ARAB REACTION IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL TO THE GREEK UPRISING - Part 3
The children of Hagar [= Arabs] had now the opportunity and the time to behave as they wished. Young men and old and even children armed themselves. First of all came those in power, the Mutesarrif [governor], the Janissaries [special troops], and the rest, who entered the Patriarchate and searched up and down, inside and outside, for the arms which we did not have. The same procedure was gone through in the rest of our monasteries, and in the houses of the Christians of Jerusalem and of the Franks (Latins). Having taken all the arms they could lay hands on in Jerusalem, they proceeded to Bethlehem, Beitjala, Ramallah, and to other Christian villages around Jerusalem and took their guns and hanjars (daggers). Then knowing that the monasteries outside of Jerusalem, such that of St Saba, St Elias and the Holy Cross, kept guns in order to protect themselves against robbers, they went and seized their weapons. That completed, they fell to inventing means whereby they could continually extort more money from us, the Brotherhood (the Community) of the Holy Sepulcher.
Then it was announced by heralds (dallal) that all the Rayahs (Christian subjects of the Sultan) should dress in black. Later the Turks began to arrest the Orthodox and imprison them. Many charges were brought against them and they had to pay a fine (jereme). They were fined for failing to blacken their fezzes or shoes, or because of something they had said. They were forced to work continuously moving cannons from place to place and clearing the moats [there is a moat around the Jerusalem citadel, usually called Tower of David] and trenches. Many other things happened which we do not wish to relate.Some kinds of suffering may have been too shameful for Neophytos to relate. We presented his account of the 1834 Arab revolt against Muhammad Ali of Egypt in August posts.
It is clear from this post and other sources from that period of history, that the Arab Muslims in Israel saw themselves as superior to the non-Muslims and as having the duty to defend the Empire and its social system which kept the dhimmis in thrall. NeoPhytos and other 19th century authors quoted on this blog make it clear that the Jews in Israel at that time were the low man on the totem pole, more oppressed and humiliated than even the Christian subjects of Sultan. In other words, contrary to currently widespread conventional views of the pre-Zionist period in Israel, views promulgated by Arabs, by Leftists, and by Western journalists, diplomats, and statesmen, Muslims lorded it over non-Muslims, exploiting them economically, extorting money and valuables from them, often keeping them in a state of fear, and habitually humiliating them. One may contrast NeoPhytos' account --and the reports of Chateaubriand, Karl Marx, John Lloyd Stephens, etc.-- with a recent book by one Henry Laurens, who is favored by the French TV as its favorite expert on the modern history of the Land of Israel. Laurens' La Question de Palestine generally avoids the contemporary accounts that we have cited which show Muslim/Arab oppression and humiliation of dhimmis, especially when it is Jews who are being humiliated and exploited.
NeoPhytos' account [his name is also spelled Neophitos] was published in the Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society, vol. XVIII, 1938. It was reprinted in Extracts from Annals of Palestine 1821-1841 (Jerusalem: Ariel Pubs., 1979).