The Origins of Arab Settlers in the Land of Israel

What’s in a name? In the case of the Arabs, it tells you what their tribe and country of origin are. It also dispels the biggest fallacy the “Palestinians” would like you to believe.

Bedouin nomads from Arabian Peninsula on the move (Photo - Pintrest)

The Arabs mark May the 15th as a day of remembrance for the catastrophe, the “Nakba” in Arabic, that befell them with the creation of the State of Israel. They claim the “indigenous” Arab inhabitants had to flee their “homeland” as a result. They conveniently fail to mention the reason for the “catastrophe” and where these supposed indigenous Arab inhabitants actually came from and when.

UN General Assembly resolution 181 of 1947 called for the partition of the British Mandate in Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab entities. The Jewish leadership accepted the resolution. The Arabs countries rejected it, which is their right. What they had no right to, was to declare war on the Jewish population in the area.

The armies of seven Arab countries set out to destroy the Jewish state, which they outnumbered a hundred to one. They also persecuted the Jewish citizens who lived in their own countries for hundreds of years, forcing them to leave and take refuge in the newly created State of Israel.

The Arab nations, together with the Arab population in the British Mandate area, sought to annihilate the Jews in the region and failed. The only catastrophe for them in this scenario was that they lost the war.

As in any war, people were uprooted and made to relocate. Nearly a million Jews – who were not even involved in the hostilities – were expelled from Arab countries; and over 600,000 Arabs from Israeli territory, many of whom were actually told to leave by the advancing Arab armies.

The “Mandate for Palestine” by the League of Nations (1922) defined the borders of the homeland of the Jewish people as the area between the Jordan river in the east, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. This, as explained, due to a long historical and deep religious connection of the Jews to this land. It defined “Jews” as the people of the land which the San Remo commission (1920) called “Palestine”, using the old Roman title “Syria-Palestina”, given by Caesar Hadrian, in 132 a.d.

The Jews brought back the original name of “Israel” (ישראל) after almost 2000 years. To counter that, the Arabs adopted the Roman term “Palestine”, a word which is has no meaning in Arabic. Although the original founding document of the Palestine Liberation Organization terror group, the “PLO” said in 1964 (Article 24): “This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area”, the PLO emblem, as well as that of the Hamas, define a “Palestine” in the same exact borders the League of Nations used for the Land of Israel: from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

They claimed indigenous status as “Palestinians” who lived in the area for generations. A review of history though, shows that from the time of the expulsion of the Jews by the Romans, the inhabitants of the area fluctuated.

From the time of the conquest of the land by the Muslim Arabs in 636 CE, the rulers of the land constantly shifted between Muslims, Crusaders, Arab Tribes among themselves and even the Mongols. This until 1517, with the Ottoman conquest that brought a measure of relative stability to the country, but also not for long.

The waves of conquests and wars; natural calamities such as earth quakes, harsh living conditions; as well as the periodic plundering of Arab Bedouin tribes from the desert, made the area undesirable. There are relatively few elements that can prove continuity of settlement in the Land of Israel whether Jew or Arab.

Thus, on the eve of the Zionist settlement, which began with the founding of Petah Tikva in 1878, the country was mostly deserted and abandoned. Its population was sparse and partly nomadic. Famous tourists who visited Israel at the time testified separately to this situation: They found a small rural Bedouin population living in muddy huts and described the place as a marshland, mostly uncultivated terrain, used as a grazing fields for goats and sheep. The local inhabitants were not the owners of the land. The owners were wealthy families from throughout the Ottoman Empire, who had no use for the land beyond the titles and honors it bestowed upon them.

With the migration of Jews to the Land of Israel between 1870 and 1947, the Arab population in the area grew by 270%, nearly three times that of Egypt, the Arab country with the highest natural birthrate at the time. In other words, the increase was mostly due to migration.

The mass immigration was the result of economic development and modernization following Jewish immigration. The Arab immigrants came in search of a livelihood.

