There seems to be as many opinions as to what has created the
as there are Israeli's and Palestinian's,
and arguably more opinions than that, given the whole world seems to have an opinion regarding this conflict. The history of Palestine and the state
of Israel is a long and complex story with so many different histories, so many different perspectives, it can be exhausting and overwhelming to wade
through it all just to find a simple answer as to what is creating this problem.
The Jewish presence in Israel, or Palestine depending upon your viewpoint and vernacular, goes back at least 3,400 years when Judaism was first formed
as a religion. Both Jews and Palestinian Arabs have been dispersed, have returned, been dispersed again, and finally returned to the land of Israel
or Palestine. The origins of both Judaism and Islam are debatable, and there is little agreement on the precise nature of those origins. Arguably,
Judaism goes back to the very beginning of civilization, and even more debatable that the Muslim religion dates back to the 7th century, but many
Islamic leaders believe the very same prophets of Judaism belong to Islam as well, so when and where Islamic religion actually began, and indeed, when
and where Judaism actually began, is at best, an educated guess.
Many Scholars place the Israelite to have begun in Caanan Egypt, around 1400 to 1100 BC, and around 1050 BC, the Jews first found independence as a
people, but by 950 BC the Jews split into the Kingdom of Judah, and the Kingdom of Israel. It is perhaps arguable that it was the endeavors of a
Hebrew monarchy that can be traced to the origins of the great divide between Israeli's and Palestinians today, and not just between Arabs and Jews,
but indeed, between Jews themselves.
Before there was the establishment of Hebrew monarchies, there was just simply the covenant with Yahweh. While their own scriptures, in the Book of
Samuel, have that prophet warning the Jews that there would be a heavy price to pay for disobeying the Law of God, and instead obeying the laws of
man, but the desire for a nation state was too compelling, and so began the Hebrew monarchies, beginning with Saul, who rejected Samuel's warnings
and began the steady march into to despotism. This action created a divide between Jews that still exists today, and today there are those who view
Saul as an iconic hero of the Jews, and others who view him as a villainous heretic who broke the Covenant with God.
By 720 BC, the Assyrians came in and conquered both the Arabs and the Jews, creating for the Jews the era known as The Lost Tribe of Israel, and for
the Arabs, it was a time where their own Babylonian Empire was swallowed up by the Neo-Assyrian Empire. This so called "neo empire" of the
Assyrians grew strong enough to actually pose a threat to the long standing empire of Egypt, and new languages and cultures were brought with this new
empire, and the Aramaic language comes from this time. However, as most people tend to do, both the Jews and Arabs confronted with this new empire
just simply assimilated in order to survive.
Yet, by 585 BC, the Jews were once again exiled, off to Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Kingdom of Judah, and by 538 BC, Babylon was
conquered by Cyrus the Great. Cyrus declared the Jews free once again, leading to upwards of 50,000 Jews returning to Israel. Cyrus ruled the Middle
East until Alexander the Great came along, and once again new cultures and languages were introduced to the Middle East, and the influence of
Alexander is still felt today. It is arguable that Greece had a profound impact on the Islamic Golden Age as well. However, prior the rise of the
Greek Empire, Palestinian Arabs and Jews both had known a relative time of peace under the Persian Empire that preceded Alexander. and the power
struggle after the death of Alexander, between Ptolemy and Seleculus, over Egypt and the remainder of the Middle East also brought strife to both
Palestinians and Jews.
Sometime later, between 174 and 135 BC, Antiochus IV Epiphanes tried to eradicate Judaism in favor of Hellenism, but this only brought about the
Maccabean Revolt. This period became known as the Period of Independence for the Jews, Matthias and his sons, through guerrilla tactics led the
Maccabean Revolt, but this period of independence came to an abrubt end after the murder of Matthias' last surviving son, Simon, and by 64 BC,
Pompeii conquered Judea, ushering in yet another empire, that of the Romans, and yet even still new cultures and language. It was during this period,
where the name for the nation/state of Israel was borne, in order to distinguish itself from that of Rome.
