My thoughts and concerns in the political world

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

What exactly was in Israel before 1948?

In 1867, Mark Twain described the Holy Land, outside of Jewish settlements:

"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..."

After Zionism was established (ie the return of Jews to the Holy Land), Jews bought land from Arabs in area. Most of the land owners did NOT live in the area. In fact many were tax collectors and other business people from Beirut and Damascus. The Syrian prefect, under the Ottoman Empire, was the ruling province over the Holy Land. There of course was no Palestine. In most cases the Jews were charged ridiculously overpriced costs to purchase the mostly baron, desert and marshy land.

Nevertheless, the Jewish settlers escaping oppression came in and made the land pregnant. In fact, it was this ability of the Jews to do so that ultimately attracted Arab settlements (AFTER the fact) to come and permanently settle.

Before that, "historians, demographers, and travelers described the Arab population as 'decreasing,' and the land as 'thinly populated,' 'unoccupied,' 'uninhabited,' and 'almost abandoned.'" (Dershowitz, 2003)

During WW I, Great Britain conquered the Ottoman Empire and created the "British Mandate," which included the land of Syria, Jordan and the Holy Land. As I have mentioned before the Balfour Declaration establish a Jewish homeland. The League of Nations ratified it and the world accepted a Jewish state.

Unfortunately, the Arabs could not stand to have a Jewish state in any part of the Middle East and responded by slaughtering Jews, burning their homes and kicking the Jews out.

By 1929, the connection between anti-Semitism in Europe was synonimous with Arab thought in the Holy Land. The Mufti of Jerusalem, appointed by the UK, turned on the allies and the Jews and helped to prosecute Hitler's "Final Solution."

Jews made the land pregnant, immigrants came in, hated the rightful owners of the land, and tried to exterminate the population.

In 1948, Israel became a state vis a vis the United Nations, with 22 Arab nations (all of them) voting against it. Those same 22 Arab countries then attacked the tiny Jewish state and told the Arab populace that any Arab who became an Arab-Israeli, was a traitor to the cause. This caused the Arab refugee problem that persists today.


Dershowitz, Alan. The Case for Israel. Wiley, 2003: Hobokon, New Jersey.

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