III. The Arabs Connection to Palestine




While relying heavily on the bible what the Zionists “forget” to tell us that we can find references to Arabs living in Canaan 4000 years ago in the Jewish bible and other sources.


While the Jewish bible is not an historical records and was written many hundreds years after the events that the bible tells, it is a useful tool that tells us what the priests of Judea and Israel believed in the Seventh century BC, the time the stories of bible were collected and began to be edited. Thus it is of interest what the bible and other sources tell us about the Arabs in Canaan.


According to the bible book of Genesis, some of the children of Isma’il – son of Hagar, Abraham's woman – are the Naba’aithi, Kedar, Massa.


The bible says: "as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: behold I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation." Genesis 17:20


"Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bore unto Abraham: And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: The firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth, and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, Hadad and Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedmah. These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns and by their encampments; twelve princes according to their nations." Genesis 25:12-16


According to Achtemeier, the term “Ishamelite” was the same as “Midianites.” [1] According to the Jewish Bible the wife of Moses was a Midianites.


"Zipporah is a Midianite woman who becomes the wife of Moses. After Moses kills an Egyptian, he flees from the pharaoh and settles among the Midianites, an Arab people who occupied desert areas in southern Transjordan, northern Arabia, and the Sinai. He meets the seven daughters of Reuel, priest of Midian, at a well; rescues them from shepherds who are harassing them; and fills their jugs with water. In gratitude, Reuel (called Jethro or Hobab in other biblical passages) offers Moses hospitality, then gives him his daughter Zipporah in marriage (Exod 2:21–22). She and Moses have two sons, Gershom and Eliezer (Exod 18:3–4).[2]


According to the Bible after the death of his beloved Sarah, Abraham took another wife, Keturah, (Genesis 25). She became the mother of Abraham’s six sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah who became the progenitors of six Arabian tribes of Southern and Eastern Palestine. [3]


Thus according to the Jewish bible the Arabs have the same old ties to the country as the ancient Hebrews. Is it possible?


According to the genetic and paleontological record, people began to leave Africa between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago possibly because of major climatic changes during the last Ice Age. This cold almost killed the African ancestors and reduced them may be to fewer than 10,000. Once the climate began to improve the population expanded, and some intrepid explorers moved beyond Africa. The earliest people to colonize the Eurasian landmass likely did so across the Bab-al-Mandab Strait separating present-day Yemen from Djibouti. [4] After settling Yemen they moved on. One of the places these African Yemen people settled was Canaan. The kings of Assyria called these people Qidar, Tamudi, Naba’aiti, Ma’asei and Kushi. The Nab’aiti were occupants of Petra and Jordan and were among the “Amurru” or Amorites. [5]


In addition the Jews who remained in Palestine after the Jews were exiled by the Romans converted to Islam. Thus while the history of Arabs in this country goes back probably of 4000 years, the history of Islam in this country is of 1400 years and the history of Zionism in this country is about 120 years.


To be sure modern Arabs neither Palestinians are not the same people as the ancient Amories and Canaanites. It is a different society. Among Palestinians are people of different origins. The only reason we pointed out to the historical ties of the Arabs to Palestine is to show the hypocrisy of the Zionists. However it is clear that the Arabs have a long history as native to Palestine unlike the European Zionists.


What is beyond the understanding of the Zionists is that in the real world nations appears under certain conditions and disappear under certain conditions, for example a major military defeat. For example the Babylonians, Sumerians, Mohavites Edomites the nation based on the ten tribes of the kingdoms of Israel have disappeared. The ancient nation of Judea disappeared with the occupation of Canaan and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. The Jews of today are no more the same people of ancient Judea than the Germans of today are the same people like the Teutonic tribes, and the Italians of today are the same people of the ancient Romans. Such claims are based on racial arguments of genetic.


Palestine was not an empty land waiting for the Zionists. It was inhabited by Muslims, Christians and Jews. The fact is that prior to Zionism tens of thousands of Jews lived in Palestine as a small minority in four cities: Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberias, and Hebron. They were mostly old people who were supported economically by Jewish European communities and in general had good relations with the Arabs neighbors. They came to Palestine after the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492. They arrived for religious reason not because they saw themselves as a nation returning to the promise land to form a state.


