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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Arab Immigration to Palestine
In the late 1800’s and the first half of the 20th century many Arabs were attracted to Palestine due to the prosperity brought about by Jewish development of the land: draining swamps, irrigating wastelands, building industries and towns, farms and cities, medical, and learning facilities, for example: in 1882 forty Jewish families, settled in the scorched sands of what is today known as Rishon LeZion (now a thriving city of over 250,000). By 1889 more than 400 Arab families had settled around these few Jewish families, enjoying full time employment and higher wages (300% higher than any area of the Middle East at the time) and medical facilities never before seen --where once Arab women saw half of their children die before the age of five years, the new Jewish medical facilities offered something they had never known or dreamed of.

This repeated itself in many Jewish areas in Palestine both during the Ottoman rule and the later British mandate. It must be remembered that at that time there existed not one Arab country – there were no borders till after WWI. Droves of Arabs arrived from all over the Middle East, Persian Gulf, and Africa. Muslims of other ethnicities arrived from Africa and even Europe (to become part of the Arab group “described” today as “Palestinians”). 

Of course Arabs also came from eastern Palestine -  what later became Jordan when the British partitioned Palestine in the early 1920’s. They continued to this "in-migration" from eastern Palestine until the '48 war (those that went back to eastern Palestine during the war now refer to themselves as refugees and are so recognized the UN).

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