Are Palestinians the Indigenous People of Palestine? DR.Rivka Shpak Lissak


Palestinians are not the Indigenous people of the Holy Land

The Palestinian narrative, which is now widely accepted as a fact of history around the world, is the result of a systematic indoctrination through propaganda.

The Palestinians are neither the "Indians" nor the "Africans" of the Holy Land:
* From the 12th century BCE until 135 CE Jews were the largest ethnic- religious group.
* From 135 CE until the 14th century the Helenistic population which was converted to Christianity during the 4th-5th century were the largest religious group.
* On the eve of the Ottoman conquest (1516) the population of the land west to the Jordan River numbered 120,000, mostly Muslim for the first time in history. But, the country was very densely populated.
* From the 16th century until the last decades of the 19th century the population numbered about 250,000.
* Most Palestinians immigrated to the Holy Land between the 19th and 20th centuries, during the Ottoman rule (1516 – 1918) and the British Mandate rule (1918 – 1948).

Jewish settlement in Palestine during the British Mandate period and development works by the government created new and varied industries and construction projects, thus creating an abundance of work places, which attracted immigrant workers from Arabic and Muslim countries.

Arabs penetrated into the land of Israel (the ancient name of Palestine) in 4 waves

First Wave(7TH Century)

The first wave was after the occupation of the country by the Arabs in the 7th century A.D. The Arab – Muslim occupation of Palestine lasted about 400 years (640 – 1099). Most scholars agree that the ethnic- religious structure of the population remained essentially unchanged from the days of the Byzantine occupation (324CE – 640CE), and the majority of the population consisted of Greek Orthodox Christians and 2 minorities: Jews and Samaritans. The number of Arabs settled in Palestine was negligible.

The Muslim army emerging from the Arabian Peninsula was comprised of Bedouin warriors who moved along with their families and flocks. Prof Moshe Sharon, rejects the theory that the 7th century Arabic conquest was immediately accompanied by massive Arabic settlement in the country. He gives several reasons for the absence of massive Arabic penetration into the Land of Israel prior to the 9th century:

I. Umayyad policies (640-750CE) prevented Bedouins from entering the country.
The ruling Umayyad dynasty’s interest was to maintain the existing administrative and economic systems and to keep the peasant population on the land. Regional governors appointed by the Umayyad took pains to prevent the entry of Bedouins into settled areas. The Christian traveler Arkulfus who traveled the country in 670CE, shortly after the Arabic conquest, described it as densely populated with Christians from Jerusalem to the Galilee. Umayyad rulers signed treaties with the Christian and Jewish populations and promised to secure their lives and property. They kept in place the Christian administrators and Greek continued to be the administrative language until the 8th century, and in some places to the beginning of the 9th century.
II. The conquering army continued on to new conquests
Bedouin warriors did not settle on the land because they continued to advance towards Syria and other destinations. Arabic warriors advanced northwards to the Taurus Mountains, east towards Iran, and south-west towards Egypt and North Africa, and from there to Spain. Michael Assaf also states in his book, History of the Arab Rule in the Land of Israel, that the conquest thrust could not spare forces for settlement. The Arabs’ system was to establish cities in the conquered areas that served as military bases from where warriors emerged to conquer the surrounding areas. Israel is the only country where no such cities were built: Ramle was the only city built by the Arabs, in 711CE, nearly 100 years after the conquest. It was not a military base but an administrative center which replaced Caesarea as the capital of the Byzantine Palestina-Prima district. Sharon emphasizes that Arabs comprised a negligible minority in Ramle’s population. The Arabic geographer Al Ya’akubi wrote that Ramle’s population was mixed, and comprised mostly of Samaritans and Jews.
III. Preference for living in the periphery of settled areas
As the Bedouin warriors at that time were nomads, those who reached Israel were not interested in urban or agrarian life and preferred to live as nomads on the border of the settled region rather than within it. Furthermore, the settled regions were under the protection of the rulers. The Umayyad Caliphs themselves constructed their palaces on the border of the desert – for example, the Hisham palace near Jericho.Prof. Nehemia Levtzion, in book, Islam, an Introduction to the Religion’s History, wrote that the Arabs tended to segregate themselves, maintain their tribal social structure and nomadic life style, and did not settle in the populated region.

Hasson lists in his article, "The Spread of Arabic Tribes in the Land of Israel during the First Century of the Hajjara (7th Century)." additional reasons for warriors avoiding the settled regions:

I. Fear of disease – the epidemic that broke out in the country in 639 resulted in the death of many warriors (some estimate as many as 25,000 died) including Muhammad’s cousin and commanders of the Arab army.
II. Absence of empty space – the Umayyad did not exile the local population. Only the Byzantine aristocracy and military fled the country, and, according to some historians, the Greek-Christian urban upper classes left as well.

