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by Dr. Harry Mandelbaum


At the beginning of the 20th century, there were practically no Arabs in the Holy Land. Historically, a "Palestinian" people never existed. The English name "Palestinian", to describe the local Arab population, was invented AFTER the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. These Arabs do not even have a native name to describe themselves in their own Arabic language. The Arabs who now claim to be natives of the Holy Land have migrated to Palestine and invaded the land after 1917, from neighboring Arab countries. There is only one possible solution to the "Palestinians" desire for a homeland - let them return to where they came from - to where they lived earlier for hundreds or thousands of years - to their real homeland in their original Arab countries.

Unknown to most of the world population, the origin of the "Palestinian" Arabs' claim to the Holy Land spans a period of a meager 30 years - a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands of years of the region's rich history.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were practically no Muslim Arabs in the Holy Land. By contrast, the Jews, despite 2000 years of persecution and forced conversions by various conquerors, have throughout most of history been the majority population there. In Jerusalem Jews were always the largest demographic group [1][2], except for periods when conquerors specifically threw them out and prevented them from returning.

When General Allenby, the commander of the British military forces, conquered Palestine in 1917/1918, only a few thousand 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. These Muslims were not of Arab origin.

It is important to note that estimates and censuses conducted by the Muslim conquerors were heavily biased to exaggerate the number of Muslims and to minimize the number of Jews and Christians. Therefore, the only reliable data is provided by non-Muslim neutral sources. 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:

As we can see, throughout history, as documented by Arab historians and by foreign observers before 1917, the land was desolate; there were no Muslim Arabs in the cities outside of Jerusalem; and the number of Muslim Arabs (other than Ottoman Muslims or Christian Arabs) was minuscule, most of them nomadic Bedouins. A huge difference exists between these authentic accounts and the falsified Muslim-Arab propaganda.

When the Holy Land was taken from the Ottomans by the British, it was no longer under Muslim control. The Quran commands Muslims to take land away from non-Muslims, including land which they have never trodden on before[14]. Following the British conquest of the Holy land, the Muslim Arabs embarked on a massive immigration into the Holy Land, fulfilling their religious obligation to capture as much foreign land as possible. The following accounts describe the massive Arab immigration after 1918:


The Arab population in the Holy Land increased only because of their massive immigration from neighboring Arab countries. Before 1918, when the Arab immigration started, only a minuscule number of Muslim Arabs lived in the Holy Land, practically all of them in Jerusalem. This is why it is so difficult to find an old-age Arab in the Holy Land whose grandparents were born in the Holy Land.

The Arab population and growth in Jerusalem[2] before and after 1918. The break point between the two straight lines shows the exact point in time when the massive Arab immigration into the Holy Land started.

The (Jewish) grandparents of the author's wife were born in the Holy Land in the 19th century. They saw with their own eyes how empty the land was at the time. They also lived through and experienced first-hand the British conquest and the Arab's massive invasion of the land that started in 1918. This invasion lasted for only 30 years, and ended in 1948 with the evacuation of the British from the land and the declaration of the state of Israel.

The name "Palestina" is a Latin-Roman name based on the Hebrew Biblical name of the ancient "Philistines" -- "Plishtim" in Hebrew. The translation of this name to English is: "invaders". The Philistines arrived from the Mediterranean islands near Greece and invaded the land about 4000 years ago . The Philistines are extinct since approximately 2000 years ago, and have no ancestral or historical relationship to Arabs. Before 1917, during the 400-years rule of the Ottoman empire, the Ottomans did not call the Holy Land "Palestina". The British decided to renew this ancient name and called the land "Palestine". The local Arabs never called themselves "Palestinians", not even during the British mandate. Both Arab and British leaders referred to them only as "Arabs". For example: The Hope-Simpson report[15] published by the British in 1930, contains the phrase "the number of Palestinian unemployed, whether Arab, Jew or other...". "Palestinian" is used only as an adjective in reference to the location and also includes Jews. The Arab inhabitants are always referred to as "Arabs". The word "palestinians" does not appear anywhere in this report.