Tawfiq Bey al-Hourani, the Syrian governor of Hauran, said in 1934 that “over 30,000 Syrians invaded Palestine within a few months.”

Winston Churchill, on May 22, 1939, stated that Arab immigration during the Mandate period to Palestine was so great that their numbers grew by such a rate that even the Jews of the entire world could not match.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States, said on May 17, 1939 that the immigration of Arabs to Palestine since 1921 was far greater than the immigration of Jews in recent times.

According to the British census in 1931, the Muslims in the country were not necessarily Arabs, judging from the languages they spoke: Afghan, Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Circassian, Kurdish, Persian, Sudanese and Turkish.

The Arabs themselves admit that Palestinian identity is forged as we showed in a previous article by Judith Bergman and as seen in the following video:


It is clear from this that Arabs migrated en masse to the area around the same time as Jews immigrated here. But there is another, very simple way to identify the origins of the Arabs, and that is according to their surnames. In the Arab communities, the surnames identify the tribe, or clans which one belongs to, a country or a region of their roots, and in some cases a profession.

It is important to stress that in the tribal culture the loyalty of each individual is first and foremost to their tribe and family. The western concept of nationalism is foreign to the Arabs’ tribal cultural. This is one of the reasons that with the fall of the central authority in Arab countries in the past decade, those nations have fallen into disarray.

Yasser Arafat’s full name for example, is Yasser Yusuf Arafat, Al-Qudwa, Al-Husseini. While he claimed he was born in Jerusalem, he was born in Cairo and his father’s family originates from the tribe of Al-Qudwa, which is in Syria. His mother, Husseini, was an Egyptian citizen, though the name exposes her roots in the region between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Here are some of the origins of common Arabic surnames one can easily find in any phone book in Israel, as well as on the map which reveals their location of origin (Since these names are all in Arabic, some might be spelled differently in other places):

Al-Turki – Turkey

Sultan – Turkey

Uthuman / Ottoman – Turkey

Al Masri – Egypt

Masrawa – Egypt

Al Tartir – Tartir village, Egypt

Bardawil – Lake and village Bardawil, Egypt

Tarabin – South-east Sinai (Bedouin), Egypt

Abu-Suta / Abu-Seeta – Tarabin tribe, Egypt

Sha’alan – Bedouin, Egypt

Fayumi – Al-Fayum village, Egypt

Al Bana – Egypt

Al-Baghdadi – Baghdad, Iraq

Abbas – Baghdad, Iraq

Zoabi – West Iraq

Al-Faruki – Iraq

Al-Tachriti – Iraq

Zabaide / Zubeidy – Iraq

Husseini / Hussein – Saudi Arabia (Hussein was the 4th Imam)

Tamimi – Saudi Arabia

Hejazi – Hejaz region (Red Sea shoreline) in Saudi Arabia

Al-Kurash / Al Kurashi – Saudi Arabia

Ta’amari – Saudi Arabia

Al-Halabi – Haleb region, North Syria

Al-Allawi – West Syria (shoreline)

Al-Hurani – Huran District, South Syria

Al-Qudwa – Syria

Nashashibi – Syria

Khamati – Syria

Lubnani – Lebanon

Sidawi – Sidon, Lebanon

Al-Surani – Sour-Tair, South Lebanon

Al-Yamani – Yemen

Al-Azad – Yemen

Hadadin – Yemen

Matar – Matar village. Yemen

Morad – Yemen

Khamadan – Yemen

Mugrabi – Maghreb, Morocco

Al-Araj – Morocco

Bushnak – Bosnia

Al-Shashani – Chechnya

Al-Jazir – Algiers

Al-Abid (Bedouin) – Sudan

Samahadna (Bedouin) – Sudan (still a matter of debate)

Al-Hamis – Bahrain

Zarqawi – Jordan

Tarabulsi – Tripoli, Lebanon


These are the locations of some of the Arab tribes in Israel who are mistakenly referred to as “Palestinians”:

Hebron – Tamimi, Natshi, Ja’abri, Abu Sanina, Qawasma

Jericho – Erekat (Arikat)

Beith Lehem – Touqan , Shak’ka

Schem* (Nablus) – Al-Masri

Tulkarem – Al-Carmi

Ramallah – Baraguthi, Tawil, Abbas

Um Al-Fahm (Israeli citizens) – Jabrin

East Jerusalem – Hejazi (The Hejaz region is the eastern shoreline by the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia)

Gaza – Al-Masri, Tarabin, Al-Abid


Rotem Ninkovsky is the media consultant for the Kedem Forum For Israel’s Public Diplomacy and Middle East Studies

Daniel Seaman, Editor of  Mida English Edition, contributed to the writing of this article

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23 comments on the article

  1. The namr “Palestine” was and is a great lie, but Arabs as “Palestinians” is the greatest fraud in mankind’s history.

    It all started in 132 a.d by the Roman caesar Hadrianus, after the big rebel of Judea tribe. He wanted to erase Jews from the pages of history and also humiliate and insult them, by calling their land, by the name of their enemies “Plishtim”, which means Invaders in a passive form.
    This name was forgotten and re-mentioned several times for the next 2000 years, but never reffered to any Arabs, Beduins or Muslim conquerers.

    In modern times the term “Palestinians” was refering to Jews who live in “Palestine” while Arabs where just Arabs and rejected this title and many still do.

  2. It’s nice to read the truth. But, somehow the world’s reaction to this, or when confronted with it’s own hypocrisy, seems to be, to quote Rhett Butler: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

    1. It’s disturbing to think about how so many people around the world, politicians, university professors, authors, reporters, lawyers, UN representatives etc. – all think and sure that Arabs in Israel are one nationality, who THEY call now Palestinains.

      Actually, you won’t find any reference to Arabs as “Palestinians” before the 1960s, but you’ll find many references to the Jews who were living in ~Palestine~.
      Based on that assumption, they build skyscrapers and assaults, slandering, lies and blood-libels against the only democracy in the middle east, which tried and gave so much for achieving the achievable peace. Here’s one reason why – there is no one group of people, but many and they are different and separate, one from another.

      The Media, of course, has an integral part of cultivating a wrong term and therefore keep causing damage to everybody, in ALL sides (not “Both sides”).
      ‘Fake News’ is just too gentle term fro this case.

  3. One thing i know,is that there Are people,who are compensated,for crimes,let the us government,move the world,out of humiliation,economically,educationally,in all spheres that is beneficial to human livelihood,instead of killing them,is there no other means of prosecutions?instead of killings,and wars,mind you,they also have a different view of life.

  4. Found this article to not be unlike the facts I have gathered over the years. I am not sure if the 600,000 number is not just slightly over inflated referencing the Arabs who left the lands based on their Arab brethren and of course, their own fear. However, the point remains that there was a movement of people.

    What I don’t understand is why this article fails to mention as a topic worthy of a paragraph how quotas were put on Jews while Arabs could come in (and others) freely. This certainly impacts any historic census on the area and the why of it.

    As well, reference early on to the U.N. needs to add a few lines how the U.N. stated it would follow through on that League of Nations plan that includes the words – “reconstituted homeland” and “unconditional.” Those words pretty much nullify a great deal of the blather that has come since out of the U.N. Again, this is simply historic context.

    I am very happy to see a reference to how the PLO changed its charter. Each time, it was about taking lands away from Jews. When Jordan included the “West Bank” in its own economy and Egypt ran Gaza, PLO intentionally omitted those areas up and until the Israelis controlled the land and then the PLO included those lands as part of what should be theirs.

    1. Thank you for commenting. The fact is we had to keep this down to the main topic which was Arab origins. There was so much information, including quotas, but we kept to the point we were making. You are right and your comment is appreciated and valid.

    2. Thanks for your comment Michael.
      As Daniel said, we had to take many factors out, so we can focus and pass the two major principles:

      1. Arabs are no indigenous people of Israel, as some of them say so
      2. Arabs in Israel are not one nationality, they are many separate tribes and clans who live and maintain a tribal culture.

