The Arab-Israeli conflict is a struggle between the Jewish state of Israel and the Arabs of the Middle East concerning the area known as Palestine. The term Palestine has been associated variously and sometimes controversially with this small region. Both the geographic area designated by and the political status of the name have changed over the course of some three millennia. The region, or a part of it, is also known as the Holy Land and is held sacred among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. In the twentieth century it has been the object of conflicting claims of Jewish and Arab national movements, and the conflict has led to prolonged violence and in several instances open warfare opposing Israel's existence. These wars, which occurred during the years of nineteen forty-eight to nineteen forty-nine, nineteen fifty-six, nineteen sixty-seven, nineteen seventy-three to nineteen seventy-four, and nineteen eighty-two were complicated and heightened by the political, strategic, and economic interests in the area of the great powers. This fight is the continuation of an Arab-Jewish struggle that began in the early 1900's for control of Palestine. The historic and desirable region, which has varied greatly since ancient times, is situated on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean in southwestern Asia. The strategic importance of the area is immense. Through it pass the main roads from Egypt to Syria and from the Mediterranean to the hills beyond the Jordan River. Palestine is now largely divided between Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories, parts of which are self-administered by Palestinians. The ongoing feud is and was based around competing land claims and the two opposing viewpoints are that the Palestinians lived in the region long before Jews began moving there in large numbers in the late 1800's and that Jews believed they were justified by Zionism. "Chiefly, today's Palestine question has to do with Jews and Arabs. Over the centuries, both groups have developed deep historical roots in a place both regard as a Holy Land. Both have strong emotional ties to it." (Carrol, 3) This paper will discuss how discrimination against Arab-Palestinians is justified by Zionism and the results of these actions, the origins, purposes, and effects of the Arab "Intifada," and what the future holds for the Arabs and Jews living in a race/religion biased land.
In the last two decades of the nineteenth century, two separate movements developed that were to have continuing effects for all of the Middle East; these are the Arab revival and Zionism. Both movements aimed at uniting their peoples in a national homeland. They were to converge and confront each other in Palestine where, it was initially thought by some, they could each achieve their aspirations in an atmosphere of mutual accommodation. The two movements, in fact, proved incompatible and the majority of Arab suffering resulted. Beginning in the 1800's, oppression of Jews in Eastern Europe sparked a mass emigration of Jewish refugees. Some Jews formed a movement called Zionism, which sought to make Palestine an independent Jewish nation. The first Zionist Congress was held in Switzerland in 1897 and it issued the Basle programme on the colonization of Palestine and the establishment of the World Zionist Organization (WZO). Then, in 1906, The Zionist congress decided the Jewish homeland should be Palestine. The only problem was that there already was a large Arab-Palestinian population inhabiting the area. For this reason, Zionism was used as a propagandist tool to rid Palestine of the Arabs and to start a new nation for the Jews. A look at the fabric of Jewish Zionists that emigrated to Israel exhibited the driving forces and it displayed how massively the movement developed. For Russian Jews, it was the desire to escape totalitarian oppression. Religious Jews went there hoping for the day of messianic redemption. Still others, viewing developments on the...
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Carroll, Raymond. The Palestine Question. New York: Franklin Watts, 1983.
Cheshin, Amir S. Separate and Unequal, the Inside Story of Israel Rule in East Jerusalem.
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1999.
Ya 'ari, Ehud. Intifada. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989.
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