Politico Op-Ed: Jews were Majority in West Bank "since the 1800's"

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Yesterday Politico published an op-ed by former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block enumerating the reasons why the United States should sabotage the Palestinian Authority's statehood bid at the UN. The op-ed is larded with the usual canards and hasbara talking points (Palestine will be a "terrorist state," etc) that anyone would expect from a former AIPAC flak, but one line was particularly egregious.

[The PA's] legislature hasn’t met in nearly five years; it can’t hold elections as required under its own law, and it doesn’t have defined territory — instead claiming land once held briefly by Jordan, where Jews have been the majority population since the 1800s, and now under Israeli sovereignty.

If Block is claiming that the West Bank has a majority Jewish population since the 1800's, which he appears to have done, he is lying. The Jewish population only reached a majority east of the 1949 Armistice Lines through the massive campaign of ethnic cleansing carried out by Zionist militias in 1947 and '48. Prior to 1948 the total population of Muslims and Christians in historic Palestine numbered about 1.2 million, while less than 500,000 Jews had settled the area, with the overwhelming majority arriving as settlers from Europe. As far as I know, the only Jewish settlement located in the area now known as the West Bank prior to 1948 was Gush Etzion. Usually fact-checkers catch obvious falsehoods like this, but then again, when Israel-Palestine is discussed in the mainstream press, it seems like you can get away with just about anything.

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I have often read that the Jews were indeed a majority in Jerusalem since 1860, however. What do you know about this?

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