The Zionists were aware of the fact that Palestine was inhabited. No other than Israel Zangwill, a leading Zionist, stated in 1905: “Palestine proper has already its inhabitants. The pashalik of Jerusalem is already twice as thickly populated as the United States, having fifty-two souls to the square mile, and not 25% of them Jews..... [We] must be prepared either to drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession as our forefathers did or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population, mostly Mohammedan and accustomed for centuries to despise us.[6]


The Zionists of course were not the first one to use the bible to justify colonization. The White European Puritans who colonized North America claimed that they are the chosen people settling in the Promised Land.


“The Puritans were obsessed with the Bible and came to identify their political struggle against England with that of the ancient Hebrews against Pharaoh or the King of Babylon. Because they identified so strongly with ancient Israel, they chose to identify with the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible).” (World Book Encyclopedia & Encyclopaedia Judaica) In 1620, the “Separatists” sailed for America on the Mayflower. The Separatists/Puritans who settled at Plymouth Colony called themselves “Pilgrims” because of their wanderings in search of religious freedom. The Puritan culture of New England was marked from the outset by a deep association with Jewish themes. No Christian community in history identified more with the Israelites of the Bible than did the first generations of settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who believed their own lives to be a literal reenactment of the biblical drama of the chosen people―they were the children of Israel and the ordinances of God’s Holy covenant by which they lived were His divine law.[7]


This was also the case with the Boers of South Africa who saw themselves as the chosen people and South Africa as the Promised Land.


“With this unified movement of Boers to the north, there arose a feeling among them that they were retracing the Biblical account of the Exodus into the Promised Land. The Boers also came to view the Bantu as like those tribes spoken of in the Biblical account of the conquest of Canaan, so the Boers chose to eradicate the indigenous peoples as had the Israelites.[8]




The Real History of Palestine




Now that we have dealt with the Zionist myths, lies and racial politics, let us begin our inquiry of the history of this country.


This Jewish (Judea) nation survived until the occupation of Judea by the Roman general Titus (70 A.D). After the occupation of Judea by the Roman and the total destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple many of the Jews left Palestine and migrated to other countries. Some Jewish tribes crossed the Syrian Desert and entered the Arabian Peninsula where they settled in Hijaz. In course of time they built up numerous colonies in Medina and between Medina and Syria. They converted many Arabs to Judaism. At the beginning of the seventh century A.D., there were three Jewish tribes living in Medina (Yathrib). They were Banu Qainuka'a, Banu Nadhir and Banu Qurayza.


Some Jews remained in Palestine. The Babylonian Talmud tells the story of Rabbi Johanan Ben Zakkai who escaped from the Roman siege of Jerusalem. Through flattery, and by humbling himself before the Roman general, he was able to negotiate a deal, allowing him to establish a new center of learning in the city of Yavneh (Gittin 56b). The Talmud describes a contract in which the Jews swear not to return to Israel by force, not to rebel against the nations, and not to extend or prematurely shorten the length of their exile; God then promises to prevent the subjugating nations from overly oppressing the Jews while they live under foreign rule (Ketubot 110b-111a).


In Palestine the Rabbis developed a new Jewish religion focus on teaching the bible and interpreted it rather than a religion based on scarifying animals in the temple. The most important religious interpretation of the Bible in Palestine was the Yerushalmi Talmud which is an extensive literary work consisting of both Halakhah (law) and Aggadah (legends), built upon the Mishnah of Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi. This literary work came to an end with the arrival of the Arab Muslims. Why is that? The simple answer is that the Jews converted to Islam.


