Based on rarely used documents from archives in Israel and Turkey, this article offers a new approach for the study of proto-Zionist––Arab relationships in Palestine at the end of the nineteenth century. It foregrounds the regional and sociological dimensions of the encounters between the two populations through focus on the Judean colonies southeast of Jaffa. These colonies, located relatively close together, maintained a close-knit network of mutual exchanges and gradually crystallized into a ““bloc””. Using a bottom-up approach, the article explores the developing coordination between the colonies and its impact on their relationships with their Arab neighbors. By the early twentieth century, the author argues, a distinct sociocultural identity had developed in the colonies and the close cooperation had begun to take on a nationalist coloration.

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