What did Palestine look like in 1896?

A film footage of Palestine in 1896 was recently published online thanks to Lobster Films. It shows Palestinians of all faiths – Christians, Jews and Muslims – living side by side, and praying side by side. I transcribed the narration below.

15 years later, the cinema is taking its first steps. Cameramen employed by the Lumiere Brothers filming in Jerusalem’s station, provide the first moving pictures taken in Palestine. From now on, the camera’s a recording eye and what it records is this: A society much like that of Cairo, Damascus, or Beirut, in an Arab city much like any other.

By the end of the 19th century, Palestine has 500,000 inhabitants, of whom 30,000 live in Jerusalem. A veiled woman, a Sunni Muslim, one of the majority. An orthodox Jew. He too turns away from the camera. Here we have an Armenian pope. Each of the Christian denominations has its church here in the holy city. The holy places of the three religions are scattered across a few hundred square meters. The Great Mosque is close to Christ’s tomb. Further along at the foot of the wailing wall, a Jew is reciting a prayer. He is wearing a Turkish tarboush, and although he prays in Hebrew his everyday language is Arabic. Jews form half the population of Jerusalem, but in the country as a whole they make up less than 5% of the total. Christians account for 10% and Muslims 85%. All of them are subjects of the Sultan of Constantinople. There are no frontiers in the Ottoman Empire. There are administrative divisions in which, in this immense territory, Palestine occupies a mere 27,000 square kilometers, made up of three small districts, in the south of the province of Damascus. 

According to the Electronic Intifada’s Jalal Abukhater, the film was recovered in Paris, February 2007.

79 thoughts on “What did Palestine look like in 1896?

  1. First I dont see anywhere in the film the statistics that are provided in the comment. Second the name palestine is invention of Romans for punishment – we all know these lands were called Judea for centuries for a reason – why do you think the river Jordan has this name? Third – also in my country the women were forced to wear muslim clothes and the men were forced to wear Turkish tarboush. They all was pressed to speak turkish in the official places. Does do not mean any of them were turkish or was happy to stay under the Sultan of Constantinopolis . Ask whomever u want on the balkans – turks are invaders and the islam is not by anyhow part of the traditions of the region – and even after 600 years we are still thinking this and there is a reason for it..

        1. There were no facts in your comment my friend. Just politics.

          I don’t know where you get your information but to deny the reality of Palestine and its inhabitants is as close to lunacy as you can get.

          Historical facts are simply not in your “theory”‘s favor. You’re relying on pseudohistorical argument that are entirely based on religion and politics. But when it comes to reality and to making actual historical arguments, I’m afraid they’re irrelevant.

          1. well I am used to look at the historical facts far behind than 100 years ago only. For my nation 100 years are a moment of blinking. So to take a moment picture from a 100 years ago and claim that this was the situation since forever is not consistent. Which means having the fact that just 100 years ago after centuries of genocide against the christians and jews, there were more muslims living in Judea is kind of not serious. And yeah I am calling them muslims cos there were mix of arabs and turks – no palestinian have ever been mentioned – another fact. Then all of the holly books – bible, tora, koran are saying that the lands should be givven to the better hosts – the hosts that will take caere of it and make sure the people living there will be happy no matter what religion they have. But lets face the facts – do u think the people in Gaza line live happier live than the people in Tel aviv or Jerusalem ? Even forgetting the history why do you think the arabs will be better hosts of the land when facts are proving the opposite? Why you want a country when u dont know what to do with it and will throw it to the hunger and constant civil war ?

            1. Well here’s the thing about reality: it doesn’t change just because you don’t like it. No Palestinians were ever mentioned living in Palestine? You mean besides being called Palestinians living in Palestine?

              Your comment proves yet again my point: you’re speaking politics and religion, neither of which are big on facts.

              Don’t try and bring the crimes committed against Jews, please. No one even brought that up. The crimes committed against Jews don’t justify in any way the catastrophe that befell upon Palestinians since 1948. The horrors committed were committed by Europeans, not Palestinians. They had nothing to do with anything.

              Jews have been an integral part of our region. Have there been tensions? Sure. There have been tensions between all religious groups, all the time. But it never reached anywhere near the horrors that were committed by Europeans – another thing we Arabs have in common with Jews.

