The Ottoman Turks’ census (1882) recorded only 141,000 Muslims in the Land of Israel. The real number is probably closer to 350,000 to 425,000, since many hid to avoid taxes. The British census in 1922 reported 650,000 Muslims.
Aerial photographs taken by German aviators during World War I show an underdeveloped country composed mainly of primitive hamlets. Ashdod, for instance, was a cluster of mud dwellings, Haifa a fishing village. In 1934 alone, 30,000 Syrian Arabs from the Hauran moved across the northern frontier into Mandate Palestine, attracted by work in and around the newly built British portand the construction of other infrastructure projects. They even dubbed Haifa Um el-Amal (‘the city of work’).
The fallacy of Arab claims that most Palestinians were indigenous to Palestine – not newcomers - is also bolstered by a 1909 vintage photograph of Nablus, today an Arab city on the West Bank with over 121,000 residents. Based on the number of buildings in the photo taken from the base of Mount Gerizim, the population in 1909 – Muslim Arabs and Jewish Samaritans – could not have been greater than 2,000 residents.
Family names of many Palestinians attest to their non-Palestinian origins. Just as Jews bear names like Berliner, Warsaw and Toledano, modern phone books in the Territories are filled with families named Elmisri (Egyptian), Chalabi (Syrian), Mugrabi (North Africa). Even George Habash – the arch-terrorist and head of Black September – bears a name with origins in Abyssinia or Ethiopia, Habash in both Arabic and Hebrew.