Why the tumult over the Peters book? Perhaps it is because it destroys the politically charged myth that Arabs have lived in Palestine in large numbers ''from time immemorial.''I don't know if the NYT could run that now. Also worth mentioning is that the group that currently calls itself "Palestinians" were not prosperous landowners before 1948 who had their olive groves stolen from them by invading Israelis. They were largely renters, with the landlords living in Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey.
Mark Twain visited in the 19th C and described it as an empty desert.