              Since this is obviously going to, as usual, lead to two random persons having two opposite views for no good “reason” – hurray internet! – let me make something clear: I really don’t mind a Jewish presence in the Middle East. Couldn’t care less, actually. That was never the real problem.

              I can spend hours quoting history books proving that Jewish presence wasn’t always such a big deal. My country had tourist guides in Hebrew in the 30s and 40s. Jewish businessmen and traders were welcomed in Beirut. My grandmother was born in Haifa, Palestine in the 20s. Things aren’t black and white.

              The problem is the occupation, and it’s the systematic violation of human rights that the government of Israel is inflicting on Palestinians. But not only do many (most?) Zionists deny that that’s even the case, they actually dare to even claim that Palestinians are somehow not real. That’s just disgusting and horrific. And it’s an attempt to eliminate a people in the same way the Ottomans Turks have tried with their minorities – the Armenians, notable – and the Nazis with European Jews and Europeans -Spanish, Portugue, French and British, notably – have tried with virtually all of Africa, Asia and South America.

              So please, you want to have a discussion? I’d love to. But don’t you dare deny the historical reality of a historical people in their own historical land. That’s just horrible.

              1. Sure we can have a discussion. We can start by the basics – could you cite me when the name Palestine was invented, by whom and why. Second – cite me the year when on those lands there was a state called Palesina, with its citizens called palestinians and rulled by a palestinian king/president? Plus I am also giving examples from the balkans which obviously u are ignoring…

                1. That’s a very funny question coming from an Israeli (I’m assuming, apologies if you’re not). Who are you going to cite me? King David? Because the land has changed a bit since then.

                  Palestine was known in antiquity through that name dating all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. The first map of the region dates to 542 AD and can still be found in the Madaba Church in Jordan, which, incidentally, I visited a couple of weeks ago. It’s written Palestina in Greek. The land was known (and still is in many parts of the world, by the way) by the name of Palestine throughout the vast majority of its history.

                  And don’t get me wrong, I’m not even against the Jewish claim of parts of the land. I find it ridiculous but I’m not against it. What I do mind, again, is when you try and erase what was already there before 1948.

                  Your question has to do with politics, not history. Again, politics. The whole notion of State is quite a recent one. Kingdoms were much more common, and what was even more common was for them to die overnight and be replaced by another kingdom. Again, you’re speaking politics, not history. That Palestinians didn’t have a King is utterly irrelevant to the discussion. Point is, there were and still are Palestinians.

                  Palestine has been ruled by many kingdoms and states: Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, the Sunni Arab Caliphates, the Shia Fatimid Caliphate, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mameluks, Ottomans, the British and modern Israelis and Palestinians (quick list from Wikipedia).

                  Now let’s watch everyone claim it based on that and see how fun that will turn out.

                  1. I don’t think this person is worth engaging with; he’s obviously made up his mind and doesn’t want to bother with facts that don’t support his Zionist positioning.

                    1. 2nd’ed. No amount of facts can penetrate this guy’s brain. Sad & frustrating, but not shocking. There is nothing inherently wrong with a diaspora people longing for a homeland, but modern-day pro-Israel form of Zionism is just bigotry. The ideology offers its adherents a sense of superiority over others, it grants them moral camouflage to treat those others in immoral ways, and renders them nearly impervious to reason.

                    2. On the other hand, enabling him to rant on probably does more damage to his cause than any well argued and substantiated positions we might take

                  2. As an Israeli, I wish there were more people like you on both sides… Unfortunately, there are far too many people on both sides who believe an extremely biased and narrow narrative they conceive of as ‘history’.

                    The truth is that both Israelis and Palestinians have a strong connection to this land, which is the only land they view of as their homeland (at least for most of them). Both see themselves as indigenous and often attempt to disprove the other’s connection and claim an exclusive right to the whole land.

                  3. Very interesting historical facts. I just wish we could all learn more from people like you. Thank you for your comments.

              2. So, you obviously know and live in this region of the world. What do you think is the option/answer/possible solutions to ending the killing. Where is the possibility of moving towards peace?

            2. Well you and your nations can keep fighting and killing innocents and combatants alike until hell freezes over. But the rest of the planet are appalled by your primitive hatred based on religion and history and want nothing to do with any of you until you learn to live in peace and harmony. You may as well be on a dark, evil planet somewhere deep in the universe as far as we are concern, but drop us a line when you settle up, stop killing and hating and want to return to earth and humanity.

