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Palestine Before 1948
Appearance of Christianity and Arabic-Islamic Conquest

Appearance of Christianity

This period was divided into three parts:

The first part was the part, which soon followed the Christ time. It was called the Age of Prophets 30-95 A.C.
The second part extended for a century, from the end of the first century to the end of the second century.
The third part ended when Constantine adopted Christianity in 312 A.C.

In the second half of the third century A.C, a demostic rebellion took place against Rome led by the Prince of Tadmor, “Ozayneh” and his spouse “Zannobia” after him. “Orliyan” could put an end to this attempt in 272 A.C. on the account of Tadmor.

In 392 A .C. the Roman Empire was divided into two parts, namely; the eastern , and the western. Thiodosios “bequeathed one of his sons , called , Arcdios” the eastern part so as to be an independent ruler. So, he started his rule from 395-408. The second son (Hinorios) inherited the western part and independently ruled it, too, from 395-423.

It is worthy to say that about seventeen emperors (four of them forced the throne) ruled after constantine. It was said that Justinian II, had Byzantine throne in 565-578, Tiberious from 578-582, Maurice from 582-602, Phocas from 602-610, and Heraclius from 610-641.

The wars between Bizantes and Sasans were fluxuating in violence and tranquility. The two countries often signed several reconciliation agreements and treaties, which didn’t last long as they were nullified, so wars resumed once more between them both.

From the years 610-622, Persians launched many attacks on Romans and gained victory in their campaigns. They plundered Antakia, Damascus and Jerusalem in 614 and “Abarweez” took possession of the holy cross but the predominant wars, besides other things, over strained both countries. So, they could not confront Arabs who overturned the Sasan State, Great Syria and Egypt from the Bizantes in the decisive battle Al Yarmouk (15 H / 636 A.C.).

634 -750 A.C. - Arab Islamic conquest

Prophet Mohammed (May God pray on him) was born on Monday of Al Feel year in 571 A.C. In his life, he had good qualities, unknown to the pre-Islamic tribes, like the honest and the trust worthy and others.

When he was forty years old, he was inspired, and started to promulgate covertly for Islam. Subsequently Islam, spead out after a number of great leaders and heads of Arab tribes, at that time, adopted Islam.

The Prophet (May God pray upon him) belonged to “Quraysh” tribe, one of the Arab clans in peninsula. This religion basically promulgated among all nations on earth. Speedily, this religion speard throughout peninsula and beyond its borders, specially when the Prophet reinforced his sovereignity in Hijaz and Arab peninsula. The influence of his state extended to the tribes residing north Hijaz and southern Syria and many conquests took place to subdue some Arab tribes. The relations resulted from this subordination, varied from one group to another. Some tribes were conditionally subdued so as to maintain sovereignty, Other tribes who adopted Islam, lived in stability like the other Moslem tribes. Other kind of tribes paid the tribute through a Moslem commander.

After the death of the prophets, the Caliphate was transferred to Abo Bakr when the Apostate movement started, but Abo Bakr had suppressed it.

At the start of the conquest age, the Islamic armies went forward to Great Syria where Basra was the first city to conquer during the Caliphate of Abo Bakr.

Then they marched to Palestine and engaged in war with Bizante Romans in the ferocious battle of “Ajnadeen” in 13H / 29-30 July 634. Ajnadeen was a great victory for Moslems, which made the Bizante army retreat from the battle field to the city of Fahl on the eastern Bank of Jordan near Bisan where the Moslem army besieged them, so that the population of Fahl surrendered to Moslems and paid the tribute. Abo Bakr died at the end of Jumada Al Awwal of the same year, so Omar Ben Al Khattab succeeded him in the Moslem Caliphate.
Moslems frequently defeated Romans throughout most Great Syria. Hiraql departed from Antakia to costantinople when he knew the news of the defeat.

