The Jewish claim: The old testament is the story of the struggle of the jews to survive and their longing for the promised land in Palestine. they settled there in about 1200 BC. In 135 AD under the directions of the romans were not allowed to visit Jerusalem again For the next 18 centuries they were a people without a homeland, dispersed through the world (diaspora). However they never lost their pride and clung to the hope they will one day be reunited in Jerusalem.
The Arab Claim: In the 7th century AD, Palestine was taken over by Arabs as they spread through religion through the Middle East and North Africa. Jerusalem and specifically the dome of rock became a scared place for them. The dilemma is that both groups have strong claims to the land. according to tradition they have a common ancestor, Abraham.
586 BC: Babylonians conquer the Hebrews, sparking the beginning of the diaspora (settling the jews outside of their homeland).
70 AD: The Romans conquer Israel, destroy their temple.
1280: The Ottoman Empire emerges and gain control over Islam.
1516: The Ottomans take over Israel.
1880’s: The birth of Zionism
Theodore Herzl - The father of organized/ political Zionism. He is the author of the book “the jewish state”. this book helped unite the victims of the Diaspora. It organized Zionism. His thesis was essentially, “Due to the worldwide persecution of Jews, it is critical for the survival of this race to have a national home, for jews, only jews. The effect of Theodore Herzel’s Zionist movement is felt in Palestine, to the tune of about 25,000 Jewish residents.
1897: The first Zionist congress is formed:
Jewish National fund
Purchased land from the week and feeble Ottomans who were desperate for money.
The Zionist movement was an effort to escape Persecution. Jews were being persecuted across the world from France (“The most liberal country in Europe”), Spain (The inquisition) Ukraine and Russia (pogroms). Herzel’s sentiments were fueled by the Dreyfus affair in France: Alfred Dreyfus, a jewish officer in the french army, was accused of treason. Theodore Herzl took special to this as cries of “death of jews” echoed throughout the very liberal French lands.
Why were they persecuted?
A reaction to the Jews referring themselves as the chosen people. Accusations of their involvement in the crucifixion of Jesus. They became frequent scapegoats for every kind of shortcoming that arose in any country during the Diaspora.
Between 1880 and WWI, three million jews from eastern Europe in an effort to escape this violent persecution. Some went to Palestine others to America. An organized Zionist movement took shape, evidence by the Basel Declarations in 1897 at the first Zionist Congress. Th goals were: Colonization of Palestine by Jews through the establishment of agricultural communities (MOshav and Kibbutz). The strengthening and fostering of a “Jewish National sentiment and consciousness”.
Around the same time the Arabs were trying to free themselves from the Ottoman empire, European countries were becoming more involved in the area (imperialism). European and American Jews were buying up land and beginning to work to establish Jewish settlements in Palestine. British and French had “Footholds” in the lucrative Middle east ( Suez Canal and French merchants / traders in Syria).
1914-1918: WWI breaks out across Europe. During the war the british had to main goals: Win the war
Increase their influence in the region after the war.
During the war, in an attempt to achieve these goals, the British made promises that they either never intended to keep or ones that were contradictory. Promise 1:
The Hussayn- McMahon letters: Letters promising the creation of an independent Arab kingdom. they did this to gain support of the Arabs. (“Great Britain is prepared to recognize and support the independence of the Arabs in all the regions. Promise 2: The Balfour declaration. A declaration of intent from James Balfour: British Foreign secretary speaks for itself (“will favor the establishment of Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people but that nothing shall be done which may predjudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-jewish communities in Palestine. Promise 3:
The Sykes-Picot Agreement
1916: Assuming the allied powers won WWI, the French and the British made a secret agreement which divided up much of the old Ottoman empire: -Britain: Iraq, Palestine, Transjordan
-France: Syria and Lebanon
By the end of WWI the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the sultan agreed to give up all of his non-turkish territory. The Arab lands are now under the allied occupation. they are divided up into political unities called mandate (an order giving the country the right to rule a territory until it was ready for independence. After WWI and more significantly after the Industrial Revolution, the middle east, long knowns for it’s importance as the hub of 3 continents, the crossroads of the world and the gateway to India now had something valuable, Oil. This increased the desire for European Countries to “increase their influence on the region”. In Palestine, the british ruled directly. They could not install an Arab King because of the promises made in the Balfour. Egypt is granted independence from Britain however British still controlled the Suez Canal. During this time the British were trying to keep the Arabs and jewish happy and it wasn’t working.