    1. whats that rant about turkish empire got to do with any of this? as for the stats, the film doesn’t have to show them, run a simple query across the internet through various sources. And it might have been called Judea (and thats a chicken and egg thing, did Judea come first or the Jew), but that does not mean 100s of years later Jews from all over the world would come to this place and be given residence and kick its actual inhabitants at that point out. If it worked like this then I need to go back to Iran and even claim the kingdom in mine and my ancestors name. Zionists in their attempt sort of validated Nazis point there (‘a Jew, irrespective of how long has he or she lived in a country would always be a Jew and from Judea and not a German or an Austrian etc’.) Creation of Israel sort of validated that didn’t it.

    2. And when the Hebrews came to that land, long,long ago, they fought people there, the old testament calls them the Philistines. Way before the Romans existed there, the Canaanites were the people who lived on the land. DNA testings of current people shows that we are all humans, no need to be so well rehearsed and paid for to defend something wrong 😉

    3. Philistine was mentioned in the Torah, In Genesis 21 Abimelech and the captain of his host, Phicol, left the land they had shared with Abraham and “returned to the land of the Philistines.” In chapter 26, Isaac, due to the duress of a famine, traveled to “Abimelech king of the Philistines.”

      Jordan is called alordon. Jordan is only in English

    4. Third – They just showed you a video of an orthodox jew wearing orthodox jewish clothing.
      תד אנאן February 17, 2014
      just Facts that I know (apparently, you don’t know much). Cant stand when someone is claiming lies (I think you just did that, and we have proof here that what you are saying is IN FACT a lie), and is relying on the stupidity of the others in order to convince a theory (If you didn’t just describe yourself….)

    5. Your comment has nothing with the article… you swimming in another beach my friend…. If you have read and watched video, it shows and speak about how 3 cultures lived in one nation. the Ottoman empire, persian, roman and muslim civilization, all left their influence/ impact or whatever on people and their language and their costume throughout history…your balkan friends haven’t shown you their costumes and from where their language originate?… for example I come from a country called Libya and its named so since Roman empire and so other european and eastern countries and lands if you recall your history method in school…. you can also see that in your rabbi uniforms indicates exactly what you deny of history or they wouldn’t create nice modern black suits and hats that has nothing to do with jew history, refusing their ancient arabic costumes.. .. An american Jewish author, I dont recall his name said; if muslims still ruled europe in golden ages, a 6 million jews would be still alive now referring to the WW2!
      now get the **** out of here!

    6. If Islam has been present in the Balkans for 600 years, by definition it is now “part of the traditions of the region”

    7. Palestine derives its name from the Philistines, who inhabited the coastal areas of what is now Israel, Sinai and Northern Egypt around Alexandria in ancient times. They are mentioned in the Old Testament (Goliath was one), and are referred to as the ‘Sea-Peoples’ by ancient Egyptian texts.

    8. I bet that ANYONE in your Balkan with their leaders today would be blessed if old Sultan was their leader today instead of their corrupted leaders they voted for.

    9. The clue is in the year of the film. The sound is a very recent addition. I saw this film a few years back and it was silent. There was a reason why Charlie Chaplin films were silent!!!!!!

  2. It was not Palestine under the Turks but South Syria though there might still have been a small area of the Jung Fillistina a remnant from Kaliphate times.
    A lot of this issue stems from the local Arabs in the Holy Land Adopting a known ancient enemies name.
    But if Israel is willing to compromise in regards to it’s area that it wishes to control those Arabs should be free to call themselves what they wish if they are willing to reciprocate towards their Jewish neighbours, getting bogged down history only clouds the future.

    1. Yes it was. Palestine was the name of the region that was linked administratively to Damascus under the Ottomans and then Sidon and then Acre and then Damascus again. It was Palestine throughout that time. Again, politics.
      “Local Arabs in the Holy Land” as you call them, or Palestinians, as historians and non-politicized observers call them, have been there in Palestine for as long as Palestine has existed – ie quite a long time. Many people of the region were known to move around a lot but Palestinians are as much Palestinians as the Lebanese are Lebanese or Iraqis Iraqis. Denying basic historical facts doesn’t make anyone take you seriously.

