Before the name change to the State of Israel, “Palestinians” were the people living in the area called Palestine. By the 1940s, the vast majority of Palestinians (Muslims, Jews, and Christians) were immigrants or descendants of those who immigrated after 1870, since the land was so VERY sparsely populated in the mid 1800s. “Truth is stranger than fiction.”
[Note the mere 2 year period of residence for claiming refugee status: Palestine refugees are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” Of all refugees, they are the ONLY ones to perpetuate the status to all patrilineal descendants. The Arab League has instructed its members to deny them citizenship.]
By the mid 1800s, the land was VERY sparsely populated.
1857: British consul, James Finn, reported “The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is that of a body of population.”
1859: British Consulate report: The Muslims of Jerusalem do not exceed a fourth of the entire population.
1867: Charles Wyllys Elliott, president of Harvard University, wrote: “A beautiful sea lies unbosomed, among the Galilean hills in the mist of that land once possessed by Zebulon and Naphtali, Asher and Dan. Life here was one idyllic… now it is a scene of desolation and misery.”
1867: American author Mark Twain visited the Holy Land, and wrote about it in his book “The Innocents Abroad”: “…[a] desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds -a silent mournful expanse….A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action….We never saw a human being on the whole route….There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.” “There are two or three small clusters of Bedouin tents, but not a single permanent habitation.” “One may ride ten miles hereabouts, and not see ten human beings.”
1874: Reverend Samuel Manning wrote in his book, “Those Holy Fields” But where were the inhabitants? This fertile plain which might support an immense population, is almost a solitude.”
Starting in 1878, enormous waves of Muslim immigration began arriving in what was essentially an empty territory. The Ottoman Sultan launched a resettlement policy to bring foreign Muslims, mainly from Circassia & Algeria.
⇨Unlike Arabs, when Jews immigrated to the Holy Land, it was the indigenous people returning.⇦
1921- : Franklin D. Roosevelt, president of the United States, said on May 17, 1939, “The Arab immigration to Palestine since 1921 was much greater than Jewish immigration.”
1922 – 1947: Arab population increased the most in cities with large Jewish populations that had created new economic opportunities. The non-Jewish population increased 290 percent in Haifa, 131 percent in Jerusalem and 158 percent in Jaffa. The growth in Arab towns was more modest: 42 percent in Nablus, 78 percent in Jenin and 37 percent in Bethlehem.
1934: The governor of the Syrian district of Hauran, Tewfik Bey El Hurani, admitted in 1934, that in a single period of only a few months, over 30,000 Syrians from Houran had moved to Palestine.
1939: Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister and a veteran of the British Mandate in the Holy Land, noted in 1939 the Arab invasion: The Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population.
June 1948: The Jews point with pride to the fact that over 500,000 Arabs, in the 12 years between 1932-1944, came into Palestine to take advantage of living conditions existing in no other Arab state. -Robert F. Kennedy visited the British Mandate of Palestine in 1948, one month before Israel declared its independence, and reported this for the Boston Post.
“The Palestinian people have no national identity. I Yasser Arafat, man of destiny, will give them that identity through conflict with Israel.” -Yasser Arafat.
“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.” -PLO executive committee member, Zahir Muhsein, 1977.
Late military commander of the PLO as well as member of the PLO Executive Council, Zuhair Muhsin. said the following to James Dorsey in a 1977 interview in the Dutch newspaper “Trouw” – There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity….yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel.
“It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria.” – Ahmed Shuqeiri, later the chairman of the PLO, to the UN Security Council
“There is no such country [as Palestine]! ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Qu’ran. Our country was for centuries part of Syria.” – Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, a local Arab leader, to the Peel Commission, 1937
Zuheir Mohsen uniquely both a PLO leader and an official in the ideologically Pan-Arabist Syrian Ba’ath party at the same time. As such, he stated that there were no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese”, though Palestinian identity would be emphasized for political reasons. This originated in a March 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw: “Between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese there are no differences. We are all part of ONE people, the Arab nation. Look, I have family members with Palestinian, Lebanese, Jordanian and Syrian citizenship. We are ONE people. Just for political reasons we carefully underwrite our Palestinian identity. Because it is of national interest for the Arabs to advocate the existence of Palestinians to balance Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons. The establishment of a Palestinian state is a new tool to continue the fight against Israel and for Arab unity.”
“There is no Palestinian nation! There is an Arab nation, but no Palestinian nation. This was invented by the colonial powers. When are the Palestinians mentioned in history. Never!” – Azmi Bishara, Palestinian intellectual and former Arab Knesset member who fled to Qatar to avoid prosecution for aiding the enemy.