Palestine


Figure 1.--Here is a Palestinian Bedouin boy photographed in 1935. Click on the image to see a Bedouin girl. Until the British Mandate, few Bedouin boys attended school, but obly with the creation of Israel did most Bedouin boys and especially the girls begin to attend school.

Palestine is located along eastern coast of the Mediterannean Sea. It is situated south of Lebanon and north of the Siani between the Jordon River and the Mediterannean. It is first referred to as Caanan in the Bible. Palestine is especially interesting to historians because the Bible has proven to include considerable historical information. Palestine is perhaps the most fought-over territory in history. This is somewhat surprising given the fact that Palestine is not rich in natural resources or a particularly fertile land. As a reader points out, "... bear in mind that in ancient times it was part of the 'fertile crescent' and biblical accounts suggest it was far more fertile than is now the case." That is well to remember, areas of North Africa were then much more productive than is the case today". The Bible of course refers to Palestine as the land of "milk and honey". Also Palestine was located astride the very valuable trade routes between the various eastern empires (Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Seleucid, Parthian) and Egypt and Africa. As a result, it became a buffer state between the major powers of the time and was often conquered are fought over by those empires. It was conquered by Alexander and his successors and in time absorbed by the Roman Empire. The number of great empires which have over time conqured Palestine is extrodinary. The importance of Palestine in the modern era is to a large extent is due to its religious importance. Two of the world's great relgions (Judiasim and Christianity) were founded there and the region has a major Islamic site. We suspect that the location of Palestine astride trade routes and the resulting intelectual cross-fertilization was a powerful factor here. This would be amazing enough in such a small land, but all three religions focus their attention on a small area of Jeruselum--explaining why the status of that city is such a difficult political issue. The most recent empires occupying Palestine have been the Ottomans and British which influence clothing trends as wll as the largely European Zionist immigration. The Palestinians are an Arab people and thus Arab clothing styles are very important. We do not yet have detailed information on Arab clothing.

Location

Palestine is located along eastern coast of the Mediterannean Sea. It is situated south of Lebanon and north of the Siani between the Jordon River and the Mediterannean. Palestine is perhaps the most fought-over territory in history. This is somewhat surprising given the fact that Palestine is not rich in natural resources or a particularly fertile land. As a reader points out, "... bear in mind that in ancient times it was part of the 'fertile crescent' and biblical accounts suggest it was far more fertile than is now the case." That is well to remember, areas of North Africa were then much more productive than is the case today". The Bible of course refers to Palestine as the land of "milk and honey". Also Palestine was located astride the very valuable trade routes between the various eastern empires (Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Seleucid, Parthian) and Egypt and Africa.

History

Palestine has been settled continuously for tens of thousands of year milenia before the ppearance of civilization. Fossil discoveries of Homo erectus, Neanderthal, and modern Homo sapines, as well as transitional types show that Palestine was on the migratory path of Homonoids out of Afria. Archeologists have also found hybrid Emmer wheat at Jericho dating from before 8,000 BC this was at the time of the Neolitic Revolution and the birth of human civilization. This is undoubtedly related to developments in Mesopotamia and one of the earliet sites of known agricultural activity yet found. Various people have lived in Palestine. Amorites, Canaanites, and other Semitic peoples related to the Phoenicians centered in Tyre along the coast entered the area (about 2000 BC). The Phoenicians were an important Mediterranean trading power and related to the Canaanites. What we now call Palestine thus became known as the Land of Canaan the term used in the Bible. Despite its small size and lack of important resources, Palestine has been one of the most fought-over areas of the world. This was in part because it was located in the borderlands of the world first two great civilizatuins, Mesoptamia and Egypt as well as subsequent civiizations which followed. Palestine was also located at the crossroads of trade between Asiam Arabia, Africa, and Europe. This may explaine the areas role in the evolution of the three great Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). Small independent kingdoms developed in what is now Palestine. Two were the Jewish kingdoms of Judeh and Israel. Palestine is especially interesting to historians because the Bible has proven to include considerable historical information. Eventually those and the other kingdoms were conquered or came under the influence of the great empires surronding the Levant. As a result, what we now call Palestine became a buffer state or states between the major powers of the time and was often conquered are fought over by those empires. It was eventually conquered by Alexander and his successors and in time absorbed by the Roman Empire. What is now Palestine has been a province in a long series of empires. There were for brief periods small , including the empires of Egypt, Pheonecia, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Macedonia/Greece, Rome, Byzantium Arab, Ottoman Turks, and finally Britain. After World War II British rule was followed by the the United Nations partition. Israel declared its independence in the area alloted to Jewish rule (1948), The Palestinian Arabs rejected partition and launched a more intense phase of Arab-Isreali conflict began by the Grand Mufii in the 1920s. While Israel was created as an independent nation state for the Jews in Palestine, not country was established for the Panestinian Arabs. This was because the Palestinian Arabs did not accept the U.N. partition and the neighboeing Arab countries which invaded were more intent on seizing territory than establishing an independent Palistinian state. Palestinian Aran areas were seized by Jordan and Egypt.