“Judea was a Persian colony until it was occupied by Alexander the Great (356-323 BC).In 332 B.C Canaan was conquered by Alexander the Great. By the time Alexander died at age thirty‑three in 323 B.C., he had conquered the entire area from Macedonia to India. Palestine was part of this new empire. After Alexander’s death, his generals, known as Diadochi (“successors”) were unable to maintain the unity of the empire and it soon fragmented. During the period of the Diadochi, Canaan changed hands between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids five times. The lack of stability gave the Jews some degree of local autonomy, enhancing the already significant power of the priests in Judea. By 301 B.C. E., however, Ptolemy established a firm hold on Palestine. Ptolemaic military units were stationed throughout Palestine, and many Greek cities were established. Many of these were set up as cleruchies (military colonies) in which soldiers who married native women were given homes and fields, thus fostering the intermarriage.[9]


Historical investigation into Hellenistic imperial culture, however, is discovering that what modern biblical scholars have termed religious persecution was virtually nonexistent and cannot explain how or why a Hellenistic emperor, even the notorious Antiochus IV Epiphanes, would have mounted such a pogrom against the Jews. From the limited sources for the history of Second Temple Judea it is clear, that Judea was not just a place where a religion, “Judaism,” was practiced and was not even an independent temple-state. Judean society was subject to, indeed a subordinate unit of a succession of empires. There was a conflict between rival factions in the ruling Jerusalem aristocracy that were closely related to rival Hellenistic empires. The priestly aristocracy, headed by a high priest, that had consolidated its power in Judea under the Persian Empire, continued under the Hellenistic empires. However toward the end of the 3rd century BC the empire gave Joseph, son of Tobiah by a sister of the high priest Onias, the power to collect taxes and this reduced the power of the other priests. He taxed heavily the peasants. The situation was similar to the Judean aristocracy’s exploitation of the peasants during Nehemiah over two centuries earlier (Neh 5:1-13). Long before the Hellenizing reform in 175 B.C., the Jerusalem aristocracy was divided between a Hellenizing party that was pro-Seleucid and a more traditionalist party that remained pro-Ptolemaic. When the Seleucid governor Ptolemy expelled the Ptolemaic garrison in Jerusalem after Antiochus III’s victory over the Ptolemaic army a section of the aristocratic priests supported his rule. Antiochus used the same policy of the Persians of supporting the temple-state as the instrument of imperial control and taxation of Judea. Later on Antiochus changed his policy and gave the power to collect taxes to other powerful figure than the high priest. A large faction of the aristocracy took the accession to power of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 175 B.C.E.as an occasion to implement a Hellenizing “reform” which meant higher taxes. There were some religious aspects of it, such as the neglect of the sacrifices, and the forms instituted were indeed from Hellenistic culture. Conflict within the reforming faction led to Antiochus’s invasion of Jerusalem and his violent repression of resistance by Judeans who insisted on their traditional way of life. Although it is not clear just what measures he took, it seems likely that at this point Antiochus ordered the suppression of ancestral law and sacrifices in Jerusalem and Judea. And it also seems likely that these measures were an attempt to counter the continuing resistance of scribal circles and others that were deeply rooted in those ancestral laws and rites. This led to the rebellion led by Maccabees and the rule of the Hasmonean dynasty.


The Romans replaced the Seleucids as the great power in the region, they granted the Hasmonean king, Hyrcanus II, limited autonomy under the Roman governor of Damascus. The last attempt to restore the Hasmonean dynasty was made by Mattathias Antigonus, whose defeat and death brought Hasmonean rule to an end (40 BC), and the Land became a province of the Roman Empire.


In 37 BCE, Herod, a non-Jew and son-in-law of Hyrcanus II, was appointed King of Judea by the Romans. Ten years after Herod's death in 4 BCE, Judea came under direct Roman administration. This led to a revolt in 66 CE. Superior Roman forces led by Titus were victorious, razing Jerusalem to the ground (70 CE) and defeating the last Jewish outpost at Masada (73 CE). Titus ordered the total destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Then came the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba (132 CE), during which Jerusalem and Judea were regained for a short period. Three years later, in conformity with Roman custom, Jerusalem was "plowed up with a yoke of oxen," Judea was renamed Palaestinia and Jerusalem, Aelia Capitolina. With this the Jews ceased being a nation.




The Christians in Palestine




The history of Christianity began in Canaan with the birth of Jesus and through his teaching. Jesus was a Jew. Jews under the Roman rule were waiting for a leader – the Messiah that would rescue them from their Roman oppressors, and establish a new kingdom. While the religious leaders and political leaders of the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, many Jewish people and local Greeks did embrace Jesus in the early years of the Church, and this is how Christianity recruited the first followers. Its beginning was inside the Jewish religion, it became a sect of Judaism. It began to grow, after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in the year 70 AD. With the dispersing of Jews all over the Roman Empire, Christianity began to spread all over the Roman Empire.


