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CHAPTER II THE PALESTINIAN

by Salo W. Baron
CHAPTER II THE PALESTINIAN MUNICIPALITY HE ancient Palestinian town differed in numerous re-spects from the average American or European town. With few exceptions, such as the industrial regions of Beit- Mirsim and Beth- Shan during the Bronze Age, the Pales-tinian township was, in a higher degree even than other ancient oriental cities, primarily a settlement of farmers, only secondarily a center of trade and industry. Geographic factors united with political insecurity and a growing historic tradition to create many very small settlements to which the terms city, town, hamlet or village could be equally well ap-plied. Because of their autonomous municipal structure, however, almost all must be classified as townships in the political and organizational sense. 1. PHYSICAL REGIONALISM Western Palestine ( without Transjordan), with an area of but 9,000 square miles, has extraordinarily varied geographic features. Leaving Syria with its moderate climate, one reaches, after a few miles, the subtropical region of Tiberias. Sur-mounting the cooler plateau around Jerusalem, one suddenly drops to the almost tropical environs of the Dead Sea. A fast airplane can cover the entire distance from the high, snowcovered peaks of the Lebanon to the desolate, arid dunes south of Gaza in less than half an hour. Rain is scarce every-where, but its distribution is even more inadequate. Sections 31 T   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C For use on stand- alone, non- institutional computers only. To purchase Scholar PDF version with advanced functionality, go to www. publishersrow. com

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CHAPTER II THE PALESTINIAN MUNICIPALITY HE ancient Palestinian town differed in numerous re-spects from the average American or European town. With few exceptions, such as the industrial regions of Beit- Mirsim and Beth- Shan during the Bronze Age, the Pales-tinian township was, in a higher degree even than other ancient oriental cities, primarily a settlement of farmers, only secondarily a center of trade and industry. Geographic factors united with political insecurity and a growing historic tradition to create many very small settlements to which the terms city, town, hamlet or village could be equally well ap-plied. Because of their autonomous municipal structure, however, almost all must be classified as townships in the political and organizational sense. 1. PHYSICAL REGIONALISM Western Palestine ( without Transjordan), with an area of but 9,000 square miles, has extraordinarily varied geographic features. Leaving Syria with its moderate climate, one reaches, after a few miles, the subtropical region of Tiberias. Sur-mounting the cooler plateau around Jerusalem, one suddenly drops to the almost tropical environs of the Dead Sea. A fast airplane can cover the entire distance from the high, snowcovered peaks of the Lebanon to the desolate, arid dunes south of Gaza in less than half an hour. Rain is scarce every-where, but its distribution is even more inadequate. Sections 31 T < < C h a p t e r >> Home | T O C For use on stand- alone, non- institutional computers only. To purchase Scholar PDF version with advanced functionality, go to www. publishersrow. com
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