Most observers consider the Balfour Declaration and Mandate period of the 1920s as the origin of today’s Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Breaking new ground, 1913: SEEDS OF CONFLICT, a one-hour documentary directed by filmmaker Ben Loeterman, explores the divergent social forces growing in Palestine before World War I, when Arabs and Jews co-existed in harmony as Ottomans, each yearning for a land to call their own.
Government documents, newspaper accounts, and personal letters in five languages from the Turkish state archives provide new and fascinating insights into dramatic events that took place in Palestine just before the outbreak of World War I.
1913 Palestine is a multi-lingual, multi-cultural society. Muslims, Jews and Christians coexist in relative harmony and often gather together in the coffeehouses of Jerusalem. It is a time before Jerusalem’s Old City is segregated into separate ‘quarters’ for various groups. But after European Jewish migrants arrive, Ruhi al-Khalidi, Jerusalem’s representative to the Ottoman Parliament in
Istanbul, voices growing concerns about what he sees as their secret agenda to build a state. So does Albert Antebi, an Arab-speaking Sephardic Jew known as the Jewish “pasha,” who embraces economic and cultural Zionism, but fears the consequences of a Zionist land grab.
Meanwhile, Arthur Ruppin arrives from Germany to be the Zionist’s land agent and Khalil Sakakini returns from a trip to America filled with pride and optimism of a new Palestinian Arab identity. In 1913, growing tensions erupt into violence in the vineyard just outside Rehovot, leaving an Arab and Jew dead, and sowing the seeds for a century of conflict. Read more »
Albert Antebi was a Jew from Damascus who relocated to Jerusalem in 1896 to became the head of the Alliance Israélite Universelle. He was an educator, a philanthroper and a go-between the Jewish and Arab communities in Palestine.Read more >
Ruhi Khalidi was a member of the notable Palestinian Khalidi family, a writer and teacher. He was the nephew of Yusuf Khalidi who had the letter exchange with Herzl in 1890. Following the Yung Turk Revolution in 1908, Ruhi was one of three elected representatives of Jerusalem in the Ottoman Parliament in Istanbul.Read more > Ruhi Khalidi
Arthur Ruppin was a Jewish German sociologist and statistician who relocated to Jaffa in 1907 to work for the World Zionist Organization. Ruppin headed the Palestine Office and was in charge of buying land for Jewish Settlement in Palestine.Read more > Arthur Ruppin
Khalil al-Sakakini was a Palestinian Orthodox Christian. He was the teacher of Wasif Jawhariyyeh among many others. He founded the Constitutional School based on humanist principles and introduced new educational methods. He was also an Arab nationalist who voiced concern over the growing Zionist activity in Palestine.Read more > Khalil al-Sakakini