History of the conflict
Main article: History of the Arab-Israeli conflict
End of 19th century-1948
In the late 1800s, under the banner of a new movement called Zionism, many European Jews began purchasing swamps and other desert land from the Ottoman sultan and his agents. Theodore Herzl, the founder of the movement, appealed to the Ottomans as a way to raise tax revenues and to modernize the relatively sparsely populated and barren land
. At that time, the entire city of Jerusalem was contained in its tiny walled area and only had a few tens of thousands of inhabitants. Under the Zionists, collective farms, known as kibbutzim, were established, and cities were founded, such as Tel Aviv. Generally, at first, the Arabs welcomed the Zionists with their standard of living, education, capital, and jobs. Many Arabs moved into the region, matching the increase in Jews from Europe.
After World War I the area came under British rule as the British Mandate of Palestine. The area mandated to the British, included what is today Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. This would become important post-World War II, when the British tried to meet the obligations of both Jews and Arabs by creating a homeland for each in Palestine, namely Israel and Jordan (1946)
Jewish immigration increased soon after the Nazis came to power in Germany, causing the Jewish population in Palestine to double. Palestinian Arabs saw this rapid influx of Jewish immigrants as a threat to their homeland and their identity as a people. Moreover, Jewish policies of purchasing land and prohibiting the employment of Arabs in Jewish-owned industries and farms greatly angered the Palestinian Arab communities. Demonstrations were held as early as 1920, protesting what the Arabs felt were unfair preferences for the Jewish immigrants set forth by the British mandate that governed Palestine at the time. This resentment led to the harassment and persecution of Jews. In August of 1929, Arabs murdered 67 Jews in the city of Hebron, in what became known as the Hebron Massacre. By 1936, escalating tensions led to the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine.
By the 1920s, the Jewish and Arab populations had grown hostile to each other. European anti-semitism had spread to the Middle East, and there was great association with the upcoming Nazi movement in Germany. There are notable photos and other documents linking Hitler to leaders like the Grand Mufti in Jerusalem
. Eventually, violence between Arab and Jews had begun a vicious cycle which continues to this day.
In response to Arab pressure, the British Mandate authorities greatly reduced the number of Jewish immigrants to Palestine (see White Paper of 1939 and the Exodus ship). These restrictions remained in place until the end of the mandate, a period which coincided with the Nazi Holocaust and the flight of Jewish refugees from Europe
. As a consequence, most Jewish entrants to Palestine were illegal (see Aliyah Bet), causing further tensions in the region. Following several failed attempts to solve the problem diplomatically, the British asked the newly formed United Nations for help. On 15 May 1947 the UN appointed a committee, the UNSCOP, composed of representatives from eleven states. To make the committee more neutral, none of the Great Powers were represented. After five weeks of in-country study, the commission recommended creating a partitioned state with separate territories for the Jews and the Arabs in Palestine . This "two state solution" was accepted with resolution 181 by the UN General Assembly in November 1947 by 33 votes to 13 with 10 abstentions. The Arab states, which constituted the Arab League, voted against
. On the ground, Arab and Jewish Palestinians were fighting openly to control strategic positions in the region. Several major atrocities were committed by both sides.
The main differences between the 1947 partition proposal and 1949 armistice lines are highlighted in light red and magentaOn May 14, 1948, one day before the end of the British Mandate of Palestine, Israel declared its independence and sovereignty on the portion partitioned by UNSCOP for the Jewish state
. The next day, the Arab League reiterated officially their opposition to the "two-state solution" in a letter to the UN.
 That day, the armies of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq invaded the territory partitioned for the Arab state, thus starting the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
The nascent Israeli Defense Force repulsed the Arab nations from part of the occupied territories, thus extending its borders beyond the original UNSCOP partition. By December of 1948, Israel controlled most of the portion of Mandate Palestine west of the Jordan River. The remainder of the Mandate consisted of Jordan, the area that came to be called the West Bank (controlled by Jordan), and the Gaza Strip (controlled by Egypt). Prior to and during this conflict, 711,000 Palestinians Arabs fled their original lands to become Palestinian refugees, in part, due to several atrocities committed by the Israeli forces. The War came to an end with the signing of the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and each of its Arab neighbours. This 1949 armistice line, the so-called green line, is to this day the internationally-recognized border of the state of Israel. It is often referred to as the "pre-1967" border.
Following the adoption by the United Nations of Resolution 181 in November 1947 and the declaration of the State of Israel in May 1948, several Arab countries adopted discriminatory measures against their local Jewish populations
. There were riots in Yemen and Syria. In Libya, Jews were deprived of citizenship, and in Iraq, their property was seized. As a result, a large number of Jews were forced to emigrate from Arab lands, although many also emigrated for ideological reasons
Today, these displaced Jews and their descendants represent 41% of the total population of Israel. For details, see Jewish exodus from Arab lands.
As a result of Israel's victory in its 1948 war of independence, any Arabs caught on the wrong side of the cease-fire line were unable to return to their homes in what became Israel. Likewise, any Jews on the West Bank or in Gaza were exiled from their property and homes to Israel. The main difference between the two is that Arabs were allowed to stay in Israel and gain citizenship post-1948, while Jews were completely removed from Arab-held areas after 1948
. Today's Palestinian refugees are the descendants of those who left, either out of fear for their lives or in response to instructions from the Grand Mufti and/or Arab armies to leave their homes, so the Arab armies would have a free-fire range to evict the Jews from the new UN-created State of Israel.
In 1956, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, and blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba, in contravention of the Constantinople Convention of 1888. Many argued that this was also a violation of the 1949 Armistice Agreements. On July 26, 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal Company, and closed the canal to Israeli shipping.
Israel responded on October 29, 1956, by invading the Sinai Peninsula with British and French support. During the Suez Canal Crisis, Israel captured the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula. The United States and the United Nations soon pressured it into a ceasefire. Israel agreed to withdraw from Egyptian territory. Egypt agreed to freedom of navigation in the region and the demilitarization of the Sinai. The United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) was created and deployed to oversee the demilitarization. The UNEF was only deployed on the Egyptian side of the border, as Israel refused to allow them on its territory.
On May 19, 1967, Egypt expelled UNEF observers, and deployed 100,000 soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula. It again closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, returning the region to the way it was in 1956 when Israel was blockaded.
In 1966-67, Egypt's leader, Gen. Nasser, began a pan-Arab campaign seeking unified support to conquer Israel and expel the Jews. Freshly armed with the latest in Soviet supplied planes, tanks, and other military stocks, Egypt felt, for the first time since 1948, that they were in a position to overrun Israel. Egyptian media began a relentless and supportive jingoist campaign whipping up a fervor of popular support for war. This enthusiasm spilled over to the other Arab capitals.
On May 30, 1967, Jordan entered into the mutual defense pact between Egypt and Syria. Egypt mobilized Sinai units, crossing UN lines (after having expelled the UN border monitors) and mobilized and massed on Israel's southern border. Likewise, armies in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan also mobilized, encircling Israel for an imminent coordinated attack. In response, on June 5 Israel sent almost all of its planes on a preemptive mission into Egypt. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) destroyed most of the Egyptian Air Force in a surprise attack, then turned east to destroy the Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi air forces
. This strike was the crucial element in Israel's victory in the Six-Day War. At the war's end, Israel had gained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. The results of the war affect the geopolitics of the region to this day
Does any goat-herder have any problem with that version of history?