For 800 years (from 1100 to the middle of the 19th century), the territory of the Holy Land was gradually cleansed of Jews. It didn’t happen by itself, by magic. The beginning of the «final solution» of the Jewish question in the territory of Palestine was laid by the crusaders, who massacred most of the country’s Jewish population in the 11-13 centuries.
Then the local Jews fought hand in hand with the Muslims against the crusader invaders and paid for their courage with their lives. Sultan Salah ad-Din appreciated the devotion of Jews to Muslims, and as a reward allowed the pitiful remnants of Jewish communities to repopulate the deserted Jerusalem. But the gratitude of the Muslims ended there.
For the next 800 years, Muslim rulers prohibited the return of Jews to their country in the pain of death. Moreover, in fact, the ban and the killings were carried out not by distant high authorities, but by local Muslims, the ancestors of today’s Palestinians, Bedouins, and Druze. Many Jews who in the Middle Ages and in modern times tried to settle in Palestine and especially in Jerusalem, paid for it with their lives:
“By 1860, an area called Mishkenot Shaananim, literally the Shelter of the careless, was built here. It included more than 20 apartments, two synagogues — Ashkenazi and Sephardic, water collection pits, the first windmill in Jerusalem, designed to provide new residents with work.
Construction ended, but a surprise awaited Sir Montefiore. There were no Jewish families in Jerusalem willing to move to the new area. Neither for a modest rent nor even for free, people did not agree to leave the familiar city walls with the Turkish guards and move to the “Shelter of the Careless” … Only when Montifiori promised to pay his tenants himself, the first daredevils — pioneers were found. However, according to rumors, at first, before sunset, one could see some «daredevils» who fled to the city to spend the night under the protection of the Turkish garrison.»
(My note: the Jerusalemites’ caution was justified. The first family to stay overnight in their home outside the walls of Jerusalem was killed by night raiders. Obviously, their goal was not a robbery, since unarmed Jews cannot resist the bandits, but precisely the killing of Jews. More precisely, it was a struggle for land. Or more precisely, a way to remove Jews from the land that the Palestinians had stolen).
«He also attempted to acquire arable land for Jewish cultivation but was hampered by Ottoman restrictions on land sale to non-Muslims.»
The exception was the period of the reign of the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent when wealthy Jews who fled from Spain and Italy to the Ottoman Empire begged the Sultan for permission to settle refugees in Safed and Tiberias. But 100 years later, when the Druze subjected Safed to destruction and plunder, the Sultan of Turkey ordered the resettlement of 1000 of the richest Jews from Safed to Cyprus, ostensibly for their own good.
From then until the capture of Palestine by Britain (1918), the settlement of Jews, including Turkish subjects, was strictly prohibited. For few centuries, Ashkenazi Jews were strictly prohibited from residing and even visiting Jerusalem, while allowed in Zefat, Tiberius, and some Galilee villages, like Pki’in, Alma, Ein Zeitim, and others, where old Jewish communities survived up to 20 century.
On the other hand, the Turkish authorities organized the systematic settlement of the country by Muslims and Christians, especially since the 18th century:
“The Palestinian Authority confirmed on January 2 that it received from Turkey copies of the archival materials of the Ottoman Empire, including land registries from territories under its control in the period from 1516 to 1917.»
The ideology behind the policy of “ousting” (ethnic cleansing) of Jews from Palestine was set forth by the Turkish Sultan Abdulhamid II in his response to Herzl’s proposal to allow the settlement of Jews in exchange for financial assistance to the indebted Turkish empire. As he said, «Muslims have shed blood for this land and will not give it to anyone for any money.»
The Sultan did not tell the truth. The truth was that both Muslims and Christians considered Jews to be the true masters of the Holy Land. Both the Bible and the Koran leave no doubt in this matter. To prevent the owners from returning, both the ancestors of today’s Palestinians and the authorities diligently killed or drove unarmed local Jews from the land.
Jews, like Christians, were prohibited from having weapons, while Muslims were traditionally armed. For hundreds of years, Palestinians have called Jews «people of death,» that is, those who are supposed to be killed. Until the early twentieth century, unarmed Jews in Palestine were subjected to systematic ethnic cleansing.
The first who decided to take up arms and protect Jews from murder was Russian citizen Alexander Zeid. Then the Young Guard organization (Ashomer Atzair) was created, the main task of which was to protect the Jewish population from systematic killings.
Under the threat of murder or imprisonment «for tax arrears,» the Jews of Palestine were forced to abandon their lands and homes, and take refuge behind the walls of four cities of refuge, Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberias, and Hebron. There they lived on alms from wealthy Jewish communities in the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, and then Europe.
And this aid was also taken away by local semi-independent rulers, under the pretext of taxes or without pretext. As the British consul in Jerusalem testifies, in the middle of the 19th century, the Jews of Jerusalem were so starving that they could not work. When the consul tried to feed the «workers», they hid the food to feed their hungry children.
Once I visited the Arab settlement of Jish (Gush Halav) in Galilee. When I approached the burial place of an ancient Jewish sage in the center of the village (there are three such graves in Jish), a local resident, an Arab, approached me and loudly announced: «Jews have never lived here.»
Jish (Arabic: الجش a-jish, Syriac: ܓܫ; also known as Gush Halav, as the name of an ancient Jewish settlement) is a local council in the Upper Galilee. The settlement is located at an altitude of 700 to 840 meters above sea level, northwest of Safed, on road 89. Jish is the only settlement in Israel, where the majority are Maronite Christians, as well as a minority of Muslims and Melkite Christians …………
In ancient times, there was a Jewish settlement «Gush Halav», which existed during the time of the Second Temple. In 67 AD it served as an important center for Jewish rebels against the Romans.
