posted on Mar, 23 2004 @ 06:29 PM
The roots are complicated.
The facts though are that Jews have lived across the middle east for 2500 years. At the moment, they live essentially only in Israel.
after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the British got a "mandate" to run a certain section of the mideast, named Palestine. This was never a
state, but a common name for the area. During the Ottomans it was pretty much a sparsely populated backwater. Religiously there were Muslims,
Christians and Jews in various places, with some concentrated
more in the obvious ones (Jews in Jerusalem, and Christians in Bethlehem).
At some point the British divided it into two sections, Palestine and Transjordan, the latter now forming the territory of present day Jordan, the
former forming the territory of present day Israel + Gaza + "west bank". The difference is that the British forbade Jewish immigration into
In early 20th century Europe there was a movement "Zionism" to create a physical state for Jews---but it was NOT then religious in nature but more
secular and nationalist. The more orthodox religious Jews being more likely to be against this idea (thinking it was for the Messiah) and the more
secular ones being tired of the submissiveness and wimpiness of the religious ones, and asserting that they will still never be viewed as full
citizens in Europe. The rise of fascism proved this correct.
More Jews immigrated to Palestine, both from Europe (Ashkenazi) and others from middle eastern countries (Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, etc). At
this time, land was purchased, not conquered.
At some point nationalist Arabs started to want to stop this, alying themselves with the Fascists in WW2, which made the Jews madder. Jews chafed
under the British and started a guerilla war against the British for independence. In 1948 the U.N. proposed a partition of the British part of
Palestine between an Arab and Jewish state. The Arabs rejected this, and with neighboring Arab states, went to war to liquidate the new Israeli
state. Surprisingly, the Israelis started winning and conquered more territory than the original partition. They expelled some of the Arab
villages, and other Arab villages evacuated at instruction of the Arab states expecting to attack.
The war ended at the cease-fire lines of 1948---also known as the "green line" of 1967. This was not an official border since no Arab state
1967 same thing happened, Arabs + Israel in war, and Israel wins, conquering up to Gaza + West Bank + Sinai.
1979, Israel gives back Sinai to Egypt.
Keeps Gaza + West Bank. Right wing Jews press to settle on empty land on West bank that Palestineans want for their state.
1990-1999, partial withdrawl from Gaza and West bank.
1999 Arafat rejects Arab Palestinean state on 90% of West Bank + Gaza.