Hasson notes one exception: Bedouins settled in Tiberias and Beth Shean. Arabs occupied houses in inland cities – Tiberias, Jerusalem and others, that had been deserted by the Greek Christian upper classes who fled because of the Muslim conquest. The surrender agreements of Beth Shean and Tiberias mention the transfer of 50% of the houses to Arabs.

At the end of the 7th century or the beginning of the 8th, a decision was made to also settle Muslims in the coastal cities of Ashkelon, Acre, Caesarea, and Tyre, to protect the country against Byzantine attacks from the sea. In his article “The Cities of the Land of Israel under Muslim Rule”, Prof Moshe Sharon points out that the Bedouin warriors were fearful of the sea and refused to settle along the coast despite being offered land in return, and therefore Muslim Persians were sent there to settle.

An Arabic 9th century source attests to the composition of the coastal cities population, which included Jews, Samaritans, Persians, Greeks, and a few Arabs.

At a later stage, soldiers released from the Caliph’s Muslim army settled in villages and towns that had been deserted by Christians fleeing ahead of the Arab conquerors, but no numerical data is available.

In summary, Umayyad rulers' policies did not emphasize Arabic settlement in the country nor the conversion of its population, but rather acculturation, the introduction of the Arabic language and culture while protecting the local population against Bedouin raids that harmed farming. Islamization policies were hardly enforced with only a few exceptions, as during the time of the Caliph Omar II (717-720). Acculturation (Arabization) advanced faster than Islamization. No significant change in the population composition took place and the population remained mostly Christian, with Jewish and Samaritan minorities.

Second Wave(Middle of the 10th Century – 11th Century)

The second wave came from the middle of the 10th century until the occupation of the country by the Crusaders in 1099. During these years Beduins (Arab nomad tribes) from the deserts of Arabia, Trans-jordan, Syrian desert, Sinai and Egypt invaded the country and gradually settled in deserted villages after they robbed and have driven out the local peasants, many of them Jews. Still, the country was settled along religious- ethnic lines with small enclaves: The north of the Shomron mountain became Arabic, but the south and the Jerusalem area was Christian, and so was the western Galilee. The eastern Galilee was Jewish and the Cities along the shore were mixed, with a Christian majority.

The Population during Crusaders' Rule (1099 -1260)

The Crusaders massacred during the conquest of the country many Muslims and many others ran away. During the Crusaders rule the Northern part of the country, the Galliee, was settled by Christians in the west and Jews in the east with some Arabic enclaves.

The mountains of Samaria were settled by Arabs and Samaritans, but the mountains of Judea and around Jerusalem was mostly Christian, with some Arabic enclaves.

The Southern part of the country was mostly settled by Bedouins, who were nomads.

In short, out of 470,000 people who lived in the Holy Land the Christians were the largest religious group – about 320,000: about 200,000 were
of Syrian- Aramaic (non- Arabs) origin and about 120,000 were Crusaders.

The Population during Mamluks' Rule (1260 – 1516)

The Mamluks conquered most of the country from the Crusaders in 1260. They destroyed the cities along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea between 1260 – 1290. These cities were populated mostly by Christians of Syrian - Aramaic origin. Many were massacred or ran away before the Mameluk army arrived.

The cities along the shore, Acre, Arsuf, Jaffa, Ashdod, Ashkelon, except Gaza, remained deserted during the Mamluk Period.
The valleys of Jesreel and Beit Shean were densely populated by some Arab villages and nomad Bedouin. Also, there were few Arab villages along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The Christians population lost its majority around the 14th century .They were the majority of the population since 135 CE, first as pagans and as Christians since the 5th century CE.
According to the 1525/6 Ottoman census conducted 8 years after the Mamluk defeat in 1516, the population west to the Jordan valley numbered only 120,000.
The rate of Palestine's population decreased dramatically because of massacreds, emigration of Christians, the Black Death, and the economic situation.
A certain amount of Christians were forced to convert to Islam.

The Population during Ottomans' Rule (1516 – 1918)

The cities along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea remained deserted until the Ottoman government started to restore their ruins and invited Arabs and Muslims to settle there. This happened during the 18th- 19th centuries.
The population at the end of the 16th century grew to 206, 290, and the country remained mostly uncultivated and densely populated.

The Third Wave (16th – 17th Century)

The third wave began after the occupation of the country by the Ottomans during the 16th and 17th centuries. Arabs, mainly Bedouins, and Muslims from Lebanon, and Syria came to settle in the Galilee. According to the Ottoman census, by the end of the16th century, there were about 206,290 people in the country of Western Jordan, mostly Muslims. But the economic situation and the lack of personal security caused people to leave, Muslims included.

