Arab Immigration into the Coastal Plains of Israel (the Sharon) During the British Mandate.
by: Dr. Rivka Shpak Lissak
According to the Arabic- Palestinian propaganda, the Palestinians are the indigenous people of the country called Judea in the past, then Palestina under the British Mandte.
This article and others in the future will prove this propaganda is an attempt to rewrite history in order to eliminate the Jewish state.
Ma’ayan Hess-Ashkenazi researched the Arabic immigration to the Sharon, and this is what he found:
The Sharon area lies between the Tanninim Creek in the north and the Yarkon stream in the south, and between the foot of the mountains of Samaria in the east and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. According to data published by the Mandate Government, the Arabic population in the Sharon increased more than three-fold during its time. At the beginning of the Mandate period there were about 10,000 Arabs (mostly Muslim) in the Sharon, and in 1944 there were more than 30,000. By the time the Mandate was ended, in 1947, more Arabs had moved to the Sharon.
Demographic sources for the British Mandate period in Israel include the 1922 and 1931 censuses and data on the rural population from 1945. In addition to the British sources researchers can access sources of the Jewish settlement during the Mandate period, including the Haganah archive, the Jewish press, and studies conducted during the period, as well as personal interviews with people from that era.
The total data published by the Mandate government show that the number of Arabs grew from 752,048 in 1914 to 1,294,000 in 1944. The Arabic population nearly doubled in 30 years.
Data on natural increase published by the Mandate government show a significant natural increase in the Arabic population. Among the Muslims, the natural increase rose from 10 children per 1000 population to 29.1 children per 1000 population. Among the Christians, the natural increase reached 30.1 children per 1000 population by the end of the British Mandate. The main reason for this increase was the decrease in mortality rate from 25-30 per 1000 to 20 per 1000.
Scholars are divided over the contribution of Arabic immigration into Israel to the increase in population during the Mandate period. According to data published by the Mandate government, the natural increase in Muslim population contributed 88% of the total increase, whereas immigration contributed 12%; and among the Christians, natural increase contributed 72% of the total population increase, whereas immigration contributed 28%.
An investigation of the statistical data of the Mandate government shows differences in the rates of increase of Arabic population between areas that enjoyed economic and demographic development, such as the Coastal Plains and the Sharon, and areas that did not enjoy such development, such as the district of Jennin. In Jennin, the average natural increase stood at 70%, while in the Coastal area and the Sharon it was several hundreds of percent.
The Mandate government data show that at the beginning of the period, there were about 10,000 Arabs living in the Sharon area, some nomads or semi-nomads, and most in permanent settlements. At the end of the Mandate period there were about 30,000 Arabs in the Sharon area, with some 20,000 living in permanent settlements and about 10,000 nomads.
A careful examination of the population growth in the Sharon concludes that there was a difference between the Mandate government’s rates of population increases for the whole country and those for the Sharon area. In the Sharon, immigration contributed significantly to the population increase. This study examined 35 Arabic villages and suburbs in cities of mixed population. In 1922, 9,892 Arabs were living in the villages and the suburbs, in 1931 their number grew to 14,261, and in 1944 to 25,930. Further growth between 1945 and 1948 must be added. According to these data, the population increase in these villages and suburbs between 1922 and 1931 ranged from 37% to 510%, while from 1931 to 1944, the population increase in these villages and suburbs ranged from 28% to 138%. It should be noted that there were more settlements where the population increased by 100% or more than by a lower percentage.
For example, in Abou Kashakh the population numbered 200 in 1922, and 1,007 in 1931, an increase by 400% .In 1931 it numbered 1,007 and in 1944 it was 2,400, an increase of 138%.. In the Faliq area, on the other hand, there were no Arabs until 1944, when 1,030 of them settled in the place. In Sheikh Mounis there were 664 residents in 1922, growing to 1,154 in 1931 and 1,930 in 1944, an increase of 67% in 13 years and 190% in 22 years.
The Causes for Immigration
Draining of the Sharon Swamps
The Jewish National Fund, together with the Mandate Health Department, began draining the Sharon swamps in the early 1920’s. The drainage checked the spread of malaria and decreased the mortality rate among the Arabs in the area. The drainage project required hundreds of workers, and Arabs work immigrants from the Arabic world who were employed in the works subsequently settled in the area.
