How Did We Get Here?
A History of the Israel-Palestine Conflict

1. Arab Palestine Before 1948

This is the first of a series of eight lectures, sponsored by A Jewish Voice for Peace. This lecture was videotaped on Oct. 21, 2002. The lecturer is Beshara Doumani, a professor of history from UC Berkeley.

About Beshara Doumani

Professor Doumani is Associate Professor, Department of History, University of California at Berkeley.

Doumani was born in 1957 in Saudi Arabia, where his father, a Palestinian forced out of Haifa by the 1948 war, worked for an oil company. The family moved to Lebanon when Doumani was two, and emigrated to the US in 1970, when he was 13. Doumani grew up in Toledo, Ohio. He attended Kenyon College (B.A., 1977) and Georgetown University (M.A., 1980; Ph.D., 1990).

His books include:


The lecture starts with a series of maps. The following maps come from PASSIA, and are not necessarily the same maps as in the lecture. The lecture also had a map of the post-Oslo West Bank, and made use of a topographic map.

Zionist colonies at beginning of British Mandate, 1920

Towns and Settlements 1881-1914

UN Partition Plan 1947

Armistice Agreements 1949


This is expanded from those events mentioned in the lecture:


The Ottoman's 1878 census of the Jerusalem, Nablus, and Acre disticts (including area not currently in Israel) was 403,795 Muslims (87.3%), 43,659 Christians (9.4%), 15,011 Jews (3.2%); however, this did not count at least 10,000 Jews with foreign citizenship, did not include Bedouins. A 1912 estimate puts the Jewish population at 40,000 (7.0%), but other estimates are higher.

Unless specified, the figures below are for the Jewish population in Palestine, based on various sources.

Suggested Readings

The following titles were recommended in the videotape:

Doumani also referred to unspecified books by Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim, and Benny Morris. The following are useful books that we are familiar with and recommend: