"The consequential existence of Indigenous people": Zionist settlement in 1920s Palestine.




Hoffman, Martin Gardner

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Historians have often discussed the process of Zionist settlement in Ottoman and mandate Palestine as if it occurred in isolation from, and without impact on, the indigenous Palestinian Arab population. Revisionist scholars, including Gershon Shafir and Gabriel Piterberg, have challenged this portrayal. They argue that the presence of the Palestinian Arabs on the land, as well as their participation in the labour market, had a fundamental influence on the development of divergent Zionist settlement strategies. This thesis complements and supports this argument through analysis of the participation of two influential Zionists, Alexander Aaronsohn and Norman Bentwich, in a series of legal actions known as the “Zeita Lands Case”. The case itself, which took place under the British mandate between 1923 and 1931, is discussed in detail. The lives and background of Bentwich and Aaronsohn are examined in order to contextualize their participation in the case.



Zionism, Mandate Palestine, Colonialism, Settler Societies, Legal History, Microhistory