The early Christians were persecuted. Why was that? The Roman religion was not intolerant; Rome had accepted into its pantheon deities from the Italian tribes and from Asia Minor. In the provinces, the great territorial gods—such as Saturn in North Africa and Jehovah among the Jews—were accepted as “legal religion” on the grounds that their rites, were sanctified by ancient tradition. Countless local gods and goddesses, worshiped by the ordinary inhabitants of the Greco-Roman world, were often provided with a new name and worshiped as “Roman” deities.


There are many attempts to explain the reasons for the persecution of the early Christians, mostly from a religious perspective. For example a common explanation is that the Christians refused to accept the Roman emperors as semi gods. According to the BBC, “Pagans were probably most suspicious of the Christian refusal to sacrifice to the Roman gods. This was an insult to the gods and potentially endangered the empire which they designed to protect. Furthermore, the Christian refusal to offer sacrifices to the emperor, a semi-divine monarch, had the whiff of both sacrilege and treason about it.[10]


This is not convincing because the Jews also refused to accept the Roman emperors as semi gods and were not persecuted at that period. Most likely they were persecuted because Christianity was spread among the slaves and the concept that slaves were somehow equal to their masters even after life was a dangerous idea from the perspective of the slave masters.


The Christians accused the Jews for the death of Jesus. It is true that the high Jewish priest Joseph Caiaphas was the High Priest of the Temple at the time of the Crucifixion and he tried him in a kangaroo court and convicts him on a religious charge that carries the death penalty. However many Jews supported Jesus and cannot be blame for the actions of Caiaphas. At the same time the Jewish upper class helped the Romans to persecute the early Christians. Historians debate the role of the Jews in the maltreatment of early Christians. The Jewish role was definitely exaggerated at times, as when Justin Martyr claimed that the Jews “kill and punish us whenever they have the power.” Various scholars believe the Jewish role in the Martyrdom of Polycarp is exaggerated. Scholars caution against such over-generalizations and exaggerations, but the “parting of the ways” did lead to bitter disputes and Jews at times mistreated members of the new Jesus movement. The Apostle Paul declares, “five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one” (2 Cor 11:24). He says that his own ministry led to tensions with Jews (1 Thess 2:14–16). When the Christians became powerful in the fourth century they began to persecute the Jews. “The Theodosian Code shows us that those immunities which had been granted to the Jews by the pagan emperors, and which had made them a privileged class dwelling within the Roman world, were continued by the Christian emperors. At the opening of the fourth century Jews were classed as Roman citizens and enjoyed all the advantages of civic status. They were in every economic stratum of the empire; many were rich, many were poor. Some were merchants, others artisans, and still others farmers. They had their own cult organizations called synagogues. (…) The main Jewish privilege was that Jews could not be forced to perform any task which violated their religious convictions. This meant that they were exempt from the crushing burden of the decurionate, that responsibility for the collection of imperial taxes which was gradually impoverishing the middle class of the Roman world. (…) At the opening of the fourth century the central Jewish administrative council, called the Sanhedrin, was very active in Palestine, and several schools were in operation there under the guidance of the Jewish Nasi or patriarch. (…) When Christianity was legalized in 313 and became the close ally of the Roman emperors, this indifference quickly became a thing of the past. Thus in 321 Constantine promulgated the earliest law recorded in the Theodosian Code dealing with the Jews; it begins the process of reducing their privileges and immunities.[11]




Palestine under the Moslems




Many Jews resided in the Roman Empire According to Bar Hebraeus, who was a bishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church who lived between 1226 and 1286 AD: “At the same time Claudius Caesar ordered the Jews to be counted, and their number was 6,944,000 men.[12]


If indeed there were 7 million Jews in the Roman Empire by now the number of the Jews would be probably over 100 million. This indicates that many Jews converted to other religions.