Al Yarmouk battle was in Rajab of the year 15H / Sept. 636 A.C. The number of Moslem militants didn’t exceed the quarter of the Roman militant number at that battle. Despite that, they got an overwhelming victory and Al Yarmouk was the last significant battle in Great Syria. The Romans kept only Jerusalem and Caesria as important places in Palestine. So, the conquest of Jerusalem was the most significant aim of the Islamic State at that time. Consequently, Islamic armies besieged Jerusalem, but population refused to yield to Abi Obeida Ben Al Jarrah, the leader of the Moslem armies. They asked for -reconciliation and coquest- Omar Ben Al Khattab to take responsibility. So Abo Obeida dispatched to Omar who came to Jerusalem as its conquerer.

The Time of Caliphate

After the Arab Islamic conquest, Palestine became a region following the Islamic State. So it enjoyed a period of stability, during this regime, which it never had before because it was the destination of the great powers, at that time, namely; Persia and Bizanta.

It was their battle field. After conquering Palestine at the time of the Caliph, Omar Ben Al Khattab who appointed Amr Ben Al Ass as its governor, followed by Abdel Rahman Ben Alqama Al Kanani. After his death, Alqama Ben Mijzer succeeded him. The status continued until Osman Ben Affan annexed Palestine once more to Moa’awiya Ben Abi Sofian who was the ruler of Great Syria.

Omayyade Age

Palestine started a new age in life when Moa’awiya Ben Abi Sofian declared himself as a caliph. Accordingly, he became the founder of the Omayyed family regime, which lasted about ninety years.

He started his regime by visiting Jerusalem where he declared his Caliphate in 40/41 Hij / 661 A.C.

Then people acknowledged his sovereignty. When Yazeed Ben Moaawiya got the regime the domestic disturbances started.

His opposers agitated those outbursts like Al Hussein Ben Ali martyr of karbula’a, and Abdullah Ben Al Zubair who asked for acknowledging his sovereignety after the murder of Al Hussein. So Al Hijaz and some parts of Iraq responded which resulted in domestic disunity. When Yazeed died the beginning of the second sedition started in the Islamic State, and many people in most Moslem countries, preferred Ben Al Zubair, except Syria as it acknowledged sovereignty to Moaawiya Ben Yazeed Ben Moaawiya, I,E Moa’awiya the Second whose rule didn’t exceed more than forty days. So, Syria inclinded to Ben Al Zubair acknowledging his sovereignty except Jordan and Palestine presided by Hassan Ben Malek Ben Al Kalbi since the time of Moaawiya Ben Abi Sofian. Hassan who was pro-omayyedes, went to Jordan to approach the scene of events.

He appointed “Rouh Ben Zinba’a Al Juzami” as deputy on Palestine. Soon, Na’el Ben Qays Al Juzami declared sovereignity to Ben al Zubair in Palestine and revolted against Rouh and expelled him to Jordan the only country with the Omayyades. After “Marj Rahet” battle, it was decided in Syria that Caliphate should be for Marwan Ben Al Hakam succeeded by Khaled Ben Yazeed Ben Moa’awiya. Eventually, Caliphate returned to Abdel Melek Ben Marwan following his father, and so did Syria. At the time of the sons of Abdel Melek till his son, Hisham Ben Abdel Melek Palestine enjoyed stability and prosperity and quietness prevailed. It was mentioned that, at Hisham time, weakness spread at the end of the Islamic State and the domestic strife became more violent in the state. The latest caliph was Marwan Ben Mohammed when the Omayyade Caliphate was no longer succeeding.

750 - 877 A.C. - The Abbasid Age

After the murder of Marwan Ben Mohammed, the Abbasids could dominate Great Syria where the cities yielded one after the other without any resistance. When “Abdallah Ben Ali subdued Damascus on 18 April 750, he entered Palestine to start a new era in the history of this Arab Land. Abbasides were very hard in treating the Omayyid followers in Syria, who revolted frequently during the Abbasid period. So Syria was like a thorn in the throat of the Caliphate.