The Development of the Citrus Industry
Planting and tending the orchards and the fruit created employment and attracted Arabs from the Arabic world to the area. The planted areas grew from 70,000 dunams (17,500 acres) in 1931 to 128,000 dunams (32,000 acres) in 1946.
The establishment of the Jewish towns of Binyamina, Kfar Sabba, Ra’anana, Herzeliya, Ramat Hasharon, Giv’at Shaul, and others, brought about a construction boom which created employment for hundreds of workers, attracting workers from the Arabic world. Coarse sand was one of the materials used in construction, attracting camel owning Bedouins to work in its transportation.
New Water Sources
The fourth factor which encouraged Arab immigration into the Sharon was the water drilling projects which improved the water supply and increased the area’s agricultural output and its population sustainment and absorption rate.
The Composition of the Arabic Workforce in the Sharon
The workforce in the Sharon was comprised of Arabic farmers whose economic situation in the years 1926 – 1932 suffered from cattle diseases, low rainfall, low prices for agricultural produce, and locust attacks. The work places created by the Jewish National Fund, the Mandate government, the Citrus industry, and the construction boom saved them from certain hunger.
Documents of the Hagana Organization indicate that members of Bedouin tribes from the Negev, the Sinai, and Trans-Jordan were employed in these works and ended up settling in the Sharon.
Towards the end of the 1920’s, Arab workers from the Horan region in the south of Syria began arriving in the country, including the Sharon. According to the Syrian Governor they numbered between 30,000 and 35,000. The Hebrew newspaper “Davar” reported on 2 July 1934 that 25,000 Horanni’s “made Aliya [immigrated] into the country”.
Ten years after the Mandate was established, the Arabic population in the Sharon had grown by 50%. It is impossible to reasonably explain such increase by natural causes alone. The huge increase in Arabic population was even more remarkable in villages close to Jewish settlements, whose number grew from 25 to 77 during the Mandate period. In Bir Addas, for example, which is situated close to the Jewish town of Magdi-el, the population increased by 216%, with 40% of the village’s men working in neighbouring settlements.
In contrast, Bedouins and Arabic farmers from the mountainous region, which was hit by natural disasters, preferred to move to cities such as Jaffa and Haifa, where the living standards were higher.
During the Arabic Revolt, in 1936—1939, Arabic fighters from neighbouring Arabic countries arrived in Samaria, where they ended up settling following the suppression of the revolt by the Mandate government.
World War II hit the citrus industry hard when it brought an end to the exporting of citrus to Europe, but the British Army provided employment to the Arabs in the construction and maintenance of the bases it established in the Sharon. The British Army required food, and its demand for agricultural produce rescued the Arabic agriculture in the Sharon. The need for manpower in the British bases and camps attracted more Arab workers from the Arabic countries. The British brought with them in the 1940’s Arabic workers from Egypt who settled near Kfar Tzur south of Netanya, establishing a settlement that numbered hundreds of inhabitants. Bedouins, Egyptians, and Horanni’s, who worked in the British camps and in the industries that were established in Netanya after the war, settled in Um Haled near Netanya. In addition, during the war, villagers moved from the mountains and established settlements in the Sharon. Some were descended from Egyptians who were settled in the country by Mouhammad ‘Ali during his rule of the area (1832—1840). Data on the rural regions published by the Mandate Government in 1944/5 listed Bedouin tribes that settled in the Sharon, such as ‘Arab-a-nussirat, ‘Arab-al-marmara, and more.
The spread of Tel Aviv in the direction of Sheikh Mounis during the 1930’s and 1940’s, increased Arabic immigration to the village. Its population grew from 664 in 1922 to 1,930 in 1944. Many of these new residents were Bedouins who arrived from neighbouring countries and found employment in construction, sand transportation, and industry. Many of the village residents supplied agricultural produce to the markets in Tel Aviv.
Jewish settlement in the Sharon during the British Mandate period and development works by the government brought about the elimination of malaria and the provision of medical services which improved the health conditions in the Arabic villages, reduced the infant and adult mortality rates, and increased the longevity rate. New and varied industries created an abundance of work places, attracting Arabs and Bedouins to the Sharon, many of them from Egypt. During World War II, the British Army further created employment and increased demand for agricultural produce. The increase in sources for livelihood brought about an increase in the Arabic population in the Sharon, from 10,000 to 30,000 in less than 30 years.
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -