One of the issues surrounding the topic of Israeli settlements is the persistent impression that there was a stable, strong community of Palestinian Arabs that awaited Jews who were fleeing the Holocaust.
Actually, there have been Jewish communities there from the time of the Roman conquest, and Jews have been immigrating to Israel for centuries.
Likewise, there has been no solid, thriving Palestinian Arab community--just waiting to be displaced by Zionist Jews--In a post a few days ago, Zionists Kicked Palestinian Arabs Out Of Palestine? Why Do You Think Arabs Came In The First Place?, I wrote about how the Arab Palestinian population is not a permanent fixture in Israel--rather in 1948 many of the Arabs were recent immigrants who came to then-Palestine to take advantage of the improvements made by Jewish immigrants.
Another accusation made against the Israeli settlements is an offshoot of the previous idea that Palestinian Arabs in fact have strong ties to the land--strong, in fact, than Jews--by virtue of the fact that they are descendants of the Biblical Philistines and Canaanites, and at the very least their roots go back to the Arab invaders of then-Palestine in the 7th century.
One of the sources I quoted in Zionists Kicked Palestinian Arabs Out Of Palestine? Why Do You Think Arabs Came In The First Place?, is "Whose Palestine?" by Erich and Rael Jean Isaac. In their article they also examines the roots of the Palestinian Arabs themselves. They address the claim that Palestinian Arabs have a long lineage going back to the Philistines or original Canaanites.
Not so, write Erich and Rael Jean Isaac:
The Gilmours expand upon the PLO chestnut that the Arabs of Palestine are the true "immemorial" inhabitants of the land. They write: "Their ancestors are the Canaanites and Philistines who, unlike the Jews, were never deported. They remained in Palestine . . . and their descendants formed, and still form, the core of the indigenous population." But not only are the Palestinian Arabs not descendants of Canaanites, it is highly doubtful that more than a very few are even descended from those who settled the country as part of the Arab invasion of the 7th century. For over a thousand years following the Arab conquest, Palestine underwent a series of devastating invasions, followed by massacres of the existing population: Seljuk Turks and Fatimid reconquerors were followed by Crusaders who were followed by waves of Mongol tribes who were followed in turn by Tartars, Mamelukes, Turks, and incessant Bedouin raiders.
In the course of the 18th and 19th centuries Palestine was essentially repopulated by foreigners, some coming from great distances. Egyptians arrived in a number of waves, with an especially large one from 1832 to 1840. Sudanese pioneered successfully in the swampy marshlands. Entire tribes of Bedouin from as far away as Libya settled on the coastal plain. Abandoned villages in the Galilee were resettled by Lebanese Christians. Coastal towns attracted Armenians, Syrians, Turks. The French expansion in North Africa resulted in waves of refugees coming to Palestine; many of the followers of the Algerian resistance leader Abd el Kader went to the Galilee, where they founded a number of villages (Samakh, Deishum). Russian expansion into the Caucasus led to the emigration of many of its Muslim peoples (Circassians and Georgians) who were welcomed by the Ottoman empire; many of these made their way to Palestine, where they founded their own villages. Similarly, the Austrian advance into the Balkans led to the emigration of Bosnian Muslims to Palestine. Turkomans from Russian Central Asia and Kurds complete this roster of "Canaanites." Ironically, the only surviving "Canaanite" culture is that of the Jews, who everywhere still pray, and in Israel also speak, in a Canaanite language. [emphasis added]
Israelis will go head-to-head with Palestinian Arabs on roots to the land anytime.