Quite soon after the first Zionist emigration to Palestine, tensions between the Jews and the Muslims started to erupt in small scale violence. Zionist settler Ahad Ha’Am wrote that the other Zionist colonists “behave towards the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, trespass without justification, beat them shamefully without sufficient cause and then boast about it.” Another early settler, Vladimir Dubnow, wrote in October 1882: “The ultimate goal … is, in time, to take over the Land of Israel and to restore to the Jews the political independence they have been deprived of for these two thousand years.… The Jews will yet arise and, arms in hand (if need be), declare that they are the masters of their ancient homeland.” And the first violence erupted at the very first Zionist colony, Petach Tikva. It wasn’t based on religious or political or racial differences – it was over land. Villagers who had worked the land had it taken away from them. They saw it as Russian colonialism.


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