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The Conflict Between Jewish Israelis And Islamic Palestinians History Essay

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The conflict between Jewish Israelis and Islamic Palestinians begins around late 19th century with the rise Arab nationalism in response to British colonization of the Ottoman Empire. At the start of conflict in the area resides the Balfour Declaration. The Balfour Declaration was established in 1917 to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. It was a letter written by the British foreign secretary that later became approved by the their congress and incorporated in to the British mandate for Palestine. This declaration led to the start of the Zionist movement where Jews from around the world migrated to the area. This led to strong resentment toward the Jewish settlers by Palestinians and was met with many demonstrations. At the end of the WWI, Palestine was promised to the Islamic Palestinian people while also having promised to make it the Jewish homeland based on the rising Zionist movement.

In1947 the United Nations recommended a Partition that split Mandatory Palestine into three parts. These parts were to be a Jewish State with a majority of a Jewish population, an Arab State with a majority of an Arab population, and third part were the cities Jerusalem and Bethlehem that were supposed to be placed under the control of the United Nations. Once the partition was officially approved by the UN, attacks began against the Jewish population in Palestine. These attacks were made my many of the Islamic Arabs in the area. Violent riots that resulted in stoning and shootings continued for many days to follow.

The first set of these violent acts and riots were the Jaffa riots in 1921, where Palestinians violently revolted riots against the Jewish population in Palestine. Tension continued to escalate and led to the 1929 Palestine riots where religious-nationalist riots, where Jews were massacred in Hebron and those that survived were forced to leave the city. In 1936, the Supreme Muslim Council in Palestine, instigated the Arab revolt in Palestine from 1936-1939. For those three years `Palestinian Arabs rioted and murdered Jews in various cities.

In early 1947, a partition of Palestine was recommended in order to create a Jewish state. Following this in 1948, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared the independence of Israel; however, a border was not specified. Seven arable countries soon attacked Israel. In1948 the first official military clash from the groups occurred and resulted in war. [1] The result was that Jewish forces Prevailed. Following this the UN negotiated agreements between Israel and Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreement gave the state of Israel additional land but they lost old Jerusalem, what they considered to be their holy land. In the second half of the 1960s Israel took control of the West bank and Gaza strip, however as a result of the Six-Day War of 1967 [2] .

This conflict and events that have occurred as a result has led to a large interested in its causes. The conflict in modern day Israel between Israelis and Palestinians is one that has been analyzed and researched by hundreds of historians and been published in thousands of articles

Historical examination about the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict seems heavily influenced by the period in which they are written.

They seem to be split into two main groups which consist of "old historians" and "new historians". The "old historians" seem to be the writings and research done up until the 1980, though many retain this style version still today. They tend to have a more pro Israeli spin and blame many causes of the conflict on revolts started by the Palestinians. One prime example of this style is Eville J. Mandel's Arabs and Zionism before World War I (1976). His analysis takes a look at initial causes of the conflict up until WWI and takes leans more to the side of Jewish rights to holly land giving them a "right" to the Zionist movement.

The movement rise of the new historians in this field came out of a new release of information out of Israeli Archives. These were archival documents that had been written during the period of the establishment of the Israeli state. They became accessible from the late 1970s. One of the more notable and controversial people of "new historians" is Benny Morris whom published The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-1949 in 1987. In his book he argues against claims of past historians that in 1947, during the evacuation Palestinians that left their homes did so voluntarily. Morris argues on the contrary that actually the Palestinians had fled in terror from the Israeli militia and that some of the militias conducted massacres of Palestinians. [3] 

Introduction

There is a conflict that has grasped the attention of almost every major country in the world. The horror and suffering that has occurred from it can is best shown by a quote from a local Israeli interviewed by a MSNBC correspondent. "I took my kids and wife and started running away for cover," Alwan (a Jewish local from Jerusalem) said. "We saw wounded people in the street while we were running." [4] This was an interview done in May of 2005; it emphasizes the devastation and tragedy from a bombing in by a Palestinian group. This is one of thousands of incidents such as this that has occurred between the Israelis and Palestinians in what is now modern day Israel.

