Q. What people originally founded Jerusalem? When David conquered Jerusalem, who were the people that lived there and where are their descendants today? Were they the same people that founded it?
A. The people who originally founded Jerusalem were the Jebusites, mentioned in Genesis 10:15-16 as being the descendants of the third son of Canaan. The tribe of Judah, to whom the area was given by Joshua after the conquest, could not dislodge them and settled around them (Joshua 15:63). The same was true of the Benjamites who were given adjoining land (Judges 1:21). They were finally conquered by King David (2 Samuel 5). Later King Solomon conscripted the surviving Jebusites to serve as slave laborers in his various building projects (1 Kings 9:20-21).
Yassar Arafat once claimed that the Palestinians of today might be descendants of the Jebusites, but there’s no archeological or other evidence to support his claim. The Jebusites have most likely disappeared from the historical record.