Palestinian demography 1880-1948

November 22, 2011

(EOZ) This article is, hands down, the best attempt by anyone to nail down the facts about how many people lived in Palestine before 1948. The group that wrote this has no political agenda I could detect on either side – many articles on the site are clearly not pro-Israel.
The major conclusions were:

1. The nature of the data do not permit precise conclusions about the Arab population of Palestine in Ottoman and British times,
2. Palestine was not an empty land when Zionist immigration began.
3. Zionist settlement between 1880 and 1948 did not displace or dispossess Palestinians.
4. Historic population data in Palestine during Ottoman times and during Mandatory times show significant discrepancies.
5. It is not possible to estimate illegal Arab immigration directly, but apparently there was some immigration.
5. There are large discrepancies between official population figures and the number of Palestinian refugees
6. There are serious discrepancies in reporting of the number of refugees by UNRWA.
7. The city of Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority since about 1896

I found this article while trying to find out the facts about land ownership before 1948. So many times, anti-Zionists point out that Jews only owned 6-8% of the land in Palestine, implying that Arabs owned 92-94%. I was wondering how much of the land was privately owned by Arabs, how much by the British (and Ottomans beforehand), and what other categories there were.
Here is what I found out from this article:

Population and Land Ownership prior to the UN Partition Resolution

An Anglo-American commission of inquiry in 1945 and 1946 examined the status of Palestine. No official census figures were available, as no census had been conducted in Palestine in 1940, so all their surmises and figures are based on extrapolations and surmises. According to the report, at the end of 1946, About 1,220,000 Arabs and 608,000 Jews resided within the borders of Mandate Palestine. Jews had purchased 6 to 8 percent of the total land area of Palestine. This was about 20% of the land that could be settled and cultivated. About 46% of the land was registered in the tax registers to Arab villages, to Arabs living on the land, or absentee owners, and about the same amount was government land. However, most of this land was not privately owned. The Arabs of Palestine had received much of their land in leases conditional upon cultivation or used land that was part of village commons.

So based on this, it appears that Arabs privately owned somewhere between 1% and 22% of the land in Palestine before 1948, depending on the meaning of the word “most” in the sentence above. The other “Arab” land was not owned by them, but was leased conditionally from the British.
In other worlds, it is even possible that Jews owned more land than Arabs did before the 1948 war!
This discounts the fact that the British tried very hard to stop Jews from buying and privatizing land – if it wasn’t for that, Jews would undoubtably have come to privately own much more. Even so, it is an illuminating fact amongst the rhetoric.

(zum.de) Ottoman Syria consisted of the Vilayets (provinces) of Syria (Damascus) and Beirut inclusively the Mutasarrifats of
Beirut and Jerusalem; one might also include the Vilayets of Aleppo and Deir ez Zor, as they covered considerable
parts of the territory of modern Syria. Ottoman Syria (the Vilayets of Syria and Beirut, Mutasarrifats of Beirut and
Jerusalem) covered the territory of modern Lebanon, Israel/
Palestine and much of modern Jordan
and Syria; if the Vilayets of Aleppo and Deir ez Zor are included, all of modern
Syria as well as territory within modern
Turkey and modern Iraq.
In 1917 Ottoman Syria came under the occupation of British and French troops; in 1920/1922 it was partitioned into
the French Mandates of Lebanon and Syria and the British Mandates
of Palestine and Transjordan.

Timelines : Ottoman Syria
Regional Timelines : Alawite Territory / Latakia, Souaida / Druze Territory
Historical Encyclopedias on (Ottoman) Syria 1809-1909
Historical Atlas, Syria,
Lebanon, Palestine,
Jordan
List of Wars : Ottoman Arabia
Students’ Papers : Kim, Sun Hoo, History of Food and Nutrition in West Asia (2009)


Mahmoud Abbas AKA Abu Mazen Writes his Naqba in the NYTimes.com

May 17, 2011

…Nakba Historiography…

Abu Mazen AKA Mahmoud Abbas is the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the president of the Palestinian National Authority via nytimes.com…

…It is important to note that the last time the question of Palestinian statehood took center stage at the General Assembly, the question posed to the international community was whether our homeland should be partitioned into two states. In November 1947, the General Assembly made its recommendation and answered in the affirmative. Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued. – Abu Mazen AKA Abbas

compare that to the account from Barry Rubin:
based on German and U.S. intelligence materials:

The international community offered to make Amin al-Husseini, the Palestinian Arabs’ leader, head of a state despite the fact that he and his closest colleagues were the subject of a 1938 British arrest warrant for terrorist activities (not mythical but for killing lots of people), and had spent World War Two in Berlin doing pro-Nazi propaganda, recruiting for SS units, and planning a Holocaust of Jews in the Middle East.

