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.

( 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,
List of Wars : Ottoman Arabia
Students’ Papers : Kim, Sun Hoo, History of Food and Nutrition in West Asia (2009)


Turkey: Erdogan’s New "Ottoman Region"

July 13, 2011
Assad and his ruling clique are not Sunnis. They are Alawis — not exactly the same as Turkey’s Alevis, but similar in that they also revere Ali as a deity, much as the Christians revere Jesus. As a result of the continuing upheaval in Syria, the ruling party of Turkey might see itself as surrounded by various active religious threats from the east and from Syria, along Turkey’s southern border… It is in this context that we should understand Turkey’s renewed interest in the U.S. and Israel. As such, both the U.S. and Israel should be extremely wary of Erdogan and his associates. Erdogan’s Turkey does not see long-term interests with either. Given economic developments in Iran, Alawite oppression in Syria, and Shiite-dominance in Iraq, Erdogan understands that he must take a temporary hiatus from his goal of reasserting what appears to be his real goal — the Turkish Sunni domination of the entire Middle East. via

Bosnia: Muslima Forced Serb Prisoners to Drink the Blood of Butchered Serbs

July 12, 2011
“Just following orders…?”

Azra basic (photo, in handcuffs), Bosnian Muslim, slaughtered Serbian prisoners in the Bosnian-Serbian war and forced other Serbian prisoner to drink their blood.. Ah yes,  one more thing about Srebrenica: many people whose names are  listed on the Srebrenica monument of the alleged victims of the so-called Serbian genocide, are alive and well in the US of A, mostly in Minnesota. did they say that those Muslims are now in the United States? Meanwhile, the  Swine from the Media keep spinning the  myth of Srebrenica: Muslims murder 3.500 Christian Serbs, enemedia whines over Muslims
Here’s what really happened. Srebrenica: Bosnian Muslim Jihad killings of 3,500 Christians By Lee Jay Walker from Modern Tokyo Time… The image of Srebrenica tells us more about the reality of the majority of the media and of course the “Muslim victim card” is being used in order to cleanse the Bosniak Muslims. After all, from enslaving Orthodox Christians during their brotherly love with the Turkish slave masters of the Ottoman Empire to having Muslim SS units who supported Adolf Hitler; then “victimhood” is needed in order to justify their history and culture. (More here) via

Sarah Leah Whitson pushes the race button

April 17, 2011

Sarah Leah Whitson, the Human Rights Watch official who raised funds for her organization by blasting Israel in uber-racist, slavery-tolerating Saudi Arabia, has made one of the most odious analogies possible. She writes,

Israeli President Shimon Peres visited Washington earlier this month, hot on the heels of an announcement that Israeli authorities had approved yet more housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. In a week when the U.S. paused to recall the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, President Peres might have considered King’s message — an end to segregation — and why such a system of racial inequality remains in place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Back in 1968, when Dr. King was murdered, the debate about discrimination was live and real. Most governments have long since stopped trying to justify separating people based on race or national origin, whether for ostensible security concerns, like the U.S. internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, or plain old bigotry, like the Jim Crow laws of the American south.

Yet in the areas of the Occupied Palestinian Territories where Israel has moved almost half a million Jewish “settlers,” not only do Israeli laws and policies strictly segregate Jews from Palestinians, they deliberately deprive Palestinians of the most basic needs, in many cases forcing them out of their communities.

Human Rights Watch and the selling of Gaddafi

If Whitson is suggesting that the ‘Palestinian cause’ is anything like the civil rights movement in America — clearly she is — she is living in an alternate universe.
Civil rights workers did not fire antitank missiles at school buses, nor did they slit the throats of babies and children. American blacks did not blow themselves up at holiday celebrations, and Mexican and Canadian ones did not launch rockets into American towns and cities.
In fact, try as I might, the only way that Dr. M. L. King and Ismail Haniyya are alike is that they both say they are struggling for their people’s rights. Of course, Dr. King actually was, whereas Haniyya is a racist, genocidal antisemite who wants to wipe out the Jews in Israel and take their country. King indeed represented an oppressed racial minority that was discriminated against in law and custom, while Haniyya is supported by the considerable resources of the Arab world and Iran in his murderous cause. If the analogy makes sense at all, Jewish Israelis are the ones discriminated against in the Middle East and in the broader international community.
But Whitson isn’t interested in reality — as she wasn’t interested in the very real human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia — she is interested in pushing buttons.
So she claims that Israel maintains a system of ‘racial inequality’, when the concept of race has nothing to do with relations between Jews and Arabs, who are genetically closer to each other than to non-Jewish Europeans. Of course she doesn’t have to use the word ‘race’, she could claim that there was a system of cultural or linguistic discrimination. But that wouldn’t push the button.
Whitson refers numerous times to the ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’. What are these territories? They are part of the lands that were set aside by the League of Nations for a “Jewish National Home” after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI. Various Arab states were also created at the same time, but this was the only area specifically designated for Jewish settlement. These territories were never ‘Palestinian’, and they were only ‘Arab’ insofar as they were illegally occupied by Jordan and Egypt for 19 years. They are not ‘occupied’, since there was no sovereign authority there since the end of the Mandate — they are at most ‘disputed’, and an argument can be made that if any party ought to control them, it’s Israel, the representative of the Jewish people.

