Who was there 1st? The Canaanites, about 3k years ago (1200 BC), ancestors of both Jews and Arabs
Israeli culture appears around 1100 BC There’s debate on whether King David’s Israel was ever centralized. If it was, it was probably around ~900-1000 BC or so
What’s clearer is that the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were there ~850 BC, so about 3k years ago.
Assyrians and then Babylonians would conquer the area, sending some Jews to Babylon in exile. How many is debated. Many stayed. They were freed by Persians around 550 BC and went back.
Israel was fully independent for 500y before these invasions. But after that, the region would belong to empires for millenia Assyrians Babylonians Achaemenids Egyptians Macedonians Romans Byzantines Rashidun Abbasid Umayyads Fatimid Seljuk Ayyubid Crusaders Mamluks Ottomans UK..
A Jewish kingdom was semi-independent during the Seleucid–Roman periods, 2k years ago Arabs appear in the region in ~650, and ruled early on for centuries (Rashidun, Abbasid, Umayyads, Fatimid…), until ~1100 AC (original source:
They were replaced by Muslim, non-Arab empires: Seljuks, Mamluks*, Ottomans, which ruled for 500-800 years, except for ~200y of Crusaders The region was never independent for 2000 years.
At the end of the 1800s, ideas of nationalism are en vogue, and antisemitism is rampant in Europe. Jews start planning for a new country—Israel. They start buying land and emigrating to the Ottoman region of Palestine (present-day Israel & Palestine)
Then comes WWI The Allies want to beat the Ottomans The UK: • Recruits local Arabs to revolt against the Ottomans • Recruits local Jews to help in the fight (Balfour Declaration) • Splits the Ottoman Empire with other allies. The Palestine region was allocated to the UK.
Except of course these promises are not compatible. The promise to the Arab king Hussein was to create a kingdom in the Arabian Peninsula. Depending on who you ask, this includes or not Palestine
Instead, what prevails is the split between Allies (“Sykes-Picot”). Now the UK controls the Levant, which it wants to protect the Suez Canal, key for trade with India.
Local Jews want the Balfour Declaration to be upheld. Local Arabs want the promise to Arabs to be upheld.
Fun fact: local population has been declining for thousands of years.
By the end of the 1800s, it’s lower than in Roman times! Jewish immigration, & sanitation reverses that.
Jews & Arabs clash
The UK recognize the quagmire & plan to get out.
They propose a plan: North for Jews, south & east for Arabs. They keep the center coast & Jerusalem.
This map broadly recognizes Jewish settlements.
Jews are ~OK with that (a country!) Arabs are not
Then starts WWII.
Nothing much happens in the Levant.
Something else relevant to this pbm happens elsewhere: the Holocaust.
Pictures speak louder than words
It’s the end of WWII
The region is a quagmire
The UK is decolonizing
It wants out
It drops the hot potato on the UN.
Which drafts a new plan: another 2-state solution.
This plan is similar to the previous one, except it gives a part of the north (Galilee) to the Arabs, and part of the Negev desert to Israelis. Why? It corresponds again to Jewish settlements.
The UN votes yes with 2/3 majority.
But this plan gives 56% of the land to 33% of the population (Jews).
Most of it is desert (Negev), but Arabs see this increase in Jewish land as encroachment. They say no again (red below).
The day the Brits leave, Israel declares its independence.
The day after, all the surrounding Arab countries attack Israel.
Somehow, Israel prevails.
It takes some of the land that was allocated to Arabs by the UN plan that they didn’t accept.
When Arabs refer to 1947 borders, they mean those before this 1948 war, conceded by the UN resolution. (Which they voted against.)
During this war, 750,000 local Arab-Muslims (Palestinians) are traumatically displaced, expelled, or flee from the Jewish area. This is the Nakba (“disaster”).
They can’t come back after the war.
Egypt takes the Gaza Strip.
Jordan takes the West Bank.
They can create a Palestinian country in these areas.
They keep them for themselves.
Arabs are not happy with the situation.
They plan another attack.
This is 1967.
Israel preempts it, shoots down the airforces of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in 1 day, and pushes back all 3 countries, taking over the Sinai, West Bank, and Golan heights.
Another catastrophe for Arabs.
300k Palestinians flee the West Bank.
100k flee the Golan Heights.
Egypt & Syria attack again in 1973 (Yom Kippur).
Initially they win, Israel eventually prevails.
A few years later, Israel gives the Sinai back to Egypt and they sign a peace treaty.
With Jordan in 1994.
Over the last few decades, Israel continues its international efforts & normalizes relationships across the world, incl Morocco, Sudan, UAE, Qatar in the Abraham Accords.
So who deserves the land?
Who was there 1st?
Israel More recently?
As far as I could find, Israel has been the only independent country in the region, ever.
What about the last 1000 years? Israel, UK, Ottomans, Mamluks.
No Arab rule for many centuries.
What about population displacement?