These two groups are made up of the Islamic Palestinians and the Jewish Israelis. Since the early 1900s tensions in this area have continuously grown and repeatedly resulted in extreme violence and even war. Deaths of countless casualties on both sides have resulted from this violence. It is a conflict that affects the entire world. The continuing violence has caused tensions to grow from not only the Palestinians but the surrounding communities as well.

The roots of this conflict have factors and disagreements that date back over 5000 years. This paper will examine the conflict up through 1967 and explain that the center of the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians revolves around three main points that are central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict up through 1967, and should be examined. These key points are the foundation in which the conflict is rooted and they are the direct causes from which all other arguments and tensions have arisen from. These three main points in the conflict are: the dispute over which group has the right to the "holy land" of modern day Jerusalem, the Balfour declaration, and the fact that Palestinians have never as a people had rights to sovereignty.

Ties to "Holy Land"

The first point of conflict dates back to over 1500 hundred years with both sides claim claiming a historical and religious right to the territory as a "Holy Land" for their religions, this is especially to Jerusalem for which is the capital of Israel. Both groups have large and deep ties to the land with both a long history of settlements there that date back centuries throughout time.

The Israelis as Jews have considered this city the epicenter of their holy land since the days of Moses. [5] The country for them includes significant religious sites such as the location of the temple of Solomon and is the place of the Western wall, for which they could not visit during the Jordanian rule. It is also the location of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives and Joseph's tomb. [6] 

This is the land that was promised in a covenant that was made with their God and the father of their heritage Abraham. This is a factor that ties the religion of both groups. The "homeland" of Israel is the land that was promised to the descendents of Abraham as the Jewish people were led there by the prophet Moses. According to the Torah, God promised the Land of Israel to the three Patriarchs of the Jewish people. The time period of the three Patriarchs has been placed somewhere in around 2,000 BCE based on analysis of scripture. Based on analysis by biblical historians the first Kingdom of Israel is estimated to be established around the 11th century BCE. [7] 

In the time between the First Kingdom of Israel and the Muslim conquests of the 7th century, the Land of Israel has been under the rule of many nations that include Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Sassanian, and Byzantine rule. After the Bar Kokhba revolt failed against the Roman Empire in 132 CE the Jewish prescience in the area was heavily reduced. The presence of Jews in the area however remained continuous throughout history, though the numbers dwindled for some time.

The Mishnah and part of the Talmud, which are key Jewish holy text were, composed during the 2nd to 4th centuries CE in the cities Tiberias and Jerusalem. During the first Muslim conquests around 635 CE, the land was taken from the Byzantine Empire during the crusades. The control of the area was transferred around between Umayyads, Abbasids, and random Crusaders until 1260 when it would come under the rule of Mamluk Sultanate whose family would control it for the next few centuries.

These holy ties based on their faith as a Jewish People and the long history of settlement in the area gives a strong bond and ties to the land. In complete contrast the Palestinians have the same bonds and ties if history and religious significance to the land. [8] 

In regard to religion the Jewish religion it is the oldest of all monotheistic religions that exist today. They have are founding basis in the religions of Christians and Islam for which trace their heritage to Abraham and follow the same GOD. This also traces the conflict of the Muslim and Jewish conflict back to the sons of Abraham. The Jewish tribes come from the linage of Isaac and the Muslims are the descendants of the son of the slave Hagar named Ishmael. [9] 

To the Palestinian people their religious history gives them claim to the land and is also one of the locations where their prophet Muhammad is believed to have passed through on his ascension into heaven. They claim that God gave the land only to the descendants of Abraham's youngest son, whom was Isaac. While the Muslims claim that they have religious priority in according to the Quran. They argue that the area was once Canaan was promised to all descendants of Abraham, since the Arabs claim to be the linage of the eldest son from Haggar, Ishmael. Muslims also have come to revere many holy sites which were originally founded by Jews during the biblical period. These include such places as The Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount. During the past 1,400 years, they have constructed Islamic landmarks on these ancient Jewish sites, such as the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. [10] 

In 633 the Islamic conquest of Palestine began. In 638, Muslim forces in defeated the Persians and gained control of the land. The Muslims maintained control of the area until 1103CE. The power and control over the land would rotate back and forth between the crusaders and Muslim rule. Palestinians claim there right through historic settle beginning here. It was during the early 7th century that the mix of people that remained after the Byzantine reign converted to Islam. This is the ancestry that they link themselves to claiming that they have right to the country because of their history of living there ever since.

