chapter  2
36 Pages

Before al-Nakbah

The Modern Social History of Palestine
WithSamih K. Farsoun, Naseer H. Aruri

The modern history of Palestine before al-Nakbah—Palestine’s catastrophic destruction—begins around 1800 and ends in 1948. It is divided into two main historical periods: The first covers the nineteenth century and World War I (1914–1917), and the second begins after World War I with the establishment of the British mandate over Palestine under the auspices of the League of Nations. Together, these powerful forces may be summarized in one phrase: European interventionism. This chapter concentrates on the structure and transformation of Palestinian society during the first period. It identifies the major social, economic, and political factors and trends that transformed Palestine and that, we believe, continue to shape attitudes and events in the region, in Israel, in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and among the Palestinians in exile.