After 30 years of invasion, following the end of the British mandate and the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948, the Arabs recognized the fact that they invaded foreign land and invented for themselves a name in English -- "Palestinians". If the British were to call the land "New England", and the local Arabs were to call themselves "English" would they automatically become English? It is important to emphasize that the concept of a "Palestinian" to describe the local Arab residents was invented by the Arabs AFTER the declaration of the state of Israel. This group of Arabs who started calling themselves "the Palestinian nation" after 1948, does not have an original name in their native Arabic language. Is there any nation in the world which does not have a name in its original native language? The Arabs who invaded the Holy Land do not have a name in their native Arabic language because they are not, and have never been, a unified group or a nation.

Historically, a "Palestinian" people never existed. The fact is that the Arabs who now call themselves by the English name "Palestinians" don't even know what their name is or should be in Arabic. Even Arab leaders and historians have admitted that a "Palestinian" people never existed. For example:

The Arabs who now claim to be natives of the Holy Land have migrated to Palestine and invaded the land after 1917, from neighboring Arab countries, predominantly from areas now known as Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. None of these countries existed as nations prior to 1913. They were nothing but a disorganized collection of tribes, constantly terrorizing each other, trying to seize land from their neighbors. Unfortunately, those Arab invaders, imported into the Holy Land their age-old "culture" of terrorizing neighbors to seize land. Many of them were social outcasts and criminals who could not find jobs in their own countries so they searched for their luck elsewhere. Some of them were accepted by the British regime as a source of cheap labor and were allowed to settle on unoccupied Jewish land. Even Yassir Arafat, the leader of the PLO, is not a native of the Holy Land. He called himself a "Palestinian refugee" but spoke Arabic with an Egyptian dialect. He was born in 1929 in Cairo, Egypt. He served in the Egyptian army, studied in the University of Cairo, and lived in Cairo until 1956. He then moved to Saudi-Arabia and founded the Al-Fatah terror organization, the precursor to the PLO, in Kuwait in 1958, together with his Saudi-Arabian friends. How exactly does that constitute a "Palestinian refugee"? Arafat must have been a good student of Muhammad, the founder of the Muslim religion, who said in the Quran: "War is deception".[16]

In their propaganda, the Arabs who now call themselves "Palestinians" consistently demand that Israel and the world recognize their "pre-1948" rights. That's about 60 years ago. Mysteriously, they are never willing to add another 60 years to their "historical" claims on the Holy Land. They know very well that doing so will send them back to where they came from - Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Years ago, during negotiations with the, so-called, Palestinians, a Israeli negotiator proposed to revise a mention of their claim of "pre-1948" rights and replace it with "pre-1917". The "Palestinians" vehemently opposed. Now we know why.

If there is anyone who still believes that a "Palestinian" nation ever existed before the end of the British mandate and the founding of the state of Israel, would they please be kind enough to answer when was it founded and by whom? What was its name in Arabic (not in Latin-English)? What was its form of government? What were its borders? Name one top "Palestinian" leader before Arafat? Which country ever recognized its existence and when? In which library or museum can we find any of its literature, coins, or historical artifacts? The answer to all these questions is "nil". As stated by Zahir Muhsein: "The 'Palestinian' people does not exist."

Some Arabs consider themselves the descendants of Abraham, the forefather of the Jewish nation. Ironically, if not for Muhammad's study of the Bible, the Arabs would not have known of the existence of Abraham. Muhammad invented the Muslim religion in the 7th century AD, in Saudi Arabia. He studied the Bible in order to be better equipped in his attempts to persuade the Jews to follow his newly invented religion. When the Jews refused, he dictated the stories of the Quran (the Muslim bible) to his students, and filled it with his own imaginary accounts of Biblical events. (Muhammad himself did not know how to read or write.) He even took the liberty to change the God-given day of rest, Saturday - the Sabbath. Since Sunday was already taken by the Christians, he picked Friday as the next-best Muslim day of rest.

Muhammad never visited Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and did not consider them important enough to mention their name in the Quran even once. By comparison, Mecca and Medina, the only two Muslim holy cities, are mentioned in the Quran hundreds of times. Even though the name of the Holy Land is not mentioned in the Quran, the Quran refers to the Holy Land many times as the land of the children of Israel.[17] [18] [19][20].

The Jewish Holy Temple stood on Temple Mount long before the Muslim religion, or any other current world religion was conceived. Even when the founders of the Christian religion walked around in the streets of ancient Jerusalem there were no mosques nor churches there - only the Jewish Holy Temple and nothing else. The land of the Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem was purchased by King David, for the Jewish people, approximately 850 years BCE. The deed, the name of the previous owner, and the purchase price were recorded in the Bible (See Samuel-B Ch. 24 and Chronicles-A Ch. 21-22).

