>Justin McCarthy’s exhaustive demographic study of the area in question, “The Population of Palestine,” dismisses any claim of significant Arab immigration during the Ottoman and Mandatory periods or significant Arab in-migration due to Jewish settlement and enterprise.
This is not a new discovery, since Israeli historians such as Friedlander and Goldsheider (“The Population of Israel”) have always known Arab population growth during the British mandate period was due to “high natural increase.”
There had been frequent documentation by early Zionists of a heavy Arab presence in what would be known as Israel. For example, Ahad Ha’am said in his 1891 essay “Truth from Palestine” that all arable land was already settled by Arabs.
If you read Alexander Scholch’s study “European Penetration and the Economic Development of Palestine 1856-1882,” you will find that the Palestinians before the aliyas (mass Jewish migrations) were already maintaining a remarkable economic balance sheet, making the region far from being a “desert,” as Nahmias claims.
If this cynical campaign to illegitimatize Palestinians’ equally compelling claims to the land in conflict is typical of the pro-Israeli amp, then Scott Laderman is right in asserting that its members are mainly interested in gross prevarications, rather than in honest discourse.