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Francis Robinson on ‘The Arabs’

Posted on Apr 15, 2010

By Francis Robinson

This review originally appeared in The TLS, whose website is, and is reposted with permission.

“It is not pleasant being Arab these days”, declared Samir Kassir, a Lebanese intellectual and supporter of Rafiq Hariri, after the Prime Minister was assassinated in Beirut on February 14, 2005. Just over three months later, as if to make the point, Kassir was blown up in his Alfa Romeo. Eugene Rogan tells this story early on in his excellent book, setting its tone in two ways: it is about the Arabs in recent centuries when they had lost control of their history; it is also a story told not, for the most part, out of the archives of Western governments but by Arab voices; Rogan believes that Westerners might view Arab history differently if they saw it through Arab eyes. So Rogan’s history begins not, as some notable histories of the past, for instance, those of Philip Hitti, Bernard Lewis and Albert Hourani, with the birth of the Prophet Muhammad and the five centuries of glory that followed—the time when, in Hitti’s words, “around the name of the Arabs gleams that halo which belongs to world-conquerors”—but with the Ottoman conquest of Mamluk Egypt, and subsequently the rest of the Arab world, from 1517.

Ottoman rule did not change much, and therefore did not bring home the full meaning of the loss of power. The Ottomans ruled, as most empires do, in collaboration with local elites, and it is arguable that the process changed the empire more than it did Arab lives. The ambitions of some notables could come to clash with those of the empire, as did those of the Saudis of central Arabia, and their religiously puritan Wahhabi allies, who in 1802 drove northwards into Iraq, sacking the Shia shrine city of Karbala, and then in 1806 did yet further damage to Ottoman legitimacy by annexing the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Arab life under Ottoman rule in the pre-industrial era was not that harsh.


book cover


The Arabs: A History


By Eugene Rogan


Basic Books, 592 pages


Buy the book

All this changed as the West began to engage with the Arab world in the nineteenth century. North Africa bore the brunt initially. The starting point was Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798 when for three years the French spoke the language of Enlightenment ideals to a bemused local population, until they were chased away by the British. But the beginning of a truly bitter engagement began when in 1830 the French invaded Algeria, seeking satisfaction after its Dey had hit their consul with a fly whisk. The war of conquest lasted seventeen years, left more than 100,000 Algerian civilians dead, and was accompanied by a major programme of French colonization.

Growing awareness of European power led to programmes of self-strengthening. The most impressive was that led by Muhammad Ali and his descendants in Egypt. Ali, an Ottoman officer, rose to power in the disturbed conditions following Napoleon’s departure from Egypt. He began a process of technological and industrial innovation, and most importantly developed a peasant army after the French model, which was able both to suppress the Wahhabis in Arabia and win victories over Ottoman armies as far north as Anatolia. His successors tried to develop the economy further by making concessions to Western business, of which the Suez Canal, built by a French company, was the greatest. The problem was that the costs of selfstrengthening made these Arab regimes bankrupt, placing them in the hands of European bankers. The last thirty years before the First World War saw the European powers partitioning the Arab lands of North Africa among themselves, the French adding Tunisia (1881) and Morocco (1912) to Algeria, the Italians taking Libya (1912), and the British Egypt (1882), where the Suez Canal had become a vital imperial lifeline.

Events, during and immediately after the First World War, suggested that Arab fortunes might be about to change. British and Arab forces united to drive out the Ottomans. In 1918, the British and French announced their support for the creation of national governments in Arab lands through a process of “self-determination”. This was in the context, moreover, of President Wilson’s Fourteen Points, of which the twelfth assured the Arabs of “an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development”. There were high hopes of a brave new Arab world. Then the French and the British, following their secret wartime Sykes-Picot agreement, decided that their imperial interests were more important than Arab freedom. In 1920, French colonial troops, many of them North African Arabs, drove the Arab nationalists out of Damascus, and so after they had been dressed up with the decency of mandates Syria and the Lebanon were added to the French possessions in North Africa. In the same year, the British used 100,000 of their colonial troops to squash a national uprising in Iraq. This Arab land as a mandate, along with Transjordan and Palestine, was added to the British Empire. “The Arabs”, Rogan reminds us, “were never reconciled to this fundamental injustice.” It is a recurring theme in the speeches of Osama bin Laden.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

You make a good but not compelling point about not throwing out centuries of Arab history by starting with the Turkish conquest of Egypt. Good, but not good enough.

Compare it to our history.  We can say it begins with Columbus, or we can say it begins with Plymouth Rock, or we can say it begins with the events that culminate in 1776.  Or you, being a self-described Fundamentalist Christian might say it begins with Jesus, and I, as a Jew, might say it begins with Moses, bringing forth The Law.

Yet major catastrophic event DO shape a people and change the course of their lives.  It usually comes down to a choice, and some shithead makes a stupid one.  For example: Had Lord North and his fellows in Parliament accepted that Englishmen who went abroad to North America were still English subjects with FULL rights of citizenship, the ENTIRE War for Independence would have been avoided.

But it wasn’t and much of who we are as Americans, and how we see ourselves was shaped definitively by that event.

Had France, in 1936, re-invaded the Rhineland when Hitler re-militarized it in violation of treaties, the European war either never would have happened, or would have happened VERY differently.  By Munich, in 1938, it was again, a chuckle-head making a bad decision.  Czechoslovakia was VERY defend-able, being mountainous, unlike Poland.  A stand made THERE would have had very different results than the one attempted in 1939.

Plus, by allowing 3 years to elapse the German war machine was rebuilding very, very quickly.

Can you deny that Jewish history was changed FOREVER by the Holocaust? Most Jews, from non-believers to Torah Orthodox see themselves very, VERY differently as a result of the Shoa.

So I think it’s very appropriate of the author to ask the question: How do the Arab peoples see themselves?  If, for them, the conquest of Egypt is the turning point, that’s a fact.  In other words, since their perception and view of themselves changed with that event, then that event IS the turning point.

Another example: Suppose you said “I became a Christian when I realized Christ HAD changed the water to wine at the wedding in Cana.”  I don’t have to believe or accept that Christ did that, but I cannot deny that YOUR acceptance was a changing point in your life.