Today the Muslim "Palestinians" claim to own Temple Mount, the site of the Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem. They claim it is "their" holy site. Does anyone in the rest of the world know which way the Muslims in Jerusalem face when they pray? When the Muslims in Jerusalem pray in their mosques, even in the "Al Aktza" mosque built on the edge of Temple Mount, they actually stand with their back turned to Temple Mount. And, when they bow down in their prayers they show their behind to Temple Mount. How consistent is that with considering it a Muslim holy site? Visit any mosque in Jerusalem to see it for yourself. The Muslims have long ago recognized that the Holy Temple is a Jewish holy site. Its name in Arabic is "Al Quds" - "The Holiness" in English, which is an abbreviation for "The House of Holiness" - The Jewish Holy Temple. The fact is that Jerusalem is not important enough to the Muslims to be mentioned even once in the Quran, while Mecca and Medina, the only two Muslim holy cities, are mentioned hundreds of times. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, up until 1967, they never considered it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.

Can any Muslim in the world produce any credible evidence for their connection to this holy site, other than in Muhammad's dream? Believe it or not, the one and only source for the Muslim's claim to Jerusalem and the site of the Holy Temple, is a mention in the Quran of a dream that Muhammad had about an unknown "far distant place"[21]. Perhaps this "far distant place" is the site of the White House in Washington DC? Or the Vatican in Italy?

The best reference for understanding the Muslim-Arab mentality and politically-motivated falsification of history is Muhammad's own advice to his followers: "War is deception"[16].

The real problem facing those Arabs today is not the lack of a homeland. The historical root-cause of their problem and frustration is the fact that the countries they came from have not agreed to accept them back in. This is why so many of them live, up until today, in refugee camps, in neighboring Arab countries, lacking fundamental civil rights. In their frustration they feel that the only hope and choice they have is to try and steal a country. Many of the vehicles and the agricultural equipment in the Palestinian Authority have been stolen from their Israeli neighbors. For a while, Israel suffered the highest rate of automobile thefts in the world! Most of these stolen vehicles were later found in towns and villages of the Palestinian Authority. If invading foreign land is so easy; if stealing vehicles is so easy; why not try and steal a country too?

There is only one possible solution to the "Palestinians" desire for a homeland. It is the only solution that will satisfy their claim of the right to return to their homeland. Since helping them return to where they lived for less than 30 years is their own definition of justice, then helping them return to where they lived earlier for hundreds or thousands of years is, by the same definition, a better justice. Let's all help them get the better justice they deserve. Let's help them return to where they came from - Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

Recent proposals have suggested a two-state solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict - one for the Jews and one for the Arabs. The map below shows that a much more generous solution already exists - 21 states - one for the Jews and twenty for the Arabs.

The Quran contains more than 100 verses commanding Muslims to fight a war against non-Muslims[22]. Some verses command Muslims to chop off heads and fingers and terrorize and kill non-Muslims[23]. Other verses command Muslims to take land away from non-Muslims[14]. Muslims are also prohibited from living in peace with non-Muslims on non-Muslim land[24]. Anyone who avoids fighting against non-Muslims is punished. Because of such religious commandments, there is no chance and no hope that Muslims will ever live peacefully together with non-Muslims. Temporary periods of calm are nothing but a waiting period - waiting in ambush - waiting for an opportunity to strike[25].

History proves that a population exchange is the only possible solution, other than war, to conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims. For example, in 1923, the war between Turkey and Greece ended only when both sides agreed to a population exchange of more than two million Muslims and Greek-Orthodox Christians. Similarly, in 1947, more than 14 million Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs, have exchanged locations in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

More than 800,000 Jews have relocated out of the Arab countries; about 600,000 moved to Israel and 200,000 moved to other countries. Now it is time to end the conflict between Jews and Muslims in Israel. The only possible peaceful solution is to complete the second half of this Jewish-Muslim population exchange by returning the Muslims in the Holy Land back to the Muslim countries where they came from. As we can see in the map above, there is no shortage of space in the Arab-Muslim countries.


