The History Of Palestine
The word “Israel” refers to Jacob (peace be upon him), who was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Ibrahim (peace be upon them), who was the father of this nation. Ibrahim was born in the city of Ur of Chaldees, he arrived at the land of Canaan around the twentieth or twentieth-one century B.C., after leaving his country along with some members of his family to worship Allah acting upon the Divine Revelations sent down to him, as his clan used to worship idols, while he was monotheist. Haran situated in the eastern north between Euphrates and Khabour, was his first stop, where his father “Tarih” passed away. He then proceeded till he arrived at Shakim (Nablus). Ibrahim begot his elder son, Ishmael (peace be upon them) grandfather of the Arab, from his wife Hajar (peace be upon her), then he had his second son Isaac (peace be upon him) from his wife Sarah (peace be upon her), who is the grandfather of the Jews. Isaac then begot Esau and Jacob (Israel), who begot 12 son, each of whom was a forebear of one of the tribes of the Jews. Among the sons of Jacob was Joseph (peace be upon them), whose brethrens out of grudge and envy cast him into a well in the desert, and claimed that he was killed. Then a group of pedestrians found him, and he was sold to Egyptian traders, and there Joseph joined in the service of Pharaoh, where he wielded great authority, thus he sent after his father and brothers. Thereof the family of Jacob moved to Egypt. No one knows when did the Pharaoh of Egypt turn against them, and started to subjugate and torture them, till the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) started to think of emigration. Upon the Mount, Allah inspired Moses to return to Egypt and save his clan, and take them out of Egypt. Thereof Moses and Haroun (peace be upon them) returned to Egypt to get their clan out, and henceforth the travel of dispersion began, which was around the year 1227 B.C.. During that period the people of Moses renegaded and worshipped the calf, upon which the Ten Commandments were descended, then the people of Israel remained in a state of stray for forty years.
· The Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had sent more than one scout to (explore) situations in Canaan lands, who returned to inform him that Canaan is an affluent land, outpouring with milk and honey. Despite this, its people were strong and the Israelis had no power to contend with them.
· When the Israelis took the decision to enter the land of Canaan, they encountered a tough resistance from the inhabitants of the north region, thus they had to venture eastward, crossing east of Jordan first, where Moses (peace be upon him) died. Thereby Prophet “Yousha’ Bin Noon (Joshua) took over the leadership, who insisted on fighting. The first city that the Israelis first trod on was “Ariha”, where they besieged it till it fell into their hands. Then they laid their hands on most of the north of Palestine. While the Canaanites retained a part of it, as for the rest of Palestinians they retained the western part. Ever since the era of Judges, which was the period succeeding the death of Yousha’ (Joshua), the three nations coexisted for hundreds of years, which was penetrated by a series of Canaanite-Israeli wars, and Palestinian-Israeli war. That era extended over a century and a half, during which 12 judges had ruled, last of whom was Samuel. Then the Isrealis had agreed upon appointing Saul as their king, under recommendation of Samuel himself, and that to unite their tribes under one entity. Though he died in one of the battles against the Palestinians. He was then succeeded by Prophet and King David (peace be upon him) (1010 B.C. – 971 B.C.), followed by his son Prophet Solomon (971 B.C. – 931 B.C.) (peace be upon him), whose era was marked by peace not war.). Moreover he was characterized by sagacity, and his commercial activity. On the year 724 B.C. the Israeli entity got vanquished on the hands of the Assyrians. Then came Nebuchadnezzar, who defeated the Assyrians and founded the Chaldean Empire, that ruled Palestine.
550 B.C. – 330 B.C.: the Persian Empire and the Era of Alexander the Great
It is considered the heir of Assyria; it was founded by its earlier monarchs: Cyrus, king Cambyses, and Darius I. The Persian realm extended from Aeja sea westward to the Indian boundaries in the east, and from the southward of Egypt to the Black sea and the Caucasus Mountains in the north. When king Darius ascended the throne, he divided the empire into 20 states, each state had a governor, appointed by him. Hence Palestine was a part of the fifth state that was then known by its aramean name “Abr Nahra”, meaning “overseas”. The river pointed to, is the Euphrates river. That state constituted then the whole of Bilad Al-Sham that was formed of Syria, Cyprus, and Phoenicia.
In the year 334 B.C., Alexander the Great of Macedon crossed the sea to Asia Minor, where he achieved the first victory against the Persians in the battle of Granicus, and in the same year he conquered the king of the Persians in the battle of Issus in Cilicia. Then he headed towards the south near the coasts of Bilad Al-Sham, out of desire to destroy the naval Phoenician fleet, upon which the Persians depended in the eastern part of the Mediterranean sea, thus he crossed Mount Taurus, where he founded Miriandos city, which is now known as Alexandria. He then dispatched a regiment of his troops to Damascus, which seized it, after that he proceeded to the Syrian coast and seized it in the winter of the year 332 B.C.. Following his death, the empire faced lot of wars and internal struggles for the seizure of power, such struggles led to the establishment of two states: the Seleucid state in Syria, and the Ptolemaic one in Egypt. In the year 175 B.C., a war in Palestine broke out between the Macabians and the Seleucids, which lasted for forty years, and terminated by the foundation of the Hashmonian dynasty that was exterminated at the hands of Pompey on the year 63 B.C., when he occupied Jerusalem, rendering Palestine a part of the Roman Empire, as was the case with the rest of Bilad Al-Sham.
The Romans started to interfere in the affair of the Seleucid state since the outset of the second century B.C., owing to weakness and impotence that had befallen the Seleucid state, due to the eternal wars that it got involved in it, and the triumph of the Romans under the command of Domitius Ahenobarbus, who defeated King Antiochus III at the Battle of Magnesia in the year 190 B.C.
Moreover, history recorded that in the year 63 B.C., the Romanian troops under the leadership of Pompey entered Jerusalem after a long siege and a hard fight that left behind it a huge number of dead people, thereupon Palestine and the west of Syria became a part of the Romanian province. The first governor that was appointed over Syria was Crassus, then in the year 57 B.C. Ghabyonous took over the rule of Syria, who had brought back the administrative regime to Jerusalem. Then in the year 54 B.C. Crassus returned to the government of Syria. He was a party to what is known as the First Triumvirate (Roman power-sharing alliance) that was signed between Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great, and Marcus Crassus, by virtue of which power was split among them . But soon after that, dissension aroused between Pompey and Caesar, followed by the assassination of Julius Caesar, then one of the conspirators, who was Crassus became governor over Syria (44 B.C.- 42B.C.). In the year 42 B.C. Mark Antony and Octavian defeated the murderers of Julius Caesar. Then the reign of Herod began, who ruled over the area of Jerusalem and Palestine, his rule lasted from 37 B.C. to 4 B.C.. Before his death, he nominated Antipas as his successor to the throne, who reigned over the greatest part of Palestine, his monarchy lasted from 4 B.C till 39 B.C.. It is recorded that he made of Tiberias city his metropolis. In the year 41 A.D. Palestine became a Romanian state.
Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) was born in Bethlehem in the year 4 B.C.. this period was divided into three phases.
· The first phase that followed the time of Christ, which is called the era of messengers (30 – 95 A.D.)
· The second phase that extended over a century starting from the end of the first century to the end of the second century, it is marked by the embracement of Constantine the Great to Christianity in the year 312.
· The third phase is marked by the eruption of an internal revolution in the second half of the third century against the Romans led by king of tadmuriyah Odenathus and his widow “Zenobia” after his death . In the year 272 A.D., the Roman emperor Aurelian managed to quell this revolt, at the expense of Tadmuriyah.
In the year 395 A.D. the Romanian empire was split into two parts: an eastern part, and a western one. Where Theodosius the Great appointed his son Arcadius emperor of the East, and ordered that he should be an independent ruler, he took charge in the year 395 till 408 A.D., he also nominated his second son “Honorius” emperor of the west, and he ascended the throne in the year 395 A.D. till 423 A.D.
Worth mentioning here, is that after the reign of Constantine and till the year 527 A.D., around 17 emperors ascended the throne, four among them usurped the throne.
It is recorded that emperor Justinian II ascended the Byzantine throne in the period (565 – 578 A.D.), then he appointed Tiberius as his successor (578 – 582), followed by Maurice (582 – 602 A.D.), then Phocas (602 – 610 A.D.), then Heraclius (610 – 641 A.D.).
Wars between the Byzantines and the Sassanids had oscillated between severe and subdued, where many truces and treaties were concluded between them, but no sooner a treaty was signed than it was revoked, and war broke.
For in the years 610 – 622 A.D. the Persians launched attacks against the Romans, and they achieved triumph in their campaigns, thus in the year (614) they usurped Antakya, Damascus, and Jerusalem. But the continuous state of war and other matters had drained the two empires, thus they could not confront the Arabs, who put an end to the Sassanian state, and took over Bilad Al-Sham, and Egypt from the Byzantines in the conclusive battle called “Yarmuk” (15 A.H./636 A.D.).
With the outset of the era of conquests, the Islamic troops headed towards Bilad Al-Sham; the first city that was opened by the Muslims was Basra, and that was during the rule of ‘Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him). Then they proceeded to Palestine, where they confronted the Roman Byzantines in a ferocious battle known by “The Battle of Ajnadin”, which ended with the victory of the Muslims, and the flee of the Byzantine troops to the city of Fahl on the eastern Jordan bank nearby Bysan, there the Islamic army besieged them, ending with the surrender of the people of Fahl city to the Muslims. In the same year of Jumada I ‘Abu Bakr As-Siddiq) died, he was succeeded by ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him).
Defeats hailed down on the Romans by the hands of the Muslims, who fought them in most of Bilad Al-Sham. When news of the defeat of the Romans in the Battle of Yarmuk reached Heraclius, he departed from Antakya to Constantinople. The battle took place in the year 636 A.H., the number of Muslims in this battle did not exceed quarter the number of the Roman soldiers, despite this they achieved an overwhelming victory. The battle of Yarmuk was the last decisive battles that took place in Bilad Al-Sham, after it the Roman kingdom dwindled to be confined only over Jerusalem and Qisarya. The conquest of Jerusalem was one of the most important targets to the Islamic state at that time. Hence the Islamic armies besieged the city, but the people of Jerusalem refused to surrender to ‘Abu ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who was the leader of the Islamic armies, and demanded that the one with whom they would hold peace truce, and open the gates of the city to, be ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab. Thereon, Abu ‘Ubaidah sent a dispatch to ‘Umar, upon which he headed towards Jerusalem to open its gates to Muslims.
Palestine During the Era of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs
After the Arabic Islamic conquest of Palestine, it became a province belonging to the Islamic polity, where it enjoyed under its umbrella a sort of stability it had never known before. Before that time it was an area of contention between the two most powerful empires (the Byzantine empire and the Persian empire). After the Islamic conquest during the rule of (‘Umar bin Al-Khattab), he appointed ‘Amr bin Al-‘As (may Allah be pleased with him) as its governor, he was succeeded by ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘AlKamah Al-Kanany, after his death ‘Al-kamah bin Magzr took over. Such was the case till the Caliph Uthman bin ‘Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) put Palestine in charge of Mu‘awiyah bin Abi Sufian , who was the governor of Syria then.
The Era of the Umayyad Caliphs
During that era Palestine started a new phase of its history, when Mu‘awiyah bin Abi Sufian (may Allah be pleased with him) declared himself Caliph, whereby he founded the rule of the Umayyad Dynasty, which lasted about 90 years. He started his reign by going to Jerusalem, where he declared his caliphate in the year 661, then people pledged allegiance to him.