BTW, if all the fundamentalists were as rational as you are (despite your being wrong about SO MUCH), I’d be far less afraid of them.  In fact, hearing a Sarah Palin or a Pat Robertson, I worry they may take your “Fundamentalist” card back for not being insane!

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By Garo, April 21, 2010 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OzarkMichael,I wholeheartedly agree that you “reserve the right to expose every stupidity they(Truthdiggers)publish.” I have no quarrel with that,as long as I have equal right to expose your stupidity in return.

You know very well what I meant by the alphabet “H”.And yet you have turned the “other cheek” and accepted it as it means “HUMOR” or “HUMILITY”. I must say that I am truly impressed!!!

Keep it,Mr.OzarkMichael,and you and I will get along just fine. I do respect those who practice the essence of the GOOD teachings of their religion,whether it is Islam,Christianity,Judaism or any other religion,although I do not adhere to any particular religion. I do go to church occasionally,especially during the Easter and Christmas seasons. Well,at least,I do not totally ignore the church that was served by my mother and father. Perhaps,I do so in due respect for both of them-they were devouted to their church in every aspect,including raising money for the church.

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By OzarkMichael, April 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

Garo, I would like you to know that I consider ITW a friend even though we disagree with each other about politics. i like to needle him and sometimes he gets the better of me in return.

But as for Truthdig, my participation is vital. I am a fundamentalist Christian and my viewpoint often reveals some truth that the typical readers here would miss. Truthdig is better because I explain another side of things and point out the errors that the Truthdiggers can’t see without my help. 

Now let me say something nice about Truthdig. In spite of my years of harsh critique, Truthdig hasnt censored me at all. Not once. 

I say that every now and then. I guess I was due to say it today. I tip my hat to Truthdig. Still, I reserve the right to expose every stupidity they publish.

Anyway, i want to know, Garo, exactly what your “H” word was. I told you before that it was Humor but of course i was joking.

Maybe your “H” word is Humility? Yeah, i am well known for that…

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By OzarkMichael, April 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

Garo asks a question and answers it himself:

Since OzarkMichael and his ilk have no respect for the Truthdig articles,Why in the world they keep posting on the Truthdig website?


There is one single word that can answer the above question and it starts with a capital “H”,regardless of any other exuses they may claim.Period.

Well, you got me. The capital “H” word says it all…


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By Garo, April 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OzarkMichael wrote the following comment more than once in his post:

“Its Only a Truthdig Article.”

The above sentence implies that Mr.OzarkMichael does not think much of Truthdig articles.


Since OzarkMichael and his ilk have no respect for the Truthdig articles,Why in the world they keep posting on the Truthdig website?


There is one single word that can answer the above question and it starts with a capital “H”,regardless of any other exuses they may claim.Period.

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By OzarkMichael, April 21, 2010 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

ITW said: An interesting and fascinating article.  Nobody seems to be able to actually discredit the author’s facts and conclusions.

Well, i am the best at doing that and I havent posted here yet. I had better get to work. This shouldnt be hard though. After all, its only a Truthdig article.

Where to start? With the first paragraph:

Rogan believes that Westerners might view Arab history differently if they saw it through Arab eyes. So Rogan’s history begins not…  with the birth of the Prophet Muhammad and the five centuries of glory that followed-... —but with the Ottoman conquest of Mamluk Egypt, and subsequently the rest of the Arab world, from 1517.

So Westerners will ‘better understand’ the world through Arab eyes if we dont include the first five centuries of Arab conquests? In other words, we should start Arab history only when a measure of Arab victimization is experienced. In that case, the deck of this ‘history’ is a bit stacked.  and the Truthdig article inadvertantly tips the author’s hand right away. Well, at least this article is honest about the dishonesty.

The ‘facts and conclusions’ that ITW seemed to think were solid are already on shaky ground.

Just like when John Lennon sang, “Its Only a Northern Song,” I feel like trying out an ad lib version of the same tune… “Its Only a Truthdig Article.”

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By Garo, April 20, 2010 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: kalpal,April 20 at 4:57 pm.

You really have no convincing case of history at all. Your understanding of history is based on a bunch of tales,similar to the tales I read many years ago in the Arabian nights,specifically named “The One Thousands and One Night”.

The difference between your tales and the Arabian nights tales lies in the fact that in your case,you abuse history without a touch of shame,while the Arabian nights tales were told basically for entertaining a king by his wife,Shahrazad,(night-in-night-out),in order to postpone her expected death which was supposed to be committed by her husband who decided,at the end,not to kill her.

Describing what has been presented by the highly and accurately knowledgeable poster named,  brewerstroupe,as “silliness”,reflects poorly on you,since you have offered no documented history but personal tales,after personal,after personal tales,like a chain reaction. Any good liar can do so also. In short,you have no substance at all,sir,but typical hard-core Zionist propaganda.

Talking about “Fantazia”,you are certainly living in its hallucination.

Your kind has succeeded in abusing the geography and demography of Palestine at the expense of the brutalized Palestinian people. Now,you want to abuse its history as well.

Amazing and amuzing,indeed.

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By Dave Thomas, April 20, 2010 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment

I guess some of the posters in this thread are unaware than 90% of indigenous Americans who died after Europeans came to the New World were killed by disease, and that this does not constitute genocide.

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By kalpal, April 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

brewerstroupe, I congratulate you on your impressive ability to believe revisionist Arab writings. It is truly wonderous.

The revolt in the 1830s led to which movements and which building of an infrastructure that was inherently Plaestinian? The answer is none if one reads contemporaneous accounts that have not been revised to reflect something that has never happened. Live long and prosper!

Do try to avoid reading one sides sillines. Look at some of the writings by visitors to the area starting in the mid 19th century and learn what they saw. I don’t claim they were all prejudiced in any direction but I do claim that none of them saw a thriving nation with its own culture that considered itself Palestinian rather than Syrian or Ottoman.

I may be wrong but I am very much invested in the area as a native born in Haifa. I hold on to the stories of those who were there and had no idea that what they saw was a fantasy just like the one the holocaust deniers bandy about. None of them knew then that new hsitories would be written by those who would create a thriving nation of Palsetinians yearning plaintively to be free of the Ottoman yoke and who after the 1948 war would sit quietly in camps waiting for some Saladin to come rescue them.

I say to you Bah humbug and fare thee well. I shall no longer indulge in debate with someone who knows everything because he read it in a newly refashioned world view as an arab fantasy.

Be well, believe much and know as little as possible.

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By Dave Thomas, April 20, 2010 at 7:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m trying to figure out what is different about the Ottomans conquering all this territory and Europeans or Jews conquering it. Isn’t conquest conquest no matter who is doing the conquering?

I guess conquest is only unjust when the conqueror isn’t Muslim. Do I have this right?

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By brewerstroupe, April 19, 2010 at 12:56 am Link to this comment

“tell me all about Palestinian leaders of that era”

The 1834 Arab revolt in Palestine was a reaction to conscription into the Egyptian army by the W?li Muhammad Ali…. The imposition of a conscription levy led to a revolt in Palestine, headed by the prominent Arab clans of Nablus, Hebron and the Jerusalem-Jaffa area. Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal argue that the 1834 Palestinian Arab revolt was a formative event, in that it forged a unity among disparate groups against a common enemy: the various classes and clans who fought in it are precisely those that reemerged later to constitute the Palestinian people…..
Qasim al-Ahmad, nahiya (clan leader) of Jamma’in was appointed as mustasallim (administrator) of the Nablus sub-district by Ibrahim Pasha. Qasim was replaced by ‘Abd al-Hadi. Qasim organised the a’ayan (notables) of Nablus, Hebron and Jerusalem and on 19 May 1834, the clans, led by Qasim, notified Egyptian officials that Palestinian Arab families would no longer furnish the Egyptian army with troops. Governor Ibrahim Pasha responded by sending Egyptian forces into the rebellious cities, thus triggering armed conflict with the clans. Ottoman-aligned Palestinian Arab families in Palestine revolted under the leadership of Qasim al-Ahmad.

“North & South America are both compose of colonies who decimated the indigenous populations and see themselves as righteous people even though they still cheat the locals and steal from them. “
I am not sure what you mean by this unless it is offered as justification for Israel’s dispossession of the indigenous people of Palestine. The parallels are certainly striking.

“Israel… is not a colonial power.”

Define it however you choose. The pattern is one of dispossession of the indigenous people within and a forty year long occupation outside the green line.

“For the past 2,000 years Europe and most of the Muslim world for the past 1300 years has seen fit to murder and harrass Jews and deprive them of any rights no matter what they contributed to any nation they lived in.”

Utter bullshit. The Golden Age of Jewish Culture occurred under Muslim rule in Spain from about the 8th century to the 11th, Britain had a Jewish Prime Minister in the mid nineteenth, what is now Iraq had a Jewish Chancellor of the Exchequer up until the nineteen-thirties. Dutch Jews prospered during the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Denmark invited Jews to settle in 1600. I have already posted the numerous times Muslims liberated Jerusalem and allowed Jews back in.
Get it through your head. Most peoples have been persecuted at some time or other - Irish, Scots, Hugenots, Africans, Chinese, Hindus, Moslems, Christians, American Indians. Far as I know there is only one group that demands the right to dispossess and persecute another and separate group in response.

“Jews have lived in the area for more than 3,600 years.”

And my forbears have lived in Scandinavia, Britain and Europe since the Neolithic age. That does not give me the right to return to any of those places and toss out those who never left.

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By GoyToy, April 18, 2010 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

Hey,Kalpal, calling me an idiot does not bother me in
the least. But I noticed you failed to address the
points I raised in my previous postings. Did I say
Arabs/Muslims are without fault when it comes to
minorities. Minorities anywhere have been prosecuted
from time to time. But do tell what gives IsraHell a
moral right to exist? From your clearly Jewish
upbringing, I would think you’d wait for the return
of the Messiah, right?
It would be easy for me to hate Jews because of
Zionists like you, but I also know many good, decent
Jews. Besides, sixty-plus years is nothing in the life of a
nation and time, unfortunately for Israel, is on the
Arab/Palestinian side. Or do you not see that?

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By brewerstroupe, April 18, 2010 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

“During teh mandate a jew caught with a gun was imprisoned for at least a few years. An Arab caught with a gun was fined 5 piasters.”
This seems at variance with the historical record.
Palestinian Nationalism came to a head with the general strike of 1936. The British response led to violence:

The British responded to the violence by greatly expanding their military forces and clamping down on Arab dissent. “Administrative detention” (imprisonment without charges or trial), curfews, and house demolitions were among British practices during this period. More than 120 Arabs were sentenced to death and about 40 hanged. The main Arab leaders were arrested or expelled. Amin al-Husayni fled from Palestine to escape arrest.

The main form of collective punishment employed by the British forces was destruction of property.[2] Sometimes entire villages were reduced to rubble, as happened to Mi’ar in October 1938; more often several prominent houses were blown up and others were trashed inside.[2] The biggest single act of destruction occurred in Jaffa on June 16, 1936, when large gelignite charges were used to cut long pathways through the old city, destroying 220–240 buildings and rendering up to 6,000 Arabs homeless.[2] Villages were also frequently punished by fines and confiscation of livestock.[2]

In addition to actions against property, a large amount of brutality by the British forces occurred, including beatings, torture and extrajudicial killings.[2] A surprisingly large number of prisoners were “shot while trying to escape”.[2] Several incidents involved serious atrocities, such as massacres at al-Bassa and Halhul.[2] Nevertheless, it has been argued that British behaviour overall was good compared to most other examples where a foreign army suppressed a popular insurgency.[2]

The Haganah (Hebrew for “defense”), a Jewish paramilitary organization, actively supported British efforts to suppress the uprising, which reached 10,000 Arab fighters at their peak during the summer and fall of 1938. Although the British administration did not officially recognize the Haganah, the British security forces cooperated with it by forming the Jewish Settlement Police, Jewish Auxiliary Forces, and Special Night Squads. In 1931, an underground splinter group broke off from Haganah, calling itself the Irgun organization (or Etzel).[3] The Irgun adopted a policy of retaliation against Arabs for attacks on Jews.[4]

Despite the assistance of 20,000 additional British troops and several thousand Haganah men, the uprising continued for over two years. By the time it concluded in March 1939, more than 5,000 Arabs, 400 Jews, and 200 Britons had been killed and at least 15,000 Arabs were wounded…...
During the uprising, British authorities attempted to confiscate all weapons from the Arab population. This, and the destruction of the main Arab political leadership in the revolt, greatly hindered their military efforts in the 1948 Palestine war.

