Last updated on: 5/14/2008 3:25:00 PM PST

Has the Israeli-Palestinian Region Been Continually Inhabited Either by Jews or Arabs?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Alexander Scholch, PhD, Professor of Modern Middle East Studies at the University of Erlangen in Germany, in a 1985 article titled "The Demographic Development of Palestine, 1850-1882" from the International Journal of Middle East Studies, wrote:

"Of the 63,659 households listed in the year 1288 'Salname Ottoman Statistical Tables of Palestine,' 2,455 were Jewish. This gives a Jewish population of 14,730, or about 4% of the total population. Until 1882, the number of Jews in Palestine increased to about 24,000. They lived mainly in Jerusalem, Hebron, Safad, and the Tiberia, some families also in Nablus, Akka, and Haifa... Christians made up 11%, and Muslim arabs 85% of the total population."

1985 - Alexander Scholch, PhD 

PRO (yes)

The Jewish Virtual Library, an online encyclopedia, posted a section (accessed Sep. 8, 2006) titled "Myths & Facts Online, Israel’s Roots,":

"Palestinian claims to be related to the Canaanites are a recent phenomenon and contrary to historical evidence. The Canaanites disappeared from the face of the earth three millennia ago, and no one knows if any of their descendants survived or, if they did, who they would be...

...they claimed a connection to Palestine of more than 1,000 years, dating back no further than the conquest of Muhammad's followers in the 7th century.

By contrast, no serious historian questions the more than 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel, or the modern Jewish people's relation to the ancient Hebrews."

Sep. 8, 2006 - Mitchell G. Bard, PhD 

Palestine Facts website, in a topic section titled "Early History First Palestine Jews," (accessed July 21, 2006) offered the following information:

"The two (Israelite) kingdoms were conquered by expanding Mesopotamian states, Israel by Assyria (approx. 720 BC) and Judah by Babylonia (586 BC).

Jewish government was established again in Judea, but was finally lost until modern times after invasion by the Romans and the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, not many years after it was constructed by Herod the Great in 19 or 20 BC...

Confirmed historical dates and a continuous Jewish historical record in Palestine begin with the Second Temple period, starting with the return of exiled Jews from Babylonia (roughly today's southern Iraq) in 538 BC.

July 21, 2006 - Palestine Facts 

The World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) website, in a section titled "The Jewish Right to a State in Israel," (accessed Sep. 11, 2006) stated the following:

"The Land of Israel is the historical birthplace of the Jewish people. Through 2000 years of exile the link was preserved through the habit of praying in the direction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and reciting the statement 'Next year in Jerusalem' at the end of Yom Kippur, the end of the Pesach seder, and at all celebrations. For two thousand years Jews left corners of their homes unfinished and broke a glass at a wedding ceremony as an expression of loss and a desire to return and rebuild Israel.

Throughout that time there were Jews living in the Land of Israel, mainly in Jerusalem, Safed, Hebron and Tiberias. In 1856, before the Zionist movement even began, the Jewish population of Palestine was over 17,000.

Sep. 11, 2006 - World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) 

CON (no)

Adnan Amad, author, in a 1973 article titled "History and Fiction in Boasson's Comments on Galtung," from the Journal of Peace Research, wrote:

"There is unanimous agreement among historians that Palestine for the last 2000 years was the homeland of the Palestinians, the original descendants of the Canaanites, Jews, and Arabs (pre and post-Islamic). During all this period they lived and practiced political and social rights on their land. Until the British Mandate and even under their administration they were considered as a self-governing political society."

1973 - Adnan Amad 

Illene Beatty, archaeologist, in her 1957 book titled Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan, offered the following:

"...[A]ll these [different peoples who had come to Canaan] were additions, sprigs grafted onto the parent tree... and that parent tree was Canaanite... They [The Arab invaders of the 7th century A.D.] made Moslem converts of the natives, settled down as residents, and intermarried with them, with the result that all are now so completely Arabized that we cannot tell where the Canaanites leave off and the Arabs begin.

The Jewish kingdoms were only one of many periods in ancient Palestine. The extended kingdoms of David and Solomon, on which the Zionists base their territorial demands, endured for only about 73 years... Then it fell apart... [Even] if we allow independence to the entire life of the ancient Jewish kingdoms, from David's conquest of Canaan in 1000 B.C. to the wiping out of Judah in 586 B.C., we arrive at [only] a 414 year Jewish rule."

1957 - Illene Beatty McNulty 

Edward Said, PhD, the late Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, in a 1992 book The Question of Palestine, wrote:

"Palestine became a predominately Arab and Islamic country by the end of the seventh century. Almost immediately thereafter its boundaries and its characteristics — including its name in Arabic, Filastin — became known to the entire Islamic world...

In 1516, Palestine became a province of the Ottoman Empire, but this made it no less fertile, no less Arab or Islamic... All these people believed themselves to belong in a land called Palestine, despite their feelings that they were also members of a large Arab nation...

Despite the steady arrival in Palestine of Jewish colonists after 1882, it is important to realize that not until the few weeks immediately preceding the establishment of Israel in the spring of 1948 was there ever anything other than a huge Arab majority.

1992 - Edward Said, PhD 

Issam Sissalem, former head of history at Palestinian Authority University, in a TV interview translated in an Aug. 24, 2006 WorldNetDaily article titled "PA: No Jewish Connection to Israel," offered the following:

"... [I] want to point out that we should not focus much on what is called the [biblical] Hebrew tribes, who are in fact Bedouin Arab tribes... the Bible became an archival document, not representing what the Israelis and the first Jews were, but what they thought they were, what they imagined.

[Jews] claimed that Solomon, may he rest in peace, built the Temple. Does the land testify to this? Solomon was a prophet and we see him as a Muslim and part of our [Islamic] heritage... There is no historical text that proves the existence [of the temple] or that it has a real history other than the Bible, and the Bible as we have previously mentioned, was written based on ancient legends.

...[T]hese [the Hebrew prophets of the Bible] are part of our [Muslim] heritage. They have no connection to the Imperialistic Settlement Jews [Israelis] and nor to those that were destroyed.

Aug. 24, 2006 - Issam Sissalem