During the 17th- 18th centuries the population became smaller and smaller. Tourists from Europe and the United States who visited the country described an uncultivated deserted land.

The Fourth Wave, Part One (1832 – 1917)

The last and the largest wave came between around the middle- end of the 19th century and 1948 when Israel was established. This wave started during the conquest of the country by the son of Muhammad Ali between 1832 1840.Egypt settled along the shore and the valleys, about 100,000 Egyptian peasants. Also, Arabs and Muslims were invited by the Ottoman rulers to settle in the deserted country. The Zuabbian tribe was invited in 1873 from Irbid, Trans-Jordan to settle in the southern Galilee and the Izrael Valley. Muslims from Muslim countries such as Kurds and Cireassians settled in the north.

Historians are divided on the size of the population on the eve of the British conquest of Palestine. The views range from 100,000 to 400,000, but most think the rate of the Arab-Muslim population was about 250,000.

The Population during the British Mandate Period (1918 – 1948)

The Fourth Wave, Part Two (1917 – 1948)

The second part of the largest wave came during the British Mandate occupation, between 1917 and 1948 when Israel was established. Arabs and Muslims from Arabic and Muslim countries entered illegally the country under the Turks and latter the British mandate from the eastern, northern and southern borders looking for jobs created by the Zionist movement and latter by the British Mandate (1918 – 1948).
The Arab population of the Sharon area (between Tel Aviv and Haifa, the center of Jewish settlements) grew from 10,000 to more than 30,000 from 1922 – 1940s.
The Arab population of the south (between Jaffa and the Egyptian border) grew by more than 200% between 1917 – 1940s. About 35,000 Arabs from the Haurain, South Syria came looking for work.

From 1870 to 1948 the Arabic population grew by 270%. Even in Egypt, the Arab country with the highest birth rate, the rate was only 105%, which proves that a significant part of the Arabic population growth came from immigration. By 1921when the British government performed its first census the number of Arabs and Muslims amounted to about 500,000. The 1931 British Census included about 30 different languages spoken by the Muslim population in Palestine. They were illegal immigrant workers from Arabic and Muslim countries. The high rate of children's deaths, law life expectancy and the lack of health services in the country made it impossible to reach 270% as a result of birth rate.

In Short, from about 250,000 around the end of the 19th century, many of them bedouins, the Arabic population grew to about 1,250,000 in 1948. The Palestinian claim that they are the ancient population of the so called Palestine has no ground.

Winston ChurchilL, said in May 22, 1939 that the Arab immigration to Palestine during the British Mandate was so large that their numbers grew in such proportion that even if all Jews immigrated to Palestine they could not reach that number.

Franklin D.Roosevelt, said in May 17, 1939 that the Arab immigration to Palestine since 1921 was much greater that Jewish immigration.

A significant part of the 1948 Palestinian refugees were first or second generation illegal immigrant workers.

Arab Immigration into the Coastal Plains of Israel (the Sharon) During the British Mandate

According to the Arabic- Palestinian propaganda, the Palestinians are the indigenous people of the country called Judea in the past, then Palestina under the British Mandte.
This article and others in the future will prove this propaganda is an attempt to rewrite history in order to eliminate the Jewish state.

Ma’ayan Hess-Ashkenazi researched the Arabic immigration to the Sharon, and this is what he found:

The Sharon area lies between the Tanninim Creek in the north and the Yarkon stream in the south, and between the foot of the mountains of Samaria in the east and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. According to data published by the Mandate Government, the Arabic population in the Sharon increased more than three-fold during its time. At the beginning of the Mandate period there were about 10,000 Arabs (mostly Muslim) in the Sharon, and in 1944 there were more than 30,000. By the time the Mandate was ended, in 1947, more Arabs had moved to the Sharon.

Demographic sources for the British Mandate period in Israel include the 1922 and 1931 censuses and data on the rural population from 1945. In addition to the British sources researchers can access sources of the Jewish settlement during the Mandate period, including the Haganah archive, the Jewish press, and studies conducted during the period, as well as personal interviews with people from that era.

The total data published by the Mandate government show that the number of Arabs grew from 752,048 in 1914 to 1,294,000 in 1944. The Arabic population nearly doubled in 30 years.

Data on natural increase published by the Mandate government show a significant natural increase in the Arabic population. Among the Muslims, the natural increase rose from 10 children per 1000 population to 29.1 children per 1000 population. Among the Christians, the natural increase reached 30.1 children per 1000 population by the end of the British Mandate. The main reason for this increase was the decrease in mortality rate from 25-30 per 1000 to 20 per 1000.