When the rule devolved to Yazid bin Mu’awiah, internal turmoil started to rise, which was instigated by his opponents, like Al-Hussain bin ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), the martyr of Karbala’, and ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubair (may Allah be pleased with him) who claimed his right to caliphate after the death of Al-Hussain, thus people of Hejaz and parts of Iraq rallied around him, causing a fraction in the internal unity. When Yazid died, the beginning of another sedition started to forge ahead, as people after his death became more inclined to the side of Ibn Az-Zubair, except for Syria, which pledged its allegiance to Mu‘awiyah bin Yazid bin Mu‘awiyah, but his reign did not last long, as he died shortly after his accession to the throne by forty days. Whereupon the people of Syria sided with bin Az-Zubair, except for the soldiers of Jordan and Palestine, under the leadership of Hassan bin Malik bin Al-Kalby, who was biased to Mu’awiah bin Abi Suffian (the Umayyad Caliphate), thus he set off towards Jordan to be near the scene of events, after deputing Ruh bin Zinbaa’ Al-Jazamy to take the lead of the soldiers of Palestine. But soon after, Nathil bin Qayis Al-Jazamy declared his allegiance to Ibn Az-Zubair and expelled Ruh to Jordan, which was the only party that still remained with the Umayyad Caliphate. After the Battle of Marj Rahit, views in Syria settled on Marwan bin Al-Hakam as Caliph, and after him Khalid bin Yazid bin Mu‘awiyah. Consequently, caliphate returned once again to Abdul Malik bin Marawan succeeding his father. During the reign of Abdul Malik till that of his son Hisham bin Abdul Malik, Palestine enjoyed stability and prosperity, and no grave incident perturbed its tranquility. But with the advent of the rule of Hisham, weakness started to find its way in the Umayyad State, and internal conflict started to escalate. The last of the Umayyad dynasty was Marwan bin Muhammad, whose rule marked the downfall of the Umayyad era, and the rise of the Abbasid Caliphate.
The Era of the Abbasid Caliphate
Following the murder of Marwan bin Muhammad, circumstances made it easy for the Abbasid to impose their control over Syria, thus the cities started to fall one after the other without the least resistance. After ‘Abdullah bin ‘Ali succeeded in submitting Damascus to his power in 16 April 750 A.D., he entered Palestine to begin a new era in the history of this Arabic land. The Abbasids followed a tough policy with the rest of Umayyad followers in Syria, but its people faced such policy with incessant revolts all along the period of the Abbasid reign, thus Syria was to them a thorn in its side.
The last monarchy during the Abbasid era was full of many incidents that was marked by lack of stability and devotion from the part of the Syrians towards the Abbasids. These circumstances subsisted till authority reverted to Ahmad bin Tulun, the founder of the Tulunid State, which was established in Egypt in 870 A.D. He wanted to extend his influence on Bilad Al-Sham on the plea of preserving the Islamic countries from the lurking Byzantine enemy. Thus he worked on annexing it, and he kept exerting all his efforts to preserve the Islamic countries till he died in 884, then the rule devolved to his son “Khumarawaih”, thus the Tulunid State lasted till the Arabic tribes in Syria started to perform acts opposing to the authority. Nevertheless, Syria remained subordinate to Baghdad till the rise of the Ikhshidid State.
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.
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.
The Turkish people known as “Seljuk” started to sneak towards the north of Iraq and Syria in 1067 A.D.. They were not of the same descent as the Arabic clans in Bilad Al-Sham, but they were rather from Turkistan, who were new to Islam. They mingled with the people of Syria, and soon they became the rulers and the army, thus they undertook the responsibility of defending the country against the Europeans, and Mongol for around four centuries. They forced their dominion on the region by military power till the beginning of the twentieth century.
The period of the Crusades extended from the year 1095 till 1291, which were military expeditions launched against many targets in the east. The First Crusade began after the proclamation made by pope Urban II at Clermont in the year 1095, where he urged for the waging of the Crusades saying “Christ commands it”. Thus the first Crusades had been mounted on dogmatic basis under ideological slogans in order to lay hands on the sacred places in the east, the birthplace of Christianity. The pope deemed that when the western Catholic Church have the central role in these Crusades, it would be able to occupy the authoritative posts in the east, whether from the political or religious aspect, as was the case in the west. The eleventh century witnessed a religious renaissance on a wide scale, especially among public classes, who had harbored the idea of the Crusades. For when the call for launching these military expeditions under the flag of the cross began, it found a great approval from these classes. As for the popes, their power increased during that century, and especially during the period of Pope Gregory VII, and after him, Pope Urban II, who consolidated the power of the church, and saw in the Crusades a way to strengthening more the sway of the church, besides answering the demand of the Byzantine emperor, who dispatched asking for their help, after feeling danger besieging his metropolis, and his inability to ward off the hazard of losing the sacred places to the Arabs.