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By kalpal, April 18, 2010 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

So before Israel declared itself to be a state which is while the British still held the mandate the Brits allowed Israelis who were not allowed to seen with weapons to drive 400,000 Arabs away?

During teh mandate a jew caught with a gun was imprisoned for at least a few years. An Arab caught with a gun was fined 5 piasters.

Anyone who made silly claims about nearly half a million Arabs being forced awayu by Jewish arms is a fool or a liar but that matters not at all.

My sister was a border guard at the Golan border she was shot at and she was not even driving a tractor. She was also kindergarten teacher and she observed Syrian Arabs trying to steal livestock and they too shot at her and her young charges.

If Dayan was bragging so be it. My sources other than Pierre Von Passen are all first person accounts.

Since you believe that Palestinians tried to achieve nationhood in the 19th century, tell me all about Palestinian leaders of that era. Tell me about their great national institutions. I’d like to hear about their court system. Their natioanlistic literature of the early 19th century. Can you lead me to newspaper accounts of the great Palesinian revolt. Surely the world was aware of it.

I am still waiting for you to explain to me America’s manifest destiny and how it made it possible to murder many indigenous tribes and to screw over those who did not die. North & South America are both compose of colonies who decimated the indigenous populations and see themselves as righteous people even though they still cheat the locals and steal from them.

I said before and I’ll say it again. The Palestinians have been harmed by eveyone who has come in contact with them during past few centuries. I am all for them having a state. I don’t even care if they have an army so long as if they use their army to attack Israel or help someone else to do so they do not cry foul when Israel does to them what they claim they intend to do to Israel. 

I am not a religious man by any measure but I accept the biblical dictum that if you know someone is coming to kill you, get up early and go kill them first.

Israel is not a colony and is not a colonial power. palestinians were never a free nation and lack the knowledge needed to become one.

Does anyone out there in the world imagine that if the Jews left Israel peace will reign over the earth and Arabs will no longer oppress and murder other Arabs?

For the past 2,000 years Europe and most of the Muslim world for the past 1300 years has seen fit to murder and harrass Jews and deprive them of any rights no matter what they contributed to any nation they lived in. That can’t be allowed to continue.

The frequent murdering of Jews and deprivation of rights will no longer be tolerated by Israeli Jews. If you need someone to push around and make silly accusations about pick on someone else. Find someone else you think is powerless and go for it.

Jews have lived in the area for more than 3,600 years. They will live there for the future of mankind. If you don’t like it, tough.

Anyone who imagines that jews are there to be slaughtered may find it is not so easy. In 1967 Israel tried to negotiate a peace and the Arab world came up with its 3 NO’s. If anyone wants peace let them speak up and start to negotiate.

It is unfortunate that fatah has not yet stolen enough out of donated funds from teh UN & EU to consider trying to reach an accord.

As soon as a non-corrupt Arab governmental entity comes into existence near Israel there will be an equitable peace and not a moment sooner.

Argue all you want that Israel is malevolent but you know it is not. Find me an honest, truthful straightforward Arab Muslim and we can talk sense.

As that idiot Goytoy says, Goodbye.

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By brewerstroupe, April 18, 2010 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

“Was there a Palestinian nation? No! It was a colony of the Ottoman Empire. “

So this puts it “up for grabs” does it? I don’t think so. The pattern of post-colonial societies is towards self-determination, not re-colonization.
Most Historians date the struggle for independence to the 1834 Arab revolt in Palestine.
The 1919 King-Crane Commission, initiated “solely to get as accurate and definite information as possible concerning the conditions, the relations, and the desires of all the peoples….... of the Near East-whether in the Peace Conference or in the later League of Nations. “

The second largest percentage of all, 1,370 (73.5 percent), is for “Absolute Independence,” .....the great majority asked for independence and defined a mandate to mean only economic and technical assistance, because of a widespread fear that the mandatory arrangement would be used to cloak colonial annexation.

It is a category mistake to confuse ownership of land with “ownership” in the colonial sense which relates only to the administration of the colony and has nothing to do with real estate. 

Kalpal continues to invoke hoary old myths that have long been debunked.
“Syria used to fire on farmers tilling the soil”
Moshe Dayan revealed the truth of this in 1976:

“I know how at least 80 percent of the clashes there started. In my opinion, more than 80 percent, but let’s talk about 80 percent. It went this way: We would send a tractor to plough someplace where it wasn’t possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that’s how it was.”

Also, later, he regretted it as:

  “I made a mistake in allowing the Israel conquest of the Golan Heights. As defense minister I should have stopped it because the Syrians were not threatening us at the time [fourth day of the war]”.

“By the time Israel declared itself a state its citizens had been frequently, viciously attacked by Arabs… Most Arabs left because they had been urged to do so by their who asked them to clear the path while the glorious Arab Armies wiped all those Jews off the face of the earth. “

The timeline is important here. By the time Israel declared itself a State, around 400,000 Palestinians had been expelled from their homes at gunpoint. The canard that they left at the urging of their “brave and wonderful brethern” has long been exposed. Israeli historians Ilan Pappe, Benny Morris, Sternhall, Avi Schlaim and Tom Segev, using Israeli archives and declassified material, have established that this expulsion was planned as early as 1946.
Erskine Childers researched this question:

The BBC monitored all Middle Eastern broadcasts throughout 1948, and those records, and companion ones by a U.S. monitoring unit… His conclusion was:

  “There was not a single order, or appeal, or suggestion about evacuation from Palestine from any Arab radio station, inside or outside Palestine, in 1948. There is repeated monitored record of Arab appeals, even flat orders, to the civilians of Palestine to stay put”

Christopher Hitchens (well known as a supporter of the Jewish State) refers to Benny Morris´s article The Causes and Character of the Arab Exodus from Palestine also concluded there was no urging:

(this confirmation) “by an Israeli historian using the most scrupulous and authentic Zionist sources, at last allows us to write finis to a debate which has been going on for a quarter of a century.