During the Islamic period, the settlement was called Josh or Jish. Various historical sources from the 10th to 15th centuries point to Gush Halav as a large Jewish village. In the 17th century, the Druze lived in the settlement, who later left the village.
The village was inhabited in the early 18th century by Maronite Christians and Catholics, as well as several Muslim families. «
(My note: The Maronites migrated to Galilee from Lebanon. In other Galilee settlements this story repeats itself, but most of the settlers were Muslims).
The Turkish authorities banned the settlement of Jews in the Holy Land, while Muslims and Christians were attracted to settle by donating large tracts of land. Yes, today entire cities in Israel are built on land “donated by the Sultan” to Arab settlers in the 19th and 20th centuries.
A Galilee resident told me that Wolfson Hospital in Holon was built entirely on land that the Sultan gave to his family in the late 19th century when the family moved from Arabia. He is thinking of claiming this land for ownership or receiving large compensation through the courts. Mahmoud Abbas will be able to demand the return of his house in Safed, where his family moved from Syria in 1890.
Today, we and our children have purchased apartments, paying the highest prices in the world. Each individual apartment is assigned a piece of land on which the house is built. In addition, part of the territory of the house is in common ownership — these are car parks, which are divided between the owners of the apartments, lawns, possibly a playground.
And so, individuals or the Palestinian state can demand your apartments for themselves on the grounds that, according to the Turkish cadastre, your house is built on a plot that the Turkish sultan presented to a family who moved in the 19th century from Arabia, or from Syria, or from Lebanon.
In 1948, by order of the Palestinian leader Amin al Husseini, these families were evacuated to the West Bank, to Gaza, or to one of the neighboring Arab states. Tens of thousands more «internally displaced persons» fled to Galilee or another place that is today inside the State of Israel.
Usually, «refugees» returned to the territory from where they or their ancestors moved to Palestine, seduced by gratuitous land «from the Sultan», or work in new cities, in the port, and in industry. This is the opinion of Joan Peters, who wrote the well-known book «From Time immemorial» about Palestinian refugees.
In that part of Palestine that passed to Israel in 1948, most of the Arabs were descendants of these settlers, and in the coastal cities of Jaffa, and especially Haifa, these were workers who, during the British Mandate, came from the interior of Palestine (West Bank, Galilee, Trans-Jordan) …
Today, the descendants of the «refugees» have multiplied to many millions. When the Palestinians demand that these millions «return» to the places where their ancestors settled two or a hundred years ago, they mean that they must return the lands they abandoned, of course, along with everything that was built there. Simply, they want to get rich without any difficulty.
Well, what happened to our lands after the territory came under British control? According to the League of Nations mandate, the Palestinian Authority was obliged to «ensure a close settlement of Jews» on the lands transferred by the League of Nations to Great Britain.
And what did the colonial authorities actually do? During their twenty years of rule, they allocated 17,000 acres of public land to Jews, and 700,000 acres to Arab landowners from Palestine and Syria. Then the landlords sold most of this land, for big money, to wealthy Jews who lived in Europe and America.
How much of this money the colonial officials got is still shrouded in mystery. I admit that the British authorities closed the entry to Palestine for Jewish refugees from the Nazis, so as not to reveal the fact of illegal or fictitious sale of land to Jews outside of Palestine. According to the terms of the mandate, only Jews who physically arrived in Palestine had the right to land, and there were few such Jews.
As we know, the British allowed free entry of Jews into Palestine from the moment of receiving the mandate (1922) until the pogroms of 1929, inspired by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al Husseini. It was the British who appointed the mufti, apparently in order to stop the immigration of the Jews. In 1929, at the request of the mufti aliyah (immigration of Jews) was severely restricted.
After the uprising of 1936-39, inspired by the same mufti, Zionism was again banned, as in the previous 1000 years. Possibly the British did this under pressure from Hitler, who sought to win Muslims over to his side. The struggle of Muslims against Zionism was very good for him.
After the state of Israel was created, the ban on Zionism was lifted all over the world, except for the USSR. However, the anti-Semitic struggle against the Jewish national movement only intensified. Wars and propaganda harassment (de-legitimation) of the Jewish state have led to the fact that Israel cannot become a «refuge» if anti-Semites force Jews to leave Europe or the United States.
Indeed, what kind of refuge is this, in which Islamists are firing rockets with impunity, while the victims of the attacks are subjected to sanctions from the UN, and Europe, and in the near future, possibly from the United States? What is the point for Jews to buy expensive apartments in Israel if tomorrow the Palestinians, supported by the international court and the media, demand to «return» to them the lands that they received «from the Sultan»?
And what is this «safe haven» that Iran promises to subject to a nuclear attack, and the Iranian parliament passed a resolution that obliges their government to liquidate the Jewish state? De facto, Zionism is still prohibited.
Europe, quite officially, is demanding the eviction of Jews from their homes in the West Bank, and is subjecting Jewish settlers to sanctions. The Irish Parliament passed legislation that outlawed Jews living in the West Bank. I wonder if we are forced to leave our homes and flee, will Ireland accept, for example, a million out of six million Jewish refugees?
They argue that we have no legal right to the land we live on or to our homes. Only because the Palestinians gradually, over many centuries, took the land from the Jews, forced us to take refuge in the «cities of refuge» and die of hunger there. Then we were forbidden to acquire the lands taken from the Jews.
The Palestinians never gave up their goal of ousting the Jews from Palestine through murder, war, economic and political pressure. The current Palestinian uprising simply continues for 800 years. However, the last days proved that Israeli Arabs make a historical «switch»: Arabs captured 2 Palestinian terrorists that fled Gilboa prison. Not occasionally, the Islamic political party joined the Israeli government. That’s a will of a big group, maybe of the majority of Arab voters.