877 -935 A.C. - The Tolonian Age

It was obvious that the previous period (Abbasid period) witnessed several events of instability and the Syrians were disloyal to Abbasides. This status lasted till Ahmed Ben Tolon, founder of the Tolonian Emirate, got the authority. The Tolonian Emirate was established in Egypt since (257 Hij/ 870 A.C). Ahmed Ben Tolon wanted to extend his influence through Great Syria in pretext of maintaining Islamic countries from the lurking of the Bizante enemy and tried to annex it. So, he kept his efforts in maintaining it until he died in (270 Hij/884 A.C.). Khamarrweih, his son, succeeded him in the regime. The Tolonian period lasted until the Arab tribes in great Syria launched some movements against the regime after the collapse of Tolonians. Meanwhile the subordination of Great Syria to Baghdad continued until the rising of the Akhshide State.

935 - 969 A.C. - The Akhshaide Period

It was founded by Abu Bakr bin Tughj, which marked the beginning of the Ikhshidid reign in Egypt and Syria, Abu Bakr rule lasted till he died in 946 A.D., his body was transmitted to Jerusalem, where he was buried. He was succeeded by Abu Al-Qasim Abu Gour.

969 - 1067 A.C. - The Fatimids

The Fatimids era started by establishing their state in Egypt, and then they set their eyes on Bilad Al-Sham. They succeeded in extending their realm to Syria by an army led by Jawhar Al-Siqilli during the reign of the Fatimid Caliph Al-Mu'iz li-Dinillah. This period was marked by internal disability and wars, owing to both internal and external factors, most important of which is that the Fatimids State was founded on Shiite basis, contrary to the sect that was prevalent then in Syria. Such sectarian difference brought about dissension in both the authority and the government. Besides other reasons that were manifest in the greed of many sects to usurp Bilad Al-Sham and assume authority. In addition to the desire of others to be independent by declaring themselves independent provinces.

1067-1097 A.C - The Saljuq period

The first Turkish known as "The Saljuq” started to infiltrate towards north Iraq and Syria in 1067 A.C. They were not from original Arab tribes, but from new Moslems of Turkistan who entered Syrian country and intermingled with its population. They pledged, as the military rulers, to defend the countries against the Europeans and Maghoul for four centuries. They dominated the entire area by the military power till the threshold of the twentieth century.

1095-1260 A.C. - The Europeans

The period of crusades extended from 1095 to 1291 A.C. in the east through several campaigns and various aims for each campaign. Those fights broke out when Pope “ Orban II” declared the crusades at Klair Moon conference in 1095 his cry “That’s God Willing”. The first crusades were basically and ideologically religious to takeover the holy places “ The cradle of Christianity “ in the east. Pope called for the western Catholic Church to takeover the central role in the crusades, as the leading conductor, was religiously and politically preferable, in the east and west.

The eleventh century, in Europe, witnessed worldwide religious revival movement, particularly among the popular classes where the crusade concepts grew . When the call for launching military campaigns was promulgated under the planner of the cross, so that the popular response was extensive. The Popes felt strong in the eleventh century, particularly during “Ghrigorios VII” time succeeded by “Arban the Second” who reinforced the leading role of the church forward according to his own views. Moreover, the crusades also, were as a response to the request of the Bizante Emperor for help when he felt that his capital was in danger and he was unable to ward off the danger from the holy places.

In the eleventh century, Europe was materially and morally prepared to accept the idea of crusades. The difficult social status, over-population, the area of cultivable land, the sequential natural disasters and epidemics, the desire in the east prosperities were the factors , which helped embody the idea, and practice it.

