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Palestine, a Land virtually laid waste with little population -- excerpt from "From Time Immemorial" ^ | 1984 | Joan Peters

Posted on 01/09/2002 4:48:50 AM PST by Sabertooth

Palestine, a Land virtually laid waste with little population 

A review of Palestine, before the era of prosperity began with the late nineteenth-century renewal of Jewish land settlement, shows that periodically Palestine was virtually laid waste, and its population suffered acute decline.

An enormous swell of Arab population could only have resulted from immigration and in-migration (from Jordan and the West Bank to the coastal area). It is helpful to see the land that was virtually emptied-and why.

Dio Cassius, writing at the time, described the ruin of the land beginning with the destruction of Judah:

Of their forts the fifty strongest were razed to the ground. Nine hundred and eighty-five of their best-known villages were destroyed....

Thus the whole of Judea became desert, as indeed had been foretold to the Jews before the war. For the tomb of Solomon, whom these folk celebrate in their sacred rites, fell of its own accord into fragments, and wolves and hyenas, many in number, roamed howling through their cities.1

One historian after another has reported the same findings.
In the twelve and a half centuries between the Arab conquest in the seventh century and the beginnings of the Jewish return in the 1880's, Palestine was laid waste. Its ancient canal and irrigation systems were destroyed and the wondrous fertility of which the Bible spoke vanished into desert and desolation... Under the Ottoman empire of the Turks, the policy of disfoliation continued; the hillsides were denuded of trees and the valleys robbed of their topsoil.2
In 1590 a "simple English visitor" to Jerusalem wrote, "Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet Remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and Weedes much like to a piece of Rank or moist Grounde."3

"While Tiberias was being resettled by Jews from Papal states, whose migration was approved by a papal Bull, Nazareth was continuing its decline." A Franciscan pilgrim translated a Latin Manuscript that reported that " 'A house of robbers, murderers, the inhabitants are Saracens.... It is a lamentable thing to see thus such a town. We saw nothing more stony, full of thorns and desert.'"4  A hundred years afterward, Nazareth was, in 1697, "an inconsiderable village.... Acre a few poor cottages ... nothing here but a vast and spacious ruin." Nablus consisted of two streets with many people, and Jericho was a "poor nasty village."5

In the mid-1700s, British archaeologist Thomas Shaw wrote that the land in Palestine was "lacking in people to till its fertile soil."6 An eighteenth-century French author and historian, Count Constantine Frangois Volney, wrote of Palestine as the "ruined" and "desolate" land.

In "Greater Syria," which included Palestine,

Many parts ... lost almost all their peasantry. In others.... the recession was great but not so total.7
Count Volney reported that, "In consequence of such wretched government, the greater part of the Pachilics [Provinces] in the empire are impoverished and laid waste." Using one province as an example, Volney reported that
... upwards of three thousand two hundred villages were reckoned; but, at present, the collector can scarcely find four hundred. Such of our merchants as have resided there twenty years have themselves seen the greater part of the environs ... become depopulated. The traveller meets with nothing but houses in ruins, cisterns rendered useless, and fields abandoned. Those who cultivated them have fled... 8

... And can we hope long to carry on an advantageous commerce with a country which is precipitately hastening to ruin? 9

Another writer, describing "Syria" (and Palestine) some sixty years later in 1843, stated that, in Volney's day, "the land had not fully reached its last prophetic degree of desolation and depopulation." 10

From place to place the reporters varied, but not the reports: J. S. Buckingham described his visit of 1816 to Jaffa, which "has all the appearances of a poor village, and every part of it that we saw was of corresponding meanness."11 Buckingham described Ramle, "where, as throughout the greater part of Palestine, the ruined portion seemed more extensive than that which was inhabited."12

After a visit in 1817-1818, travelers reported that there was not "a single boat of any description on the lake [Tiberias]."13 In a German encyclopedia published in 1827, Palestine was depicted as "desolate and roamed through by Arab bands of robbers."14