But al-Husseini rejected partition and so did all of the Arab states. While Jordan wanted to make a deal and Egypt’s government wasn’t enthusiastic, they all had to go along with al-Husseini’s intransigence, their hysterical public opinion, and the other Arab states’ pressure. The Arab League’s leader, a Nazi agent during World War Two, bragged that the Jews would be massacred. The Muslim Brotherhood, which collaborated with the Nazis during the war and were subsidized by them before the war, sent volunteers to fight the Jews. And so a Palestinian Arab army, whose three chief commanders had all fought for the Nazis during World War Two, went to war against the Jews using Nazi-supplied weapons (provided for the Palestinian Arab revolt in 1939 and for an Egyptian revolt that never happened in 1942). They lost. via A Brief Guide to Why 1948 Was a Palestinian Arab and Arab Disaster by Barry Rubin via docstalk.blogspot.com

Indeed, it was the descendants of these expelled Palestinians who were shot and wounded by Israeli forces on Sunday as they tried to symbolically exercise their right to return to their families’ homes.  Abu Mazen AKA Abbas

NO…The Syrian government, with the encouragement of anti-Israel Palestinian groups, Hezbollah and the Iranians, has sent hundreds of supposed “Palestinian refugess” surging across the Israeli border in the Golan in an attempt to provoke a confrontation.


…A key focus of negotiations will be reaching a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on Resolution 194, which the General Assembly passed in 1948… Abu Mazen AKA Abbas

…here is the truth about Resolution 194

[Count Bernadotte‘s]  report also considered the possibility of resettlement outside Palestine, with those who chose not to return being adequately compensated for their lost property. “It must not… be supposed that the establishment of the right of refugees to return to their former homes provides a solution to the problem” the report read.

The Drafting History of 242 Shows it Pertains to all Refugees – Jewish and Arab

Resolution 242 speaks of “a just settlement of the refugee problem,” not ‘the Palestinian or Arab refugee problem.’ The history of the resolution shows that it was intentional and reflected recognition that the Arab-Israeli conflict created two refugee populations, not one. Parallel to the estimated 600,000 Arabs who left Israel, more than 899,000(12) Jews fled from Arab countries in the aftermath of the 1948 war – 650,000 of them finding asylum in Israel.
A history of the behind-the-scenes work drafting the resolution shows that the former Soviet Union Ambassador Vasiliy Vasilyevich Kuznetsov sought to restrict the term ‘just settlement’ to Palestinian refugees only. But former U.S. Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, the American Ambassador to the UN who played a key role in the ultimate language adopted, pointed out:

“A notable omission in 242 is any reference to Palestinians, a Palestinian state on the West Bank or the PLO. The resolution addresses the objective of ‘achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem.’ This language presumably refers both to Arab and Jewish refugees, for about an equal number of each abandoned their homes as a result of the several wars.” via crethiplethi.com

…We call on all friendly, peace-loving nations to join us in realizing our national aspirations by recognizing the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and by supporting its admission to the United Nations. Only if the international community keeps the promise it made to us six decades ago, and ensures that a just resolution for Palestinian refugees is put into effect, can there be a future of hope and dignity for our people. Abu Mazen AKA Abbas

the 1949 Armistice Line never was a border.
there is no such thing as pre-1967 borders.
Jordan repeatedly clarified this through history. Example days before the Six-Day War Jordan clarified that for any claiming parties the the old armistice agreement “did not fix boundaries”.
Article II of the 1949 Armistice Agreement with the Jordanians explicitly specified that the line that was designated did not compromise any future territorial claims of the two parties, since it had been “dictated by exclusively by military considerations.

France, Britain and Germany want EU and UN to replace US as ‘peace talks’ facilitator

March 26, 2011

France, Britain and Germany have called on the United Nations and the European Union to present a ‘peace plan’ for the Middle East, and to effectively replace the Untied States as the facilitator of ‘negotiations.’

Putting the job in the hands of the EU and the UN would sideline the United States, Israel’s closest ally which has tried unsuccessfully for months to get face-to-face negotiations going, as well as Russia, an ally of the Palestinians.
The big question mark is whether the United States would allow the Europeans and UN to take the lead in trying to resolve the standoff, and that is likely to depend on whether the Israelis give a green light, the diplomats said.
The Israelis and Palestinians have agreed to President Barack Obama’s target date of September 2011 for an agreement, but negotiations collapsed weeks after they restarted last September.
The Palestinians insist they will not resume peace talks until Israel halts settlement building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War which the Palestinians want for their future state.