Thus Europe during the eleventh century was prepared both spiritually and physically to accept the idea of the Crusades, owing to the dire social situations, population increase, and the nature of the agricultural lands, in addition to the natural disasters and epidemics, not to mention greed, all these factors aided to instill the idea of the Crusades.
The First Crusades: The First Crusades took place when the Byzantine Emperor asked for military aid in the form of a mercenary army to defend his metropolis. Thus the European answer came in the form of a crusade expedition, which was an unexpected response to the Byzantine emperor, who thus got entangled in a critical situation. In Clermont (in France) on November 1095, Pope Urban II had delivered a zealous speech that flared up the religious emotions of a huge number of spectators, thus before such huge congregation, he called for carrying the weapon in defense of the Christians in the east who were oppressed, and in order to deliver Al-Qiyamah church and eastern Christianity generally. Thereupon, all shouted, “Christ commands it”, and they thronged around the pope to express their approval and support, he then promised those who would participate of redemption from sins, exemption from taxes, and total care of their families during their absence, as for those who would refrain from participation in the expedition he admonished them of being shut out from the church. Zeal for this campaign spread from France till it reached the rest of the European countries. The idea of mounting a Crusade was strange to the Byzantines whether on the level of the elite or the commons, for they only were thinking of how to ward off the Seljuk danger, and they regarded the Crusaders with suspicion and saw in them a group of barbers of the same sort as the Seljuk who were threatening the east. When the first Crusade campaign approached Constantine under the leadership of Monk Peter, its bad reputation had preceded it all along the way from France till Constantine, thereupon the Emperor, who was known by his cunning, hastened to divert its course towards the small Asian coast, where they fell as a bait to the Seljuks, who put them to the sword. After the perishing of the crusade army under the leadership of Monk Peter in the summer of 1096, mobilization of forces for the First Crusade began in the west of Europe, which was the biggest army under joint leadership, such troops had to gather in Constantine before venturing in the lands under Seljuk control, in this campaign France constituted the main force in this campaign.
War against the Seljuk began with insubstantial participation from the Byzantine army. The Crusade troops started to besiege and occupy provinces that fell one after the other, they then proceeded northward to Palestine, where they took over (Magharat No’man (No’man cave)), and committed in it a huge massacre, then on their way to the coast they laid hold of other districts. After fortifying their posts in Sour, Acre, they headed to Jerusalem and other sanctified places. They reached the city in May 1099, where they besieged it from 7 May till 15 July 1099, then swarmed inside the city to commit horrible massacres against the native residents. After establishing the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, the leaders moved to proceed with their military expeditions all along the coast and inside the countries.
When the Fatimid awoke on the reality of the Crusade occupation to their Arabic lands, which was too late, they attempted to confront them, but they were defeated in a terrestrial battle nearby Askalan in August 1099. The Crusaders then moved to occupy the rest of the coastal cities, as for Askalan it remained a threat to the Crusade kingdom till the year 1153, thus when it fell, the whole coast became under the Crusaders control. Over more than 50 years, fighting between the Fatimid and the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem did not stop.
The Second Crusades (1146-1149 A.D.)