Throughout the nineteenth century the abandonment and dismal state of the terrain was lamented. In 1840 an observer, who was traveling through, wrote of his admiration for the Syrian "fine spirited race of men" whose "population is on the decline."15 While scorning the idea of Jewish colonization, the writer observed that the once populous area between Hebron and Bethlehem was "now abandoned and desolate" with "dilapidated towns."16 Jerusalem consisted of "a large number of houses ... in a dilapidated and ruinous state," and "the masses really seem to be without any regular employment." The "masses" of Jerusalem were estimated at less than 15,000 inhabitants, of whom more than half the population were Jews.17

The British Consul in Palestine reported in 1857 that

The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is that of a body of population.... 18
In the 1860s, it was reported that "depopulation is even now advancing."19 At the same time, H. B. Tristram noted in his journal that
The north and south [of the Sharon plain] land is going out of cultivation and whole villages are rapidly disappearing from the face of the earth. Since the year 1838, no less than 20 villages there have been thus erased from the map [by the Bedouin] and the stationary population extirpated. 20
Mark Twain, in his inimitable fashion, expressed scom for what he called the "romantic" and "prejudiced" accounts of Palestine after he visited the Holy Land in 1867.21 In one location after another, Twain registered gloom at his findings.
Stirring scenes ... occur in the valley [Jezreel] no more. There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent-not for thirty miles in either direction. There are two or three small clusters of Bedouin tents, but not a single permanent habitation. One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. 22
In fact, according to Twain, even the Bedouin raiders who attacked "so fiercely" had been imported: "provided for the occasion ... shipped from Jerusalem," by the Arabs who guarded each group of pilgrims.
They met together in full view of the pilgrims, after the battle, and took lunch, divided the baksheesh extorted in the season of danger and then accompanied the cavalcade home to the city! The nuisance of an Arab guard is one which is created by the sheikhs and the Bedouins together, for mutual profit... 23
To find ". . . the sort of solitude to make one dreary," one must, Twain wrote dramatically,
Come to Galilee for that... these unpeopled deserts, these rusty mounds of barrenness, that never, never do shake the glare from their harsh outlines, and fade and faint into vague perspective; that melancholy ruin of Capernaum: this stupid village of Tiberias, slumbering under its six funereal palms.... We reached Tabor safely .... We never saw a human being on the whole route. 24

Nazareth is forlorn .... Jericho the accursed lies a moldering ruin today, even as Joshua's miracle left it more than three thousand years ago: Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and their humiliation, have nothing about them now to remind one that they once knew the high honor of the Savior's presence; the hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their flocks by night, and where the angels sang, "Peace on earth, good will to men," is untenanted by any living creature... Bethsaida and Chorzin have vanished from the earth, and the "desert places" round about them, where thousands of men once listened to the Savior's voice and ate the miraculous bread, sleep in the hush of a solitude that is inhabited only by birds of prey and skulking foxes.25

"Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes.... desolate and unlovely.. . Twain wrote with remone. it is dreamland." 26

Jaffa, a French traveler wrote late in the nineteenth century, was still a ruin27. Haifa, to the north, had 6,000 souls and "nothing remarkable about it," another Frenchman, the author of France's foremost late-nineteenth-century Holy Land guidebook, commented. Haifa "can be crossed in five minutes" on the way to the city of Acre, he judged; that magnificent port was commercially idle. 28

Many writers, such as the Reverend Samuel Manning, mourned the atrophy of the coastal plain, the Sharon Plain, "the exquisite fertility and beauty of which made it to the Hebrew mind a symbol of prosperity."

But where were the inhabitants? This fertile plain, which might support an immense population, is almost a solitude.... Day by day we were to learn afresh the lesson now forced upon us, that the denunciations of ancient prophecy have been fulfilled to the very letter -- "the land is left void and desolate and without inhabitants." 29

Report followed depressing report, as the economist-historian Professor Fred Gottheil pointed out: "a desolate country"; 30 "wretched desolation and neglect";31 "almost abandoned now"32 "unoccupied";33  "uninhabited";34  "thinly populated."35