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By sharonsj, April 18, 2010 at 11:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The author says, “In 1947, the Palestinians numbered 1.2 million as compared with 600,000 Jews; they owned 94 per cent of the land. It was not surprising that they rejected the UN partition resolution which gave them only half of their country. There followed a war between the Palestinians and the Jews, which saw 200,000-300,000 Palestinians driven, one way or another, from their homes.”

The number of Jews in the area was purposely kept low and no refugees from Europe were allowed in.  When the UN partitioned the area, nearly all of it went to Jordan, which was supposed to be the Palestinian homeland. So where he gets “half,” I don’t know.  Gaza and the West Bank were the “unassigned” territories and so were not given to either Israel or Jordan.

The number of Arab refugees various.  But I notice the author does not mention The 750,000 Jewish refugees who fled Arab lands.  It’s obviously his analysis is very one-sided.

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By kalpal, April 18, 2010 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

GOYTOY, a pesumed play on Madonna’s phrase is silly almost as silly as the lits of “facts” supplied by the goy who is a toy.

*The land, prior to the establishment of modern
Israel, was inhabited largely by Palestinians.

Yes, it was. Was there a Palestinian nation? No! It was a colony of the Ottoman Empire.

*Modern Israel is a colonial enterprise which
introduced European Jews into what was Palestine

A colony is an outgrowth or possession of an existing nation. Which existing nation is Israel an outgrowth or possession of?

*Israel is a racist state as evidenced by its
treatment of the people in the occupied territories

Who owned the occupied territories prior to Israel’s possession of them? Since no nation claims them as its former possessions other than Syria’s demand for the return of the Golan heights which Syria used to fire on farmers tilling the soil, I wonder who gets to have them returned? Israel’s treament of the population in the territories was just and equitable till it was attacked by residents of the territories. If you wish to discuss racism I would point to America’s treatment of Africans and Asians as being racist and neither of those groups attacked the USA first.

*Israel refuses to state what exactly are the borders of the Jewish state

So Israel should determine by itself what its borders are? A very interesting concept. When Israel tried to do so while negotiating with Arafat and Clinton, all assertions were denied as invalid by Arafat who knew that he would be assasinated if he reached any final agreement on borders. But if it becomes necessary to declare borders what say we accept the religious nuts ideas as being the valid borders. I think they used biblical descriptions as being themost valid in which case Israel must request that Jordan, a country created by Churchill needs to shove off.

....and I could go on, but I’ll leave it there. Bye.

I do think you are right you should go on as far as possible till you learn that must not repeat drivel. Bye bye

Simplistic BS is not an argument and assertions unbased by established defensible facts are kust simplistic drivel.

Whenever anyone wishes to discuss poor national behavior the similes are generally “murderous behavior toward Jews or Christia behavior toward people of color.” Those are the baseline examples of horrific behavior in human affairs. In neither case can one argue that Jews are or ever have been as evil as either Christians or Muslims.

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By GoyToy, April 18, 2010 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Argue from the Zionist point of view all you want,
but here are the pertinent facts:

*The land, prior to the establishment of modern
Israel, was inhabited largely by Palestinians.
*Modern Israel is a colonial enterprise which
introduced European Jews into what was Palestine
*Israel is a racist state as evidenced by its
treatment of the people in the occupied territories
*Israel refuses to state what exactly are the borders of the Jewish state
....and I could go on, but I’ll leave it there. Bye.

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By Leefeller, April 18, 2010 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

It seems bias demands, requires, must have and feeds on bias; for what in the world would bias do wnen confronted with the unbiased?????

A special event this is, an opportunit to observe just that.

Being right is always necessary, even when wrong!

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By Inherit The Wind, April 18, 2010 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

An interesting and fascinating article.  Nobody seems to be able to actually discredit the author’s facts and conclusions.

The obvious answer is that there is no obvious answer and there is no one “obviously” at fault.  Many contributors from all sides gave their all to leave the Middle East in its current mess.

To list a few: Britain, France, the USA, Arabs, Persians, Turks, and Jews all had their hand in f***ing the situation up—usually in collaboration with other actors.

And, as usual, the totally biased on TD view their POV that one side is beneficent angels and the other side greedy destructive demons.  Yet the author steadfastly refuses that path.  Good for him/her!

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By Old Geezer Pilot, April 18, 2010 at 7:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am learning a lot from the dialog between Kalpal and
Brewerstroupe. Thanks.

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By kalpal, April 18, 2010 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

I find it strange that a truthful comment about Arab corruption is deemed racist. There has never been and may well never be a non-corrupt Arab government. At least Israel prosecutes corruption, something no Arab government is ever willing to do, especially not publicly.

I took no governmental sources as reference in my note. I used first person witness accounts. I also used a book written by a Canadian citizen of Dutch descent who recited out what he saw in person between 1920 and 1943.

I know that Jews made many efforts to buy good arable land but it was largely not for sale since it was productive and could not be replaced by any quality land elsewhere.

One always hopes that politicians will someday be truthful but that is as likely as buying a perfectly maintained used car from a lot for a pittance.

I admit that it is possible that my parents lied to me and it is also possible that all those older people I knew when I was youngster co-ordinated the lies with ny parents but I find it highly improbable.

By the time Israel declared itself a state its citizens had been frequently, viciously attacked by Arabs. There was indeed some ill will and bad blood. Most Arabs left because they had been urged to do so by their brave and wonderful brethern who asked them to clear the path while the glorious Arab Armies wiped all those Jews off the face of the earth.

An equally stupid thing happened in 1967 when the Syrian high command invited one and all to a free feast in Tel Aviv one day after hostilities began.

I fully admit that the Palestinians have been repeatedly screwed by all sides. Israelis find it hard to be eternally forgiving of those who send armed men and women to murder children and to forgive those celebrate at each report of such actions.

I know that America deeply regrets its Manifest Destiny claim used to justify its repeated murders of the local indigenous populace and the repeated reneging of the treaties it forced the tribes to sign but refused to honor.

Perchance America can act as an example to Israel by removing all European, Asian and African interlopers from North and South America and maybe even compensating the tribes for the poor treatment and massive governmental theft that is still ongoing.