And that is one reason why negotiations aren’t likely to resume despite the fact that the Europeans promise

The diplomats said the three European countries have delivered the message in key capitals – including Washington and Jerusalem – that if the parameters of a final settlement are endorsed, the Palestinians will return to the negotiating table.

YNet adds:

The diplomat said the United States will almost certainly never accept a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence, or any other measure that does not include a negotiated peace agreement.
That’s why the three Europeans are pressing for the parameters of a settlement which would hopefully lead to a resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the diplomat said.

The good news here is that the Europeans’ votes in the Security Council are apparently not wrapped up yet.
Would letting the EU and the UN run the show for a while be a good idea? Well, maybe, if it means that the US will stop playing neutral and get out on our side like most Americans want to do.

no outside power can decide the borders within the Mandate set by Great Britain. Europe is going to have to talk to itself.


Palestine Betrayed

March 17, 2011

When it comes to the birth of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Palestinian narrative has become the most widely repeated version of events: After World War I, Jews began immigrating to areas within Britain’s Mandate of Palestine with the Zionist dream of building a Jewish state. Jewish immigration dramatically increased at the end of World War II as a result of collective European guilt in the aftermath of the Holocaust. The Jews eventually established Israel as their illegal state after evicting the Arab population and plundering the Palestinian people and their homeland with the help of colonialist Europe. Israel’s independence is known in Arabic as the Nakba—the great catastrophe—and it created the Palestinian refugee problem, the biggest obstacle to solving the conflict today.

Enter Efraim Karsh, head of Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London, and his latest book,Palestine Betrayed. A preeminent historian on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Karsh sets out “to reclaim the historical truth” behind Israel’s creation. In doing so, he tests such Palestinian narratives and the conclusions of the “new historians”—revisionists such as Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappe, and the early Benny Morris who in the 1980s rose to challenge the established narrative of Israel’s birth.
Karsh sets the record straight by drawing on Western, United Nations, Israeli, and Soviet documents declassified over the last decade, providing the correct context often missing in the selective focus of the “new historians” and altogether absent in the Palestinian narrative. His detailed examination of the historical records reveals that Israel’s establishment was not the main cause of the Palestinian refugee problem and the hardships that the population has faced thereafter. Instead, it was the result of actions taken by the Palestinian Arabs and their leaders.
Anger instigated by Arab leaders is the foremost recurring theme in Palestine Betrayed, and Karsh holds the mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin Husseini, responsible for the deterioration of neighborly relations between the Arabs and Jews during the Mandate period, and for the eventual “collapse and dispersion of Palestinian Arab society.”
Hajj Amin, known for his pan-Arab ambitions, “viewed the Palestinians not as a distinct people deserving statehood but as an integral part of a single Arab nation”—with himself as leader, and clean of Jews. To this end, Hajj Amin, an admirer and supporter of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, launched a campaign to demolish the Jewish national revival by enraging his constituents with all the anti-Jewish rhetoric he could find, from verses in the Quran to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
But the Mufti was not alone in his aspirations to control Palestine at the expense of its inhabitants. It was Transjordanian King Abdullah’s “imperial ambitions” that eventually forced the newly formed Arab states to invade the day-old Israel in 1948 “not to save the Palestinian Arabs but to prevent the annexation of Palestine, in whole or in part, to Transjordan.” Karsh astutely points out that the Arab invasion following Israel’s independence “was more of a scramble for Palestine than an attempt to secure Palestinian national rights.”
However, instead of consolidating Arab rule over Palestine, “The 1948 war resulted in the total disintegration of Palestinian Arab society.” By the end of the Mandate in May 1948, some 340,000 Arabs had fled Palestine; by January 1949, that number swelled to 600,000—a direct result of Arab leaders’ coercion and invasion.
Indeed, the Mufti and heads of surrounding Arab countries were largely responsible for the flight of the Palestinian Arabs—a highly controversial point that Karsh proves remarkably well with a substantial body of sourced material and quotations from key British, Jewish, and Arab eyewitnesses. While there were instances in which Jewish forces expelled Arab villagers in the heat of battle, in most cases, Arab leaders and their armed militias forcefully drove the Palestinian Arabs from their homes, at first to use the houses as military bases and then to prevent them from becoming citizens of a prospective Jewish state. Many others fled of their own free will as the wartime security situation deteriorated.
At the heart of Palestine Betrayed, Karsh argues that the Palestinian people were—and still are—betrayed by their very own leaders who promised to act with their best interests in mind but instead acted on personal ambitions. Never relinquishing their dreams of a pan-Arab empire under their homage, each leader refused to establish peaceful relations with the Jews, condemning the Palestinian people to decades of war and statelessness.
“Had the Mufti chosen to lead his people to peace and reconciliation with their Jewish neighbors,” Karsh writes, “the Palestinians would have had their independent state” in accordance with the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine, which the Jews accepted and Palestine’s Arab leaders did not.
The same applied to Yassir Arafat in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when he chose to pocket international aid and create terrorist networks rather than infrastructure necessary for an independent state. The same now applies to Mahmoud Abbas who refuses to accept Israel’s ‘Jewishness’ in a peace agreement but insists that Israel fully implement the right of return, “the Palestinian and Arab euphemism for Israel’s destruction.”
Palestine Betrayed is an extraordinarily well-documented account of the events leading up to Israel’s creation. It is the antidote to revisionist historians whose narrative casts the Palestinians as passive players in the conflict with no responsibility for their actions. The contexts of war and inter-Arab rivalry are the key components to understanding how events played out. At the same time, Karsh’s work demonstrates that Palestinian mythology continues to hinder all attempts at solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Indeed, the notion that Israel is solely responsible for creating the Palestinian refugee encourages Palestinian leaders and society to cling to the erroneous belief that Israel will welcome each refugee into the state as part of a peace deal. And as long as this remains a Palestinian redline, there is no hope for ending the conflict. http://www.jewishpolicycenter.org/2081/palestine-betrayed
Efraim Karsh
Yale University Press, 2010. 336 pp.  $32.50
Reviewed by Samara Greenberg
National Security Policy Proceedings
via docstalk.blogspot.com
Posted via email
from noahdavidsimon’s posterous