This argument of claim to Israel as a holy land is one of the driving forces for the conflict. The dispute over religious ties and right to the land has been the driving force behind many of the violent confrontations between the groups. This tension over religious ties and beliefs are further fueled and exemplified by the attacks on Israel's borders such as the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. [11] 

Balfour Declarations and its Aftermath

The promise to release Palestine from the control of the Ottoman Empire led the Jewish population and the Arab population in Palestine to support the alignment of the United Kingdom, France, and Russia during the World War I. In the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence there was an undertaking to form an Arab state in exchange for the Great Arab Revolt and in the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to favor the an establishment in Palestine that would create a national home for the Jewish people, but that nothing should be done to prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. [12] The British created a Mandatory Palestine, this was a legal action formally approved by the League of Nations in June 1922. It was based on a draft that was created by the main world powers that existed after the First World War. The mandate gave formalized rule in Palestine from 1917-1948 to the British. The boundaries of two new states were laid down within the territory of the Mandate. These territories were Palestine and Transjordan. This was all done in an attempt to break apart the former Ottoman Empire. [13] 

"The preamble of the mandate declared: "Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country…" [14] 

This declaration shows the intent of the Powers to keep an influence in the area.

The Zionist movement called for the establishment of a Jewish nation-state in Palestine so that they might find sanctuary and self-determination there. The Arab Palestinian Nationalist Movement was largely in response to rise of Zionism. [15] Jews did exist in the area for a long time numbering near 25,000 by the start of the 20th century, but the surge caused for a movement of demanding the recognition of these people as a nation. [16] 

The religious ties were one of many reasons for the nationality movement of the Jews to have their own independent Jewish state. This movement was called Zionism. The idea of Zionism is one that also holds key principles for the nationality building block of the conflict This Zionist movement was led by Theodore Herzel. Others include the Balfour declaration which was a letter from Europe that introduced the idea of a state for the Jews and showed support for making one in present day Israel. The Jews have called this land their home land for over 2,000 years and as a group have longed to return since the fall of the Temple of Solomon. Being the minority in all countries it is only natural that they want their own land and rally as a nation and wanting to claim it rightfully theirs. [17] 

The migrations of the Jewish people from around the world to Israel largely came from the anti-Semitic ideals that were coming from Russia and other countries in Europe. These migrations where also called Aliyah. In Russia Stalin had given rise to the idea of the Jews as a scapegoat leading to the persecution of them by many of the Russian people. The same thing was happening in the German occupied areas as well. Then with the start of World War II the Jews were forced either out of Europe or into the concentration camps, if they were not killed. These events led to multiple migrations to the area. [18] In the first migration over 25,000 Jews moved to the area, which nearly doubled the population. In 1917 the Jews made up only 10% of the population. By 1931 the population had raised exponentially, the number of Jews increased to over 140,000. Then in 1939 Hitler had risen to power in Germany. The once Jewish friendly country of Poland had come under attack and with Hitler's declaration to rid world if Jews many that could fled the country. This called the "Great Migration" With this migration came the problem of where they would all live. They started to buy land from the local land owners who were indecently Palestinian. [19] 

This course of events caused Jews to be optimistic about the eventual establishment of a homeland. Their optimism inspired the immigration to Palestine of Jews from many countries, particularly from Germany when Nazi persecution of Jews began. The arrival of many Jewish immigrants in the 1930s awakened Arab fears that Palestine would become a national homeland for Jews. By 1936 guerilla fighting had broken out between the Jews and Arabs. Unable to maintain peace, Britain issued a white paper in 1939 that restricted Jewish immigration into Palestine. The Jews, feeling betrayed, bitterly opposed the policy and looked to the United States for support.

