Arabs in the Land of Israel from the Beginning of Zionism Until the Establishment of the State of Israel: a Period of Immigration and Riots

One of the main arguments in the Palestinian narrative or in the story they tell themselves and others, is the existence of an Arab population dating back “thousands of years” that was supposedly uprooted during the1948 war. Arabs claim that more than 600 thousand people became refugees.  Research shows that the real numbers are actually much lower and that a significant portion of the “refugees” were actually nomads and immigrants, rather than natives of the land. What was the number of Arab permanent residents, who were considered natives, in the Western part of The Land of Israel? (p. 242) This question has been analyzed by extensive research, and its results will be provided later on. The research included common criteria the objective of which was to track the Arab population and its growth between the 1893, when the greater flow of Jewish immigration started, and 1947.

Distortions that have become part of the research on the subject of the number of Arabs in The Land of Israel:

  • Many of the inhabitants of the western part of the Land of Israel who were not Jewish (Christians, Druze, Armenians, Russians and others) were not Arabs, but were identified as such. This was done either intentionally or unintentionally, especially during the British mandate. This distortion affected entry and exit visas and official reports that sought to measure the size of the population (p.243).
  • Reports on the western part of The Land of Israel did not differentiate between territories where Jews settled, on which the state of Israel was established, and between territories settled exclusively by Arabs, where Jewish settlement was forbidden.
  • The distortions in the numbers of residents naturally resulted in inaccurate representation of the data. For example, in 1893 there were in the western part of The Land of Israel only 450,000 residents who were not Jewish, and 60,000 Jews. At first glance it could seem that the state of Israel expelled the Arabs from their homes, but when taking a closer look, one discovers that the non-Jewish population in the areas of the western part of The Land of Israel where Jews had settled consisted of only 92,300 inhabitants. If the definition of “non-Jewish residents” is divided into groups by religious affiliation, it shows that around 37,853 inhabitants were Christian and 55,823 Muslim. The obvious conclusion is that even in 1893 there were more Jews than Muslims in the territory that would eventually become the State of Israel (p.244).
  • The Arab world took advantage of the British government’s support to start a war even before the declaration of independence of the state of Israel. Arab countries including Syria, Jordan and Iraq reinforced Arab forces in The Land of Israel and assisted them in their hostilities against the British regime, hoping that they would yield to the violence (p.371)