In a book called Heth and Moab, Colonel C. R. Conder pronounced the Palestine of the 1880s "a ruined land." According to Conder,

so far as the Arab race is concerned, it appears to be decreasing rather than otherwise.36
Conder had also visited Palestine earlier, in 1872, and he commented on the continuing population decline within the nine or ten-year interim between his visits:
The Peasantry who are the backbone of the population, have     diminished most sadly in numbers and wealth.37
Pierre Loti, the noted French writer, wrote in 1895 of his visit to the land: "I traveled through sad Galilee in the spring, and I found it silent. . . ." In the vicinity of the Biblical Mount Gilboa, "As elsewhere, as everywhere in Palestine, city and palaces have returned to the dust; This melancholy of abandonment, weighs on all the Holy Land." 38

David Landes summarized the causes of the shriveling number of inhabitants:

As a result of centuries of Turkish neglect and misrule, following on the earlier ravages of successive conquerors, the land had been given over to sand, marsh, the anopheles mosquito, clan feuds, and Bedouin marauders. A population of several millions had shrunk to less than one tenth that number-perhaps a quarter of a million around 1800, and 300,000 at mid-century.39

Palestine had indeed become "sackcloth and ashes."

1. Dio Cassius, History of the Romans, lxix, 12-14, cited by de Haas, History, pp. 55-56. De Haas adds: "In the third of the Schweich Lectures of 1922 the late Israel Abrahams ('Campains in Palestine from Alexander the Great' London, 1927) belittles Dio, Cassius' record of this war, and repeats the suggestion that the Jews were influenced by Hadrian 'consent to the rebuilding of the Temple.' This rebuilding myth, depending upon the alleged visit of Hadrian to Palestine on the death of Trajan, has been fully dealt with by Henderson in his biography of Hadrian. All the dimensions of the war, its gravity, and its duration, are fully attested by the inscriptions relating to the legions and by the honors distributed at the end of the campaign. The archeological records, carefully analyzed, support Dio Cassius and not his would-be corrector.

2. Carl Hermann Voss, "The Palestine Problem Today, Israel and Its Neighbors" (Boston, 1953), p. 13. 

3. Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund, Quarterly Statement, p. 86, cited in de Haas, History, p. 338.

4. De Haas, History, p. 337, citing Palestine Exploration Fund, Quarterly Statement, 1925, p. 197, translation of Latin manuscnpt by a Franciscan pilgrim.

5. Henry Maundrell, The Journal of Henry Maundrellfrom Aleppo to Jerusalem, 1697, Bohn's edition (London, 1848), respectively pp. 477, 428, 450.

6. Thomas Shaw, Travels and Observations Relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant (London, 1767), p. 331ff. De Haas notes: "Hasselquist, the Swedish botanist, munching some roasted ears of' green wheat which a shepherd generously shared with him, in the plain of Acre, reflected that the white bread of his northern homeland and the roasted wheat ears symbolized the difference between the two civilizations' Had he known that Mukaddasi boasted in the tenth century of the excellence Of Palestine's white bread he might have been still more impressed by the low estate to which the country had fallen in seven hundred years.... Hasselquist joined a party of four thousand pilgrims who went to Jericho under an escort of three hundred soldiers. He estimated that four thousand Christians, mostly of the eastern rites, entered Jaffa each year, and as many Jews. The Armenian Convent in Jerusalem alone could accommodate a thousand persons. The botanist viewed the pilgrim tolls as the best resource of an uncultivated and uninhabited country. . ~ . Ramleh was a ruin." (Emphasis added.) De Haas, History, pp. 349, 358, 360, citing Frederich Hasselquist, Reise nach Palastina, etc., 1749-1752, pp. 139, 145-146, 190.

7. Norman Lewis, "The Frontier of Settlement in Syria, 1800-19 50," in Charles Issawi, ed., The Economic History of the Middle East (Chicago, 1966), p. 260.

8. Count Constantine F. Volney, Travels Through Syria and Egypt in the Years 1783, 1784, 1785 (London, 1788), Vol. 2, p. 147. According to Volney, ". . . we with difficulty recognize Jerusalem.... remote from every road, it seems neither to have been calculated for a considerable mart of commerce, nor the centre of a great consumption.... [the population] is supposed to amount to twelve to fourteen thousand.... The second place deserving notice, is Bait-el-labm, or Bethlehem, ... The soil is the best in all these districts ... but as is the case everywhere else, cultivation is wanting. They reckon about six hundred men in this village capable Of bearing arms.... The third and last place of note is Habroun, or Hebron, the most powerful village in all this quarter, and able to arm eight or nine hundred men . . ." (pp. 303-325).

