Why is it in the news?
- While the modern contours of the Israel-Palestine conflict are well-known, Palestinians argue that Israel was forcibly established on their homeland, with Israel claiming that it has every right to exist on its Biblical homeland.
About the birth of Israel
Jewish migration to Palestine
- Late 19th-century Jewish migration to Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire, began due to rising anti-Semitism in Europe.
- The movement for a Jewish homeland, known as Zionism, gained traction.
- Theodor Herzl, considered the father of political Zionism, published ‘Der Judenstaat’ in 1896, advocating for a Jewish nation.
- Initially, potential locations for the homeland included Uganda and Argentina, but Palestine was eventually chosen.
- The first wave of Jewish migration (First Aliyah) to Palestine occurred from 1881 to 1903.
Palestine under Ottoman Rule
- Palestine was one province of the Ottoman Empire, with a diverse population identifying as Ottomans, Arabs, Muslims, or along clan and family lines.
- Absentee landlordism was common, and land was sold to Jews by landowners who did not reside in the region.
- New Jewish settlers did not assimilate, spoke little Arabic, and maintained separate communities.
- They often dismissed Arab laborers and displaced Arab tenants when buying land.
- Jewish settlements followed European sensibilities and were funded by wealthy Jews abroad, like the Rothschild family.
Role of the Balfour Declaration
- The Balfour Declaration of 1917, issued by the British government, supported the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.
- It aimed to secure Jewish support for Britain during World War I while ensuring the rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine.
- The Balfour Declaration laid the foundation for future resolutions on Palestine.
British Mandate and World War II
- After World War I, Palestine fell under British mandate, leading to decades of violence and unrest.
- Arab frustration led to attacks on Jewish settlements, railways, and civilians, as well as resistance against British rule.
- Jewish militias became well-organized and disciplined during this period.
- The Holocaust and international sympathy boosted the Jewish cause.
- The conflict intensified, with Palestinians resisting Jewish influence and Zionist migration.
UN Resolution and Wars
- In 1947, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem under UN control.
- The Palestinian side rejected the resolution, while Israel declared independence in May 1948. This declaration led to civil war and the displacement of many Palestinians, known as the Naqba.
- Israel was invaded by neighbouring Arab countries but managed to defend itself with U.S. support.
- Israel’s declaration of independence was followed by the Arab-Israeli War in 1948.
- Today, Palestine is recognized by 139 UN member states, while Israel is recognized by 165, and Gaza and the West Bank remain under Israeli military control.