She continues,

With little regard for the blatant racial inequality of its policies, the Israeli government provides Jewish settlements with water, electricity, housing, schools, hospitals and roads, while it severely restricts access to these necessities to Palestinian communities under its control.

HRW appoints PFLP terrorist
named Jabarin as an advisor

Race doesn’t have anything to do with it. The territories are not part of Israel. Israel doesn’t have to ‘provide’ anything — there is a Palestinian Authority (PA) which gets enormous sums of money from the West and which governs the areas of Judea and Samaria (Areas A and B) which contain more than 90% of the Arab population. Arabs connected with the corrupt PA have well-paying positions or lucrative business concessions. They live in large villas, much more elaborate than the housing found in Israeli settlements.
Whitson, by the way, refers to the “the 60 percent of the West Bank known as ‘Area C’ where Israel has complete control without mentioning that Area C contains only 4% of the Arab population! The rest is mostly uninhabited desert and mountainous areas, along with the Israeli settlements of course.
In 1967, only 20% of the Arab population in Judea and Samaria was connected to a water system — now 90% are connected to Israel’s national water grid. Even Gaza, ruled by the bellicose Hamas, receives most of its water and electricity from Israel. This leads to ironic situations, such as the time Hamas snipers shot and wounded an Israel Electric Company worker who was climbing a tower near the border. And it is upsetting to know that the factories that make the Qassam rockets fired at Israel are powered by Israeli electricity.
A particularly pernicious accusation is that Israel has built ‘apartheid roads’ on which Arabs are not permitted to drive. What is actually the case is that Jewish residents were subjected to frequent deadly drive-by shooting attacks on certain roads — in August of last year four people were killed in a single incident — and so the Israeli authorities chose to close the off-ramps to the Arab villages in the area. Arabs, both Israeli Arabs and residents of the territories do drive on the roads — again, there is nothing racist involved, unless it is the racist murderers who shoot at vehicles containing Jews.
Israeli hospitals routinely treat patients from the territories and Eastern Jerusalem. During the Gaza war, the Palestinian Authority stopped paying for its patients on the grounds that the Jews were ‘making propaganda’ by treating them. There is no separation between Jewish and Arab patients, and in fact even wounded terrorists are treated.
Whitson goes on:

Israel’s security justifications fall far short of the strict and narrow limits on differential treatment permitted under international law between people of different ethnicities or national origins. A state should never apply such measures categorically against an entire group and must limit them to specific individuals who pose a threat.

One of the security measures that Whitson and others find to be unacceptable profiling are the checkpoints, which do present an inconvenience for the entire Palestinian Arab population. But almost every day, potential terrorists are stopped at the checkpoints with weapons or explosives. How would it be possible to do this without everyone passing through the checkpoint? Should security personnel only check “specific individuals who pose a threat?” How would they know who the are?

The fact is that Israel is at war, and many of those fighting against it are embedded in the Palestinian Arab population. You cannot understand the relationship of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs outside the context of this war, and you cannot understand the Israeli-Palestinian part of it outside the context of the broader war — whose goal is the elimination of Israel — that has been prosecuted by the Arab world (and now Iran) since the beginning of the state.
Pretending that this is a question of civil rights, that there is ‘racial discrimination’, completely falsifies and distorts this reality.
But it’s great for pushing buttons.

via from 17 April ’11

Sarah Leah Whitson, the head of ‘Human Rights Watch

NGO Monitor has called on Sarah Leah Whitson, the head of ‘Human Rights Watch’s Mideast and North Africa division, to resign, on the grounds that she misled the public regarding the nature of the Gadhafi regime in Libya and the intentions of Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam.

Robert Bernstein’s new baby

Robert Bernstein attacked Human Rights Watch – an organization that he founded – for going off course in the Middle East.  A lot of people thought that was the end of Bernstein and that he’d never be heard from again. But at 88, Bernstein has the energy of a much younger man. He’s starting a new human rights organization that will do it his way.