  3. Heartbreaking… the loss of inter-religous and inter-cultural coexistence in the motherland. I found an old birth certificate from generations ago in my family, printed under the letterhead “State of Palestine”, with the primary language set in Arabic and followed by an English and Hebrew translation. Unlike today’s certificates, that one didn’t identify my grandfather as a “Christian” – regardless of the religious background, they were all Palestinians: Christians, Muslims, and Jews alike. May forgiveness emanate from the stones of the old city; how badly we have tarnished her.

    1. I don’t know if what you say is true… The British administration in Palestine kept the Ottoman system of differentiating between the different sects and denominations intact. They didn’t change anything and that’s why the Islamic trust system (Awqaf) and the religious courts were kept up and running. In the case of Israel, and contrary to the popular belief that religious differentiation is a deliberate policy of ethnic separation, the newly-formed State of Israel in late 1949 struck a deal with the religious zealots in which it was agreed that all religious institutions from the Ottoman era would be kept intact. In Israeli political historiography, this deal is called “the status quo deal,” and this is why Israeli population registers still differentiate between individuals of different faiths.

      1. My comment is based on a real document that was passed on through my family. Unfortunately, in this particular case, this is the only information I can provide on this issue. Perhaps birth certificates were marked differently than other documents, or it could have been a municipal difference. Either way, we were definitely more equal then than we are now.

    1. I don’t mean to break your heart here, but being a historian and history teacher I feel the need to point out that there is no such thing as “real, unedited history.” I actually think that this idea is one of the issues at the core of the conflict, religion aside.

      The claims of “real, unedited history” are pretty much what drive the geographical claims, as can be seen on the Temple Mount: it’s a matter of “we were here first, it’s OUR site!”, all supposedly based in “real, unedited history” taking the concrete form of archeological findings.

      Here’s the thing: history, as the word already implies, is always a story, a mere theory; it is fiction based on findings that is supposed to come as close to the truth as possible, but can never be truth itself – just think of the way you construct every single moment of your life and give meaning to events that only exist for you and your “truth” but have nothing to with the supposed “truth” of others, even those who witnessed the same event. What you consider “historical truth” can be turned on its head any minute: an archeologist turning over a stone, a librarian stumbling across an old scroll that’s been neglected for centuries, things like that.

      If there will ever be a solution for this conflict, it will not be found by looking at the history of the region. It can only be found by accepting the current situation and trying to find the best compromise to make the situation work for everybody involved. If neither site fully accepts the others’ presence based on their view of regional history, it will be stalemate and bloodshed forever.

      I do, however, agree with you in one sense: it always helps to look at history in new ways. The predominant view of the region right now is one of interreligious violence and bloodshed. It can’t hurt to remind people that there were periods when this was different and a multicultural society of sorts was possible.

      1. “If there will ever be a solution for this conflict, it will not be found by looking at the history of the region. It can only be found by accepting the current situation and trying to find the best compromise to make the situation work for everybody involved. If neither site fully accepts the others’ presence based on their view of regional history, it will be stalemate and bloodshed forever.”
        Beautifully put!

      2. I agree with you that they have to look in current situation but the think is, both side will not agree to each other terms. Unless the Israelis can compromise and the Palestinian are given the freedom as a country then they can live in peace. If all else fails then all the world have to unite and stop this massacre. Even the US who is backing the Israelis have to put aside their partnership and end this bloodshed.
        If this doesn’t work at all then I guess humanity as it is will seize to exist. We will see a big war coming up and the time will come when only destruction and chaos is looming around the region. And who will benefit this, the war mongers who are cashing in the profits of blood and tears.

  4. “Palestine” as a distinct term shows up in the Ancient Greek, 500 years before the Romans were in the region, and similar words for the area go farther back, to the Egyptians and Assyrians. When your argument begins with such obvious flaws, it is hard to take anything else seriously.