Scholars are divided over the contribution of Arabic immigration into Israel to the increase in population during the Mandate period. According to data published by the Mandate government, the natural increase in Muslim population contributed 88% of the total increase, whereas immigration contributed 12%; and among the Christians, natural increase contributed 72% of the total population increase, whereas immigration contributed 28%.

An investigation of the statistical data of the Mandate government shows differences in the rates of increase of Arabic population between areas that enjoyed economic and demographic development, such as the Coastal Plains and the Sharon, and areas that did not enjoy such development, such as the district of Jennin. In Jennin, the average natural increase stood at 70%, while in the Coastal area and the Sharon it was several hundreds of percent.

The Mandate government data show that at the beginning of the period, there were about 10,000 Arabs living in the Sharon area, some nomads or semi-nomads, and most in permanent settlements. At the end of the Mandate period there were about 30,000 Arabs in the Sharon area, with some 20,000 living in permanent settlements and about 10,000 nomads.

A careful examination of the population growth in the Sharon concludes that there was a difference between the Mandate government’s rates of population increases for the whole country and those for the Sharon area. In the Sharon, immigration contributed significantly to the population increase. This study examined 35 Arabic villages and suburbs in cities of mixed population. In 1922, 9,892 Arabs were living in the villages and the suburbs, in 1931 their number grew to 14,261, and in 1944 to 25,930. Further growth between 1945 and 1948 must be added. According to these data, the population increase in these villages and suburbs between 1922 and 1931 ranged from 37% to 510%, while from 1931 to 1944, the population increase in these villages and suburbs ranged from 28% to 138%. It should be noted that there were more settlements where the population increased by 100% or more than by a lower percentage.

For example, in Abou Kashakh the population numbered 200 in 1922, and 1,007 in 1931, an increase by 400% .In 1931 it numbered 1,007 and in 1944 it was 2,400, an increase of 138%.. In the Faliq area, on the other hand, there were no Arabs until 1944, when 1,030 of them settled in the place. In Sheikh Mounis there were 664 residents in 1922, growing to 1,154 in 1931 and 1,930 in 1944, an increase of 67% in 13 years and 190% in 22 years.

The Causes for Immigration

Draining of the Sharon Swamps
The Jewish National Fund, together with the Mandate Health Department, began draining the Sharon swamps in the early 1920’s. The drainage checked the spread of malaria and decreased the mortality rate among the Arabs in the area. The drainage project required hundreds of workers, and Arabs work immigrants from the Arabic world who were employed in the works subsequently settled in the area.

The Development of the Citrus Industry

Planting and tending the orchards and the fruit created employment and attracted Arabs from the Arabic world to the area. The planted areas grew from 70,000 dounams (17,500 acres) in 1931 to 128,000 dounams (32,000 acres) in 1946.

Construction Works

The establishment of the Jewish towns of Binyamina, Kfar Sabba, Ra’anana, Herzeliya, Ramat Hasharon, Giv’at Shaul, and others, brought about a construction boom which created employment for hundreds of workers, attracting workers from the Arabic world. Coarse sand was one of the materials used in construction, attracting camel owning Bedouins to work in its transportation.

New Water Sources

The fourth factor which encouraged Arab immigration into the Sharon was the water drilling projects which improved the water supply and increased the area’s agricultural output and its population sustainment and absorption rate.

The Composition of the Arabic Workforce in the Sharon


The workforce in the Sharon was comprised of Arabic farmers whose economic situation in the years 1926 – 1932 suffered from cattle diseases, low rainfall, low prices for agricultural produce, and locust attacks. The work places created by the Jewish National Fund, the Mandate government, the Citrus industry, and the construction boom saved them from certain hunger.

Documents of the Hagana Organisation indicate that members of Bedouin tribes from the Negev, the Sinai, and Trans-Jordan were employed in these works and ended up settling in the Sharon.


Towards the end of the 1920’s, Arab workers from the Horan region in the south of Syria began arriving in the country, including the Sharon. According to the Syrian Governor they numbered between 30,000 and 35,000. The Hebrew newspaper “Davar” reported on 2 July 1934 that 25,000 Horanni’s “made Aliya [immigrated] into the country”.

Ten years after the Mandate was established, the Arabic population in the Sharon had grown by 50%. It is impossible to reasonably explain such increase by natural causes alone. The huge increase in Arabic population was even more remarkable in villages close to Jewish settlements, whose number grew from 25 to 77 during the Mandate period. In Bir Addas, for example, which is situated close to the Jewish town of Magdi-el, the population increased by 216%, with 40% of the village’s men working in neighbouring settlements.

In contrast, Bedouins and Arabic farmers from the mountainous region, which was hit by natural disasters, preferred to move to cities such as Jaffa and Haifa, where the living standards were higher.