During that time, internal struggle between the Crusaders had reached its peak, besides clashes with the Byzantines, where the Byzantine Emperor Alexius took advantage of the falling of Bohemond I as hostage in the hands of the Turkish leader “Amir Malik Ghazi” to usurp Antakya from him, for after negotiations took place to ransom Bohemond I, Alexius refused to restore Antakya to him, all this furnished an opportunity to the Seljuks to regain their lands that they had lost. For in the year 1104, the Seljuk inflicted upon Bohemond a disgraceful defeat in Harran, where he forfeited most of the lands that were under his control in Syria. On the other, the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem was expanding in all directions, which caused a state of uprise in the city of Mosul, where a movement began to take shape in the year 1113 to unite Islamic provinces in Iraq and Syria for the sake of uniting efforts to confront the Europeans. Such movement reached its peak during the time of ‘Imad Al-Din Zinky, who emerged in the years (1127-1146), he managed to impose his power over the governors of provinces in Iraq and Syria, except for Damascus. Thus ‘Imad Al-Din Zinky paved the way to a new phase of confrontation with the Europeans that continued during the time of his son Nour El-Din Zinky, and after them Salah El-Din Al-Ayyubi till the era of Mamluks, who had succeeded in putting an end to the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem.
Salah El-Din Yusuf bin Ayyub was born in 1138, in Tikrit in Iraq, he descended from a Kurdish family. He moved on with his father to Baalbak in Lebanon, where he was appointed as a military leader during the era of ‘Imad Al-Din Zinky, then he moved on with his uncle “Assad Al-Din Shirkuh” to Egypt in the year 1164, who was appointed in the ministry in Cairo, then Salah El-Din succeeded him. In 1171, he abrogated the Fatimid Caliphate, and declared his allegiance to the Abbasid Caliph, since then disagreement aroused between him and ‘Imad Al-Din Zinky, which ended with the death of the latter.
Afterwards, Salah Al-Din undertook to unite Egypt and Syria under his leadership, so that he could fulfill his dream of exterminating the Crusader presence. The year 1187 marked a great historical event, which was the Battle of Hattin that brought about a turning point in the relation between East and West, in such a way that placed the Crusade presence in the East in a state of defense. Following the Battle of Hattin, Salah Al-Din overtook Tiberias, then he proceeded towards Acre, in addition to Galilee, Nablus, Yafa, Gaza, Ashqelon, Beirut, and Sayda, which all yielded to him. After that he retrieved Al-Naserya, Qysaryah, Safad, Safoureya, Al-Shaqif, and Jabal Al-Tour. Till he arrived at Al-Quds Al-Shari (Jerusalem), where he besieged it, and compelled the Crusaders to depart from it by a covenant, and on 27 Rajab (1187 A.D.) he held Jumu‘ah Prayer (Friday Prayer) in Al-Aqsa Masjid. Crusaders then gathered in three coastal cities: Antakya, Tripoli, and Soor.
The Third Crusade was led by the strongest European kings during that time, thus this expedition came after the fall of Jerusalem. Despite dissensions between kings, this expedition managed to arrive at Palestine and besiege Acre. Upon which Salah Al-Din mobilized quickly to besiege the Crusaders, and with the arrival of the French and the English troops a great battle took place, the mutual siege lasted from August 1189 till June 1191 to end with the fall of Acre. In September 1192 the two contending parties, after prolonged negotiations, reached a three years truce, according to it, a crusade kingdom was established with Acre as its center, and the Christians were given the right to visit the sacred places in both Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem) and Al-Naserya. After the truce, Salah Al-Din returned back to Damascus after 20 years of incessant strife to die on 3 March 1193. Nevertheless, war with Crusaders never stopped, till the reign of Mamluks.
The Mamluks regime was known since the Abbasid era with its military power, for many of them had come from among the front line troops to assume authority. After the downfall of the Ayyubid reign this regime occupied a distinguished position, for the end of Banu Ayyub was by the hands of the Mamluks, where they founded a kingdom in Egypt and Bilad Al-Sham that lasted two centuries and a half. The Mamluks succeeded to rescue Egypt at the last moment, and that after the seventh Crusade Expedition managed to take over Damietta and was heading towards Cairo, while Al-Salih Ayyub was on his death bed, who then died, leaving the state to face such threat. Thereupon, the Mamluks convened and decided to fight the Crusaders, whom they conquered. During such time, a man called “Baybars” appeared on the scene of events, he was the real founder of the state of Mamluks. Thus, the Mameluks dominated and ascended the throne of Egypt while the Ayyubid remained rulers of Great Syria. But that didn’t last long, because the Mongols, led by “Holaco”, were already heading eastwards, where they invaded Baghdad and put an end to the Abbasides, destroying the country and ravaging its civilization in 1260. Then, they moved to Damascus, which faced the same destiny. They threatened “ Al Sultan Qutuz who was appointed a ruler in Cairo in (1259-1260). So, Qutuz reunified Muslims and “Baybars” joined him. They both went forward to fight the Mongols. They came across their vanguards at Gaza and defeated them and proceeded until their forces met in “Ein Jalout” (Marj Ben Amer). There, both armies met in a ferocious battle on 6th September 1260 A.C. where the Mamluks gained victory. This victory had a historical influence in West Asia. After that, “Baybars” insisted to put an end to the European existence. So, he assassinated Qutuz and took over the regime and he was nicknamed Al-Zahir i.e. the conquering king in (1260-1277).