  5. “Palestine” was invented by the Romans for all of Judea as a punishment for the Jewish Wars. It was Latin for Philistinia, the area roughly equivalent to Gaza, which was the home of the ancient enemy of the Jews. Jews have lived there in some numbers for at least 3200 years. Arabs arrived with an invading army after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the 7th century C.E. There has never been a state called Palestine, only the British administered league of nations mandate after the First World War which included today’s Jordan. That 78% of Palestine was formed into the nation of Trans-Jordan and given by the British to the Hashemite Abdullah, a good friend, after he was kicked out of his native Hejaz by Ibn Saud. That part of Palestine was mandated as Judenrein (just as Abbas has promised his future state would be)
    After the Second World War, the United Nations took over the mandate and in 1947 decided it should be partitioned into a Jewish controlled state, an Arab controlled one and an international control over Jerusalem. The Jews accepted and on the day of partition, six Arab armies invaded the Jewish state. They were defeated as they have been in all wars since. In the Six Day one, Jordan was warned to stay out. They chose to attack and Israel, which along with Egypt, Trans-Jordan and Syria, occupied the Arab state after that War of Independence (nobody ever protested the Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian occupation). As a result, Israel became the sole occupier of the Palestinian State. Normally, victors annex conquered territories. Israel only took a bit, after they offered all of it back in return for peace and recognition. That was followed by the famous Arab League response of no negotiations, no recognition, no peace. Today, part of these occupied territories are administered by enemies of Israel, a hitherto unsuccessful attempt by Israel to get that peace. One piece, Gaza, was granted de-facto independence. That resulted in a coup by Hamas whose constitution calls for the killing and/or expulsion of Jews. The Palestinians, a term which, as it has been correctly pointed out, is a term for local Arabs only in vogue since they wanted Israel back, have refused independence options short of the full territory in 1939, 1947, 1967, 2000, 2005, and 2008. They will not be offered the full territory ever because Jews (all but those who refuse to) have learned from 2000 years of discrimination, torture, theft, and murder at the hands of Christians and Muslims, that a state of their own might not be a bad idea. But the early pre-Zionists and Zionists came unarmed and sought to build by work and legal purchase. That might have lasted except that the late (thank goodness) Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Al Husseini, (peace never be upon him), that good friend of Hitler’s, decided to rouse the Arab majority to violence, a practice continued to this day in some parts.
    Some other facts to accompany the anti-Israeli myths and lies…
    Under Israeli occupation, from 1967-1993, Christians remained a solid majority in Bethlehem. Under Fatah administration since, they have become a small minority there. The mayor blames this on Israel.
    All religions are free to practice in Israel. This exists nowhere else in the Middle East. Muslim and Christian citizens of Israel have full legal rights. Nobody has this anywhere else in the Middle East. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and the only one ever, except for a brief period in Lebanon.
    Christian populations are shrinking everywhere in the Middle East, growing only in Israel.
    Most Arab countries, like the promise for a future Palestinian State, are Judenrein (Hitler’s term for free of Jews if you didn’t know).
    Arabs in Israel have a better standard of living than in any Arab country, except for some in oil rich states. They also have among the highest levels of education and longest life expectancy.
    I am well aware of Israel’s shortcomings, but will leave that to its hordes of enemies to point out, both the real ones, and the imagined ones.
    Most of the above are facts. Now choose your politics.

    1. Isn’t it interesting how a simple video showing real live Palestinians in actual Palestine in 1896 threatens the very narrative of Zionists?

      Your attempt to deny the very reality of Palestine and, worse, of Palestinians themselves by sugarcoating every possible historical event is utterly pathetic.

      Why is it pathetic? Because you’re missing the point, over and over again. It’s as tough you’ve all been in a single class and have been instructed to repeat a certain number of statements when facts are thrown your way.

      Who spoke of Hitler? Who spoke of Arab states? How ridiculously narrow can your reading of actual history be. You see right before your eyes Palestinian Jews praying next to Palestinian Christians and Palestinian Muslims and all your preconceived hell breaks loose. How is that possible?

      As long as you deny the basic historical fact, I’m not ready to “debate” you. Because you speak politics which I have no interest in. Denying Palestine, Falastine, Palestina is pure lunacy.

      And since you enjoy quoting Hitler, let’s let a son of Holocaust survivors tell you why defending Palestinians is a matter of defending human rights. In fact, let’s let two sons of Holocaust survivors.

      Here’s Norman Finkelstein, an American Jew, son of Holocaust survivors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O5zgXeCynQ

      And here’s Sir Gerald Kauffman, a British MP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4bGPaCechU&feature=youtu.be

      Anticipating what I’m sure is a very well rehearsed response denouncing those self-hating Jews who sleep with Arabs on a bed made of Qur’an verses, I’ll tell you from now that No, they are not. These are Jews who have not been sucked in the racist, apartheidistic, and even, dare I say, antisemitic – Let me remind you that I, as an Arab, am a Semite – Zionist narrative.

