Urban Factionalism in Late Ottoman Gaza, c. 1875-1914: Local Politics and Spatial Divisions

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



During the late Ottoman period the city of Gaza was caught up in internal political strife. The city’s elite families tended to operate within rival factions while trying to draw Istanbul into its internal conflicts. In this context, they formed complex relationships with the elite of Jerusalem that dominated Palestine’s politics, as well as with peasants and Bedouins in Gaza’s hinterland. The article presents the first systematic account of factional strife in Gaza during the period. In addition, it examines what caused the internal divisions in Gaza to be so severe and considers whether factionalism also played out in the urban space. It is argued that (1) the severity of this factionalism derived from the rising stakes resulting from imperial politics and economic benefits, and (2) factionalism and urban development interacted with each other, leading to a particular type of ‘spatialized factionalism’. We suggest that this perspective can lead to a better understanding of both urban politics and urban development in other towns and cities in the Ottoman Empire’s Arab provinces.

Urban Factionalism in Late Ottoman Gaza, c. 1875-1914: Local Politics and Spatial Divisions

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient



Abū BakrAmīn Masʿūd. 1994. Qaḍāʾ al-Khalīl 1864-1918. Amman: Bilād al-Shām Committee Publications.

Abu-MannehButrus. 1990. Jerusalem in the Tanzimat Period: The New Ottoman Administration and the Notables. Die Welt des Islams 30/1: 1-44.

Anon. 1915. Filistin Risalesi. Jerusalem: Military Press.

Arab Bureau. 1917. Personalities of South Syriavol. 1: South Palestine. Cairo: Arab Bureau.

ʿĀrifʿĀrif al-. 1943. Tārīkh Ghazza. Jerusalem: Dār al-Aytām al-Islāmiyya.

AvcıYasemin and Vincent Lemire. 2005. De la modernité administrative à la modernisation urbaine: Une réévaluation de la municipalité ottomane de Jérusalem (1867-1917). In Municipalités méditerranéennes: Les réformes urbaines ottomanes au miroir d’une histoire comparée: Moyen-Orient Maghreb Europe méridionale ed. Nora Lafi. Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag: 73-138.

BaedekerKarl. 1891. Palästina und Syrien: Handbuch für Reisende. Leipzig: Karl Baedeker.

Ben-AriehYehoshua. 1989. Ha-Nof ha-yishuvi shel Eretz-Yisrael ʿerev ha-hityashvut ha-tsiyonit [The Settlement Landscape of Eretz-Yisrael on the Eve of Zionist Colonisation]. In The History of the Jewish Community in Eretz Israel since 1882vol. 1 ed. Israel Kolatt. Jerusalem: Israeli Academy for Sciences and Humanities: 75-141.

Ben-BassatYuval. 2012. Regional Cooperation among the Rural Population of Palestine’s Southern Coast as Reflected in Joint Petitions to İstanbul at the End of the Nineteenth Century. New Perspectives on Turkey 46: 213-238.

Ben-BassatYuval. 2013a. Mass Petitions as a Way to Evaluate ‘Public Opinion’ in the Late Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Empire? The Case of Internal Strife among Gaza’s Elite. Turkish Historical Review 4: 135-152.

Ben-BassatYuval. 2013b. Petitioning the Sultan: Protests and Justice in Late Ottoman Palestine. London: I.B. Tauris.

Ben-BassatYuval and Yossi Ben-Artzi. 2015. The Collision of Empires as seen from Istanbul: The Border of British-Controlled Egypt and Ottoman Palestine as Reflected in Ottoman Maps. Journal of Historical Geography 50: 25-36.

BoissevainJeremy. 2001. Factionalism. International Encyclopedia of the Behavioral Sciencesvol. 8: 5236-5239.

BourmaudPhilippe. 2012. Discipline et familiarisation à travers la médecine: Une mission médicale à Gaza (1887-1914). Histoire et missions chrétiennes 21: 81-102.

BüssowJohann. 2011a. Hamidian Palestine: Politics and Society in the District of Jerusalem 1872-1908. Leiden: Brill.

BüssowJohann. 2011b. Street Politics in Damascus: Kinship and other Social Categories as Bases of Political Action, 1830-1841. History of the Family 16/2: 108-125.

BüssowJohann. 2014. Gaza History. In EI3.

