The great majority of the Arabs (Muslims and Christians) lived in several hundred rural villages.
According to Ottoman records, in 1878 there were 462,465 subject inhabitants of the Jerusalem, Nablus and Acre districts: 403,795 Muslims (including Druze), 43,659 Christians and 15,011 Jews.
In addition, there were perhaps 10,000 Jews with foreign citizenship (recent immigrants to the country) and several thousand Muslim Arab nomads (Bedouin) who were not counted as Ottoman subjects.
That same name was also used to designate a less well-defined “Holy Land” by the three monotheistic religions.
Following the war of 1948–1949, this land was divided into three parts: the State of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River) and the Gaza Strip.
They reject the notion that a biblical-era kingdom constitutes the basis for a valid modern claim.
If Arabs engage the biblical argument at all, they maintain that since Abraham’s son Ishmael is the forefather of the Arabs, then God’s promise of the land to the children of Abraham includes Arabs as well.The conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Zionist (now Israeli) Jews is a modern phenomenon, dating to the end of the nineteenth century.Although the two groups have different religions (Palestinians include Muslims, Christians and Druze), religious differences are not the cause of the strife. From the end of World War I until 1948, the area that both groups claimed was known internationally as Palestine.The northern districts of Acre and Nablus were part of the province of Beirut.The district of Jerusalem was under the direct authority of the Ottoman capital of Istanbul because of the international significance of the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem as religious centers for Muslims, Christians and Jews.It is a small area—approximately 10,000 square miles, or about the size of the state of Maryland.