It was not until the conquest of Iraq, Syria and Egypt that the Muslims came in contact with large numbers of Christians and Jews. Damascus surrendered in 635, Iraq in 637, Jerusalem in 638, and Alexandria in 641. Iraq, Syria and Egypt were predominantly Christian at the time of the conquest. This indicated that many Jews converted to Christianity. In dealing with an overwhelmingly Christian population, Khalid ibn al-Walid, the Arab commander to whom Damascus capitulated, issued the following declaration to the people of Damascus:


“In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful. This is what Khalid ibn al-Walid would grant to the inhabitants of Damascus if he enters therein: he promises to give them security for their lives, property, and churches. Their city shall not be demolished, neither shall any Muslim be quartered in their houses. Thereunto we give them the pact of Allah and the protection of his Prophet, the caliphs, and the believers. So long as they pay the poll tax, nothing but good shall befall them.[13]


In return for submission and the payment of the Jizya, the poll tax, Islam guaranteed the Christians and the Jews security of life, property and protection in the exercise of their religions. The different communities had full autonomy under the leadership of their religious chiefs. Each community exercised jurisdiction over matters of personal status, such as marriage, divorce and inheritance. So long as they submitted to the Muslim state and paid the Jizya, Christians and Jews were left alone to run their own lives without interference. [14] This led most of the Jews in Palestine to convert to Islam.


Declaring he would leave the Zionist Organization if Israel Zangwill’s alleged views on the expropriation of the Arabs from Palestine were to prevail, Dr. Arthur Rupin, the Zionist colonization expert, made the startling assertion that the Arabs of Palestine were descendants of old Palestine Jews who had been converted to Mohammedism.


Dr. Rupin was addressing the convention of Austrian Zionists here. He emphasized that the Arab question can be solved only economically, through cooperation between Jew and Arab in Palestine, and not through politics. Rejecting Mr. Zangwill’s suggestion that there was a time when the Arabs could have been made to trek to some other territory, Dr. Rupin said, “Remember the Palestine Arabs are descendants of the Jews of Old Palestine, converted to Islam.” [15]


Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, wrote, a few months before issuance of the Balfour Declaration, an interesting treatise: "On the Origin of the Falahin, the Arab peasants in Palestine". [16] In this work, Ben-Gurion, argued that the falahin are descendants of Jews who remained in Palestine after the Roman expulsion and who later converted to Islam: “The logical, self-evident conclusion of all the above is as follows: The agricultural community that the Arabs found in Eretz Israel in the 7th century was none other than the Hebrew farmers that remained on their land despite all the persecution and oppression of the Roman and Byzantine emperors. Some of them accepted Christianity, at least on the surface, but many held on to their ancestral faith and occasionally revolted against their Christian oppressors. After the Arab conquest, the Arabic language and Muslim religion spread gradually among the countrymen. In his essay "Ancient Names in Palestine and Syria in Our Times," Dr. George Kampmeyer proves, based on historico-linguistic analysis, that for a certain period of time, both Aramaic and Arabic were in use and only slowly did the former give way to the latter. The greater majority and main structures of the Muslim falahin in western Eretz Israel present to us one racial strand and a whole ethnic unit, and there is no doubt that much Jewish blood flows in their veins—the blood of those Jewish farmers, "lay persons”, who chose in the travesty of times to abandon their faith in order to remain on their land.”


This knowledge did not prevent him from driving out the Palestinian peasants. Not because he hated them but because they were an obstacle to his aspiration to create a Zionist settler colonialist state.


In this sense he was not different from Jabotinsky, the historical founder of what today is the Likud party, who understood that the Zionists are settler colonialists. He wrote:” There can be no voluntary agreement between ourselves and the Palestine Arabs. Not now, nor in the prospective future. I say this with such conviction, not because I want to hurt the moderate Zionists. I do not believe that they will be hurt. Except for those who were born blind, they realised long ago that it is utterly impossible to obtain the voluntary consent of the Palestine Arabs for converting "Palestine" from an Arab country into a country with a Jewish majority. … The native populations, civilized or uncivilized, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, irrespective of whether they were civilized or savage…. our own ancestors under Joshua Ben Nun, behaved like brigands; but the Pilgrim Fathers, the first real pioneers of North America, were people of the highest morality, who did not want to do harm to anyone, least of all to the Red Indians, and they honestly believed that there was room enough in the prairies both for the Paleface and the Redskin. Yet the native population fought with the same ferocity against the good colonists as against the bad. Our Peace-mongers are trying to persuade us that the Arabs are either fools, whom we can deceive by masking our real aims, or that they are corrupt and can be bribed to abandon to us their claim to priority in Palestine , in return for cultural and economic advantages. I repudiate this conception of the Palestinian Arabs. Culturally they are five hundred years behind us, they have neither our endurance nor our determination; but they are just as good psychologists as we are, and their minds have been sharpened like ours by centuries of fine-spun logomachy. We may tell them whatever we like about the innocence of our aims, watering them down and sweetening them with honeyed words to make them palatable, but they know what we want, as well as we know what they do not want. They feel at least the same instinctive jealous love of Palestine, as the old Aztecs felt for ancient Mexico , and their Sioux for their rolling Prairies.