BüssowJohann and Khaled Safi. 2013. Damascus Affairs: Egyptian Rule in Syria through the Eyes of an Anonymous Damascene Chronicler. Würzburg: Ergon.

ConderClaude R. 1889. Tent Work in Palestine: A Record of Discovery and Adventure2nd ed. London: n.p.

DoumaniBeshara. 1995. Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus 1700-1900. Berkeley: University of California Press.

GattGeorg. 1888. Legende zum Plane von Gaza (herausgegeben von H. Guthe). Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 11: 149-159.

GerberHaim. 1985. Ottoman Rule in Jerusalem 1890-1914. Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag.

HalevyDotan. 2015. “Bayyit, hazit, bayyit: Ha-ʿir ʿAza ve-milhemet ha-ʿolam ha-rishona” [House, Front, House: The City of Gaza and the First World War]. Unpublished M.A. thesis. Tel-Aviv University.

HanssenJens. 2005. Fin de Siècle Beirut: The Making of an Ottoman Provincial Capital. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

HathawayJane. 2010. A Mediterranean Culture of Factions: Bilateral Factionalism in the Greater Mediterranean Region in the Pre-Modern Era. In Braudel Revisited: The Mediterranean World 1600-1800 ed. Gabriel PiterbergTeofilo F. Ruiz and Geoffrey Symcox. Toronto: University of Toronto Press: 55-75.

HouraniAlbert. 1968. Ottoman Reform and the Politics of Notables. In Beginning of Modernization in the Middle East ed. William Polk and Richard Chambers. Chicago: University of Chicago Press: 41-68.

HudsonLeila. 2006. Investing by Women or Investing in Women? Merchandise, Money and Marriage and the Formation of a Prenational Bourgeoisie in Damascus. Comparative Studies of South Asia Africa and the Middle East 26/1: 105-120.

K.A. 1897. Gaza. Der Bote aus Zion: Evangelische Quartalsschrift aus dem Syrischen Waisenhause in Jerusalem 13/4: 49-57.

KhalidiRashid. 1997. Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness. New York: Columbia University Press.

KushnerDavid. 1987. The Ottoman Governors of Palestine, 1864-1914. Middle Eastern Studies 23/3: 274-290.

KushnerDavid. 1999. The District of Jerusalem in the Eyes of Three Ottoman Governors at the End of the Hamidian Period. Middle Eastern Studies 35/2: 83-102.

KushnerDavid. 2005. To be Governor of Jerusalem: The City and District during the Time of Ali Ekrem Bey 1906-1908. Istanbul: ISIS.

LafiNora. 2005. Avant-propos: Une recherche collective pour l’étude des municipalités méditerranéennes.” In Municipalités méditerranéennes: Les réformes urbaines ottomanes au miroir d’une histoire comparée: Moyen-Orient Maghreb Europe méridoniale ed. LafiNora. Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag: 11-34.

LandmanShimon. 1984. Aḥyāʾ aʿyān al-Quds khārij aswārihā fī l-qarn al-tāsiʿ ʿashr [The Neighbourhoods of Jerusalem Extra Muros during the Nineteenth Century]. Tel Aviv: Dar al-Nashr al-ʿArabī.

Le StrangeGuy. 1965 [1890]. Palestine under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500. Beirut: Khayats Oriental Reprints.

MannāʿʿAdel. 1995. Aʿlām Filasṭīn fi awākhir al-ʿahd al-ʿuthmānī [The Notables of Palestine during the Late Ottoman Period]second edition. Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Dirāsāt al-Filasṭīniyya.

MarinoBrigitte. 1997. Le Faubourg du Midan a Damas à l’époque ottomane: Espace urbain société et habitat (1742-1830). Damascus: IFPO.

MubayyiḍSalīm ʿArafāt al-. 1987a. Ghazza wa-qiṭāʿuhā: Dirāsa fī khulūd al-makān wa-ḥaḍārat al-sukkān min al-ʿasr al-ḥajarī al-ḥadīth ḥattā al-ḥarb al-ʿālamiyya al-ūlā [Gaza and Its Region: A Study of the Continuous Development of the Place and the Culture of its People from the Neolithic Period until World War I]. Cairo: al-Hayʾa al-Miṣriyya al-ʿĀmma li-l-Kitāb.

