Backdrop to Tragedy: The Struggle for Palestine

By William R. Polk; David M. Stamler et al. | Go to book overview

happy to find a friendly local community; but even then the Jews were unable to evolve any policy. This last flicker of hope was used only to exact a bloody revenge on the hated symbols of Christian rule and on the local Christian community. Persians and Jews burned churches and massacred Christians. Jews hoped for a rebuilding of the Temple and for the rebuilding of the community in a fashion parallel to the Persian liberation of the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity eleven centuries before. Such was not to be. Within fifteen years the Byzantine emperor Heraclius had retaken Jerusalem. The land was famine-stricken, burned, and ravaged and the Christian population thirsting for revenge. Mob violence took its course and Heraclius established the empire's policy as extermination of the Jewish community by forcible conversion and by the exclusion for all time of Jews from Jerusalem. This was in 634 A.D.--one of those historical dates in which, retrospectively, we can see the world on a precipice.


2. THE COMING OF ISLAM

While the Sassanian and Byzantine empires were locked in their mutually exhausting struggle for mastery of the Fertile Crescent, unknown to them a new system of political power was being forged and a new religion unfolded in the desert lands of Arabia to the south. This was Islam, the monotheistic faith revealed to Mohammed, whose adherents were shortly to engulf the one empire and to take the lion's share of the other. Of such crucial importance is an understanding of Islam to our study and yet still so little known to non-Muslims is it that a certain deviation both in point of time and place is necessary to gain some perspective on the subsequent history of Palestine.

In the year 570 A.D., in Mecca, Mohammed was born. The Mecca of his youth was a great entrepôt, situated at the juncture of the Yemen-to-Syria and Africa-to-Persia trade routes, a cosmopolitan and rich community. Enveloped in legend, its religious center, the Kaaba, was a center of pilgrimages as the "House" of the most widely recognized of the pagan gods of

-8-

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Backdrop to Tragedy: The Struggle for Palestine
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vi
  • Maps viii
  • Tables ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Important Dates in the History of Palestine xiii
  • Part 1 - THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1
  • 1 - Out of the Past 3
  • 2 - The Coming of Islam 8
  • 3 - The Crusades 22
  • 4 - The Ottoman Empire 29
  • 5 - The Great Powers in the Middle East 34
  • 6 - The Sick Man of Europe 47
  • 7 - The First World War and Its Spore 55
  • 8 - Emir Feisal and Dr. Weizmann 64
  • 9 - Establishment of the Mandate 70
  • 11 - The Wisdom of Solomon 94
  • 12 - From War to War 106
  • 13 - Inquiries, Reports, and Plans 110
  • 14 - The Mandate's Last Bitter Days 126
  • Part II - JEWISH INTERESTS IN PALESTINE 131
  • 1 - The Age-Old Longing 133
  • 2 - The European Background 139
  • 3 - The Birth of Political Zionism 148
  • 4 - The Land of Promises 159
  • 5 - Internal Conflicts 170
  • 6 - The Seeds of Conflict 175
  • 7 - The War and the Biltmore Program 179
  • 8 - Anglo-American Reactions 185
  • 9 - Postwar and Economic 187
  • 10 - A United Nations Solution: the State is Born 194
  • 11 - East and West 197
  • 12 - Politics in Israel 205
  • 13 - Religion and the State 219
  • Part III - THE ARABS AND PALESTINE 223
  • 1 - "The Existing Non-Jewish Communities" 225
  • 2 - The Arab Gentry 241
  • 3 - The Arab Element in Arabism 246
  • 4 - Modern Arab Nationalism 254
  • 5 - The Reaction to Zionism 265
  • 6 - Pan-Arabism 273
  • 7 - War, Refugees, and Humiliation 286
  • Part IV - THE ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK OF THE PALESTINE PROBLEM 305
  • 1 - Introduction 307
  • 2 - The Mandate Period 309
  • 3 - The Land and Its People 312
  • 4 - Immigration and Land 324
  • 5 - Land and Capital 329
  • 6 - Economics of the Refugee Problem 336
  • 7 - The Economy of Israel 342
  • 8 - Economic Relations Between Israel and the Arabs 352
  • Part V - CONCLUSION 365
  • Conclusion 367
  • SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 375
  • Index 387
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