1.  According to the Prussian consul, the population in Jerusalem in 1845 was 7,120 Jews, 5,000 Muslims, 3,390 Christians, 800 Turkish soldiers and 100 Europeans. Jerusalem: Illustrated History Atlas, Martin Gilbert, Macmillan Publishing, New York, 1978

2.  Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry, by Darrell G. Young.

3.  James Parker, Whose Land? A History of the Peoples of Palestine (Harmondsworth, Great Britain: 1970), p.66.

4.  Muqaddasi, quoted by Erich Kahler who cites this statement from Knowledge of Crimes, p.167, in The Jews Among the Nations (New York: F. Ungar, 1967), p. 144.

5.  Ibn Khaldun, quoted by Yahya Armajami, Middle East Past and Present (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1970), p. 143.

6.  Adriaan Reland, Palestina ex monumentis veteribus illustrate

7.  Alphonse de Lamartine, "Recollections of the East", Vol. 1 (London 1845) p.268

8.  William Thackeray, From Jaffa To Jerusalem (1844)

9.  James Finn, British Foreign Office Documents 78/1294, Pol. No. 36

10.  W.M. Thomson, The Land and the Book (London: T. Nelsons & Sons, 1866); and Southern Palestine and Jerusalem (1882).

11.  Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (American Pub. Co., 1869)

12.  Reverend Samuel Manning, Those Holy Fields (London, 1874), pp.14-17

13.  B. W. Johnson, Young Folks in Bible Lands: Chapter IV, (1892)

14.  "And He made you heirs to their land and their dwellings and their property, and to a land which you have not yet trodden." (Quran 33:27). "See they not that we gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders?" (Quran 13:41).

15.  The Hope-Simpson report, (London 1930)

16.  "Muhammad said: '... for war is deception.' " (Tabari 8:23) . "Allah's Apostle said, 'War is deceit.' '"(Sahih Bukhari:4.268). "When the Prophet (peace be upon him) intended to go on an expedition, he always pretended to be going somewhere else, and he would say: War is deception." (Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 2631 Narrated by Ka'b ibn Malik). "war is deception" (Ahmad, 6.459).

17.  Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi, "What the Qur'an Really Says"

18.  Quran, 17:104 : "And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: Dwell securely in the Promised Land."

19.  Quran, 5:20-21: "Moses said to his people ... O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you."

20.  Quran, 10:93 : "We settled the Children of Israel in a beautiful dwelling-place, and provided for them sustenance of the best."

21.  Quran, 17:01 : "Glorified be He who carried his servant by night from the inviolable place of worship (mosque in Mecca) to the far distant place of worship (far distant mosque)." This "far distant" mosque could not have been in Jerusalem, because in Muhammad's time there was not even a single mosque in Jerusalem. The first mosque in Jerusalem was built 83 years after Muhammad died. See also:


23.  "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them." (Quran 8:12). "Fight those who do not believe in Allah... nor acknowledge the religion of Truth." (Quran 9:29). "Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the enemies of Allah." (Quran 8.60). "Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you" (Quran 9:123). "And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah" (Quran 8.39). "Fighting is prescribed for you" (Quran 2:216). "... slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush" (Quran 9:5). "Go forth, light-armed and heavy armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah" (Quran 9:41). "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him." (Bukhari 52:256). "The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah." (Muslim 1:33). "I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah." (Bukhari 8:387). "Kill any Jew who falls under your power." (Tabari 7:97). "Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah." (Ibn Ishaq, 992).

24.  "what is the matter with you, that, when you are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, you cling heavily to the earth? ... Unless you go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place." (Quran 9:38-39). "Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who are disabled, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and lives." (Quran, 4:95). "whoever turns back (from the war against the non-believers), He will punish him with a painful punishment." (Quran, 48:17).

25.  "and lie in wait for them in every ambush" (Quran 9:5)

The author thanks the readers who contributed additional information and references. Contact the author at

This was submitted May 25, 2009

The latest version of this article in Hebrew is at

The latest version of this article in English is at

An earlier version of this article was posted on Think-Israel in March 2003. The current version has expanded references, all from Arab and non-(Jewish)Israeli sources. The author deliberately used foreign sources exclusively so the hostile reader who would like to reject the facts without examination could not retreat into: 'Oh well, it's from a biased source.'

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