Arab Rep in Israel MK Ahmed Tibi has no regrets about visiting Libya

February 28, 2011
Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi
Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi
via haaretz.com
Photo by: Olivier Pitussi

Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi said…
in an op-ed in The New York Times
that Israel’s loyalty oath bill
is “an attempt to relegate
Palestinian citizens of Israel to inferior status.”

Tibi said that the loyalty oath,
which requires non-Jewish immigrants
to pledge allegiance to Israel
as a “Jewish and democratic state”,
is akin to the United States
requiring Mexican immigrants
to swear allegiance to a U.S.
that is white and Protestant,
while pardoning immigrants
from Europe of the obligation.

of course not. they are all snakes. one bit another:

In an earlier post, I reported that two of the six ‘Israeli Arab’ MK’s who visited Libya last spring now regretted going. Haaretz interviews former Arafat adviser and current MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al), who was one of the initiators of the Libya trip. Tibi says that he has no regrets about visiting Libya.
I guess that it goes without saying that Tibi’s interview is full of disingenuous claims regarding both the visit to Libya and Israel’s treatment of ‘Israeli Arabs,’ but this is perhaps the most bizarre claim of all:

So it is correct to accept an invitation from anyone, without exercising judgment?
“First of all, he invited us and secondly, no one imagined he would do what he is doing a year later. Anyone who says he could have foreseen these events is not speaking the truth and is being deceptive.”
Everyone today seems to be in favor of the people and against the regime in Libya, but isn’t it true that even before the visit, Gadhafi was not a democrat or a believer in human rights?
“I admit the connection with the Arab world is one that involves non-democratic regimes. There’s a difference between visiting and being loyal to or trailing after one regime or another. I am saying clearly and unambiguously that a visit does not constitute an expression of support for Gadhafi’s policy in Libya – and such things were said there. For example, I personally expressed criticism of the backwardness in the world as a result of certain regimes, and the fact that rights are not granted to citizens. And we said that the role of the revolutions that erupted and overcame colonialism in the Arab world has been to give freedom and liberty and democracy to the Arab world.”

No, no one could have predicted a year ago that the Gadhafi regime would be on the verge of being overthrown. But it was definitely predictable that Gadhafi would react violently to any demonstrations. And the Libyan regime was one which was already known a year ago to practice torture. Go here and here.
The Libyan regime was known a year ago – and even longer ago – as one that practiced torture. It was more than ‘just’ an undemocratic regime. Tibi’s claims not to have been aware of the nature of the Libyan regime are completely disingenuous. He and his colleagues gave support and comfort to a tyrant. The least they could do is own up to it.


The Occupiers of Palestine

November 21, 2010

Here:

Sergeants Sedgewich & Hurcomb, with Maj. Barry, one of the first officers to enter Jerusalem, Dec. 9th 1917, as part of the conquering British army.
As for “occupation” read this:


The Islamic Poppy Burn Party

November 13, 2010