9. Volney, Travels, Vol. 2, p. 431.

10. A. Keith, The Land of Israel (Edinburgh, 1843), p. 465. "The population (viz., of the whole of Syria), rated by Volney at two million and a half, is now estimated at half that amount."

11. J.S. Buckingham, Travels in Palestine (London, 1821), p. 146. 

12. Ibid., p. 162.

13. James Mangles and the Honorable C.L. Irby, Travels in Egypt and Nubia (London, 1823), p. 295.

14. Brockhaus, Alig. deutsch Real-Encyklopaedie, 7th ed. (Leipzig, 1827), Vol. VIII, p. 206.

15. S. Olin, Travels in Egypt, Arabia Petraea and the Holy Land (New York, 1843), Vol. 2, pp. 438-439.

16. Ibid., pp. 77-78.

17. No. 238, "Report of the Commerce of Jerusalem During the Year 1863," F.O. 195/808, May 1864. ". . . The population of the City of Jerusalem is computed at 15,000, of whom about 4,500 Moslem, 8,000 Jews, and the rest Christians of various denominations. . ." From A.H. Hyamson, ed., The British Consulate in Jerusalem, 2 vols. (London, 1939-1941), Vol. 2, p. 331.

18. James Finn to the Earl of Clarendon, Jerusalem, September 15, 1857, F.O. 78/1294 (Pol. No. 36). Finn wrote further that "The result of my observations is, that we have here Jews, who have been to the United States, but have returned to their Holy Land -Jews of Jerusalem do go to Australia and instead of remaining there, do return hither, even without the allurements of agriculture and its concomitants." Ibid., 1, pp. 249-52.

19. J.B. Forsyth, A Few Months in the East (Quebec, 1861), p. 188. 

20. H.B. Tristram, The Land of1sraek A Journal of Travels in Palestine (London, 1865), p. 490.

21. Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, pp. 349, 366, 367. 

22. Ibid., p. 349.

23. Ibid., p. 429.

24. Ibid., p. 366, 375.

25. Ibid., pp. 441-442.

26. Ibid.

27. Jules Hoche, Les Pays des croisades (Paris, n.d.), p. 10, cited by David Landes, "Palestine Before the Zionists," Commentary, Feb., 1976, p. 49. 

28. Brother Lievin de Hamme, Guide indicateur, Vol. Ill, pp. 163, 190.

29. The Reverend Samuel Manning, Those Holy Fields (London, 1874), pp. 14-17. W.M. Thomson reiterated the Reverend Manning's observations: "How melancholy is this utter desolation! Not a house, not a trace of inhabitants, not even shepherds, seen everywhere else, appear to relieve the dull monotony.... Isaiah says that Sharon shall be wilderness, and the prediction has become a sad and impressive reality." Thomson, The Land and the Book (London: T. Nelsons & Sons, 1866), p. 506ff.

30. W.C. Prime, Tent Life in the Holy Land (New York, 1857), p. 240, cited by Fred Gottheil, "The Population of Palestine, Circa 1875," Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 15, no. 3, October 1979.

31. S.C. Bartlett, From Egypt to Palestine (New York, 1879), p. 409, cited in ibid.

32. Ibid., p. 410.

33. W. Allen, The Dead Sea: A New Route to India (London, 1855), p. 113, cited in ibid. 62), p. 466,

34. W.M. Thomson, The Land and the Book (New York: Harper Bros., 18 cited in ibid.

35. E.L. Wilson, In Scripture Lands (New York, n.d.), p. 316, cited in ibid.

36. Colonel C.R. Conder, Heth and Moab (London, 1883), pp. 380, 376.

37. ibid., p. 366.

38. Pierre Loti, La Galilee (Paris, 1895), pp. 37-41, 69, 85-86, 69, cited by David Landes, "Palestine Before the Zionists," Commentary, February 1976, pp. 48-49.