There is only one thing the Zionists want, and it is that one thing that the Arabs do not want, for that is the way by which the Jews would gradually become the majority, and then a Jewish Government would follow automatically, and the future of the Arab minority would depend on the goodwill of the Jews; and a minority status is not a good thing, as the Jews themselves are never tired of pointing out. So there is no "misunderstanding" Zionist colonization must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population, behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.[17]


The image of the crusaders and their similarity to the Zionists is unavoidable. The first one in Israel who made this comparison was Uri Avnery. He wrote: “Some sixty years ago I wrote an article whose title was just that: "Crusaders and Zionists". Perhaps it was the first on that subject. It raised a lot of opposition. At the time, it was a Zionist article of faith that no such similarity existed, tut-tut-tut. Unlike the Crusaders, the Jews are a nation. Unlike the Crusaders, who were barbarians compared to the civilized Muslims of their time, Zionists are technically superior. Unlike the Crusaders, the Zionists relied on their own manual labor. (That was before the Six-Day War, of course.)[18]




The Crusaders




The Crusaders captured Palestine at the beginning of the first millennium. Between the 11th and the 15th centuries the Muslims and the Crusaders fought for Palestine.


The crusades began when Pope Urban II called for the first Crusade in 1095, after the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnos had asked for western volunteers to repel the Seljuk Turks from Anatolia. The Crusaders were motivated by rewards of many kinds: financial aid from the church, forgiveness from God for sins, feudal obligations, to gain glory and honor, or political and economic gain. They captured Palestine in 1099 massacring both Muslims and Jews. They established the crusader states of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Tripoli, the Principality of Antioch, and the County of Edessa. The First Crusade massacred Jews and orthodox Eastern Christians.


In 1187 Saladin, a Sunni Muslim of Kurdish origin, led a military campaign against the Crusaders and defeated them. He became Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and his conquests included Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia (north Iraq, northeastern Syria and southwestern Turkey), Hejaz, Yemen and into North Africa. Saladin took Palestine (and Jerusalem) from the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin in 1187. [19]


When Saladin occupied Jerusalem He did not shed the blood of Christians in Jerusalem. He freed the old, the widows, and the children to ensure that they were not condemned to a life of slavery. For forty days, he granted all Christians from foreign lands safe departure and allowed them to return to their respective countries with their property. He found the male guardians for Christian women to ensure that they were provided protection and shelter on their return journeys. He allowed the Eastern Christians to stay and reinstated the right of every Jew to visit and resettle in Jerusalem. He conquered Jerusalem on a Saturday and ordered that the Church be open on Sunday for services.[20]




Palestine under the Ottomans




From 1516 until the end of World War I for four hundred years, western Asia was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. The majestic walls encircling the Old City of Jerusalem were built by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-66).


The Ottomans continued the Muslim tradition of tolerance toward Christian religious interests in Palestine. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem was acknowledged in the sixteenth century as the custodian of the Christian holy places, and from about the same time France became the guardian of the Latin clergy. The Ottoman Empire opened its gates to the Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in Spain and other parts of Christendom. Most of these Jews did not choose to live in Palestine. Thus the number of Jews in Jerusalem in the first century after the Ottoman conquest dropped from 1,330 in 1525 to 980 in 1587.