1939-1945: WWII break out in Europe
Official mandate of Britain which angered the Arabs and the Balfour declaration was fuel to the fire. Immigration started. Zionism was working. Palestinians-Arabs were working hard to limit this immigration. There was strong violence in Palestine between the residents and the immigrants. Immigration intensified with increase in Jewish persecution around the region (emergence of Nazi Germany). The Arab high committee formed to build a united front against Jewish immigration into Palestine. What followed has been called by some as a ‘Civil war” between Jews and the Palestinian-Arabs. At the start of WWII; roughly 450K Jews in Palestine (about 30%). The white Papers limited the number of Jewish immigrants into Palestine to 75K over the next five years. The Arabs saw this as a small victory. Unfortunately this document had no chance of holding up against immigrants fleeing Nazi persecution. By the end of WWII, the true horror of the Holocaust was realized almost 6 million Jewish murderers. This was a major turning point on this timeline. When the truth behind the Nazi’s WWII actions was realized, there was a worldwide sympathy for the Jews. The understandable worldwide sympathy that ensued increased the popularity of Zionism among Jews and non Jews. Harry Truman urged European Jews to be admitted to Palestine. Immigration increased, violence ensued and exhausted Britain found it impossible to control the Arab-Jewish tensions in Palestine. They ended their mandate over Palestine and turned over control of the land to the United Nations.
The Palestinian Arab claim:
We understand the horrors of the Holocaust, but why should we be punished for European anti-semitic actions? Their first order was to form the Arab League: an attempt at a unified Palestinian Arab leadership body. Arab leaders from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia joined forced to form a political body designed to compete with the Zionist organization. In 1946 Syria Lebanon and Jordan gain their independence. In 1948 the state of Israel is declared. In November 1947, the united Nations put forth the “UN Partition Plan”. It consisted of a Jewish State and an internationally run zone that included Jerusalem. Jewish State consisted of 56% of Palestine. The Zionist leader and soon to be leader of Israel accepted the partition plan but the Palestinians did not. They were angry for two reasons, it was wrong to give Jews half the land when the Jewish population was only 1/3. they did not like the idea that small group of Arabs would be living under jewish government in the new state. The state of Israel was created, it’s right to exist was recognized at once by the US and soviet Union. The Arab countries recognized it in different was, the day after Israel was created, Arabs troops from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon. The war of 1948-1948 was a disaster, hundred of thousands of Palestinian refugee fled this new state arriving as refugees in the West Bank and the Gaza strip, giving the Jews the population majority in what was once “Palestine. At this point, the Jewish military forces, the Hagannah started to act on the “disarm or be destroyed” tactic. Palestinians villages surrounded and searched. Many Palestinians were killed. Those who survived became refugees. as fear of Jewish violence quickly spread, so did he number of refugee. neighboring Arab countries tried to dissuade Palestinians but to little or no avail. the Israeli government quickly passed an “Absentees’ Property law” that confiscated the homes and land of the Palestinians who fled. there were roughly 160 K Palestinians who did not leave, And lived under Israeli rule, under strict military control. they were treated as “non Jews” in a Jewish State discriminated against and treated as second class citizens.
1950: the law of return is passed. The law states that any jew form anywhere in the world can return to Israel and be granted full citizenship.
1956: The Suez War: Nasser wanted to build the “The high dam at Aswan”, it was to be paid for by the US and British. Israel British and French invade and defeat eh outnumbered Egyptian army however the US persuade the Jews to withdraw. Nasser “wins” and become a hero for the middle east.
1967: The Six Days War: Nasser demander the removal of the UN Peace keeping troops Sinai Border, closed the gur of Aqaba, signed a military pact with Jordan. Israel attacks Egypt (surprise attack) they bomb the pane while they were on the ground. Israeli push the Egyptian army, they flee all the way back to the other side of the Suez Canal. The Sinai Peninsula is now occupied by Israel. The Us convinces a cease fire. Jerusalem was now solely in the hands of the Jews. With Egypt defeated, Nasser resigned. Though his government and his people turned down his resignation, the loss of the war was a major personal defeat for him, this bold Israeli victory sent shockwaves through the middle east.
This new shape of Israel makes a new dilemma: the Israeli Dilemma. Israel has changed the shaped and absorbed non-Jews in the process.”we want a purely Jewish stage but if we kick out the Arabs then we are being hypocritical” we were given Israel because we were kicked out of our land”. The Jews finally had control of most of their holy land and they were determined to keep it. Gurion was happy with the current situation.
Palestine understood that it could no longer trust the other Arab states and needed to create it’s own independent organization. Emergence of the Palestinian Liberation organization (PLO) led by Yasser Arafat.
1973: The war of Yom Kippur
Egypt and Syria invaded Israel with a surprise attack. the israelis proved their military strength once again. Egypt was doomed but saved by the bell when the United Sates and Soviets swooped in a organized a cease fire (Kissinger). 1979: US president Jimmy Carted hosts the camp david peace accords, the USA is the mediator whoa arranged a peace treaty between egypt and isreal. rritned to the sinai Peninsula to egypt. The US was most interests in stopping the fighting because of an oil embargo put forth by the arab oil nation.
1973: Palestinans numbered approximately 3.3 million. of there, 1.4 million were lving in Israel.