39. Landes, "Palestine," p. 49.

This page was produced by Joseph E. Katz
Middle Eastern Political and Religious History Analyst 
Brooklyn, New York 
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Source: "From Time Immemorial" by Joan Peters, 1984, a national

Portions Copyright © 1984 Joan Peters, Portions Copyright © 2001 Joseph Katz
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A little Historical perspective on the validity of "Palestinian" claims in Israel.

1 posted on 01/09/2002 4:48:50 AM PST by Sabertooth
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To: CheneyChick; vikingchick; Victoria Delsoul; WIMom; susangirl; one_particular_harbour; kmiller1k...

2 posted on 01/09/2002 4:50:13 AM PST by Sabertooth
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To: Sabertooth
I see the Pales not as a people but as a gang like the Cripes or the Bloods. I see Israel as the Homeowner's Association.
3 posted on 01/09/2002 4:57:01 AM PST by DeckTheHallsHolly
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To: Sabertooth
NOW YOU ARE COOOKING!! With the real stuff!
4 posted on 01/09/2002 4:59:25 AM PST by dennisw
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To: Sabertooth
For a while there I thought I was reading a paraphrase of Fox's Book of Martyrs ... account after account of the exact same thing.

This time, I was reading the systematic destruction of the Jews and their land by the Ishmaelites.

Let the evidence speak for itself.

Thanx, Sabertooth.

5 posted on 01/09/2002 5:04:04 AM PST by knarf
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To: Sabertooth
Temple Mount


The Islamic Claim to Temple Mount and to Israel.
Just look how desolate and neglected the Mosque and the Dome of the Rock were in 1875. Weeds growing. More proof of what a depopulated backwater Palestine was when the Zionists came.

To attempt to resolve the problem we examined Arab photographs taken about 1875 by the Bonfils out of Lebanon. The photographs are from a Lebanese WEB site whose address is:, and, and

The photos were computer enhanced to build up contrast as they are old and faded.

We also added a photograph of the Western Wall, part of the same collection, to demonstrate Jewish use of the Wall.

Following are some of the description of the photographs:

17 Mosque of Omar [Dome of the Rock] and David's Judgment Seat, Jerusalem, Mosquee d'Omar et tribunal de David.
15 The Jews Wailing Place, a Friday, Mur des Juifs, un vebdredi.
19 Mosque of El-Aksa, Jerusalem, Jerusalem. Mosquee, El-Aksa.
20 Mosque of Omar [Dome of the Rock] from the South, Jerusalem.
Bonfils, ca. 1875. Mount labelled "119. Different cupolas on platform of Temple." Produced by the Bonfils Studio, Beirut, and sold by Charles Taber & Co., New Bedford, Mass. Albumen. Mounted. 11 x 8.5 inches. Acquisition number 43-85.
Bonfils, ca. 1875. Mount labelled "113. Mosque of Omar and Court of David." Produced by the Bonfils Studio, Beirut, and sold by Charles Taber & Co., New Bedford, Mass. Albumen. Mounted. 11 x 8.5 inches. Acquisition number 155-85.

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
Note overall disrepair and lack of use

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock

Missing tiles

Note missing tiles and condition of roof

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock, additional view

Cupolas on Temple Mount
Note overall disrepair and lack of use

Al Aqsa
Al Aqsa Mosque
Note overall disrepair and lack of use

Western Wall
The Western Wall
In constant use since biblical times

6 posted on 01/09/2002 5:04:54 AM PST by dennisw
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To: knarf; dennisw
For a while there I thought I was reading a paraphrase of Fox's Book of Martyrs ... account after account of the exact same thing.

Got a link or an excerpt you can post?

This would be a great thread on which to do it. Check out dennisw's post at #6. Thanks, dennis.

7 posted on 01/09/2002 5:08:46 AM PST by Sabertooth
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To: dennisw
What a dump.
8 posted on 01/09/2002 5:14:01 AM PST by DeckTheHallsHolly
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To: Sabertooth,ipaq2000, lent, veronica, sabramerican, beowolf, nachum, benf, monkeyshine,angelo, bos
Think WEST Palestine which is pretty much the Israel of today.
The Zionists came to a depopulated land, a depressed land. Just look at the photos Temple Mount in 1875. The 3rd most holy site in Islam. WHAT A SCAM!