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By agelbert, April 17, 2010 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment

Well, it seems the American hegemony may be put on hold if the volcanic ash from Iceland covers Iraq and Afghanistan for a few months or longer; No more air superiority or cover and no more drone attacks. Volcanic ash messes up anything mechanical. It’s back to the 19th century. The Arabs are excellent fighters and they always win in a level playing field. If I were Obama, I’d get our troops out before they face a repeat of the charge of the light brigade in the 19th century.
If the volcanic ash lasts for months or years, the Arabs will clean our clock.

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By Arabian Sinbad, April 17, 2010 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

And I keep wondering why the crude fanatic Jews, whom I already see few here, keep vomiting their venomous hatred and racism against their Arab victims, while forgetting their Western Nazi victimizers and their Zionist brethren who collaborated with the Nazis to make this current mess possible for both Jews and Arabs.

May I suggest for those dumb, deaf and blind Zionists to seek some enlightenment by reading Alan Hart’s 3-volume work, titled, “ZIONISM: The Real Enemy of the Jews.”

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By brewerstroupe, April 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment


Nice essay. I can empathize with the reality in which you grew up but I cannot accept it as evidence of History, just as I cannot accept the reality and prejudices that might have accompanied a childhood and youth in the Southern States during the Jim Crow era (for example) as evidence upon which to base History. It is one thing to understand the knowledge base upon which opinions rest, another to condone the behavior of those who create that knowledge.

Living within a State is no guarantee of knowing what the policies of that State consist of. It is often not until documents are declassified, sometimes 50 or 100 years later that Historians begin to understand exactly what occurred and why.

Much of what is now known and written about the establishment of Israel by Morris, Pappe, Sand, Segev, van Creveld etc is the result of documents that emerged after the 50 year mark and runs counter to the narrative believed by many who were “on the ground”. Settlers involved in the extermination of the American Indians were utterly unaware of the greater evil that was taking place and felt justified in carrying out attacks and reprisals based on their “on the ground” experience.

Some of your assertions are contrary to evidence that has existed for many years however.
Arthur Ruppin (1876-1943) was a Zionist thinker and leader. He was also one of the founders of the city of Tel Aviv and the chief Zionist land agent.

You say: “No one sold Jews any masses of productive arable land.”

He says (in 1929): “Thus we may say that the Zionist Organization concentrated its land-purchasing efforts upon the two great plains of Palestine almost simultaneously. It is only in the mountainous country adjoining these plains that, recognizing the greater difficulties of colonization in the mountains, it bought nothing.”

Whatever your personal opinion of “bureaucrats”, the statistics regarding crop production were produced by the Anglo-American Committee of InquiryThe committee comprised six Americans and six British. Judge ‘Texas Joe’ Hutcheson was the American Chairman. He was joined by Frank Aydelotte, William Phillips, Frank Buxton, James G. McDonald, and Bartley Crum. The group was a diverse group of diplomats, scholars, and politicians, most in favor of the proposal that 100,000 displaced persons be admitted to Palestine. The British contingent was comprised by Lord Morrison, Sir Frederick Leggett, Wilfrid Crick, Reginald Manningham-Buller, and Richard Crossman, and headed by Sir John Singleton. I suggest that your status as an Historian would be questionable if you dismiss this evidence out of hand.

You say: “Between 1949 and 1967 they were forced to squat in camps by their own Muslim brethern”

I find this an extraordinary statement. Given that around 400,000 Palestinians had been evicted from their homes and villages before hostilities commenced on 15 May 1948 and one of the first acts of the Israeli Government on declaring Statehood was to pass laws prohibiting those refugees from returning home, how can responsibility for the refugees be sheeted home to the surrounding Arab States?

I am not sure what allegations of Arab corruption have to do with the point at issue but has it escaped your notice that many Israeli politicians including Olmert, Katz, Lieberman and Sharon all stand accused of corruption. I suggest that highlighting Arab corruption carries more than a hint of racism.

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By gerard, April 17, 2010 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Jerusalem has been a “Jewish city”, a “Muslim city” and a “Christian city” at various tmes in the past. All three faiths claim holy sites there.  The blood and bones of all three faiths have fertilized Jerusalem’s soil. At times the city has been shared peaceably as well as viciously fought over. Religious fanaticism on all sides has made it a long-term bone of contention.

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By sharonsj, April 17, 2010 at 10:21 am Link to this comment
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I’m confused by the early statement that the Palestinians got only half their land.  Israel exists on a tiny sliver of land compared to what is occupied by Arabs.  And didn’t the U.N. create Jordan the same time it created Israel so that Jordan would be the Palestinian state?  Jordan is 80% Palestinian and, by the way, officially refuses to allow Jews to become citizens or own land.  The article also says that partition caused 2-300,000 Arabs to be driven out.  What about the 750,000 Jews who had to flee Arab lands?  Oh, wait, they’re Jews, so they don’t count.

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By Leefeller, April 17, 2010 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

An article with a perspective not seen before and most appreciated. The quote below sums up the world in general, just change the percentages!

“Nasser had been warned by a former Syrian president that Syrians were difficult to govern: ““fifty percent… consider themselves leaders, twenty-five percent prophets, and ten percent imagine they are God”.”

My original perspective of middle east, was to blame myself and point at apathy, now I feel vindicated. So much mucking about, no wonder the middle east has never made sense to me.  Not an excuse just an observation. The middle east is most confusing, though now slightly clearer, most appreciated and thanks! 

One could say manipulations and opportunism has shown its it’s ugly underbelly in the middle east with regularity, sadly people have died from it, so far here in the USA it has not yet, been deadly in nature. 

Seems the middle east could have been quite different if the west had not meddled, but one will never know how different?

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By kalpal, April 17, 2010 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

My sources of information are my parents who arrived in the middle east in 1932 where I was born many years later, along with the elderly neighbors who told me about their adventures during the 20s, 30s and 40s. I also use a book written in 1943 by Pierre Von Paassen who was reporter in the middle east during 1920s, 30s and early 1940s, “The Forgotten Ally.”

I suppose I should ignore first person accounts of those who lived in the area in favor of bureaucratic accounts by those whose task may have been to warp reality to conform to a political agenda. 

I feel strongly that the Palestinians were mistreated by all involved including their own political and religious leadership. Between 1949 and 1967 they were forced to squat in camps by their own Muslim brethern who dreamed of a day when the Jews would be pushed into sea or simply murdered by Arab hordes. During those years no voice was raised claiming that Palestinian lands on which they were encamped should be devoted to a Palestinian state.