During the Arabic Revolt, in 1936—1939, Arabic fighters from neighbouring Arabic countries arrived in Samaria, where they ended up settling following the suppression of the revolt by the Mandate government.

World War II hit the citrus industry hard when it brought an end to the exporting of citrus to Europe, but the British Army provided employment to the Arabs in the construction and maintenance of the bases it established in the Sharon. The British Army required food, and its demand for agricultural produce rescued the Arabic agriculture in the Sharon. The need for manpower in the British bases and camps attracted more Arab workers from the Arabic countries. The British brought with them in the 1940’s Arabic workers from Egypt who settled near Kfar Tzur south of Netanya, establishing a settlement that numbered hundreds of inhabitants. Bedouins, Egyptians, and Horanni’s, who worked in the British camps and in the industries that were established in Netanya after the war, settled in Um Haled near Netanya. In addition, during the war, villagers moved from the mountains and established settlements in the Sharon. Some were descended from Egyptians who were settled in the country by Mouhammad ‘Ali during his rule of the area (1832—1840). Data on the rural regions published by the Mandate Government in 1944/5 listed Bedouin tribes that settled in the Sharon, such as ‘Arab-a-nussirat, ‘Arab-al-marmara, and more.

The spread of Tel Aviv in the direction of Sheikh Mounis during the 1930’s and 1940’s, increased Arabic immigration to the village. Its population grew from 664 in 1922 to 1,930 in 1944. Many of these new residents were Bedouins who arrived from neighbouring countries and found employment in construction, sand transportation, and industry. Many of the village residents supplied agricultural produce to the markets in Tel Aviv.

In Short,

Jewish settlement in the Sharon during the British Mandate period and development works by the government brought about the elimination of malaria and the provision of medical services which improved the health conditions in the Arabic villages, reduced the infant and adult mortality rates, and increased the longevity rate. New and varied industries created an abundance of work places, attracting Arabs and Bedouins to the Sharon, many of them from Egypt. During World War II, the British Army further created employment and increased demand for agricultural produce. The increase in sources for livelihood brought about an increase in the Arabic population in the Sharon, from 10,000 to 30,000 in less than 30 years.

The Immigration of Egyptian Workers into the Land of Israel during the British Mandate Period

Prof. Moshe Braver of the Geography Faculty in the University of Tel Aviv, who is a world-renowned geographer, based his study, titled "Immigration as a factor in the Growth of the Arab village in Israel" (Economic Review,1975) on a Mandate Government survey of Arabic villages which he participated in and which included interviews with village Mukhtars (leaders) conducted during the Mandate period. Because most of the Arabic villages along the coast were destroyed during the War of Independence, a second survey was conducted between 1968—1978 in villages that were not destroyed during the war. The study looked at the immigration of workers and poor farmers from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Trans-Jordan into Mandate-ruled Israel.

One of the topics of his research was the immigration of Egyptian workers during the Mandate period and their settlement mainly in the coastal plains. Although immigrants from other countries also settled along the coastal plains, this article focuses on those from Egypt.

According to Braver’s study, an immigration wave from Egypt into Israel accompanied the British army as it conquered the land from the Turks in 1917-1918, and continued until the mid-1940’s (i.e., the end of World War II). Egyptian workers who were employed to service the British army in Egypt followed it into Israel. Egyptian immigration was also greatly influenced by the growth in the Jewish citrus agro-industry which expanded 10-fold in the 1920’s and 1930’s and required many workers. The British military camps which were set up in the area, the Jewish construction works, and public works initiated by the Mandate Government and the Jewish Agency required workers as well. Egyptian workers made good of the extensive employment opportunities these offered and settled in the Land of Israel on the coastal plains.

Village population growth in the southern and central coastal plains cannot be explained by natural growth alone, when considering infant mortality rates, life expectancy, and the level of health care services available in the Arabic villages. Egyptian immigrants were significant contributors to this growth. Prof. Braver concluded that at least one-third of these villages’ population increase was due to immigrants from Egypt.

Between the years 1922—1944, the population of Bet Dajan grew by 127%, that of Yazour grew by 214%, Salame’s population grew by 476%, Yabne’s population grew by 203%, the population of Kubeiba (near Rehovot) grew by 211%, in Fajjah the increase reached 630%, while Sawalme holds the record population growth: 1040%. Similar figures were recorded for the rest of the Arabic villages in the southern and central coastal plains.

The Mandate Government conducted a survey in several villages in 1941 which Prof. Braver participated in. The researchers interviewed the villages’ Mukhtars (leaders) who confirmed that villagers who did not own land in the village were Egyptian immigrants who settled in their villages. Yabne’s former Mukhtar, who fled to Gaza in 1948, testified in an interview held in Gaza that “in his village there were many Egyptians who settled in Yabne in the time of the British”.