Many malarial swamps by the Mediterranean sea.  Pretty much the same as the Boers and English found when they went to South Africa. Some natives in both places but thinly settled with many being nomadic.

For many centuries, Israel was a sparsely populated, poorly cultivated and widely-neglected expanse of eroded hills, sandy deserts and malarial marshes. Mark Twain, who visited Israel in 1867, described it as: "...[a] desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds--a silent mournful expanse...A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action...We never saw a human being on the whole route...There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country."

As late as 1880, the American consul in Jerusalem reported the area was continuing its historic decline. "The population and wealth of palestine has not increased during the last forty years," he said.

Tel Aviv, 1909

The report of the palestine royal commission quotes an account of the Maritime Plan in 1913:

The road leading from gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and orange groves, orchards, or vineyards were to be seen until one reached [the Jewish village of] Yabna [Yavne]... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The ploughs used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village were horrible. Schools did not exist... The western part, towards the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants.

Lewis French, the British Director of Development wrote of Israel:

We found it inhabited by fellahin who lived in mud hovels and suffered severely from the prevalent malaria... Large areas...were uncultivated... The fellahin, if not themselves cattle thieves, were always ready to harbor these and other criminals. The individual plots...changed hands annually. There was little public security, and the fellahin's lot was an alternation of pillage and blackmail by their neighbors, the bedouin.

Surprisingly, many people who were not sympathetic to the Zionist cause believed the Jews would improve the condition of the arabs. For example, Dawood Barakat, editor of the egyptian paper al-ahram, wrote: "It is absolutely necessary that an entente be made between the Zionists and arabs, because the war of words can only do evil. The Zionists are necessary for the country: The money which they will bring, their knowledge and intelligence, and the industriousness which characterizes them will contribute without doubt to the regeneration of the country."

Even a leading arab nationalist believed the return of the Jews to their homeland would help resuscitate the country. According to sherif Hussein, the guardian of the islamic holy places in arabia:

The resources of the country are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants. One of the most amazing things until recent times was that the "palestinian" used to leave his country, wandering over the high seas in every direction. His native soil could not retain a hold on him, though his ancestors had lived on it for 1000 years. At the same time we have seen the Jews from foreign countries streaming to Israel from Russia, germany, austria, Spain, and America. The cause of causes could not escape those who had a gift of deeper insight. They knew that the country was for its original sons (abna'ihi'lasliyin), for all their differences, a sacred and beloved Homeland. The return of these exiles (jaliya) to their Homeland will prove materially and spiritually [to be] an experimental school for their brethren who are with them in the fields, factories, trades and in all things connected with toil and labor.

A Population Boom

As Hussein foresaw, the regeneration of Israel, and the growth of its population, came only after Jews returned in massive numbers. The Jewish population increased by 470,000 between World War I and World War II while the non-Jewish population rose by 588,000. In fact, the permanent arab population increased 120 percent between 1922 and 1947.

This rapid growth was a result of several factors. One was immigration from neighboring states-constituting 37 percent of the total immigration to pre-state Israel--by arabs who wanted to take advantage of the higher standard of living the Jews had made possible. The arab population also grew because of the improved living conditions created by the Jews as they drained malarial swamps and brought improved sanitation and health care to the region. Thus, for example, the muslim infant mortality rate fell from 201 per thousand in 1925 to 94 per thousand in 1945 and life expectancy rose from 37 years in 1926 to 49 in 1943.

The arab population increased the most in cities with large Jewish populations that had created new economic opportunities. From 1922-1947, the non-Jewish population increased 290 percent in Haifa, 131 percent in Jerusalem, and 158 percent in Jaffa. The growth in arab towns was more modest: 42 percent in nablus, 78 percent in jenin, and 37 percent in Bethlehem.

Jewish Land Purchases

Despite the growth in their population, the arabs continued to assert they were being displaced. The truth is from the beginning of World War I, part of Israel's Land was owned by absentee landlords who lived in cairo, damascus, and beirut. About 80 percent of the arabs were debt-ridden peasants, semi-nomads, and bedouins.