Economics

We do not have economic infomation on the economy of Palestine in ancient times. The Jew of course called it the 'land of milk and honey,' perhaps in comparison to the Sianai where they suposedly wondered for 40 years. Of course the area seems to havv ben somewhat better wattered than is the case today. The issue of economics in more modern tumes like virtually everything conncted with Palestine is a matter of considerable controversy. The Obama Administration like several administrations before it seems convinced that the Isreali-Arab conflict can be settled by economics. Improve the economic condition of the Palistinians so this argument goes and the violence can be difused. The only problem with this thinking is that since the onset of the Zionist Project, the economy of Palestine has improved. Palistine was among the poorest and most backward areas of the Ottoman Empire. Further economic progress was made during the British Mandate era (1918-48). And conditions on the West Bank and Gaza only began to deteriorate precipitously with the Interfada. Palistinian terror attcks forced the Isrealis to restrict Palestinians from working in Israel and to construct the Security Wall. This seems to suggest that there are issues involved that are not going to be solved by economics. Palestinians in Israel are the most affluent Arans in non-oil states. Yet there is every indicatuion that given the chance that they would vote to undo the Jewish state.

Chronology

We do not have a lot of chromological information on Palestinian children's clothing until the late-19th century until the late-19th century. We have a history page with chronological inforamtion, but information and images on the children is a relatively recent development and primarily due to photography reaching the Middle East. This meant that the images begin with the final decadeds of the Ottoman Empire. Most of the images are of boys. Many boys wore fezes. We see the children wearing long robes. We are not sure why the children wore under these robes. Sone seen to be wearing blousde-like garmenrs, ee are not dure how long. These garments seem to have been the same wi=orn in the regiions for centuries. Sone boys see to have worn pants of some descriptionm like knickers. We note a few boys wearing Western-style jackets. One boy wears a complete suit. Jewish children probably dressed similarly, but the Zionist immogrants from Europe would have worn Western clothes. The british seized Palestine at the ebd oif World war I (1918). We begin to see boys wea ring Western clothes. We think this was at first mostly Christian Arabs who orimarily loved in the towns. Western clithing gradually became commoin with the chilkdren and educated elite whicvh was the situatiin at the time of the Arab-Israeli War (1947-48). Israel became independent and the rest of Palestine annexed by Jordan and Egypt.

Religion

The importance of Palestine in the modern era is to a large extent is due to its religious significance. It is astounding to think how three of the world's great relgions are attached to Palestine in a major way. Two of the world's great relgions (Judiasim and Christianity) were founded there and the reglion has a major Islamic site. One wonderss how this could be the case. Logically it seems unlikely. We suspect that the location of Palestine astride trade routes and the resulting intelectual cross-fertilization was a powerful factor here. This would be amazing enough in such a small land, but all three religions focus their attention on a small area of Jeruselum--explaining why the status of that city is such a difficult political issue.

