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Palestine Before 1948
1516-1818 A.C. - Palestine In The Ottoman Time

On the threshold of this period, the Mameluke rule terminated. Most Arab homeland countries had been joined to the Ottoman State, which ruled for about four centuries. The influence of the Ottoman State, which was centralized in Istanbul, extended to Balqan and Anadul for two centuries of wars and expansion.

By the existing of this central combating power in the area, the conflict for domination broke out among three powers, namely: the Ottoman State, the Safawiya State newly grown in Tabreez, and the Mamlukes. In August 1514 the first decisive battle broke out between the Ottoman State led by “Saleem the First” and the Safwiya State led by “ Al Shah Ismail” in “Jaldiran” near Tabreez. The Ottomans gained victory because of the fire armaments, which they excelled in using them.

After two years, the Ottomans defeated the Mamlukes in a decisive battle in Marj Dabeq near Aleppo on 23, August 1516. That was the end of the Mameluke rule when the Ottomans occupied Egypt. During the same year, “Saleem the First” conquered Great Syria without any resistance because the Syrians abhored Mamlukes at that time on one hand and they were afraid of the Ottomans on the other hand. After the death of “Saleem”, his son, “Soleiman” tookover the rule (1520-1566) and he was nicknamed as the “Lawful man” due to the multiplicity of laws he had issued in order to organize the affairs of the State.

During the time of Soleiman, the Ottoman Empire uniquely flourished and expanded as it extended to include three continents. Also it inherited the Abbaside Caliphate and the Bizante Empire so, “Istanbul” became a center of the Islamic World, and the Islamic Civilization had been newly revived. But after the discovery of America and the Cape of Green Hope, as well as the threshold of European renaissance, the center of power started to divert for the West.

Zhaher Al Omer Al Zidani

Zhaher Al Omer was born in the last decade of the seventeenth century. After the death of his father, he was partly responsible for his father commitment in both villages of Arraba and Damon in Palestine as he was a little “district man” in the works of “Safad” province. Zhaher started to expand his commitments through alliance with the bedouin tribes. He was involved in border conflicts, so, he strengthened his army and fortifying the areas of his sovereignity. He had made use of the engagement of the Turkishs in war with Russia and formed a central restraint power in Palestine. He overtook Haifa, Jaffa, Allud and Nablus. Rather long period of his rule had elapsed which was full of skirmishes and fights, his powers grew feebler. Subsequently, the Ottoman navy besieged him and a great army directed a relentless blow against him. Zhaher Al Omr was killed, so the Zayadna and his rule terminated because his sons were not prepared for inheriting the authority so that Ahmed Al Jazzar “ Agha” overthrew them.

Ahmed Basha Al Jazzar

Al “Agha Ahmed” called, Al Jazzar, appeared in the picture of the events in Acre. He was of a Mameluke Posnian origin.

Al Jazzar was the ruler of Sydon and Damascus states and his regime was interrupting from 1775 until his death in 1804. He dominated over all the local powers in Palestine and Lebanon Mountain and challenged the Ottomans and annexed Damascus state to his influence.

Napoleon Bonaparte Campaign - 1798-1801 A.C.

The Campaign of Napoleon on Egypt and Great Syria mounted over the start of the Euroupean colonialist conflict to occupy the Arab homeland countries by the end of the industrial revolution in Europe. Napleon Bonaparte directed his campaign towards Great Syria after his victory on the Mamlukes and entering Cairo on 21st of July 1798. Napoleon’s campaign was restricted only on Palestine at the coast strip except Nasaretl-Tiberias area when it defeated the Ottoman army. The campain firstly occupied Qatiya in Sinai then Al Arish citadel. After three months he retreated to Egypt when it failed to occupy Acre on 26th of May 1799.

On 28th of February, the French army with Glaiber on the vanguard, went on towards Asdod, then to Yebna village, Ramla and Jaffa. Aslo, they tookover Haifa after a violent fight. Then they went forth toward Jaffa, which had strong wall fences and hard fortifications preventing him to penetrate. So, horrible battles were combated and Acre population attacked the French while the English and the Ottoman forces were participating. Napoleon tried to break through the walls of Acre seven times but he failed. The plague inflicted the French army due to the multiplicity of those who were killed from both parties. On the tenth of May, Napoleon wrote to the Administration government in Paris that the occupation of Acre didn’t worth all those losses, so he decided to withdraw to Egypt to resume his attacks there. During that, a despatch from Paris called Napoleon to obligatorily return to France. Subsequently he withdrew on 20th of May after 64 days of siege.

Mohammed Ali Campaign

After Napoleon had withdrawn, Al Jazzar re-dominated the countries and escalated his suppression and violence. He overburdened population with taxes to make up for the war losses. But shortly, he died in 1804. Following him, his subordinte, Soleiman Basha who was called “Al A’adel” (Fair) when compared with Al Jazzar. His rule coincided with the rule of Mohammed Ali in Egypt and that of “Mahmoud II” in Istanbul. The period of Mohammed Ali’s regime was characterised with stability and reconstruction of the country until his subordinate “Ibrahim Bash” had the rule from 1819 to 1831.

He revived the policy of Al Jazzar which agitated the local leaders who launched several rebellions. On 29th, October 1831, Mohammed Ali campaigned his army, led by son “Ibrahim Basha” to Palestine and he occupied Gaza, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Haifa and Jalil without any resistance. After a six-month siege Acre yielded on 28th, May 1832, then he went forward to Damascus which he occupied on 14th, June 1832. At that battle, nearby Homs, he defeated the Ottoman army and tookover Aleppo, Hama and Antakia.

In Billan battle, on 30th July, 1832 he penetrated deeply into Minor Asia and defeated the Ottomans again at the “Qounia” city on 21st, December 1832. He imprisoned Al Sadr Al A’osam (the Prime Minister). Owing to those victories, the European countries mediated for a reconcliation treaty known as “Kotahya Treaty” in May 1833. Due to it, “Sultan Mahmoud II” acknowledged the inherited rule of Mohammed Ali in Egypt and Great Syria. But the period of the Egyptian rule was short, for nine years only.

After the Egyptian withdrawal, Syrian countries returned to Ottoman rule because the European countries interfered, specially Britain.

This led to the over domination of the European countries in the country including the lands of the Ottoman authority which resulted from the general weakness of the authority.

The European countries interfered in the affairs of the authority, particularly the Syrian countries, due to the economical and stategical affairs in the east. Furthermore, they justified their interference in the affairs of the Ottoman rule because of the religious minorities and their civilian rights. The number of consuls of the European countries, in the authority, increased and their influence extended to include the interferance in the affairs of administration, rule, economy, courts, and the subjects’ concerns. The British Consul “Woods” was the most famous and behaved as an actual ruler of the country in pretext of the execution of the systems.

Furthermore, those states purposely incited national and religious groups against the central government to agitate disturbances in several areas in order to weaken, then dividing the authority areas.

On the other hand, those consuls adopted the cases of the christian minorities and protected the Jewish groups in Jerusalem and others. Moreover they guaranted the residence for the first Jewish immigrants to the country. Also missionaries quickly mutiplied and centred in Jerusalem. By the end of the nineteenth century the rate of missionaries in Jerusalem to its population was compratively higher than any city in the world. The inevitable decline of the Ottoman Empire, made each party endeavor to ensure its domination on a part of its territories whenever they were divided.

Source: Palestinian National Information Center

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