The first campaign

It tookplace when the Emperor of Bizanta requested military help, by sending a mercenary army to defend his capital. The Europeans sent a crusade campaign in an unexpected response, which disturbed the Bizante Emperor and put him in a critical situation. In Monte Claire, in the middle of France, the famous convention was held in November 1095, when Pope “Arban II” gave his sensational speech arousing the religious emotions of the myriad crowds calling for rising up in arms to defend the Christians, in the middle east from coercion, and liberating the Church of Sepulture and the Christianity in the east, in general. Loud random cries “That’s God Will” were shouted and the people pushed one another supporting his call. So he promised to forgive their sins, debts and care for their families during absence, and deprive the apostates from the church. This enthusiasm spread out from France throughout Europe. The crusade campaign was conceptually strange for both the top and the popular Bizante leaderships, as they were interested to confront the Saljuqs danger. So Bizantes were suspicious towards the crusaders and considered them barbers, like the Saljuqs who were threatening them from the east. When the first Crusade Campaign approached Constantinople led by the priest “Peter”, as it had an evil fame along its way from France to Constantinople. The Emperor, known for his shrewdness, hurried to let it cross the strait to Minor Asia shores where it was vulnerable to the swords of the Saljuqs authority of Rom.

After the perish of the campaign of Peter, the priest, in the summer of 1096, the forces of the first campaign mobilized in West Europe. Its army was the biggest in this multi-leaders campaign. Those armies had to gather in Constantinople before penetrating into Saljug Sultanate Lands. France was the major power in the campaign.

The war started with informal participation of the Bizante army with the Saljuq in Rom Sutanate. They were first besieged and the Emarates were occupied one after the other. They went on their progress southward to Palestine and overpowered (Magharet Al No’eman), after a terrible massacre, and other areas.

They progressed towards the coast where they fortified their sites in Tsor, Acre and Jerusalem where they completed their pilgrimage in the holy places in May 1099 A.C. The crusade army marched in front of Acre, Haifa, Arsoof and Caesaria then turned to Al Ramla, the capital of Palestine. Next they continued their way to Jerusalem, which was invincible so they besieged it on the seventh of June to the fifteenth of July 1099. It surrendered, and they had committed a horrible massacre in the local population.

After the establishment of Latin Orshaleem kingdom, its leaders occupied the rest of the coast and the interior of the country.

The Fatimades were aroused by the fact of the crusaders’ occupation of Arab countries but too late. They tried to fight the crusaders, but they were defeated in a land battle near Askalan in August 1099 A.C. The crusades moved, afterwards, to complete occupying the coast cities. But Fatimade Askalan was forming a danger for the crusade kingdom until 1153 A.C. The Crusades moved, afterwards, to complete occupying the coast cities. But Fatimade Askalan was forming a danger for the crusade kingdom until 1153 A.C. When it yielded, the entire coast became under the Crusaders sovereignty. Throughout fifty years skirmishes continued between Fatimades and Latin Orshaleem Kingdom.

1146-1149 A.C. - The Second Campaign

The domestic Crusader conflicts grew more as well as their conflicts with Bizanta, which was a good opportunity for the Saljugs to restore the lands they lost. A good chance for Emperor “Alexyos” was attainable to takeover Antakia from “Bohimend” who was imprisoned by the Turkish Leader Amir Malek Ghazi. They negotiated to ransom “Bohimend”, which was implemented, but refused to give back Antakia to the Emperor. So the Saljuqs dreadfully defeated him in Harran in 1104 and he lost most of the lands he occupied in Syria.

On the other hand, Latin Orshaleem Kingdom was extending in all directions, resulting a status of a rise in Mousell where a movement started in (1113) to unify the Islamic Emarates in Iraq and Syria so as to have a united act against Europeans. This movement reached its peak during the time of Emad El Din Zinki in 1127-1146 who imposed his authority on the rulers of provinces in Iraq and Syria except Damascus. Thus, Emad El Din Al Zinki started a new stage of conflict with the Europeans, which extended to the time of his son Nureldin Zinki which was succeded by SalahEddin Al Ayyoubi till the Mamelukes put an end to the Latin Orshaleem Kingdom.

