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From Empire to Empire

Jerusalem Between Ottoman and British Rule

Abigail Jacobson

Publication Year: 2011

The history of Jerusalem as traditionally depicted is the quintessential history of conflict and strife, of ethnic tension, and of incompatible national narratives and visions. It is also a history of dramatic changes and moments, one of the most radical ones being the replacement of the Ottoman regime with British rule in December 1917. From Empire to Empire challenges these two major dichotomies, ethnic and temporal, which shaped the history of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. It links the experiences of two ethnic communities living in Palestine, Jews and Arabs, as well as bridging two historical periods, the Ottoman and British administrations. Drawing upon a variety of sources, Jacobson demonstrates how political and social alliances are dynamic, context-dependent, and purpose-driven. She also highlights the critical role of foreign intervention, governmental and nongovernmental, in forming local political alliances and in shaping the political reality of Palestine during the crisis of World War I and the transition between regimes.

Published by: Syracuse University Press


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TItle page, Copyright, Dedication

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p. vii


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p. ix

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pp. xi-xiii

First and foremost, my deepest gratitude and appreciation goes to the members of my dissertation committee at the University of Chicago, Rashid Khalidi, Holly Shissler, and Leora Auslander. All three have contributed in so many different ways to my intellectual growth and my love of historical research. Rashid...

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Note on Transliteration

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p. xv

In order to make the reading for the nonspecialists easier, I used a simplified version of the IJMES transliteration system to transliterate Arabic and Ottoman- Turkish words. Most diacritical marks that are not on an English keyboard are not used. The following marks are used to...

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pp. 1-21

On December 9, 1917, after a long and bloody fight between British and Ottoman forces, Jerusalem was conquered by the British. The mayor of the city, Hussein Selim al-Husayni, handed the British officers the keys of Jerusalem on behalf of the city’s residents. Two days later, on December 11, General Edmund Allenby,...

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1. Jerusalem During World War I: A Multiethnic City in Time of an Acute Crisis

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pp. 22-52

The surrender of Jerusalem to the British forces on December 9, 1917, ended a period of great despair in the history of Jerusalem and of Palestine in general. World War I will be remembered as a dark period in the history of Palestine, a period during which people starved to death, were forced to migrate from...

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2. Identities in Transition: Contested Space and Identities in Jerusalem

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pp. 53-81

This chapter will explore the process by which Ottoman identity and affiliation to the Ottoman collective were negotiated and thought of in Jerusalem during World War I, by examining changes in both the public and private spheres. Focusing first on the public domain, I will investigate the ways the urban...

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3. Between Ottomanism and Zionism: The Case of the Sephardi Community

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pp. 82-116

Th is short paragraph reflects, in part, the approach of ha-Herut toward the Arab population in Palestine. The ideas presented here—the hope to live in coexistence with the Arabs and develop Palestine together, the attempt to convince the Muslim elite families of the good intentions of the Jews living in Palestine—present...

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4. When a City Changes Hands: Jerusalem Between Ottoman and British Rule

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pp. 117-147

This quote appeared at the beginning of an official British film that documented the entrance of General Allenby to Jerusalem on December 11, 1917. The words that are used to describe this event capture the way British officials viewed this moment in history, in which the British army entered Jerusalem and freed...

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5. Between the Muslim-Christian Associations and the Muslim National Associations: The Rise of Intercommunal Tension

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pp. 148-177

On November 2, 1918, a large gathering of Jews was held in Jerusalem, celebrating the first anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. This gathering was organized by the Zionist Commission and was approved by the military governor of the city, Sir Ronald Storrs, who also addressed the audience. The assembly passed...

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Concluding Remarks

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pp. 178-181

Shortly before these lines were written Israel marked the ninetieth anniversary of the end of World War I in Palestine, and of Allenby’s well-documented entry to Jerusalem and the British occupation of the city. The way these occasions were commemorated was not at all surprising: they were remembered...


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pp. 185-217


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pp. 219-247


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pp. 249-262

E-ISBN-13: 9780815651598
E-ISBN-10: 0815651597
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815632559
Print-ISBN-10: 081563255X

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 7 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 794700206
MUSE Marc Record: Download for From Empire to Empire

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Jerusalem -- History -- 20th century.
  • Jerusalem -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Campaigns -- Palestine.
  • Jerusalem -- Ethnic relations.
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