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Population origins

Reader comment on item: [UNRWA:] The Refugee Curse
in response to reader comment: The Palestinians are refugees from an ancient homeland to which they will always earn to return.

Submitted by Jeff Abel (Israel), Apr 10, 2006 at 10:15

Throughout most of the Ottoman Empire the population of Palestine (British Mandatory Palestine) was stable at some 300,000 - 350,000 persons; only in the 19th century did it begin to increase, reaching some 450,000 at the turn of the century. Populations then were hardly static: those in the north of the country - not yet then a country - saw Beirut or Damascus as their "metropolis"; those in the south looked to Cairo.

People moved back and forth throughout what are today Syria, Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Thus to relate to some 7,000,000 persons as decendants of the ancient inhabitants of the Holy Land is stretching the issue somewhat. Just note the most notable of the "Palestinians", Arafat and Edward Said, both of whom were Egyptians (Said born in Jerusalem by chance when his parents were on holiday there), raised and educated in Egypt, who became Palestinian by profession.
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