There were three major revolts against the Romans by the Israeli's during Roman rule, the period of Roman rule lasted quite a time, and due to lack
of space, and time, and in order to make a long story short, (too late), Jews began migrating to Europe during this time, and those who stayed in
Israel, under Roman rule, were always, at all times, surrounded by Arabs. After the birth, short life, and death of Jesus, suddenly the Jews were
even more divided, while a new sect of religion began known as Christianity. However, there has always been a common lineage between Jews and Arabs
in Ishmael, probably Abraham's eldest son, but is considered to be the patriarch of both Arab Muslims and Jews.
It is from the same family that both Muslims and Jews descended, and they represent perhaps the greatest family feud the world has ever known, and has
lasted for thousands of years now. Then there is the origins of Islam, which arguably began in the 7th century AD, with the Divine Revelations of
Muhammad, that became the written text of the Qur'an. Following the death of Muhammad, Caliphs rose to power in Islam, being a part of the Sunni
faith. The Caliphates, led by the Rashidun, and then a series of later Caliphates, created what has been considered to one of the ten largest empires
in the history of the world, and ushered in the Great Golden Age of Islam. By the 8th century AD, Christians become much more involved in the Middle
East in the form of Crusades, and for a time there was a Christian Kingdom in Palestine, finally defeated some two hundred years later by the Malmuks.
The Malumuks had united both Egypt and Syria, which lasted until the rise of the Ottoman Empire. While many Muslim nations fell to the Ottoman
Empire, Mehmed II, and his grandson Selim, carried on the Muslim Caliphate tradition within the Ottoman Empire, and as the Ottomon Empire went through
its own eventual entropy, as the rise of other European empires filled the vacuum, there was the matter of Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab, who being a
reformer endeavored to purify Islam from all the dissolution that came with the inevitable power struggles of so many empires. Thus, Wahhabism was
born, and this became a more fundamentalist form of Islam. So, where early history records sharp divisions between the Judaic faith, now history
begins its tales of sharp divisions among the Muslim faith.
The 19th century saw the rise of Saudi Arabia, saw an Arab revolt against Egypt conscripting soldiers in 1834, and in many ways, this is the era where
Arabs first began their own notions of sovereignty. The revolt of 1834 was crushed by the Egyptians, but by the 1840's and 50's, while Palestine
had flipped flopped from Egyptian rule back to Turkish rule, internationalism began to take root, as Arabs struggled to create some sort of national
identity. Where the Jews had forged a national identity, even if at the expense of breaking their Covenant with God, the Arabs were much slower to do
so, and the modern day movement of a national identity for Palestinians did not really began until sometime in the 1930's.
However, while Palestinians were struggling to develop their own sovereignty, European Jews were introduced to a brand new horror in the form of
Nazism, and after the Holocaust, and a Second World War, the need for a nation state for Jews was palpable and recognized by many nations. This
recognition was what led to the establishment of modern day Israel in 1948, and even before that, due in a large part to the Great Jewish Diaspora,
Zionism had all ready begun. While Palestinian Arabs were in the midst of their own nationalist movements, so to were Zionists, and for the modern
world, this is the easy answer as to what divides the Palestinians and Israeli's.
Prior to the establishment of Israel, Palestinians were struggling with British rule, and by 1948 when the U.N. sought to help Jews establish Israel,
there was an overwhelming support of a two-state solution, where both Palestinian Arabs, and Jews would share Palestine together, but it was the Arabs
who rejected this two state solution, and the perpetual wars and violent conflicts began between Arabs and Jews. There is a long history to this
conflict, considering the short amount of time that Israel has been a nation, and the history leading up to this current state of affairs is a far
longer history, that my feeble attempts to address could every truly explain the long standing divide between a people that share the same lineage.
It has been, as I stated earlier, a wild and strange family feud, between to peoples who have both suffered the indignities and abuses of foreign
conquerors for thousands of years. In the end, there just is no easy answer to what is causing, or what has caused all this divide and seeming
irreparable damage between the two, but the constant meddling of foreign powers has certainly not helped the issue, and in the end, perhaps families
are best left alone to settle their own disputes, but trying telling that to the rest of the world, each person with an opinion, convinced they think
they have the answer.