It was only after in became crystal clear that Israel’s neighbors would not be able to destroy Israel and would never ease the plight of those in the camps that Palestinians began to seek a state of their own.

When Jews first came to the middle east they came with books and with some agricultural teachers and they managed to tansform land that was unused and considered worthless. No one sold Jews any masses of productive arable land. Not even Arabs were that stupid. Any land that produced yearly crops and income was never sold for silly money. Its income potential could never be replaced by a few pounds stirling. Who ever made other claims was a liar.

Most of the Jews who came from Europe were very poor and would not have been able to buy any land that was considered of value by the locals.

The only good land was purchased in 1880s by the Rothschilds who planted a vineyard. All the other lands bought were arid or swampy. No one was using them and the Sheikhs sold it because it was producing nothing that could be taxed.

As a student of History I have looked at how Europeans have used Jews as scapegoats and convenient targets whenever anything was going wrong. You seem to be doing the same thing.

Israel began with decent treatment of all who lived in it. That changed as Palestinians saw fit to commit murder and loot anything that was Jewish.

After the 1967 war, Israel tried to negotiate with its neighbors. The response was the three NO’s.

As Arafat explained, no compromise is possible if I am weak, none is needed if I am strong and when equality is attained I will wait till I gain strength and then no compromise will be needed since I will take what I want. 

A Palestinian state will not happen if it requires that the current government stop stealing most of the money being given to it. Corruption is the essence of Arab governments. No high offical in the Arab world will die a poor man since he will have taken many bribes or have stolen all that he could.

Declaring a state will bring about some supervision from those who donate funds and that will crimp the activity of shifting funds to offshore banks. Too many Palestnians have lived in coutries where the government is responsible to its citizens for its actions. Obscuring the thefts will no longer be so easy without a constant state of conflict.

Getting back to Arabs and their behavior, one must realize that in many respects they cause their own intractable problems. Palestinians have bet many times on some savior who will rescue them from poverty and injustice. No such savior is possible within their own ranks. None has existed for many centuries and none will be tolerated by those with guns and extremist faith.

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By walterbard, April 17, 2010 at 3:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here is another quotefrom Arthur Ruppin found in an article “Buying the Emek”

A large part of this land was purchased from absentee landlords, chiefly the Sursuk family of Beirut. In addition to the purchase price, it was necessary to pay compensation to tenant farmers.. In fact, most of the land in Palestine was not privately owned, and lands that were publicly owned were usually not for sale to Jews. This, plus the financial troubles of the Zionist movement such as those detailed below, resulted in the purchase of only about 8% of the land of Palestine by 1948. “

(but that 8% included 35% arable land farmed by Jews
not arab tenant farmers working for arab absentee landlords)  walterbard    

As I stated a great deal of the lands were owned by absentee landlords, Arabs not Jews. Most of those
landlords were in Damascus not Beirut.
I noticed that you didn’t answer about the Kibbutzim movement. Most of the jewish farming was carried out
communally.  It was the arab muderers who were driving to drive out the Jews, such as the Hebron
massacre in April 1929 and in Gaza.

Unlike the tyrannical arab govenments, such as Hamas,
there is freedom of speech in Israel and so there was
an era revisionist history among some Israeli historians, such as Benny Morris.
Phony pro terrorist advocates like to quote from them. But most of them have been discredited.
A great deal of Morris is taken out of context

No you didn’t hurt my sensibilities. Most anti Israel
activists follow Goebbels big loe technique.
A rapid fire of lies hoping one will stick.
It’s expected.

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By Dar, April 17, 2010 at 12:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I had purchased this book yet haven’t read it yet. Looks very good.

One thing though, the Egyptian-Syrian union didn’t fail because the Syrians were hard to govern (though that may be true), but rather because Egypt ran Syria like a client state not a partner, including trying to impose unfair agricultural laws and the like.

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By GoyToy, April 16, 2010 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

I see the word “Islamist” being used quite a lot. But who or what is an Islamist—and is there a similar equivalent for people of other faiths?

What I do know is there are all kinds of Muslims (same goes for people of all faiths), some moderate, some radical, some liberal.

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By brewerstroupe, April 16, 2010 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment

“You quote from a palestinian propaganda site”
I quote from “A Survey of Palestine”, prepared in December 1945 and January 1946 for the Information of the
Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry[/url]. If it offends your sensibilities to read the photostat copies posted on the Palestinerembered website then I suggest you buy a copy from either or
It is noticeable that you have not posted references to support your allegations.

“Muslims took it by force of swords.”

In a sense this is true but it was from the Sassanids (Byzantines) not Jews that they took it in 614.

With the Arab conquest, Jews were allowed back into the city.[58] The Rashidun caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab signed a treaty with Monophysite Christian Patriarch Sophronius, assuring him that Jerusalem’s Christian holy places and population would be protected under Muslim rule.

Then came the Crusaders in 1099, slaughtering Jews and Moslems alike. Again the Moslems came to the rescue:

Jerusalem was conquered by the Crusaders, who massacred most of its Muslim and Jewish inhabitants when they took the solidly defended city by assault, after a period of siege; later the Crusaders created the Kingdom of Jerusalem. By early June 1099 Jerusalem’s population had declined from 70,000 to less than 30,000.[63]

In 1187, the city was wrested from the Crusaders by Saladin who permitted Jews and Muslims to return and settle in the city.[64] Under the Ayyubid dynasty of Saladin, a period of huge investment began in the construction of houses, markets, public bathes, and pilgrim hostels as well as the establishment of religious endowments. However, for most of the 13th century, Jerusalem declined to the status of a village due to city’s fall of strategic value and Ayyubid internecine struggles.[65]

Then the Tartars:

in 1244, Jerusalem was sacked by the Khwarezmian Tartars, who decimated the city’s Christian population and drove out the Jews.