Soros giving Human Rights Watch $100 million – the Jewish Gold fillings during the Holocaust wasn’t enough

The Archeology War

April 7, 2011

The Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) was founded in 1979 by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). It has three basic goals. The first is to spread a Saudi version of Koranic education throughout the Islamic world. The second is to publicize Islam to the non-Islamic world, both positively by touting Islamic civilization and its accomplishments—this it dubs “Dialogue among Civilizations”—and negatively, by protesting what it calls the “anti-Islamic campaign.” The third goal is to oppose the “Judaization of Al-Quds”—i.e., Jerusalem. To that end, a recent ISESCO meeting in Amman has bitterly attacked archeological projects in the Holy City conducted by “the Israeli occupation authorities . . . in full breach of the relevant international laws and conventions.” Citing supposedly “objective and well-documented information on the alteration of the Sacred City’s character and obliteration of its Arab and Islamic identity,” ISESCO vigorously denounced all such “attempts to Judaize Al-Quds Al-Sharif.”
Of course, Muslim claims that Jews are threatening Jerusalem have a long pedigree. So, in particular, do attacks on Israeli archeological practice there. In 1974, UNESCO—the international organization that ISESCO nominally apes—was forced by the Arab states to vote sanctions against Israeli digs in Jerusalem and to deny Israel membership in the organization’s European regional group. Although Israel was readmitted in 1977, UNESCO’s bias continued to be so blatant that in 1984 the U.S., UK, and others temporarily left the organization. Such a principled act is difficult to imagine today, even after UNESCO has declared Rachel’s Tomb to be a mosque and has condemned Israel for putting West Bank archeological sites on its list of National Heritage sites.
Is it necessary to point out that, in this area as in others, the true situation is the exact opposite of the one being portrayed? Israeli archeologists and the Israel Antiquities Authority have studied and preserved Islamic sites throughout the country. In the meantime, Islamic authorities and activists have exercised to the utmost their ability to deny and, if possible, obliterate evidence of any pre-modern Jewish connection to, in particular, the city of Jerusalem.
Islamic authorities have, for example, converted interior spaces of the Temple Mount into mosques and have removed immense amount of debris that happen to contain remains of earlier periods of Jewish occupation. Muslim “graves” have appeared overnight on disputed plots of land around Jerusalem. Efforts have been made to have Canadian authorities seize Dead Sea Scrolls being exhibited in Israel on the grounds that they are Palestinian cultural property illegally obtained. And, in a move as illogical as it is brazen, Palestinian intellectuals have attempted to manufacture a claim to Jerusalem that predates that of Jews by arguing descent from “Jebusites”—the city’s pre-Davidic residents whose presence is attested only in the Bible itself.
In the meantime, the international campaign continues on its course. In a Google search, the term “Judaization of Jerusalem” yields over 100,000 results and merits a separate Wikipedia entry that patiently explains its various meanings. In the narrow sense, Judaization signifies any effort to demonstrate or suggest that Jews have a historical connection to Jerusalem—a connection explicitly and repeatedly denied by Palestinian propaganda. In a broader sense, it encompasses any change whatsoever to the economic, political, demographic, architectural, or other fabric of Jerusalem that can be construed as in Israel’s interest. Archeology is suspect prima facie, especially in the Old City, the Western Wall area, and the City of David.
Note that the term is “Judaization,” not “Zionization” or some other coinage. In all its usages, “Judaization” is an accusation against Jews, not just Israelis, and anything that demonstrates Jewish antiquity in the city is by definition Judaization.
And now ISESCO and other non-governmental organizations are upping the ante and planning to broaden their campaign by bringing actual lawsuits against Israel in international courts, notably the UN’s world court in The Hague. According to Ziad Saad, director of Jordan’s department of antiquities, “We aim to gather sound scientific evidence for politicians to take up the case at the international level.” This “evidence” will support the charge that Israel is guilty of, in the words of the Jordanian archeologist Moawiyah Ibrahim, using “biblical texts to support their national narrative and disregard[ing] the Arab-Islamic heritage.”
This latest move is part of the widening conduct of “lawfare” against Israel, whereby any and every international venue is exploited to investigate, isolate, and indict the country and its citizens. Manipulating the practices of “international jurisdiction,” which permits local officials of non-governmental entities to bring suit in European courts, the campaign has begun to undermine the ability of Israeli military and political leaders to set foot on the European continent. That Arab archeologists are following suit is disturbing but, one supposes, hardly surprising.
How long will it be before Israeli archeologists are unable to get off a plane in London lest they be served with a subpoena initiated by a Palestinian NGO?
Existing international organizations and “international law” appear nearly powerless before the combination of Arab and Muslim pressure and the behavior of Western officials—and scholars—cravenly or eagerly falling into line. Armed with resources provided by European and other donors, the criminalization of everything Israeli proceeds. ISESCO, for its part, has the full backing of the Saudi regime and the OIC, whose multifarious organs reach into every Muslim country and most non-Muslim ones. Its relentless positioning of the Arab-Israeli conflict as a paramount Islamic cause shows no sign of yielding to the “Dialogue among Civilizations.”
It is a truism that Israeli archeological practice can be legitimately criticized, not least for the murky relations between the state and private entities undertaking development in the West Bank. It is a bigger truism that such failings pale into insignificance when compared with the wanton destruction of antiquities and the abuse of people in the name of both archeology and development that go on regularly in China, Iran, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia. But such considerations are also irrelevant. As is well known, one square foot in Jerusalem produces exponentially more hysteria than hundreds of square miles elsewhere. If everything that happens in Israel is “political,” the world revolves around Jerusalem as it does around no other city.