Ethnicity

The question of ethnicity is a very sensative one in Palestine. The relationship of the modern population to the ghistorical one has been matipulated by a range of partisan voices. The hiostory of the region is fairly well known, but populations movement were not well documented. Modern DNA studies are increasingly suggesting that a majority of the Palestine Muslims (including Israeli Palestinians) are descendants of Christians, Jews and other earlier inhabitants of the southern Levant. These people share a common genteic core dating back to prehistoric times. A recent study of high-resolution haplotypes demonstrated that a substantial portion of Y chromosomes of Israeli Jews (70 percent) and of Palestinian Muslim Arabs (82 percent) belonged to the same genetic pool. [Gibbons] We are not sure just what portion of the population of Palestine was killed or deported by the Romans. The Arabs conquired the Levant including Palestine as wll as Egypt (7th century AD). The population at the time was Christian and Jewish. Islamic religious conversions have meant a largely Sunni Muslim affiliation. A substanntial Christian Palistinian minority still existed at the time of the World War I. It has been substantially reduced by Islamic fundamentalists in recent years. There is also a Druze and small Samaritan community. The genetic make up of these non-Muslim minorities is believed to be similar if not identical to the Muslim minirity, but are not yet well studied. The most genetically destictive ethnic groups is the Bedouins. They share a greater etnic afinity with the Arabsof the Arabian Peninsula that the PAlistinian population. Palestuinian Christians generally identified ethnically with the Palestinian Muslims. This was not the case with pre-Zionist Palestinian Jews. Acculturation resulted in Palestinians becoming linguistically and culturally Arab.[Dowty, p. 221.] This was a process largely indeoendent fron conversion to Isam. The Palestinian population including Muslims, Christians, and Jews spoke the Palestinian dialect of Arabic.

Arabs

The Jews were largely expelled from Palestine by the Romans after a Jewish uprising in the 1st century AD. The Palestinians are an Arab people and thus Arab clothing styles are very important. We do not yet have detailed information on Arab clothing.

Activities

We have begun to aquire some information on the activities pursued by boys in Palestine. The primary activity throughout most of history was work. Boys except for a small upper and middle class worked. This began at a very early age and was primarily farm work as Palestine was an agricultural society even by the mid-20th century. Abd this began at a very early age. Young boys might work as farm workers, peddlers, messangers, sheaprds, waiters, water carriers, and much more. We see this very clearly in the photographic record. This was in part because until the late-19th century there were few schols for Muslims boys to attend, and none for the girls. Christian and Jewish boys were more likely to attend school. The Ottomans began opening schools, but only in its final years (late-19th century). Large numbers of Muslim boys did not begin attending schools ntil th Mandatory period (1918-48) when the British built a comprehensive free public school system. Religion was a major ctivity for children of all three faith communities (Chrstian, Jewish, and Muslim). The importance of Palestine in the modern era is to a large extent is due to its religious significance. It is astounding to think how three of the world's great relgions are attached to Palestine in a major way. Two of the world's great relgions (Judiasim and Christianity) were founded there and the reglion has a major Islamic site. One wonders how this could be the case. Logically it seems unlikely. We suspect that the location of Palestine astride trade routes and the resulting intelectual cross-fertilization was a powerful factor here. Several holidays are celebrated in Palestine. Until oartition they were religious holidays as Palestine had no national tradition. We don't have much information on play activities yet, but it is an area of interest. We do see someuniformed youth groups, mostly Scouts and Guides.

Families

Palestinian families could be quite large. This of course bried over time. Rural families in particular were often quite large. This has varied over time. Modern families, especially as the population became more urbanized, are now much smaller than familes in the past, but family bonds tend to be very strong. The basic pattern is similar to tht of other Aab countries, but there are some destinct features. The family has traditionally been the most important unit in Palestinian society and their disasterous political experience has only resulted in maintaining if not strengthening these ties. Unlike other countries there has been no substantial government-sponsored social safety-net, although the international community have provided support. Family identification and solidarity is the most importnt traditional structure to have survived the U.N. Partition an resulting war. Even in the refugee camps that were set up, Palestinian families maintained their family identity and coherence. The weak economy also seems to have served to strengthen the family. The Palestinian Authority and earlier organizations have weakened the economy which before the Interfada and decesion to cut economic ties with Israel was much stronger. This all has forced Palestinian families to fall back on the family. As a result, the family serves as the primary source of identity and extended families often live together in compounds or villas divided into apartments for the adult male sons and their families. Men who once worked in Israel now work in neighboring Arab countries, but still leave their wives and children behind to work in the prosperous oil-rich Gulf States. Many worked in Kuwait, but because they tended to support Sadam are no longer as welcomed there. They send money home to support the extended family. Extended families pool their resources and provide for each other when money is needed for major expenses such as medical emrgencies and educationa; expenses. Palestinian children continue to be raised to respect their elders and with a sense of responsibility to other family members. Older parents and grandparents rely on the financial support and care of their children and grandchildren. There are major differences between Christin, Jewish, and Muslim families. Part of this is because Jews and Christins were highly urbanized while the Muslim population largly lived in rural villages. They of course also had many varied traditions. They were also ethnic differnces. The Zionist Jewish population before and right after the partition was mostly European. Following partition with ge expulsion of Jews by Arab countries, the majoeity of the Israeli population now ha Middle-Eastern origins. All of this has had impacts on Palestinian/Israeli families. Arab Christian and Muslim families have the same ethnic origins, but since the partition and the radicalization of Muslim Arabs, attacks on Christias have declined in Palestinian areas so the Christian population has signifiantly declined.

Human Rights

The Human Rights situation in Palestinei is a very complex topic to discuss. Palestine in the 20th century underwent many political mutations. It began the century as a province of the Ottoman Empire. After World War I it was adminidstered as a League of Nations mandate by the British. This included two periods before and after the First Partition which separated Trans-Jordan from the rest if Palestine. Than after the British left and the First Isreali-Palestinian War was fought (1948-49), the West Bank and East Jerusalem was annex by Jordan and Gaza administered by Egypt. After the Six Days War (1967), Israel seized East-Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. After the Oslo Peace Process, the Palestinian Authority was given a substantial degree of internal self government, including a full Isreali withdrawl from Gaza (2005). The situation changed again with the Palestinian election (2006) and Hamas seized control of Gaza (2007). Thus any discussion of human rights in Palestine had to in the context of the political regime. Here we need to look at both government actions and the cultural values of the Palestinian people because they did not actually elect a gvernment until the 21st century (2006). One overwealming trend observeable throughout these different regimes has been the Palestinian Muslim tendency to resort to violence which has been directed at Jews, Christians, and other Muslims. And after the 2006 electiins both the PA and Hamas have refused to hold another elections. As it noe stands, the only Palestinians enjoying basic human rights are the Palestinians in Israel.

Sources

Abuheweila, Iyad and Isabel Kershner. "Hamas crackdown on Gaza protests instills fear," The New York Times (March 24, 2019).

Dowty, Alan. Israel/Palestine. (London, UK: Polity, 2008).

Gibbons, Ann. "Jews and Arabs share recent ancestry," ScienceNOW (October 30, 2000). American Academy for the Advancement of Science. Studies cited by Gibbons included: M. F. Hammer, et al. "Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes". Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (2000), Vol. 97 (12), pp. 676974. and Almut Nebel et al. "High-resolution Y chromosome haplotypes of Israeli and Palestinian Arabs reveal geographic substructure and substantial overlap with haplotypes of Jews," Human Genetics (200) 107 (6): 63041.






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Created: 3:52 AM 12/11/2005
Last updated: 6:04 PM 3/25/2019