      It greatly upsets me that Zionism is sucking in Jews from all over the world. Jews have been at the forefront of every battle for human rights from the US to Europe to South Africa – the latter who were “betrayed” by Israel when it continued to support Apartheid South Africa.

      And I’m happy that many Jews are not being sucked in. And I’m extremely happy that that number is rising.

      1. The use of the word ” palestinian” to define the Jews who lived in this province of the ottoman empire is ideological. It’s the same semantic lie as when muslim pretend that Abraham ( Ibrahim) or Moses ( Moussa) where muslim ( not jews). Palestine in the XIXth century was not a country, you can only call the Jews living in the region called Palestine: inhabitants of Palestines the same as Jews who would have live in French Brittany would never define them as “Bretons”, but Jews living in Brittany.
        This semantic lie is only there to make believe that before the zionist came…everything was perfect under muslim rule! This is not Historical fact, but just twisted facts used for ideological purposes.

        1. Using your (semantic) argument then, it’s entirely right to deny the ‘Holocaust, – simply because it wasn’t called that by either Germans or Jews.
          In fact that word – which is a compound GREEK word – wasn’t applied to the campaign to eradicate the Jews (and other groups) until December 1942 – and then by a now-defunct UK newspaper.
          So here’s the deal. I will accept the tern ‘Holocaust’ if you will accept the term ‘Palestine’.

          1. This is a stupid answer… then WWII doesn’t apply to WWII because it didn’t exist before the end of it.
            Palestine was a hebrew word long before it was greek : land of PLISHTIM … Anyway, I do not object to the existence of this word, but to what it defines: a country? a province ( Vilaya) ? ethnicity? people? inhabitants? culture? language? Nation? These words have a different spectrum of meaning throughout the XXth century. Using the word Palestinians in the context of this film is not right because the jews were, at that time inhabitant of a large province called Syria with a sub-province called Palestine, but they themselves called it Ertz Israel. ( BTW, christian would refer to it as “terre sainte”)…In the context the use of “paletinians” for jews is a non-innocent deliberate anachronism. It has nothing to do with the use of the word Holocaust!

      2. On a tangent, I had read a few years ago a series of book reviews regarding Zionism and one thing stated was that one of the basic factors that fomented the troubles was that the Jews emigrating from eastern Europe did not learn to live with the Palestinians, but lived against them, partly because their culture was so different.

    2. Dear Ken, you’ve obviously never travelled in the Middle East or North Africa. Of the countries I’ve visited in recent years, I’ve seen ‘all religions’ freely practiced in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Ethiopia – etc. etc.
      Of course, in some of these countries, the Jews have now left – to become virtual slaves in modern day Israel. I even heard that some of them have returned to eg Morocco, where they enjoyed a better standard of living than in their new ‘homeland’.
      In Khartoum I spoke with a muslim man who’d sent his daughters to Christian schools. In Damascus’ old city I saw the empty and crumbling homes of Jews who’d left for Israel years earlier – the locals are not permitted to appropriate them; the Christian quarter is (or was, in 2011) flourishing. In Nefta the locals told me they were sorry to see the few Jewish families leave. In Tunis there’s a christian cathedral. I could continue ….

  6. I don’t really agree with much of what is being said here. I have never seen anyone state that there were no people living in the area of Palestine and to hold up footage of Jerusalem in 1896 and declare the Zionists are wrong because people lived there is an argument built on air.

    My problem isn’t with the footage but the narrative, and whilst the footage is genuine, the narrative isn’t. Too much of the conflict is propaganda and counter propaganda and this is just another example. As an example, the voiceover states the city is an Arab city much like any other (Cairo, Damascus, Beirut) . My question would be why is a city within the Ottoman empire that has a Jewish majority, called as ‘Arab’ as Beirut if not to drive home a political lie on top of original footage. Does a Palestinian not object when Hebron is called Jewish? I yearn for moderation and do not like manipulation whatever form it takes or whatever side it is on.

    Another concern is this, in 1896, what is now East Jerusalem had a Jewish majority. Today every Jewish building on East Jerusalem is illegal and every Jew living there an illegal settler. I find that uncomfortable.

    Finally, in one of your answers you responded that the problem is the occupation, but we both know that isn’t exactly true either. The occupation as we know it only began in 1967, meaning the conflict is far older than the occupation that it is being blamed on. To blame ‘the problem’ on Zionist oppression or aggression is propaganda just as one sided and blind as a Jew claiming that in 1896, nobody lived in them there hills.