The reason is, precisely, the fact of Jewish control.
When Jordan or the Ottoman empire controlled Jerusalem, the attention paid by the outside world, even to well-documented instances of anti-Christian persecution, was intermittent at best. Now, thanks to the city’s elevation as the Muslim cause célèbre, nothing goes unnoticed. And therein may lie the explanation for the latest, unrestrained alarm of ISESCO and its scholars. As recent archeological expeditions in Jerusalem expose more and more evidence of an ancient Jewish presence in the city, the worst fears of these scholars threaten to materialize. To protect their own investment in decades of official denial, they are acting quickly to mobilize the Islamic and Western worlds to help shut it all down.
Alex Joffe is a research scholar with the Institute for Jewish and Community Research. He last wrote for Jewish Ideas Daily on the state of Jewish studies.
Posted via email from noahdavidsimon’s posterous

Astounding new evidence has been unearthed in Israel that could confirm the biblical story of King David.

Until now, almost nothing has been found  that would prove the biblical account of a shepherd boy from the 10th century BC who slew the giant Goliath and went on to become the King of Israel who founded Jerusalem.

But today Hebrew University archaeology professor Yosef Garfinkel announced the discovery of a tiny, but potentially invaluable, piece of pottery at the site of the ruins of an ancient fortified city south-west of Jerusalem dated to the time of King David.


Proof: Yossi Garfinkel displays the ceramic shard bearing a Hebrew inscription that may be evidence King David slew Goliath

Yossi Garfinkel displays the ceramic shard bearing a Hebrew inscription that may be evidence supporting the biblical story of David and Goliath

Garfinkel said that it carried the earliest-known Hebrew inscription, some 850 years  earlier than the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Scholars are still trying to decipher the full text of the inscription, but Garfinkel said they are excited at the prospect of a link to David because they have already translated the words for “king,” “judge,” and  “slave” , which he said suggested it was some sort of official note from the time of his reign.

Until now, scholars have been unable to say whether King David was indeed the  heroic, psalm-composing monarch depicted in the Bible or the local and unimportant leader of a small tribe.


The archaeological site called Elah Fortress, or Khirbet Qeiyafa, seen in an undated aerial photograph, where the shard was found

The archaeological site called Elah Fortress, or Khirbet Qeiyafa, seen in an undated aerial photograph, where the shard was found

Only one biblical-era inscription with the words “House of David” has ever been  discovered, leading some scholars to question whether King David existed at all.

The pottery fragment was inscribed with five rows of text in black ink divided by black lines written in an early Hebrew-Canaanite script.

Archaeologists also found lamps, pottery jars and other items. Carbon-14 tests  carried out at Oxford University dated them to the 10th century BC, the era according to the Old Testament of King David and his son Solomon, who built the Temple in Jerusalem.

The ruins of the Elah Valley fortress was discovered  in 2003 near the modern Israeli city of Beit Shemesh in the Judean Hills, south-west of  Jerusalem. The huge complex is spread over nearly six acres and surrounded by a 700-metre long city wall built with stones weighing up to eight tons each. 

Bible come true? David with the head of Goliath by William Daniels

Bible come true? David with the head of Goliath by William Daniels


Yossi Garfinkel is seen at the excavation site

Yossi Garfinkel is seen at the excavation site

Detailed excavations began only earlier this year.

The fortress would have controlled the ancient trading route from Jerusalem to the coast and overlooks the plain where David engaged in his legendary mortal combat with Goliath, giant champion of the rival Philistines.

Goliath’s home town of Gath was unearthed just a few miles away to the south.

“The chronology and geography of Elah Fortress create a unique meeting point between the history, historiography and origins of the early Davidic Kingdom,” said Garfinkel.

“This is the oldest Judean city  uncovered to date, and its very construction has unprecedented implications on our understanding of this era.” 

Garfinkel said the sophistication and size of the city suggested it was part of  a strong, centrally-planned kingdom.

It has been a busy week for archaeologists searching for King David and his family. In Jerusalem, a researcher said she had found an ancient water drain mentioned in the Bible as the route used by David’s forces to capture the city  from the Jebusites.

In Jordan, scholars said they had uncovered an ancient  copper excavation site that tests showed could be the legendary King Solomon’s Mines.