The land trade routes between Syria and Egypt passed through Palestine, while the pilgrimage routes to Mecca (converged at the Palestinian port of Aqaba). By the mid-nineteenth century, many European powers had consulates in the country, with the exception of the Maronite sections of Mount Lebanon. Palestine was the most exposed and accessible to Christian and European influences. One of the ways the European imperialists influenced Palestine was by the so-called Capitulations – a system of extraterritorial privileges granted to nationals of European powers who resided in the Ottoman Empire. The early Zionist immigrants and settlers were to make full use of the Capitulations.


In 1887-88, the population Palestine was around 600,000. About 10 percent of whom were Christians and the rest mostly Sunnite Muslims. The Jews numbered about 25,000; the majorities were deeply religious. Until the advent of Zionism, relations between Palestinians and Jews were stable and peaceful, mellowed by more than a millennium of coexistence and often shared adversity.


The Palestinians considered themselves to be descended not only from the Arab conquerors of the seventh century but also from indigenous peoples who had lived in the country since time immemorial, including the ancient Hebrews and the Canaanites before them. [21]


Thus it is true that Jews lived in Palestine during the Ottoman rule, but they were a small minority who lived in Palestine for religious and not nationalist reasons. These people arrived after the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and had nothing to do with the Zionists aspirations. Jews were concentrated principally in the holy cities of Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberias and Hebron. Nonetheless, the Jewish presence in Palestine, prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, had fluctuated through time, with various communities appearing and disappearing. Regardless, in 1880, before the Zionist immigration began, Palestine’s Jewish population numbered about 25,000, and had been deeply rooted there for several generations. The number of Jews in Palestine increased from 13,900 in 1872 to 26,000 in 1880, when the region also had about 400,000 Muslims and 43,000 Christians. By 1895 about 28,000 Jews were a majority in Jerusalem, and this increased to 35,000 by 1905 and 45,000 in 1914. That year Palestine registered 722,000 residents. [22]


These Jews who arrived to Palestine during the rule of the Ottomans did not consider themselves as members of a world Jewish nation, nor did they try to possess the country. For this reason they have good relations with the Arabs.


Thus the distortion of history serves the Zionist propaganda machine. The truth is very simple: the European Zionists are not the same people as the ancient Hebrews. They are settler colonialists that in the name of creating a Jewish state expelled some of the children of the Ancient Jews.


[1] Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper’s Bible Dictionary, (San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.) 1985

[2] Tikva Frymer-Kensky Zipporah: Bible Jewish Women Archive, https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/Zipporah-bible

[4] https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/human-journey/

[6] Benny Morris: Righteous Victims, 1999, p. 140

[7] Hugh Fogelman: Puritans Were More Jewish Than Protestants

[8] Blake Williams: Apartheid In South Africa: Calvin's Legacy?

[9] Lawrence H. Schiffman: The Land Of Israel In The Hellenistic Age https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/palestine-in-the-hellenistic-age/

[10] Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe: Christianity and the Roman Empire, BBC, 17.02.2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/christianityromanempire_article_01.shtml

[11] James Everett Seaver: Persecution of the Jews in the Roman Empire (300-438), University Of Kansas Press, 1952, pp. 5-6

[13] Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, 8th ed. (London, 1964), p. 150; Zachary Karabell, Peace Be Upon You (New York: Knopf, 2007), p. 27

[14] Najib Saliba: Christians and Jews Under Islam, http://www.alhewar.com/Saliba_Christians_and_Jews_Under_Islam.htm

[15] Says Palestine Arabs Are Jews Converted to Islam, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 13.11.1923, https://www.jta.org/1923/11/13/archive/says-palestine-arabs-are-jews-converted-to-islam/

[16] "Leverur Motsa Ha'Falahim," Luach Achiezer, New York, 1917, pp. 118-27, reprinted in Anachnu U'Shcheneinu (Tel Aviv: Davar. 1931), pp. 13-25

[17] Ze'ev Jabotinsky: The Iron Wall The Iron Wall, Original in Russian, Razsviet, 4.11.1923

[18] Uri Avnery: Crusaders and Zionists 11/10/2014

[21] The Institute for Palestine Studies: Special Focus - Ottoman Palestine, Journal of Palestine Studies, Jerusalem Quarterly, https://www.palestine-studies.org/resources/special-focus/ottoman-palestine

[22] Sanderson Beck: Palestine and Zionism 1700-1950, http://www.san.beck.org/16-6-PalestineandZionism.html