the Palestinian Authority leadership this week sent Azzam Al-Ahmed, a senior advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas, to Beirut for urgent talks with Lebanese government officials on ways of containing the escalation. The PA leadership fears that the heightened activities of the two terrorist groups in the refugee camps will force the Lebanese army to launch a massive military operation to get rid of the terrorists, who pose an immediate threat to Lebanese national security.

Al-Ahmed, who is in charge of the Lebanon Portfolio in the Palestinian Authority, held a series of meetings with Lebanese government officials in a bid to avoid a security showdown between the Lebanese army and the Palestinians living in the country’s refugee camps. Following a meeting with Lebanese Interior Minister Nihad Al-Mashnouk, the Palestinian envoy said that the talks focused on the need to take “joint steps to ensure security stability in the Palestinian refugee camps.” According to Al-Ahmed, the talks also dealt with ways to prevent certain parties, especially ISIS and Al-Nusra Front, from exploiting the Palestinian refugee camps to threaten Lebanon’s security interests.  GatestoneInstitute

Hezbollah Has More Missiles Than 27 NATO Countries Combined

Hezbullah, the Iran-backed terrorist organization, has more than 130,000 missiles in Lebanon, more than the combined arsenal of all NATO countries, with the exception of the United States.

“You don’t collect 130,000 missiles if you don’t intend to use them,” says Matthew Levitt, a counterterrorism expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Hezbollah is a well-funded, violently anti-Israel terrorist organization based in Lebanon and a puppet of the Iranian regime.

In Hezbollah’s arsenal are about 700 long-range, high-payload rockets and missiles with names like Fateh-110 and Scud D. They are capable of taking down entire buildings in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, wreaking havoc at Israel’s major military bases, killing thousands of Israeli civilians, shutting down the nation’s airports and ports, and taking out the electric grid. And that’s just in the first week.

Former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) major general Yaakov Amidror is talking about the M-600 missile. It’s a fairly accurate ballistic missile that weighs more than a Hummer H2 and carries a formidable warhead. The M-600 can also deliver chemical weapons. A single M-600 could wipe out a good chunk of Times Square and maim and kill people four football fields away from the point of impact. Hezbollah has a lot of M-600s.

Hezbullah embeds weaponry in civilian areas which poses a challenge to Israeli.  The  IDF’s role is to defend Israeli civilians.

IDF map illustrating Hezbollah’s infrastructure: in southern Lebanon
IDF map illustrating Hezbollah’s infrastructure: in southern Lebanon

 

Geoff Corn, an international military law expert at the South Texas College of Law in Houston explained, “After exhausting all feasible efforts to reduce civilian risk, IDF commanders must resolve the decisive question: Is the potential for civilian harm excessive in comparison to the advantages the attack would provide? When you talk of an M-600 in the hands of an enemy that targets vital military assets or the civilian population—even if that apartment building is full—launching the attack will be necessary to mitigate the threat,”….

Professor Corn is well aware of what will happen next. “The international community will look at the images and will note that the immediate cause of destruction was Israeli munitions. But—and here is the kicker—both legally and morally, the cause of these tragic consequences will lie solely at the feet of Hezbollah.”Weekly Standard

Saudis Halt Aid And Bar Its Citizens From Lebanon

Flag of Lebanon
Flag of Lebanon

Saudis decision to stop payment of $4 billion for military aid and other security services and has banning its citizens from travelling to Lebanon is another step in the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.  Following the Saudis the United Arab Emirates also issued a travel ban on Emiratis travelling to Lebanon.

Lebanon has long been a battleground for the two regional powers, Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.  Saudi influence has waned in recent years in Lebanon, as its supported political parties and figures have lost influence and Hezbollah has emerged as the country’s most powerful military force.

The Lebanese should be losing sleep over the dramatic developments in the last 48 hours in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with regard to Lebanon. The decision by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to bar their citizens from visiting Lebanon is expected to cause considerable economic damage to Beirut. If you add to that the Saudi decision to halt its $4 billion annual aid to the Lebanese government and the Lebanese army, this makes for a devastating economic blow imposed by Riyadh on Beirut…

The bottom line seems to be that Saudi Arabia — one of the most important allies of the former Lebanon, the moderate, modern, advanced Lebanon that for decades was controlled by a Christian Maronite-Sunni alliance — has decided to pull away, to wash its hands.

It is giving up on its allies and leaving Lebanon in the control of Iran, Hezbollah and the new alliance that has taken shape there between various Christian Maronites (Michel Aoun and his men) and the Shiites, who today constitute the country’s largest community.

In many respects, the Saudi decision represents a recognition of defeat: Lebanon is now controlled by Iran and Hezbollah, and therefore every dollar transferred there as military or government aid simply strengthens Hezbollah at the expense of the remaining moderate Sunnis and anti-Syrian Christians.

Underlining the point, Iran has moved quickly to fill the vacuum left by Riyadh. A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Tehran announced Tuesday that Iran is ready to discuss providing military help to the Lebanese Army “if an official request for such assistance is made.” TimesOfIsrael

Alleged Israeli Mossad Spy Was Nasrallah Bodyguard

spyIn the Hezbollah terrorist group, Mohammad Chawraba was a senior official responsible for the personal security  of Nasrallah (the head of the terror group). Chawraba has been arrested and accused of being recruited by Mossad. He was an Israeli spy and he infiltrated the upper echelons of Hezbollah.  It is alleged that Chawraba was instrumental in thwarting some of Hezbollah’s operations.

An agent of Israel’s Mossad spy agency infiltrated the upper echelons of Hezbollah’s security apparatus and leaked information about the Lebanese Shiite group for several years before being discovered and arrested recently, according to security officials and people in Lebanon who are familiar with the incident.

The espionage activities of the alleged agent, identified as Mohammed Shawraba, would represent one of the most significant security breaches of the highly secretive organization, which is a mortal enemy of Israel and classified as a terrorist organization by the United States. WaPo

Online:  Washington Post: Alleged Israeli agent said to have thwarted Hezbollah operations
Times of Israel: Alleged Hezbollah Mossad spy ‘was Nasrallah bodyguard’

Saudi Arabia Gives $1 Billion Grant To Lebanon To Fight Terrorist

HaririKing Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has issued an order to give Lebanon one billion dollars to fight the terrorist onslaught in the north of the country.   This week ISIS terrorist stormed across the Lebanese border with fighting in Arsal, where many have taken refuge from the Syrian war.

Lebanese Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Lebanon is facing an unprecedented terror attack at the hands of takfiri militants, saying that the $1 billion Saudi grant is meant to support the efforts of the Lebanese Army and other security apparatuses in crushing terrorism.

“In the name of the Lebanese state and Lebanese people, I would like to extend my thanks for this generous grant, and accordingly I will start contacting the prime minister and the state’s officials to meet the urgent needs of the Army and security forces,” Hariri told a press conference in the Saudi port city of Jeddah…

The former premier renewed accusations that Hezbollah’s military role in the Syrian civil war drew retaliatory action by Sunni militants and blamed their actions for a series of car bomb attacks and security escalations across the border, the latest of which was the overrunning of Arsal by Al-Qaeda-linked gunmen from Syria’s Nusra Front and Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

Online:  Saudi $1B grant specifically to crush terrorism