Did the Muslim Arabs have an absolute majority in all of Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century?

Adin Haykin
2 min readMar 10, 2024


One of the most famous pro-Palestinian claims is that at the beginning of the 20th century, before the Balfour Declaration, the League of Nations and the UN,
Palestine was more than 85% Muslim Arab, so therefore no other group had any national right over it.

This claim is anachronistic and ignores the fact that the borders of “Historic Palestine” are a British creation from 1922.

The following map is taken from the book “The Claim of Dispossession” by Arieh L. Avneri,
Based on British data from 1922 and 1946, he divided the population of Palestine into sub-regions

Let’s take the map of the 1947 UN partition plan

Let’s take only the areas that were intended for the Jewish state,
Areas number 1,2,3,4,5,9,10,11,15,16,17,19,32,33,34,37,44,45,46,47

We will subtract Jaffa (which then had a population of 32,000 in 1914 and was intended to be part of the Arab state)
And we add Jerusalem (65,000 in 1914)

we get a general population estimated at 222,300 in 1922,
Due to deportations and persecution by the Ottomans, the Jewish population is very small, but it is estimated that it stood at 94,000 in 1914.
The Arab population was also affected, but much less so it can be estimated that its size did not change significantly between 1914–1922
There were about 70–80,000 Christians in 1914.
Let’s take a half that is estimated to have lived in the area designated for the Jewish state and Jerusalem

And this is the result:

Of course, the data is not perfect, the Muslims also probably include a nomadic Bedouin population, the part of the Christians is still not clear enough and these sub-regions are not 100% accurate to the boundaries of the partition plan

But based on the available data, we can get a general picture that already in 1914, In the areas designated for the Jewish state and Jerusalem (55% of all Palestine), the Jews were already the largest ethno-religious group there



Adin Haykin

Israeli, IDF soldier and researcher of Israeli history and wars