      The wrong assumption that creating States in the middle east to tribal populations had lead the decision makers to take the wrong decisions over and over again, as we can see now in states like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and so inside the “Palestinian” authority. This assumption taken for granted by Israeli politicians too, lead to wrong moves, like the Oslo accords, disintegration from Gaza , which only encouraged more Islamic Terrorism, costs the lives of over 1500 Israeli citizens, harmed Israel’s economy and environment. It also led Israel to be trapped in the media playground of its haters, enforcing Israelis to be defensive and passive, rather than speaking out the truth and expose the piles of lies which related to the assumption of Arabs as “Palestinians”.

      I promise to make more, each will refute another lie in this puzzle. The Mandate for Palestine itself, is quite a big topic in itself and required a separate article, as it is also being ignored completely by Israel’s politicians, media and the educational system and most Israelis have never heard of read and fewer ever read it.

  5. Great article. It would be awesome if it included some citation or two about where the data was drawn.

    1. You can fin the historic details in many history books. We brought it from articles by Dr. Rebecca Shefchek-Lissak

      Middle east ethnographic reviews by Dr. Mordechai Kedar.
      This is one of his lectures about the factors to the chaos in the middle east – tribes, tribalism and Jihad

      Arabic surnames – that’s the easy part, all you need is too find the name and google it [Name]+Family or [Name]+clan or [Name]+tribe and you’ll get plenty of information and even family/tribe websites (some in Arabic), with their history, photos etc.

  6. I wonder when they Realize that Supporting their “Palestine” only brings death and destruction to them. they sacrifice little children in the name of their fake country and use it as an excuse to get more money to their terrorist Leaders who only sit there eating and vacating like kings while watching their own people die for them in senseless wars that they start themselves..

    I also wonder when European leaders especially those in the human rights department that cover for the terrorists and blame israel instead of solving the real problems.
    the world need to fight this corruption and terrorism before it destroys us all.
    and support Israel that has to fight it mostly alone.

  7. I read much of this in a book written about 2000 whose title escapes me. I thought it was “Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind”. It was the historyb of the Middle East from about 1890 to (1996/7/8?)
    I would love to read that book again but I gave it to someone and now I cannot find it. Any idea?
    This article goes back even further and it more depth about the origins. Fascinating reading!

  8. Fact and truth doesn’t seem to matter to some when it doesn’t fit their desire or their agenda. Of course the ignorant who have been led by their leaders who have and put their own aims and goals above all. For them truth has no meaning. Their is no certainty, with the huge amount of false propaganda, that the truth will come out in the history with the passing of time.

  9. Excellent and very informative article. Quite shocking how this myth of the Palestinian people has been so widely accepted by the world without question. And of course propagated by such biased media as the BBC. How can this important truth be more widely published and aired?

    1. Please share this article online and the information with others, whenever and wherever you can, so more people will know about this.

  10. The name Palestina(e) is not a lie!!! It is the name of the land which God gave to the Israelites returning from Egypt in about the 14th century BC. The present-day Israel should have been called Palestina, as God had ‘intended’ it. The ethnic name Israel, applied to the ancient and God-given homeland of the Jews, Hebrews and Israelites, is the greatest mistake and misfortune committed and suffered by the Israelites, Jews and Hebrews in 1948. The name Palestina should never be mixed up with Philistia!

  11. It is becouse of that thay have their “ramadan” from that day 15 may to june 15..?

    1. The Ramadan is marked according to the Islamic calendar which is lunar based. It has no set date according to the Gregorian calendar and rotates as the lunar year is shorter than the solar year.

  12. The error I note most glaringly is where Rotem speaks of the Jewish Communities in Arab Nation states as having been there for “Hundreds” of years. The statement should have been thousands, pre-dating the Arab Invasions.

  13. Excellent article that is very informative and educational. Sadly, the media do not stress the historicity of the Middle East.