On the threshold of this period, the Mameluks rule terminated. Most countries of the Arab world had been annexed 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 arising in Tabreez, and the Mamluks. In August 1514 A.C. the first decisive battle broke out between the Ottoman State led by “Saleem the First” and the Safwiya State led by Shah Ismail” in “Jaldiran” near Tabreez. The Ottomans gained victory because of the firearm, which they excelled in using them.
After two years, the Ottomans defeated the Mamluks in a decisive battle in (Marj Dabeq) near Aleppo on 23, August 1516. That was the end of the Mameluk rule when the Ottomans occupied Egypt.
Saleem the First: During the same year, “Saleem the First” conquered Great Syria without any resistance because the Syrians hated the Mamluks 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” took over the rule (1520-1566) and he was nicknamed as the “the legist or the legal expert or the legal scholar” 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 Abbasid Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire so, “Istanbul” became a center of the Islamic World, and the Islamic Civilization was rejuvenated. 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 shift to the West.
Zaher Al-Omar Al-Zidany: he was born in the last decade of the Seventieth century. Following the death of his father, he assumed responsibility in the two villages called Arbah and Al-Damon in Palestine. He then started to extend his influence through holding alliance with Bedouin tribes, on the other hand, He was involved in border conflicts, where he worked on reinforcing his army and fortifying areas under his rule, taking advantage of the Turks occupation with their wars with the Russians. Thus he established a deterrent central force in Palestine, where he took over Haifa, Yafa, Alid, and Nabulus. After a short while of his rule, which was beset with conflicts and scrimmages, his power grew weak, and he fell under siege of the Ottoman fleet, then a great army marched against him, which inflicted on him a devastating blow. His rule ended with his death, as his sons were not qualified to assume the reign of power after him, thus the way was open to “Ahmad Al-Jazar” (Agha) to seize power.
Ahmad Pasha Al-Jazar: Agha Ahmad (known as Al-Jazar) appeared on the scene of events in Acre, he was a Mamluk of Bosnian origin. He assumed the government of Sayda and Damascus intermittently between 1775 till his death in 1804. His rule was characterized by his hegemony over the local force in Palestine, and Lebanon mountains, he defied the Ottomans, and annexed Damascus state to his influence.
Napoleon Bonaparte expedition (1798 – 1801):
The military expedition that Napoleon mounted against Egypt and Bilad Al-Sham can be marked as the beginning of the European colonization of the Arabic territories, following the industrial revolution that Europe has witnessed. After achieving a victory over the Mamluks and his entering Cairo in June 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte headed a military expedition to Bilad Al-Sham. The expedition did not go beyond Palestine, and its coast, except for Al-Naserya and Tabarya, where it conquered the Ottoman army. The campaign began by occupying Katyah in Sinai, then it proceeded to Arish Castle. After the passage of three months, the expedition started to retreat back to Egypt after it suffered a defeat in Acre in May 1799. In 28 February 1800, the French army headed by Kléber proceeded towards Asdoud, then to the village of Bayneh, Al-Ramlah, and Yafa. Moreover, they took over Hifa after a ferocious fight. They headed towards Acre, which was distinguished by its fortified gates, and strong fortresses, which stood fast before their attacks. A fierce battle took place, where the people of Acre with the help of the English troops and some of the Ottoman troops attacked the French army. Napoleon tried to break into the gates of Acre more than seven times without succeeding. But soon the Black Death showed its grim face, claiming the souls of the French army. In May 1800, Napoleon wrote to his administrative government in Paris, informing them that occupying Acre was not worth all such losses, thereupon he decided to withdraw back to Egypt to continue his expedition there. During such time, a dispatch arrived from Paris, informing Napoleon that it was necessary to return to France, he retreated in May 1800, after a siege that lasted for 64 days.
After the withdrawal of Napoleon, Al-Jazar returned and imposed his hegemony over the countries, but he returned more despotic, where he overburdened the people with more taxes to recompense his losses in wars, but no sooner had he ascended the throne than he died in 1804. He was succeeded by his Mamluk Soliman Pasha, who was named Al-‘Adil (the just one) contrary to Al-Jazar (the butcher), his rule concurred with that of “Muhammad Ali” in Egypt and Mahmoud II in Istanbul. The reign of Soliman Pasha was characterized by stability and rebuilding of the country’s infrastructure, till Ibrahim Pasha came in 1819-1831, who adopted the policy of Al-Jazar, which stirred the wrath of local leaders, who staged many mutinies. On the first of October 1831, Muhammad Ali mounted an army towards Palestine under leadership of his son Ibrahim Pasha, who occupied Gaza, Jaffa (Yafa), Jerusalem, and Galilee without any resistance, and after a six months siege Acre fell in his hands. He then headed towards Damascus, which he entered in 14 June 1832, where a battle took place nearby Homs between him and the Ottoman army that he defeated and took over Halab, Hamah, and Antakya. Following Billan Battle in 30 June 1832, he delved deep inside Asia Minor (Anatolia) and defeated the Ottoman at the city of Konieh in 21 December 1832, where he captivated the great vizier. In the face of such victories, the European countries intervened for reconciliation, where a treaty was concluded between the contending parties, known by “Treaty of Kutaya (treaty of May 1833)”, by virtue of which Sultan Mahmoud II acknowledged the hereditary rule of Muhammad Ali over Egypt and Bilad Al-Sham. Nevertheless, the Egyptian rule did not last for long (only nine years). For after the Egyptian withdrawal from the region of Bilad Al-Sham, it returned back under the Ottoman sovereignty through the intervention of the European countries, on top of which was Britain, such an act had increased the European leverage in the region, which was further deepened due to the general weakness that had befallen the government. The reason behind the attempts of the European countries to interfere in the internal affairs of this region, and particularly in Bilad Al-Sham was due to their economic and strategic interests in the East, moreover they have found in the religious minorities and their civil rights a pretext for interfering in the internal affairs of the Ottoman rule. Moreover, the number of European consuls in the sultanate increased, and their leverage expanded, as their interference reached government, administration, economy, courts, and the subjects’ affairs. The most prominent among them was the British consul “Woods”, who acted as an actual governor of the countries under the cloak of executing the regulations. In addition to this, the European countries proceeded to spur social, religious, and national sects against the central government, and stirring up disturbance against it in various areas, all this with the aim of weakening the government and sharing with it the places of influence. On the other hand, the consuls of such countries adopted the issues of Christian minorities, and they extended their protection to the Jewish groups in Jerusalem and other places, in addition to securing residency to the early Jewish immigrants. Beside this, missionary movements witnessed a great increase, where they concentrated their efforts in Jerusalem. By the end of the Nineteenth century, the percent of missioners compared to that of the inhabitants in Jerusalem was greater than any other country around the world, and when it became evident that the Ottoman Empire was sunsetting, everyone hastened to secure a foothold in it to impose his dominion over a part of its lands after its division.
We will explore now the period that succeeded the Islamic rule of Palestine, and the beginning of the appearance of Zionists on this Arabic territory, depending on our same resource, which is the Palestinian National information Center that is under Palestinian National Authority. The Palestinian Center refers to a large number of sources that document this stage from the history of Palestine which we shall quote at the end. So how did the Zionist infiltration into the Arab Muslim Palestine start?