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:
- Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus
- Family History in the Middle East: Household, Gender and Property
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
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:
- 8000 BC: Permanent agricultural settlements in Jericho.
- 2500 BC: Settlement of the Canaanites.
- 1250 BC: Israelite conquest of Canaan.
- 965-928 BC: Reign of King Solomon.
- 721 BC: Assyrian conquest of Israel.
- 586 BC: Judah defeated by Babylonians.
- 539 BC: Persians conquer Babylonia.
- 333 BC: Alexander's conquest of Persia brings Greek rule.
- 165 BC: Revolt of the Maccabees.
- 63 BC: Palestine incorporated into Roman Empire.
- 70 AD: Destruction of Jerusalem Temple by Romans.
- 135: Bar Kokhba revolt suppressed.
- 330: Palestine under Byzantine rule (to 638).
- 638: Muslims capture Palestine from Byzantines.
- 1099: Jerusalem under Crusader control (to 1187).
- 1291: Mamelukes capture final Crusader strongholds Acre and Caesarea.
- 1516: Ottomans capture Palestine (to 1917).
- 1776-1804: Ahmad Pasha Al Jazzar appointed Ottoman ruler of Acre;
builds port, monopolizes trade.
- 1799: Napoleon attacks Acre; repulsed by Al Jazzar.
- 1832: Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt occupies Palestine (to 1840).
- 1840: Lord Palmerston advocates Jewish immigration to Palestine.
- 1869: Suez Canal opened.
- 1878: First Zionist settlement at Petach Tiqwa.
- 1882-1903: First wave of 25,000 Zionist immigrants.
- 1906-14: Second wave of 40,000 Zionist immigrants.
- 1909: Tel Aviv founded north of Jaffa.
- 1914: World War I starts; Ottoman Empire joins war on side of
Germany, and attacks Russia.
- 1916: Sykes-Picot Agreement secretly divides Ottoman Empire.
- 1917: Balfour Declaration pledges UK support for "a Jewish
national home in Palestine."
- 1918: Palestine occupied by UK forces under General Allenby;
World War I ends.
- 1919-23: Third wave of over 35,000 Zionist immigrants.
- 1920: League of Nations mandates Palestine and Mesopotamia to UK.
- 1921: UK appoints Haj Amin al-Husseini as Mufti of Jerusalem
- 1922: UK excludes Transjordan from Jewish immigration; first UK
census of Palestine shows 78% Muslim Arab, 11% Jewish, 9.6% Christian Arab.
- 1924-28: Fourth wave of 67,000 Zionist immigrants, raising Jewish
population to 16%.
- 1929-39: Fifth wave of over 250,000 Zionist immigrants, raising
Jewish population to 30%.
- 1936-39: Arab rebellion in Palestine.
- 1939-45: World War II in Europe.
- 1947: UN adopts plan to partition Palestine into two states;
Israel declares independence, fights war against Arab forces.
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.
- 1922: 11.14% Jewish (83,790), 9.50% Christian, 78.34% Moslem.
- 1931: 16.90% (174,606)
- 1932: 17.90% (192,137)
- 1933: 20.59% (234,967)
- 1934: 23.38% (282,975)
- 1935: 27.15% (355,157)
- 1936: 28.10% (384,078)
- 1937: 28.24% (395,836)
- 1938: 28.65% (411,222)
- 1939: 29.66% (445,457)
- 1940: 30.01% (463,535)
- 1941: 29.90% (474,102)
- 1942: 29.90% (484,408)
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
- Beshara Doumani, Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in
Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900 (1995, University of California Press, paperback)
- Charles D. Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict
(4th edition, 2001, Bedford/St. Martin's, paperback)
- Alexander Scholch, Palestine in Transformation, 1856-1882: Studies
in Social, Economic and Political Development (1993, Institute for
- Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal, Palestinians: The Making of a
People (1992, Free Press, paperback)
- Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity (1998, Columbia University
- Tom Segev, One Palestine Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British
Mandate (2001, Owl Books, paperback)
- Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab
Conflict, 1881-2001 (2001, Vintage Books, paperback)
- David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman
Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (2001, Owl Books,
- Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (2001,
W.W. Norton, paperback)