The Egyptian workers, who, as mentioned, were land-less, used to live in their own separate housing blocks, and effectively established immigrants’ neighborhoods in those villages.

Prof. Braver refuted the claim that population growth in villages along the coastal plains was the result of natural increase, by comparing it with data on the natural population increase in villages in the Jennin district, which was completely Arabic(Western Bank today). Between the years 1922—1944, population growth there ranged from 50% to 80%, population movements were few and the number of leavers was similar to the number of arriving immigrants. This led to the conclusion that in the Jennin district, population growth was the result of natural increase at an average rate of 70% rather than 119% - 1040% (the rate along the coastal plains). The results were further compared to the population growth data in the areas of Nablus and Ramallah (Western Bank today) and the data for natural increase in Syria and Lebanon.

The study examined also the possibility that the villages in the coastal plains grew as a result of internal immigration of Arabs who left their villages in the Galilee and Samaria for the better employment prospects available in the coastal plains, and settled there. It was found that people from Samaria left to go abroad, or to the cities of Jerusalem, Haifa, and Jaffa, but only few moved to the coastal plain villages.

Earlier immigration from Egypt into the Land of Israel was researched by Prof. Moshe Sharon, who specialized in Bedouin history in Israel, and Youssuf Suwa’ed, who researched the rule of Bedouin Sheiks. According to their studies, the Naddi Tribe immigrated to the area of Gaza from Egypt in 1814, and this immigration contributed to the population composition of the Arabic villages and towns in the southern coastal plains during the Ottoman period. Akkal and his tribesmen served the Ottoman government and fought it alternately, taking over the Galilee for a certain period. From 1832 to 1840 the Land of Israel was ruled by Muhammad Ali, ruler of Egypt, and his son Ibrahim Pasha. During those years there was immigration from Egypt into various areas of Israel, including the coastal plains and the cities of Gaza and Jaffa.

In conclusion, based on these findings it is reasonable to say that the Arabic population along the coastal plains of Israel is mostly of Egyptian origin.

Dr.Rivka Shpak Lissak
A master Degree in Jewish History, from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem
A Ph.D in American History, from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Pluralism and Progressives, University of Chicago Press, 1989.

Ethnic Minorities in American Society, 2000 (Hebrew)

The Anussim of Spain and Porugal, Past and Present, 2008 (Hebrew)

In Preparation:
How and When the Jewish Majority In the Land of Israel was Eliminated (70CE – 1948) , will be published in Hebrew and English


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Are Palestinians Indigenous?

Before a people can claim indigenous status they must first exist. The Pslestinians only claim to peoplehood lies in their extremely dysfunctional symbiotic relationship with Israel. In other words, if one removes Israel from the equation the sole commonality present in Palestinian culture and society (apart from the Arabic Language) is the demonisation of Israel.

There isn't a single distinguishing factor setting Palestinians apart from other Arab groups. They posses no unique art form, literature had only existed post-1920 and revolves around an almost rabid hatred of Jews. They posses no unique form of music, cuisine, and so on. So in short there isn't a way in which a knowledgeable person can come to any other conclusiom: The people now calling themselves "Palestinians" are usurpers and occupiers, manipulators and deceivers...they are a great many things but indigenous is never going to be one of them.

Rachamim Ben Ami

palestians have tradition in this land

zionist are not old jewishm zionist are khazars mixed with slavics, germanics, baltics, hungarians, and palestinias are semitics as culture and language, palestinians descents from natuf culture pre-semitic arrival, so why this article does want to confuse the people?

Your theory:rewriting history:politization of history .Racism

Most of the Palestinians are Arabs and Muslims who came to this country illegaly as immigrant workers between 1870 - 1945.

According to the Ottoman census of 1525/6 there were 126,000 people here, 80,000 of them were Muslims.

DNA studies prove that the origin of the present Jews is the Middle East.

The Jews are the victims of the Hellenistic- Roman- Byzantyne imperialism. more than 3,000,000 Jews lived here in the first century A.D. Only 200,000 remainedin 640 because they were killed, murdered, persecuted, discriminated, sold as slaves.

The palestinians are trying to rewrite history in prder to eliminate the Jewish

Israel was established by 2 decisions of international organizations as the homeland of the Jews:the League of Nations, 1921, the UN in 1947.

The Palestinians got their state in 1947 by the UNresolution to divide the country under British rule into 2 states:a Jewish state and an Arab state. You could have a state in 1948. But you rejected the resolution and attacked the Jews becuse you are racistsand do not like non- Muslims in the Middle East

"Most of the Palestinians are

"Most of the Palestinians are Arabs and Muslims who came to this country illegaly as immigrant workers between 1870 - 1945."

This is the same claim that Joan Peters made in her book "From Time Immemorial" that was discredited by most historians most notably Yehoshua Porath.

"DNA studies prove that the origin of the present Jews is the Middle East."

The most recent DNA studies show that a large percentage of Palestinians, as much as 50%, share most of the same DNA as modern Jews. See the studies headed by Dr. Ariella Oppenheim.

"The Jews are the victims of the Hellenistic- Roman- Byzantyne imperialism. more than 3,000,000 Jews lived here in the first century"

Where exactly did you get the three million figure considering no other historian estimates it at more then one million at best. To quote Israeli archeologist Magen Broshi: "... the population of Palestine in antiquity did not exceed a million persons. It can also be shown, moreover, that this was more or less the size of the population in the peak period - the late Byzantine period, around AD 600" Similarly, a study by Yigal Shiloh of The Hebrew University suggests that the population of Palestine in the Iron Age could have never exceeded a million. He writes: "... the population of the country in the Roman-Byzantine period greatly exceeded that in the Iron Age...If we accept Broshi's population estimates, which appear to be confirmed by the results of recent research, it follows that the estimates for the population during the Iron Age must be set at a lower figure."

"The palestinians are trying to rewrite history in prder to eliminate the Jewish
Maybe some are, but what you've written isn't entirely factual either.

The studies upon which I based my article on debate, part 1

I did not based my research on Joan Peter as the writer on the comment thinks:
Part one:

Avi Yona, Michael, Historical Geography of the Land of Israel, 1962.

Avni, Gideon, Islamic Penetration into the Border Regions of the Land of Israel – An Archaeological View from the Negev, Israel Antiquities Authority

Assaf, Michael, History of the Arab Rule in the Land of Israel, 1935

Ashtor,A, Social and Economic History of the Near Middle East in the Middle Ages. 1976

Elad, Amikam, "The Coastal Cities of the Land of Israel during the Arabic Period, 640 – 1099," Catedra 8, 1978, pp. 156-178.

Braslavski, Joseph, War and Self- Defense of the Jews until the Crusades, 1943.

Broshi, Maggen, "The Population of the Land of Israel during the Byzantine Period,", The Land of Israel From the Destruction of the Second Temple to the Arabic Conquest, eds. Zvi Barras et al, 1982, pp. 442-457

Ellenblum, Ronnie, Frankish Rural Settlements in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp.261 – 268

Finkelstein, Israel, "The Land of Ephraim Survey, 1980 -1987: Preliminary Report," Tel Aviv, vol 15-16, pp. 117 – 183

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My Article was unjustly attacked on political grounds

There is a controversy in Israel between those who think Jews have a right of self- determination and historical rights to the land of Israel and those who think only the Palestinians have a right of self - determination and that this country is theirs.



There are different interpretations by historians to every issue

Its an unfair way to criticize a person for his views by an annonymous comment.

Your comment reflect a political agenda.

There are different interpretations to every historical issue.

Prof.Efraim Karsh - one interpretaion among others

Palestine Betrayed (Yale University Press, 2010);
Islamic Imperialism: A History (Yale University Press, 2006);
La Guerre D'Oslo (Les Editions de Passy, 2005; with Yoel Fishman);
Arafat’s War (Grove, 2003);
Rethinking the Middle East (Cass, 2003);
The Arab-Israeli Conflict. The Palestine 1948 War (Oxford, Osprey, 2002);
The Iran-Iraq War (Oxford, Osprey, 2002);
Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789–1922 (Harvard University Press, 1999; with *Inari Karsh);
Fabricating Israeli History: The "New Historians" (Cass, 1997; second edition 1999);
The Gulf Conflict 1990–1991: Diplomacy and War in The New World Order (Princeton University Press, 1993; with *Lawrence Freedman);
Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography (The Free Press, 1991; with Inari Rautsi-Karsh);
Soviet Policy towards Syria Since 1970 (Macmillan & St. Martin's Press, 1991);
Neutrality and Small States (Routledge, 1988);
The Soviet Union and Syria: The Asad Years (Routledge for the Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1988);
The Cautious Bear: Soviet Military Engagement in Middle East Wars in the Post 1967 Era (Westview, 1985).
[edit] Articles"Arafat Lives", Commentary, January 2005, pp. 33–40. Reprinted in Ha-Umma (Hebrew)
"Israel's Arabs v. Israel", Commentary, December 2003, pp. 21–27]
What Occupation?
Benny Morris and the Reign of Error
Benny Morris' Reign of Error, Revisited, a review essay on Morris' revised edition of his book on the Palestinian refugee exodus.
Dear Diary: Juan Cole's Bad Blog
"Were the Palestinians Expelled?"
"European Misreading of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Finnish Foreign Minister Tuomioja – A Case Study"
The Unbearable Lightness of my Critics
Beirut Bob, a review by Karsh of Robert Fisk's The Great War for Civilisation.

total number of population was 3-4 million In the 1th century

These figures were brought by prof.David HER IN AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED 1981



Prof.Z.Safrai published an article against Broshi's thesis

The article was published in 1997. Safrai mentioned studies on written by experts to make his points against Broshi.

A very convinsing article. The artice in 1997 was written in hebrew, but the englush version was published in
english in 1994.

I feel responsibility to protect PROF.SAFRAI'S REPUTATION

Zeev Safrai,The Economy of Roman Palestine, 1994

I agree with the responsibility to defend Prof. Safrai"s reputation.
Chapter 6 deals with this topic, pp.436 - 458.

Scholars use different methods to calculate the size of population in ancient times.

Hille Geva wrote about it in an article in 2007 and Yuval Portugali in 1988

Broshi isn't alone as Israel

Broshi isn't alone as Israel Finkelstein & Niels Peter Lemche among others support his view. And politely speaking Safrai & Yona's numbers aren't based on any hard archaeological/demographic evidence.

The genetic markers most commonly found among modern Jews, 70% anyway, are also found among 50% of Palestinians, not because of 4,000+ years ago but because a large percentage of the Muslims were local converts including in the Levant.

I'm sure Palestinian "journalists" have their own political agendas when it comes to reporting "history", but unfortunately so do many Zionist "journalists". And neither side want to hear that most historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists don't support the use/misuse of history to grant or deny legitimacy to any past or modern political state. Bosworth & Bloedow certainly make that clear within reguards to the Balkans and the same applies to the Levant and elsewhere.

A fair discussion is with a person with a name:Your name, please

I"ll be happy to hear your comments and discuss them after you add your name.

As to Palestinian journalist. I did not mean article on history but on current events and inside knowledge from Palestinian sociey.

Please, send me the articles you refer to.

and last but not leaset:history as not scientific science.
There are didderent interpretatins to every histoeical subject.

I am going to publish an article with new historical findings

During last years archaelogists in Israel published new findings on the history of the land of Israel in the Romana period.

your racism

Your Zionist agenda is very clear.

Reply to "your racism". Zionism is the national movement of Jews

The Jews have the same right of any other group of people for self - detrmination.

To deny Jews this right is racism.

The Palestinians have a national movement and so the Jews.

If you accept Palestinian nationalism and reject Jewish nationalism - you are a racist.

My agenda is zionist. I am proud being Jewish and of the state of Israel.

Israel got its indepencene the same time that some Arab countries got their independence from imperialism.

But, Israel is a modern advanced country unlike others who started the same time.

Answer to Ptrick, Did you ask Jordan if they agree?

Peres proposed this very proposal to king Hussain when Shamir was Prime Minister and Peres Foreign minister.

Hussain agreed but Shamir rejected the agreement.

Later, Hussain changed his mind and Jprdan support a 2 state solution.

This is reality.

I didn't ask Hussain myself :)

Shamir made a mistake, it seems. But we may negotiate again this issue, an may be convince/force Hussain to accept, or incite by investing -- in collaboration with Jordan -- in west bank arab cities.

Reality is what we do :)

Hussain died few years ago. His son is now king. He is against

King Abdallah of Jordan does not want the west bank.


Don't shake people leaving a comment on your page, or you will get nobody. To be soft is not a sickness :)


My opinion on the conflict? I think that there is only one solution:

1) annex all the so-called west bank

2) negotiate with Jordan to give all arabs in west bank the jordanian citizenship. In exchange Israel rent land (for some time to be negotiated) around arab towns to a autonomous administrative structure. We may include some arab cities inside Israel like Nazareth.

3) the administrative structure of arab cities will be in touch with the state of Israel for electricity, sewage, roads coming and out etc...

4) for everything else these cities will rely on Jordan (army service, taxes etc.)

5) Gaza must be declared independent state, or reattached to Egypt.

6) wait one century to see what happens.

Jews have only one land which makes sense and it is Israel, we cannot give up on it, we have to defend this land to death. We will not get another chance in history, to come back to the ancestral land of the israelite. And this land is so small that it would be stupid, in regard of history, to give up even a piece of it.

That's my input



Very interesting paper

Continue to write such papers and make such research.

A mathematician :)

Would you share your view on the Israeli- PalestIinian conflict

I am not asking you to idetify yourself. I would like to hear your opinion on the conflict.

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