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Palestine as a part of the Ottoman Empire
1.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 04 Jan 2009 Sun 08:11 pm

In 1516 the Ottoman Turks conquered Palestine, and the country was incorporated in the dominions of the Ottoman Empire. Local governors were appointed from Constantinople, to which annual revenues were sent. Various public works were undertaken in Palestine, such as the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1537. Palestine remained under Turkish rule until World War II.

In the early sixteenth century, northern Palestine, as far south as Acre, was temporarily included in the Druse state established by Fakhr ud-Din and set up in defiance of Ottoman authority, but the new state did not last long.

Toward the close of the 18th century Napoleon undertook a campaign in Palestine, capturing Jaffa, Ramle, Lydda, Nazareth and Tiberias in 1798, but his siege of Acre was unsuccessful. In 1831 Mehemet Ali of Egypt intervened in Palestine. Under his son Ibrahim Pasha, Egyptian troops captured Acre, but in 1834 the Palestinians revolted against the Egypticians. By 1840 the Ottoman authority was fully reestablish in Palestine, and the Palestinian played an active role in encouraging the political reforms in the Ottoman Empire of 1876 and 1908.

The territory of
Palestine under Ottoman rule was composed of two areas. The Independent Sanjak (district) of Jerusalem was subject to the High Porte in Constantinople.  Rhe Sanjak extended from Jaffa to the River Jordan in the East and from the Jordan south to the borders of Egypt. The other area was part of the Willayat (province) of Beirut.

This part was composed of the Sanjak of Balka (Nablus) from Jaffa to Jenin, and the Sanjak of Acre, which extended from Jenin to Naqura.

His Eminence the late Haj Amin Effendi El Husseini, on behalf of the Arab Higher Committee for Palestine, testified on the 12th of January 1937, before the Palestine Royal Commission sent by the British mandatory Power. He explained the position of the Arabs under the Ottoman rule as follows:

Under the Ottoman Regime the Arabs formed an important part of the structure of the Ottoman Empire. It is wrong to say that the Arabs were under the yoke of the Turks and that their uprising and the assistance, which was rendered to them during the Great War, were merely intended to relieve them from such yoke. The fact is that under the Ottoman Constitution provided for one from of government of all Ottoman territories and elements.

The Arabs had a complete share with the Turks in all organs of the State, civil as well as military. There were Arabs who held the high office of Prime Minister and Ministers, Commanders of Divisions and Ambassadors…. There were Arab ambassadors, provincial and district governors. There were two Parliaments, two Constitutions. One was made in the early days of the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid, in 1876, and the other was made after the grant of the Constitution in 1908…but even in the Parliament under the first Constitution there were Arab representatives. In the first Parliament, you find the President of the Council  of the House of Representatives was a Deputy from Jerusalem, Yusif Dia Pasha Al Khalidi.  Moreover, the administration of Arab territories was entrusted to elected Administrative Councils. Those Councils were elected and existed in the provinces, districts, and sub-districts.

Those Councils were vested with extensive powers in all matters relating to administration, finance, education, and development, but, irrespective of all this, the Arabs were aspiring to he attainment of complete national independence and the regaining of the distinguished position which the Arab peoples had held in the past centuries, when the Arab peoples made the greatest contribution to civilization and to every phase of human activity.


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