  7. dear Hummus

    the comments of course are all verging on being very political. Simple fact of all history:
    People lived in Africa, migrated out, spread throughout the world. White men came to the American continent and now largely have displaced or taken over the land now called the U.S. French in 1492 invaded what is known as England and changed it but did integrate.And on and on. Even the Jews fleeing
    Egypt went into a land (call it the Holy Land) and displaced a people there. Change. All changes. Ottomans displaced in the middle east by British mandate, which, under UN, declared there be two states. Israel became a state.
    It is there legally and historically. All the historical exchanges here do not alter those simple facts.

    1. Fred, where have I denied this? I’ve repeated in almost every single comment that I never viewed Israel as being a problem in itself. The problem are the crimes committed by the government.

      I’m well aware that states are rarely created by peaceful means. Should the people of Cuzco declare war on the people of Lima because the latter was founded by the man who massacred the Incas? Should the Native Americans revolt against all white Americans? Should Mexicans demand southern USA back? Should all “native” Africans expel white Africans?

      I have Israeli friends and Palestinian friends. And nothing would make me happier than being able to drive from Beirut to Ramallah or Tel Aviv.

      Many crimes were committed to create the state of Israel, just as crimes were committed to create the state of Lebanon? Am I advocating for the elimination of both? No.

      I responded to historical claims because I received comments denying the very existence of Palestinians. I hope you agree that such basic historical facts shouldn’t even appear in civilized debates.

      That’s all.

  8. Call it Palestine or The Milky Way. What matters today is that the Zionists end their Holocaust against the native population of that place. As the film shows, but for the ideology of racism people of all different superstitions could live in harmony if it weren’t for absurd ideologies of the “Jewish Chosen People” or the virtually identical “Aryan Master Race.” The Zionist plan for a Palestine without Palestinians (regardless of what you call them) is the same as the Nazi plan for a Judenrein Europe, a Europe without Jews (regardless of terminology).

  9. hi – as a former resident of Jerusalem i loved seeing this old film. a real piece of history.
    regarding the arguments in this blog – it is time for the peoples of the world to see beyond the Football game that we are forced to play – taking sides in every situation – always looking for a victor or a victim. the earth is a lonely planet – a paradise among the stars, which we will loose very soon if we are not caring and loving in our ways, every day, every where!!!
    SHARE the planet! SHARE the Wealth!! SHARE !! – we have seen enough greed and war for the next 15,000 years!!

  10. We are such small speck of dust in our own Galaxy…and still we fight for land and religion…….In the end, we all lose…. instead of working together to discover other inhabitable planets…

  11. this article is very strange
    the video yes prob dated from 1896 but the text itself is taken word for word from a documentary! “Palestine, histoire d’une terre 1 (1880 1950) complet” ated back to.. 1992!!
    So the Apris 2007.. at the end of the article, comes from nowhere and just add to those ridiculous legends.
    The main proof is the article starts by “15 years later”.. making no sens at all compared to the sentence just before. It’s actually coming from the documentary I talked about just above, where they talk about 1880 and then skipp to the video!! Damn’ please..

  12. Gosh – Yvan your right…! I just checked the Lumiere Brothers didn’t have the technology to record sound and this text is not from 1896!? So much propaganda going around you really can’t believe anything!
    It’s basically just the modern filmmakers point of view on old film footage!

  13. the palestinian, leave in peace, under the government of ottoman empire, you know my brother, it is the islamic state who give high tolerance, give freedom to every muslim as majority, cristian and jews, you see when islamic rules they can lived peacefull and harmony

  14. Only we all can pray to God to save the innocent human beings. Those who were born in the earth, they all have the rights to live peacefully

  15. Please–Palestine–the first time the tidal wave of islam has been halted for centuries–Kosovo?The truth of islamisaton–chirches burned–local people dieposssessed of their land and ultimately their country.The west aided the disgusting annexation.
    Someone now pushes back against islam and the arab world and its apologists scream foul.
    Look at what happened in Spain during the moslem occupation–all very happy and religious tolerance?Don’t be naïve.
    Too many people on this blog are fanatic moslems and their allies.
    get a life–the moslems will NOT be allowed to kill jews out of hand–Israel WILL fight back–facts.
    ITolerant moslems–no where in the world do they exist where there is a moslem majority-

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