"Even if nobody lost their land, program was unjust in principle because it denied majority political rights...Zionism, in principle, could not allow the natives to exercise their political rights because it would mean the end of the Zionist enterprise." Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, "Original Sins." [20] The Zionist movement led to a large control by the Jewish people which caused even further tensions after the British mandate. The conflicts burst out violently on many occasions because of this.

No Sovereignty for Palestine

The issue of sovereignty and independence is of great interest and importance to Palestinians. This is best shown by a quote from, Palestinian historian, Benny Morris.

"The fact that Palestinian nationalism developed later than Zionism and indeed in response to it does not in any way diminish the legitimacy of Palestinian nationalism or make it less valid than Zionism. All nationalisms arise in opposition to some "other." Why else would there be the need to specify who you are? And all nationalisms are defined by what they oppose" [21] 

The Palestinian people have never been allowed to have sovereignty over the land in which they have resided for centuries. Palestinians have possibly never as a people experienced sovereignty or experienced independence. Palestinians as the group recognized today was first under the rule of the Ottoman Empire until World War1. [22] 

After World War I, Palestine fell under the British Mandate until 1948, and then Israel controlled 78 percent of mandatory Palestine. The West Bank was then annexed by Jordan, and Gaza was administered by Egypt, both until 1967 Israel was established in parts of Palestine in 1948, and in the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the West Bank and East Jerusalem were occupied by Jordan and the Gaza Strip by Egypt, with both countries continuing to administer these areas until Israel occupied them during the 1967 war.. As a result of the June 1967 war, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have been living under Israeli occupation. [23] 

The control by the Jews and the resentment of from never having true sovereignty of their own is a boiling point in the conflict that has festered many violent and tragic events such as the six day war. The goal of the Palestinian people is to have their own country and independence. The hatred of being controlled in a land that they have lived in for so long leads to seemingly never ending debate and often violence in the country. The Israelis refuse to give up any land or rights because they feel it was owed to them and that the land belonged to them first.

Violence and Events from conflict through 1967

The conflicts' violence during the earlier years seemed to coincide in part with the times of the Aliyahs to Jerusalem. As the tensions rose the first Aliyah occurred in 1929, coincidentally this was the same year as the first Arab uprising against the Jews. It was a riot that lasted a full week and left over three hundred dead between the two sides, with hundreds more severely injured. The same kind of scene played out with the second major migration of Jews in 1936. In this case while the European nations were preparing for the war that lied ahead with Hitler's Germany, the Supreme Muslim Council in Palestine led by Amin al-Husayni, plotted and began the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. In this uprising Palestinian Arabs rioted and murdered Jews in various cities. In 1937 the leader of the riots, Amin al-Husayni fled Palestine. [24] 

    As tensions further heated Arab nationalism grew and excited the Arab community throughout the Middle East. A group of Arabs that were part of the small remaining Palestinian territory west of the Jordan River began to release a wave of repeated terrorist attacks upon the Jews. This was a failed effort in an effort to drive them out the country.  The British soon realized that they had no control over the situation and essentially looked away. This soon became apparent to the Israeli Jews and they were left alone to and began to attempt to fight off the attacks from the Arabic Palestinians.

In1947 the Israelis had successfully formed and organized a defense against the Arabs, This led to the formation the Hagana, the start of the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF]. There was also a Jewish underground called the Irgun, led by Menachem Begin who later became Prime Minister of Israel. Besides fighting the Arabs, the Irgun was instrumental in driving out the pro-Arab British.  Finally, in 1947 the British turned the Palestine matter over to the United Nations. [25] 

   The U.N. Resolution 181 partition plan was to divide the remaining 25% of Palestine into a Jewish Palestinian State and a second Arab Palestinian State Trans-Jordan being the first based upon population concentration.  The Jewish Palestinians accepted the proposal, but the Arab Palestinians rejected it. The Arabs still wanted all of Palestine. The violence soon became full out war. By the end of the next year over a thousand people had already been killed and left thousands injured. With the end of The British Mandate in the area on May 15th of 1948, Israel leaders declared its independence on 14 May. The State of Israel declared itself as an independent nation, and was quickly recognized by many countries such as the United States of America, Soviet Russia, and many other countries, primarily the western countries. [26] 

On the 15th and soon after the area was invaded by five Muslim countries that included: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Iraq. On the next day, Israel was at war with seven neighboring Arab armies:  Egypt, Trans-Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Yemen. Most of the Arabs living within the boundaries of the newly declared "ISRAEL" were encouraged to leave by the invading Arab armies to facilitate the slaughter of the Jews and were promised to be given all Jewish property after the victorious Arab armies won the war. When the 19-month war ended, however, Israel won and survived, despite a 1% loss of its entire population.  Those Arabs who did not run away became today's Israeli Arab citizens. Those who fled became the seeds of the first wave of "Palestinian Arab refugees."