Jews actually went out of their way to avoid purchasing Land in areas where arabs might be displaced. They sought Land that was largely uncultivated, swampy, cheap and, most important, without tenants. In 1920, Labor Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion expressed his concern about the arab fellahin, whom he viewed as "the most important asset of the native population." Ben-Gurion said "under no circumstances must we touch Land belonging to fellahs or worked by them." He advocated helping liberate them from their oppressors. "Only if a fellah leaves his place of settlement," Ben-Gurion added, "should we offer to buy his Land, at an appropriate price."

It was only after the Jews had bought all of this available Land that they began to purchase cultivated Land. Many arabs were willing to sell because they were migrating to coastal towns and because they needed money to invest in the citrus industry.

When John Hope Simpson arrived in Israel in May 1930, he observed: "They [the Jews] paid high prices for the Land, and in addition they paid to certain of the occupants of those Lands a considerable amount of money which they were not legally bound to pay."

In 1931, Lewis French conducted a survey of landlessness and eventually offered new plots to any arabs who had been "dispossessed." British officials received more than 3,000 applications, of which 80 percent were ruled invalid by the government's legal adviser because the applicants were not landless arabs. This left only about 600 landless arabs, 100 of whom accepted the government Land offer.

In April 1936, a new outbreak of arab attacks on Jews was instigated by a syrian guerrilla named fawzi al-qawukji, the commander of the arab "liquidation" army. By November, when the British finally sent a new commission headed by lord peel to investigate, 89 Jews had been killed and more than 300 wounded.

The Peel commission's report found that arab complaints about Jewish Land acquisition were baseless. It pointed out that "much of the land now carrying orange groves was sand dunes or swamp-land and uncultivated when it was purchased... There was at the time of the earlier sales little evidence that the owners possessed either the resources or training needed to develop the Land." Moreover, the commission found the shortage was "due less to the amount of Land acquired by Jews than to the increase in the arab population." The report concluded that the presence of Jews in Israel, along with the work of the British administration, had resulted in higher wages, an improved standard of living, and ample employment opportunities.

In his memoirs, transjordan's king Abdullah wrote:

It is made quite clear to all, both by the map drawn up by the Simpson Commission and by another compiled by the Peel Commission, that the arabs are as prodigal in selling their land as they are in useless wailing and weeping (author's emphasis).

Even at the height of the arab revolt in 1938, the British high commissioner to palestine believed the arab landowners were complaining about sales to Jews, to drive up prices for Lands they wished to sell. Many arab landowners had been so terrorized by arab rebels they decided to leave Israel and sell their property to the Jews.

The Jews were paying exorbitant prices to wealthy landowners for small tracts of arid Land. "In 1944, Jews paid between $1,000 and $1,100 per acre in Israel, mostly for arid or semi-arid Land; in the same year, rich black soil in Iowa was selling for about $110 per acre."

By 1947, Jewish holdings in Israel amounted to about 463,000 acres. Approximately 45,000 of these acres were acquired from the mandatory government, 30,000 were bought from various churches, and 387,500 were purchased from arabs. Analyses of Land purchases from 1880 to 1948 show that 73 percent of Jewish plots were purchased from large landowners, not poor fellahin. Those who sold Land included the mayors of gaza, Jerusalem, and Jaffa. as'ad el-shuqeiri, a muslim religious scholar and father of plo chairman ahmed shuqeiri, took Jewish money for his Land. Even king Abdullah leased Land to the Jews. In fact, many leaders of the arab nationalist movement, including members of the muslim supreme council, sold Land to Jews.

9 posted on 01/09/2002 5:23:59 AM PST by dennisw
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To: Sabertooth
Good propaganda post. I find the comment above an excellent summary of the Lynch Mob's beliefs...

"I see the Pales not as a people"

10 posted on 01/09/2002 5:25:14 AM PST by rdww
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To: Sabertooth
" Got a link or an excerpt you can post?"

Can Do

11 posted on 01/09/2002 5:26:13 AM PST by knarf
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To: Torie; a_Turk; The Kitten; Askel5; Justin Raimondo; wooly_mammoth; Sabramerican; Buckeroo...