Ayyoubi Age

Salaheddin Yousef Ben Ayyoub was born in Tacreet city in Iraq for a kurdish family in 1138 A.C. Salaheddin moved with his father, to Balabak in Lebanon where he was appointed a military Leader at the time of Emadeddin Zinki. Then he moved with his uncle, “Asadeddin Shirkoh” to Egypt, in 1164 A.C. where he took charge of the Cabinet in Cairo after his uncle’s death.

In 1171 A.C. he cancelled the shiite fatimade caliphate and acknowledged sovereignty to the Abbaside Caliph “Al Sunni Al Mostadee. Since then, disagreement flared up between him and Nureddin Zinki, which ended with the latter death.

Then, Salaheddin endeavored to unify Egypt and Syria under his leadership, so as to realize his dream by exterminating the crusaders. In 1187 A.C a historical event of Hitteen battle caused a turning point in relations between east and west which put the Europeans in a self-defense situation.

After Hitteen, Salaheddin overturned Typerias, then went forward to Acre, then the cities of Jalil yielded, so, he occupied Nablus, Jaffa, Gaza, Askelon, Beirut, Sydom as well as Nazarete, Caesaria, Safad, Saforiyya, Shakeef, Jabal Al Tor and others until Jerusalem. Ultimately he besieged it and forced out the crusaders through an agreement, then he prayed the Friday on 27 (Rajab) October 1187 A.C. in Al Aqsa Mosque.

The Crusaders were gathered in three coastal cities, namely; Antakia, Tripoli and Sor.

The Third Campaign

The strong kings of Europe, at that time led the third campaign after the fall of Jerusalem definitely. Europe could mobilize its forces, despite the disagreements among kings, and get into Palestine, then they besieged Acre. Salaheddin counter-sieged the crusaders and a great battle out-broke by the arrival of the English and the French. The mutual siege lasted from August 1189 A.C. to June 1191, which caused the yield of Acre. On 2 September 1192 both parties reached an agreement-after long negotiations, which allowed the establishment of a crusader kingdom and Acre became its center, as well as the right of Christians to visit holy places in Jerusalem and Nazarete. After reconciliation, Salah-Eddin returned to Damascus after twenty years of unceasing struggle where he died on 3 March 1193. Thus, the Crusaders continued their colonization but out of Palestine until the period of Turkish Mamelukes.

1200-1517 A.C - Mamlukes

The system of Mamelukes was militarily known since the Abbaside time. The ruling descendants in the army emerged. After the elimination of the Ayyoubi reign, this system had a distinctive status. They put an end to the dominion of Beni Ayyoub and founded a supreme power in Egypt and Great Syria, which lasted for more than a century and a half. Mamelukes could save Egypt at the last moment when the seventh Crusader Campaign occupied Demiatta and progressed forward to Cairo while Al Saleh Ayyoub was dying.

During this hard time, Ayyoub died when the Mamelukes immediately met and decided to fight Europeans and defeated them. “Al Zhaher Baibars”, the actual founder of the Mameluke State, became known. Thus, the Mameluke dominated and became on throne of Egypt and Great Syria.

The Ayyoubes were welcomed in Great Syria but that didn’t last long, because Maghoul, led by “Holaco” went towards the East and entered Baghdad and put an end to the Abbasides, destroyed the country and its civilization in 1260. Then, they moved to Damascus, which was inflicted in the same way. They threatened “ Al Sultan Qutoz” who was appointed a ruler in Cairo in 1259-1260. So, Qutoz reunified Moslems and “Baibers” joined him. They both went forward to fight Maghoul . They came across their vanguards at Gaza and defeated them and went forth until their forces met in “Ein Jalout” (Marj Ben Amer). There, both armies confronted in fight in a horrible battle on, 6th September 1260 A.C. when the Mamlukes got victory.

This victory had a historical influence in West Asia. After that, “Baibars” insisted to put an end to the European existence. So, he assassinated Qutz and took over the regime and he was nicknamed Al “Zhaher” in 1260-1277.

Source: Palestinian National Information Center

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