Know Your History: The Roots of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Part I

With all the chaos happening between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, I thought I would take a few blog posts to break apart what is going on in short and hopefully digestible snippets which will help us all understand the roots of this conflict. Before I get into the first section, let’s just clarify the point that the Israelis who currently live in Israel are the descendants of the ancient Jewish people who claimed the land we call Palestine during Biblical times. Over the centuries, the Jewish diaspora spread the Jews to many corners of the globe. The Palestinians currently living in Palestine are the indigenous people group of the region.

Definition: Zionist Movement

In the late 19th century, the Zionist movement was founded by some Jews with the intent and purpose of encouraging the Jewish people to re-settle to their “promised land” of Israel. Over the course of 50 years, thousands of Jewish settlers moved back to Palestine.

Britain’s Broken Promise

At the end of WWII, the Ottoman Empire (Turks) were defeated and lost control of Palestine to the British. The British had intimated to the Arabs of the region that after the war, the Arabs would have control of all the land from the Mediterranean Sea down the entire Arabian Peninsula. But it never happened. Britain took control of the land of Palestine and Jordan. The Arabs controlled only the desert lands of the Arabian Peninsula.

Balfour Declaration

In 1917, the Balfour Declaration stated that Britain supported the idea of a new Jewish state in Palestine.

The broken promise coupled with the Balfour Declaration emboldened the Zionist movement, encouraging thousands of new Jewish emigrants to make their way to Palestine. This influx of Jews greatly stressed the indigenous Palestinian people who were already on the land.

Up Next: WWII & the New Israeli State

 

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