More recently Arabs 1M of them
The following text is copied out of tweets from Lyman Stone around 11. of October 2023. Also important to know – and not to loose as information:
What about religions? Muslims have been ruling for nearly 1100 of the last 1400 years.
But religions have just been replacing each other. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Jews
Here’s a good-faith-effort at what historic religious mix in Israel-Palestine has looked like over the last 2000 years. Since 1500 the data is pretty good, since 1800 pretty much uncontested. But pre 1500 there’s a fair amount of guesswork involved.
While we’re doing numbers, here’s the HHI score for these religious communities. 17th-18th century was the most religiously monolithic period in 2000 years of history for the region.
If you take it back 2000 more years, the yellow line for Paganism obviously has its own majority period.
Obviously the large Jewish increase in recent centuries is migration. However, I remind everyone that in 1942 there were about 1 million Jews living in Muslim-majority societies excluding Israel-Palestine. Today there are ~100,000, being VERY generous.
So we can do some very basic math here and break out Israel’s 2020 population into 4 different settlement groups and each group’s population increase since settlement via fertility. Here’s basically what we get, extremely approximately.
By this measure, about 1/3 of Israel’s population today is either a) a descendent of pre-1880 Jewish population or b) a descendant of non-European Jewish immigrants, about 95% from Islamic-majority countries. That’s similar to the share you get in surveys asking about Mizrahi ID.
Almost half are European immigrants post-1940 or their descendants. And the residual are 1880-1940 immigrants or their descendants, a mixture of origins, but contemporary Ottoman and British reports suggest disproportionately European.
So a fact that has to be delt with is that about 2.5 million Jews are in Israel because their families have been there ~forever or because they were violently expelled from Muslim countries, and another 200,000 are from families who immigrated legally 1880-1914 under Islamic rule.
And then 1.1 million immigrated or are the descendants of immigrants who arrived pre-1940 under British governance; but, regardless, pre-Nakba. So that makes 3.8 million Jews in Israel-Palestine from sources that don’t fit the “European colonization” framework at all.
The other half are indeed recent-European-descent, though I think colonization is still the wrong term since they were refugees from a genocide.
People asking about borders: Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman borders are a bit fuzzy, but in general the territory in question here is a very close fit for Israel+Gaza+West Bank. So not Jordan/Lebanon. There’s some fuzziness, but it’s *fairly* consistent.
For the 1st-to-15th centuries, the intuitions are like this: Nobody disputes a Jewish majority 1st century. Minority is largely various pagans. Some people argue for a dramatic diaspora, so a much bigger Jewish fall post-1st century. Rome’s wars did a huge amount of damage.
However, the key thing to understand is Rome’s wars ruined the region– for everyone. Yes JEws selectively died, but it’s like like Pagans looked at AD 175 Jerusalem and were like “what a cool place to live!” A thousand years later, Jerusalem’s population was still ~50% of AD60.
By some calculations, Palestine’s population in the 7th century was still just 20% of its 1st century peak. The scale of depopulation is hard to exaggerate. So the issue you get is, yes, huge numbers of Jews were killed or exiled– but pagans/Christians didn’t move in!
You could argue for a faster fall to 30% or something, but Roman Palestine was never emptied of Jews– the textual and archaeological record makes that abundantly clear.
As far as the pace of conversion to Islam, obviously I assume 0 before 636. I assume a very slow conversion after– scholarly sources suggest Muslim population west of the Jordan was exclusively garrison towns for a century.
Better data on jizya and conversions exist for Egypt and show very slow pace of conversion before the 2nd millennium. But Sultan Al-Hakim is really a turning point. After Sultan Al-Hakim, Islamicization seems to really take off.
You could push the start of rapid Islamicization a century or two earlier if you like, but not before 800. And then in 1500 we start to get actual documentary tax lists, geneological records, administrative records, etc.So you can certainly contest some of the exact timings in the pre-1500. Readily grant that. But I think the general scale and contour are correct.
For people asking, “Could you do just a post-1500 or post-1880 one?” No. I will not produce a graph which visually implies Muslim majorities since time immemorial. I am likelier to produce a graph going back to 2000 BC than one just since 1500.
People asking about crusades. I was unable to find a circa 1200 estimate that seemed at all credible, so I breeze right through the crusades as if nothing happened. The big Christian decline is pre-crusades, in fact one of the MOTIVES for the crusades.
Seriously you gotta read about Al-Hakim.
And here’s estimates of actual population numbers. I’ve accepted the Byzantine high-count because that’s what people say happened, but I have to say I regard it with considerable skepticism even though all the evidence points to >800k Byzantine era population.
By the way, 0 AD-1850, do you know which religion actually had the largest cumulative population in the region? Because of the incredibly high Byzantine population figures, the answer is: Christians.
Anyways, I like to do historic religious demography!
Concerning IQ Lyman Stone corrected wrong IQ messuring in Gaza.
The consanguinity result is correct– the IQ one is not. A study using the related CPM found that measured IQ in Palestine is reduced by *10 points* if you use group instead of individual measurement– this study used group measurement only, so *at minimum* true value is ~78ish