Jews were again allowed to return under the Ottomans:

In 1517, Jerusalem and environs fell to the Ottoman Turks, who generally remained in control until 1917.[64] Jerusalem enjoyed a prosperous period of renewal and peace under Suleiman the Magnificent – including the rebuilding of magnificent walls around the Old City. Throughout much of Ottoman rule, Jerusalem remained a provincial, if religiously important center, and did not straddle the main trade route between Damascus and Cairo.[67] However, the Muslim Turks brought many innovations: modern postal systems run by the various consulates; the use of the wheel for modes of transportation; stagecoach and carriage, the wheelbarrow and the cart; and the oil-lantern, among the first signs of modernization in the city.[68] In the mid 19th century, the Ottomans constructed the first paved road from Jaffa to Jerusalem, and by 1892 the railroad had reached the city.[68]

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By walterbard, April 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You quote from a palestinian propaganda site as if it
were truthful. Your statistics are utter nonsense.
At least 50,000 Arabs were brought in to work on
the reconstruction of Haifa area. The British specifically banned Jewish immigration.
That’s a fact.

“The Jews who, according to the statistical tables, belong in the class of agriculturalists, are for the most part not farmers, but landowners, who lease out their lands, or agricultural day laborers, or else small cattle-breeders;”

Did you ever hear of the kibbutz. if not look it up.
What those lying palestinians are refering is the
conditions among the the Arabs, with most of the
absentee landlords living in Damascus.

Don’t try to pass off the lies on a palestinian propaganda
site as truth.

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By Kal, April 16, 2010 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

According to a 1915 National Geographic magazine article about “Palestine” Jerisalem’s population is listed as 60,000 with 40,000 Jews and 12,000 Muslims the rest being christians and so on.

Seems to me that Jerusalem was a Jewish city if it was 2/3 Jewish. Jews have never left the area. Muslims took it by force of swords. Islam considers any area taken by force to be permanently Muslim, Dar Al Islam.

I feel sorry that the UK ruined millions of lives by its deeds. I hope that the USA will see the error of its way before long.

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By brewerstroupe, April 16, 2010 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Value of Agricultural production from main groups of crops in the season 1944-5 distinguishing between Arab and Jewish cultivation:

Jewish:  4,710,926

Arab:  17,103,133

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By brewerstroupe, April 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

“increase in Arab immigration while the British barred Jewish immigration”

This is not supported by these tables from “A Survey of Palestine”, prepared by the British Mandate for UN prior to proposing the 1947 partition plan.

You will note that there was a total of 33,304 Christian/Moslem immigrants during the period 1920 - 1945 compared to 367,845 Jewish.

“the worthless fallow lands sold to them “

This is belied by none other than Arthur Rupin, the Rothschild’s purchasing agent in 1929:

The acquisition of the Emek Yizael for Jewish colonization has been the object of Jewish efforts for many years. It was natural that this region, the largest fertile plain of Palestine.....
Half of this land (Nahalal, Djindjar and Nasra) was not irrigated, and cost £3 per dunam, while the other half (Nuris) was partly irrigated….
It has often been asked why the Zionist Organization has chosen the Emek for settlement purposes, and has neglected the coastal plain, which is suitable for plantations of all sorts and for orange groves in particular. This question can best be answered by pointing out that the coastal plain has not been neglected at all. Since 1910 the Palestine Land Development Company alone has acquired 70,000 dunam in the coastal plain between Gaza and Haifa; and when we count the plain of Acco the total mounts to 135,000 dunams.
Thus we may say that the Zionist Organization concentrated its land-purchasing efforts upon the two great plains of Palestine almost simultaneously. It is only in the mountainous country adjoining these plains that, recognizing the greater difficulties of colonization in the mountains, it bought nothing.”

Careful analysis of the export data in British records shows very little growth curve in the already flourishing oil and orange production during and after the period of Jewish immigration. In fact, Rupin states:

The first mistake which I must point out was the fact that the persons who were to be transformed into farmers did not know enough about agriculture. They had not been brought into the country according to plan; they had simply come, had installed themselves one way or another as agriculturalists, soon found themselves at the end of their means, and called for help. It is difficult to find among the Jews the right sort of human material for agriculture; there are, indeed, statistics of Russian, Galician and East European Jews who live by agriculture; but there seems to be a wide gap between these statistics and what I have observed personally in East Europe. The Jews who, according to the statistical tables, belong in the class of agriculturalists, are for the most part not farmers, but landowners, who lease out their lands, or agricultural day laborers, or else small cattle-breeders; in any case, they are not the type of farmer which is needed for Palestine. In consequence it appears altogether doubtful whether we shall find, anywhere in the world, Jews whose abilities and training would fit them to become successful farmers in Palestine. It will be necessary to put the land settlers thorough a period of preliminary training in the country itself so that they may win the necessary experience acclimatize themselves, become accustomed to the work, and in general become acquainted with the general conditions obtaining in Palestine.

The substance of this book review points to the contrast between the Arab History and the narrative established by discredited pseudo-historians such as Joan Peters whose book it appears you are channeling. As the review, and no doubt Francis Robinson’s book attests, it is time to take another look.

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By Kal, April 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One can easily credit most of the current problems in the Arab world to the wonderful effects of Colonialism. The British, French and now the Americans. Dealing with Arabs as though they are willful or possibly retarded is and has been a gross error.

It was the British Colonial Office that expended much effort exacerbating friction between Arab and Jew. It was intended to insure that no industrial presence would exist in any area under their control. Those wonderful Brits brought Arab leaders from as far as Iran and Iraq to see what the Jews had accomplished in the worthless fallow lands sold to them and suggested that the looting possibilities were truly munificent.

America’s neocons wanted to create a new colonial system in Iraq with a puppet democracy under US control. That failed and the Democrats were left to pick up the mess which will be blamed on Obama for not hewing to the PNAC.

That’s the reason that Cheney keeps attacking Obama for not being willing to torture more prisoners and thereby establish US hegemony as being serious and potentially deadly to those who refuse to knuckle under to the Neocon vision.

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By gerard, April 16, 2010 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Add the Crusades into the picture, and no wonder we have problems!

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By walterbard, April 16, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

True, there were always more arabs in the “Palestine” region then Jews. But after the Britsh take over there was an increase in Arab immigration while the British barred Jewish immigration, thus increasing the disparity of the two populations.

No, the Arabs did not “own” 98 percent of the territory that is now Israel. Certainly not the
Negev. Within what is now Israel the Jews owned,
through legal purchase, about 35% of the arable land.

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