The end result of what would became known as the "Israeli War of Independence "was the creation of a Jewish state slightly larger than that which was proposed by the United Nations two years before. [27] What remained of that almost-created second Arab Palestinian State was occupied by Egypt occupying the Gaza Strip and by Trans-Jordan occupying Judea-Samaria and Jerusalem. In the next year 1950 Trans-Jordan formally merged this West Bank territory into itself and granted Jordanian citizenship to all those Arabs who lived there.  Since Trans-Jordan was no longer confined to one side of the Jordan River, it renamed itself simply "Jordan.  Arabs of Palestine ended up with nearly 85% of the original territory of Palestine.

In the years that followed the wars a great distrust of Jews rose in Egypt, as a result Egypt retaliated against its Jewish communities. It was in February 1955 after Israel's raid on an Egyptian military outpost in Gaza that the Egyptian government began to actively and openly sponsor by training, recruiting, arming and supplying money to the Palestinian volunteers from Gaza as Fedayeen units which committed raids into Israel. After the multiple attacks by the Palestinian Fedayeen the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was established in 1964. Its goal was the liberation of Palestine through armed struggle. [28] The original PLO Charter stated "the desire for a Palestinian state established within the entirety of the borders of the British mandate prior to the 1948 war". [29] 

   From 1948-67 when all of Judea-Samaria (the West Bank, including Jerusalem) came under Arab [control, no effort was made to create a second Palestinian State for the Arabs living there.  It seems ironic that Yassir Arafat and his Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) discovered their "ancient" identity and a need for "self-determination" on this very same West Bank Israel regained this territory following Jordan's attempt to destroy Israel.  The PLO later went on to become the Palestinian Authority of today. 

More attacks and battle like this were fought until 1967 when the end result proved that Israel was a power to be known. They had won the war and taken the Gaza strip and the West bank. These areas provided a buffer between Israel and the Muslim nations that surround them. In an attempt at peace the West bank and the Gaza strip to the Palestine people, possibly in an effort to see how a two separate state solution would be like. Soon after this act a group of local Palestinians launched rockets over the border and into Israel. This led to the following six day war, for which took heavy casualties on both sides. [30] 

Throughout much of May 1967, the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian armies mobilized along Israel's narrow and seemingly indefensible borders in preparation for a massive invasion to eliminate the State of Israel. But the Israel planned and executed a perfect pre-emptive strike against Egypt. Within two hours, the Egyptian Air Force did not exist.  Most of its planes were destroyed while still on the runways!  Unaware that the Egyptians had no more air force, King Hussein of Jordan, launched his attack from the West Bank into Israel's belly while Syrian troops prepared to descend down the Golan Heights mountain range into northern Israel. 

    After six days of grueling warfare, Israel defeated all three Arab armies along three separate fronts, taking control of the entire Sinai Desert from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and its Old City from Jordan.  Most importantly was the return to Israel of its holy 3,000-year-old city of Jerusalem along the western edge of the West Bank.

    Unfortunately, Israel then became an "occupier" of this "West Bank" and the Gaza Strip along with its 850,000 Palestinian Arabs who were living there. These Arabs would refer to themselves as "refugees" and joined the masses of refugees from the previous war of 1948-49.

   The Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were packed and ready to leave following their defeat.  Suddenly the victorious IDF General Moshe Dayan persuaded them to stay. Dayan's plan was to educate them, offer them modern medical treatment, provide them with employment both in the West Bank and inside Israel Proper, and to live amongst them in hopes of building a bridge to the Arab world. 


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