12 posted on 01/09/2002 5:27:57 AM PST by Sabertooth
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To: Sabertooth

1949 Armistice Lines Following 1st Arab-Israeli War    The end result of the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence was the creation of a Jewish State slightly larger than that which was proposed by the United Nations two years before. What remained of that almost-created second  Arab Palestinian State was gobbled up by Egypt (occupying the Gaza Strip) and by Trans-Jordan (occupying Judea-Samaria (the "West Bank" of the Jordan River) and Jerusalem. In the next year (1950) Trans-Jordan formally merged this West Bank territory into itself and granted all those Arabs living there Jordanian citizenship.  Since Trans-Jordan was no longer confined to one side of the  Jordan River, it renamed itself simply "JORDAN.  In the final analysis, the Arabs of Palestine ended up with nearly 85% of the original territory of Palestine. But that was still not 100% and thus the conflict between Arab and Jew for "Palestine" would continue through four more wars and continuous Arab terrorist  attacks upon the Israeli citizenry! It continues to this very day.
    From 1948-67  when all of Judea-Samaria [West Bank] ... including Jerusalem!) ended up under Arab [Jordanian] control, no effort was EVER made to create a second Palestinian State for the Arabs living there.  Surely you do not expect Israel to now provide these same Arabs with their own country when their fellow Arabs failed to do so!  And isn't it curious how Arafat and his PLO (formed in 1964)  discovered their "ancient" identity and a need for "self-determination" and "human dignity" on this very same West Bank ONLY AFTER Israel regained this territory (three years later in 1967) following Jordan's attempt attempt to destroy Israel!  Why was no request ever made upon King Hussein of Jordan when he "occupied" the West Bank?  Is it logical that the PLO was formed in 1964 to regain the lands they would lose three years later in 1967?  This sort of logic makes sense only to those who who have not learned that the PLO was formed to DESTROY Israel. And that is STILL their goal! A cosmetic name change from PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) to PA (Palestinian Authority) does not change the spots on THIS tiger!

Could it be that the Arabs knew the only way to get good land was to steal it after the Jews had returned it to fertility?

13 posted on 01/09/2002 5:30:36 AM PST by Straight Vermonter
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To: rdww
The Jews and their great efforts made Israel what it is today. If it were up to the Arabs it would still be a wasteland.

You have a touching leftist style sympathy for a bunch of 3rd world misfits consumed by hatred. This is your heroic Palestinian people.

14 posted on 01/09/2002 5:31:11 AM PST by dennisw
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To: Sabertooth
This book was discredited shortly after it was printed and was a total embarrassment to the author. a A better read would be "Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem"
15 posted on 01/09/2002 5:32:40 AM PST by Canoe Man
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To: rdww
"I see the Pales as a people"

finish it

....but as a gang like the Cripes or the Bloods.

16 posted on 01/09/2002 5:35:44 AM PST by DeckTheHallsHolly
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To: Straight Vermonter
Could it be that the Arabs knew the only way to get good land was to steal it after the Jews had returned it to fertility?

Israel is world class expert in drip irrigation. Can even find drip irrigation items from Israel over here. They did with that depopulated wasteland what was beyond the Arabs.

Just look at what was Tel Aviv in 1909! Where a million live today. Talk about prime beach front property being neglected!

Tel Aviv, 1909

17 posted on 01/09/2002 5:35:56 AM PST by dennisw
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To: Canoe Man
Any specifics? There are a ton of facts in this thread. CARE TO TRY AND DISPUTE A FEW?

Care to stick up for the Arab Muslim side of this history!

18 posted on 01/09/2002 5:37:57 AM PST by dennisw
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To: DeckTheHallsHolly
"I see the Pales not as a people"

finish it

....but as a gang like the Cripes or the Bloods.

19 posted on 01/09/2002 5:38:27 AM PST by DeckTheHallsHolly
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To: Canoe Man
This book was discredited shortly after it was printed and was a total embarrassment to the author. a A better read would be "Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem"

I'd be interested to see some support for your statements. Not saying you can't, but this is the place to post it.

20 posted on 01/09/2002 5:38:57 AM PST by Sabertooth
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