How many not Muslims but Arabs lived in Palestine before the Arab mass immigration in the 20th century?
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were practically no Muslim Arabs in the Holy Land. I understand that this declaration will raise protests , but it is so.
When General Allenby, the commander of the British military forces, conquered Palestine in 1917/1918, only about 5000 Muslim Arabs resided in the Holy Land.
Most of the Arabs were Christians, and most of the Muslims in the area either came from Turkey under the Ottoman Empire, or were the descendants of Jews and Christians who were forcefully converted to Islam by the Muslim conquerors.
Tourists and politicians, Arabs and non-Arabs alike, have documented their observations of the population in the Holy Land beginning more that a thousand years ago. Let's start at the early days and continue into the Ottoman period:
- The historian James Parker wrote: "During the first century after the Arab conquest [670-740 CE], the caliph and governors of Syria and the Holy Land ruled entirely over Christian and Jewish subjects. Apart from the Bedouin in the earliest days, the only Arabs west of the Jordan were the garrisons."
- In year 985 the Arab writer Muqaddasi complained: "the mosque is empty of worshipers... The Jews constitute the majority of Jerusalem's population" (The entire city of Jerusalem had only one mosque).
- In 1377, Ibn Khaldun, one of the most creditable Arab historians, wrote: "Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel extended over 1400 years... It was the Jews who implanted the culture and customs of the permanent settlement".
- In 1695, the Dutch scholar, philologist and cartographer, Adriaan Reland, visited the Holy Land. He documented his visits to many locations. He writes: The names of settlements were mostly Hebrew, some Greek, and some Latin-Roman. No settlement had an original Muslim-Arab name with a historical root in its location. Most of the inhabitants of the cities were Jews, the others were Christians. The Arabs were predominantly Christians with a tiny minority of Muslims. In Nazareth there were approximately 700 people - all Christians. In Gaza there were approximately 550 people - half of them Jews, the rest Christians. Um-El-Phachem was a village of 10 families - all Christians. Reland mentions all the Muslim Arabs as nomadic Bedouin tribes who arrived in the area as seasonal workers.
The situation changed only in the 20th century, when hundreds of thousands of Arabs emigrated to Palestine from the neighbouring Arab countries, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq being the main sources of the immigration. These Arabs do not even have a native name to describe themselves in their own Arabic language, and use the Jewish (later adopted by the Greeks) name "Plishtim", "Philistines", "Invaders" in Hebrew. So, the absolute majority of those who now claim they are "native Palestinians" are the sons , at best grandsons, of those Arabs who emigrated to Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century.
- The British Governor of the Sinai (1922-36) reported in the Palestine Royal Commission Report about the Arab immigration to Palestine: "This illegal immigration was not only going on from the Sinai, but also from Transjordan and Syria."
- 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 Hauran had moved to Palestine.
- British Prime Minister Winston Churchill noted the Arab influx. Churchill, a veteran of the early years of the British mandate in the Holy Land, noted in 1939 that "far from being persecuted, 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".
The name "Palestine" was given to the land of Israel and Judea by Romans.
And what if they had decided to call this land not "Philistine", but "Britannica", I am sure that the Arabs who emigrated there 1900 years later would now demand the British citizenship and call themselves "native Britons"