Palestine sits upon the Mediterranean Sea between Egypt, Syria, and Arabia; the land has switched hands many times over the past few thousands of years. Being a holy land for all three Abrahamic religions has led to a brutal conflict between them since their formation. The current conflict in Palestine has been raging for about three quarters of a century, but before it can be addressed some history must be known. For four centuries the land had been ruled by the Ottoman Empire, and as it began to collapse in the late 19th century ethnic Jews worldwide started a semi secular nationalist movement called Zionism which called for a return to their homeland of Israel which was promised to them by g-d in the Torah. In the First World War the Ottomans were on the losing side, and in 1917, with the Zionist movement growing, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Arthur Belfour declared that Britain backed the idea of establishing Palestine as a “national home for the Jewish people.”
At the end of the First World War Britain was gifted the newly formed Mandate for Palestine which in its creation carried Belfour’s promise. Not a state, not the sole national home like Zionists wanted, but a place where any Jews who wanted to could go without fear of the persecution that had hounded them for millennia. A few years later the revolt of the Arab people against the imperialist occupation of Great Britain began. Many innocents were killed on both sides, but Britain’s response was incredibly brutal leading to the death, maiming or exile of a tenth of the adult male population. In response The British attempted some reconciliation with the Arab community by creating policies to limit Jewish immigration and property purchase.
After the Second World War this limitation on immigration kept nearly a hundred thousand displaced Jews from coming into the country. After a series of uprisings by the Jews in Palestine, and general international disapproval on the continued immigration policy, Britain decided to end their occupation and leave the question of Palestine to the U.N. Shortly thereafter the U.N. voted in favour of the creation of two separate nations of Israel, for the Jews, and Palestine, for the Arabs. The plan was rejected by the Arabs, and soon thereafter a 5 month civil war between the Jews, Arabs, and the British began. In Mid 1948 the United Kingdom withdrew the last of its troops and the new Jewish state declared its independence which signaled the start of the first Arab-Israeli War.
A day after independence was declared Iraq, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Egypt declared war on the newly formed state of Israel. Although outnumbered the better organized and better armed Israelis eventually won the war capturing half of the territory that had been mandated to the nation of Palestine. The rest of the country was split between Jordan and Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, more than three quarters of the Muslim population, were forced out of their country in a day now known to the Muslim world as al-Nakba. In response to this there were a series of pogroms against Jewish people in Arab states leading to close to a million Jews fleeing their homes and nearly 700,000 of them settling in place of the displaced Palestinians.
More and more displaced Jews found their way into Israel in the succeeding years and tensions rose higher and higher between Israel and the Arabs. Palestinians given some autonomy from Egypt in the Gaza Strip launched frequent attacks against the occupying forces. In the early 60s relations reached a new low; the Arab world refused to recognize Israel as a state, and in 1967 the Holy Land was once again preparing for war. On June 5th 1967 Israel launched preemptive strikes against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan crippling their air forces. With air superiority assured the western equipped Israeli army slaughtered the Arabs and suffered less than a thousand deaths. Israel captured the Gaza strip and...
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