MubayyiḍSalīm ʿArafāt al-. 1987b. Al-Bināyāt al-athariyya al-islāmiyya fī Ghazza wa-qiṭāʿihā [The Historical Islamic Buildings in Gaza and Its Region]. Cairo: al-Hayʾa al-Misriyya al-ʿĀmma li-l-Kitāb.

MuslihMuhammad. 1988. The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism. New York: Columbia University Press.

PadgettJohn F. and Christopher K. Ansell. 1993. Robust Action and the Rise of the Medici, 1400-1434. American Journal of Sociology 98: 1259-1319.

PagisJonathan. 1997. Mifqede ha-okhluṣin be-Erets Yisraʾel 1875-1918 [Population Counts in Eretz Israel 1875-1918]. Jerusalem: Israel State Archive.

RafeqAbdul-Karim [ʿAbd al-Karīm Rāfiq]. 1980. Ghazza: Dirāsa ʿumrāniyya wa-ijtimāʿiyya wa-iqtiṣādiyya min khilāl al-wathāʾiq al-sharʿiyya 1273-1277/1857-1861 [Gaza: A Demographic Social and Economic Study Based on the Sharia Court Records 1273-1277/1857-1861]. Damascus and Amman: n.p.

ReillyJames A. 2010. Rafeq’s Ghazza: An Early Exploration of a Secondary Town: Syria and Bilad al-Sham under Ottoman Rule. In Syria and Bilad al-Sham under Ottoman Rule ed. Peter Sluglett and Stefan Weber. Leiden: Brill: 91-97.

SafiKhaled. 2004. The Egyptian Rule in Palestine: A Critical Reassessment. Berlin: Mensch und Buch.

SalimFarid Al-. 2015. Palestine and the Decline of the Ottoman Empire: Modernization and the Path to Palestinian Statehood. London: I.B. Tauris.

SarınayYusuf ed. 2009. Osmanlı belgelerinde Filistin. Ankara: Devlet Arşivleri Genel Müdürlüğü, Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi.

SauerFranz. 1983. Georg Gatt Missionar in Gaza 1843-1924. Wien: Wiener Katholische Akademie, Arbeitskreis für Kirchliche Zeit- u. Wiener Diözesangeschichte.

Schatkowski SchilcherLinda. 1985. Families in Politics: Damascene Factions and Estates of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Stuttgart: F. Steiner.

SchölchAlexander. 1993. Palestine in Transformation 1856-1882. Washington, D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies.

SharonMoshe. 2009. Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum Palestinae (CIAP)vol. 4. Leiden: Brill.

ShimʿoniYaʿaqov. 1947. ʿArave Erets-Yisraʾel [The Arabs of Palestine]. Tel Aviv: ʿAm ʿOved.

ṬabbāʿʿUthman al-. 1999. Itḥāf al-aʿizza fi tarikh Ghazza [Presenting the Notables in the History of Gaza] ed. ʿAbd al-Laṭīf Zakī Abū Hāshim4 vols. Gaza: Maktabat al-Yāzijī.

TamariSalim. 1982. Factionalism and Class Formation in Recent Palestinian History. In Studies in the Economic and Social History of Palestine in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ed. Roger Owen. London and Basingstoke: Macmillan: 177-202.

TamariSalim. 2008. Mountain against the Sea: Essays on Palestinian Society and Culture. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

TamariSalim. 2011. Shifting Ottoman Conceptions of Palestine: Part 1: Filistin Risalesi and the two Jamals. Jerusalem Quarterly 47: 28-38

TarawnehMuhammad Salim al- [Muḥammad Salīm al-Ṭarāwina]. 2000. Qaḍāʾ Yāfā: Dirāsa idāriyya iqtiṣādiyya ijtimāʿiyya 1281-1333/1864-1914 [The Subdistrict of Jaffa: An Administrative Economic and Social Study 1281-1333/1864-1914]. Amman: Wizārat al-Thaqāfa.

TarrāzīFīlīb dī. 1913. Taʾrīkh al-ṣihāfa al-ʿarabiyya [The History of Arab Press]vol. 1. Beirut: al-Maṭbaʿa al-Adabiyya.

ZachsFruma. 2012. Debates on Re-forming the Family: ‘Private’ History of the Nahda? Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 102: 285-301.



Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 135 135 11
Full Text Views 119 119 59
PDF Downloads 26 26 5
EPUB Downloads 18 18 0