Israel and Palestine Conflict

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Last updated: May 9, 2019

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Historically, the ancient Jews from Biblical times called their land Israel, Canaan, Judea, Samaria, Galilee and other long-ago names. Modern Jews, and quite a few Christians, believe that in the days of the Bible and the Torah, God gave this land to the ancient Jews (also known as Hebrews), led by men such as Abraham, Moses, David, and others.

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About 2,000 years ago, the Roman Empire ruled this area, and in suppressing several Jewish rebellions, the Romans destroyed the Jewish temple in the city of Jerusalem, killed large numbers of Jews, and forced many others to leave their homeland in an exodus called “The Diaspora.”

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Some Jews remained in the area, but large numbers of Jews did not return until the 19th and 20th Century, especially after World War Two and the Holocaust.

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This is where the real trouble began between the Jews, who began calling themselves “Israelis” after their old name for their ancient homeland of Israel, and the Arab population of the area who came to be known as “Palestinians,” after the old Roman and Greek name for the area.

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In the two thousand years after most of the Jewish population was killed off by the Romans or forced to leave, Arabic-speaking Muslims became the dominant ethnic group.

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In April 2012, Israel celebrated its 64th Independence Day. According to the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics, 7.9 million people live in Israel, 10 times the number at the country’s founding, with 14 big cities; and 70 percent of the inhabitants are native-born, compared with 35 percent in 1948. Israel’s gross domestic product per capita would fit well into Western Europe.

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But Israel has rarely felt more uncomfortable in its more immediate neighborhood. Since early 2011, the winds unleashed by the Arab Spring have cast a chill over the Middle East, leaving Israel grappling with a radically transformed region where it believes its options are limited and poor.

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Israel’s increasingly urgent warnings on the need to halt Iran’s nuclear progress before it gets much closer to being able to build a bomb prompted concerns that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might unilaterally mount a military strike, a prospect that appeared by late in the year to have been put on hold.

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In November, Israel engaged in an eight-day conflict with Hamas, the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip.

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Israeli officials said they accomplished their main military goals of reducing the stock of rockets that could be fired across the border, but Hamas celebrated the cease-fire, negotiated by the United States and Egypt, as a victory.

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Mr. Netanyahu, the head of the right-wing Likud party, has been prime minister since he assembled a coalition in 2009.

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Recently the Israel and Palestine government leaders met under the supervision of United States President Bill Clinton. An agreement was made to try and stabilize the violent cross-border disputes. Socialists say that this is for naught

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The creation of the state of Israel after World War II introduced a new dynamic into the Middle East.

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The political leaders of Israel and Arabic countries say that their choices are based on the vested interests of “the people”. But Socialists take a more critical view.

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The land, the factories, the oil—none is owned by “the people”, but by a small group of capitalists who profit very well, safe, many miles away from the violence.

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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the world’s longest standing conflicts.

Many people feel that resolving this conflict is the key to resolving the various conflicts throughout the Middle East.

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Some observers see this conflict creating Arab resentment towards the “West” and fueling radical Islamic terrorism. Although the conflict generates massive public discussion and debate, there are relatively few (if any) forums that inherently maintain an impartial and non-partisan approach to understanding it.

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“The Zionist movement, which emerged in Europe in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, aimed at the national revival of the Jewish people in its ancestral home after nearly two thousand years of exile.

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The term ‘Zionism’ was coined in 1885 by the Viennese Jewish writer Nathan Birnbaum, Zion being one of the biblical names for Jerusalem.

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Zionism was in essence an answer to the Jewish problem that derived from two basic facts: the Jews were dispersed in various countries around the world, and in each country they constituted a minority. The Zionist solution was to end this anomalous existence and dependence on others, to return to Zion, and to attain majority status there and, ultimately, political independence and statehood.”

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18th century: The German Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn initiates a Jewish secularism, which focused on Jewish national identity.

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1862: The German Jew Moses Hess publishes the book Rome and Jerusalem where he called for a return of Jews to Palestine.

He also said that Jews would never succeed by assimilating into European societies.

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1881: Pogroms of Russia result in heavy emigration to USA. Some few Jews even emigrate to Palestine, as they are motivated by religious ideas of Palestine as Jewish homeland.

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1893: Nathan Birnbaum introduces the term ‘Zionism.’

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1896: The Austrian Jew Theodor Herzl publishes the book The Jewish State, where he declares that the cure for anti-semitism was the establishment of a Jewish state.

As he saw it, the best place to establish this state was in Palestine, but this geography was no precondition.

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1897: The 1st Zionist Congress is held in Basel in Switzerland. About 200 delegates participate. The Basel Program is formulated, calling for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, where Jews could live safely under public law.

The World Zionist organization is also founded, and establishes its head quarters in Vienna, Austria.

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1903: Britain offers an area of 15,500 km² in Uganda in Africa, an area of virgin land to the Jews of the world, where a Jewish homeland could be established.

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1905: The 7th Zionist Congress refuses Britain’s Uganda proposal. Israel Zangwill forms the Jewish Territorial organization, which sought to find territory for a Jewish state, no matter where this would be. His organization got only few supporters.

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1917: The Balfour Declaration, issued by the British foreign secretary, gives official British support to the work of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

After the Russian revolution is defeated, many young Jews emigrate from Russia.

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1922: Britain gives The World Zionist organization the mandate to administer Jewish immigration and settlement in Palestine. This immigration and settlement was funded by American Jews.

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1939: The British ‘White Paper’ gives the Arabs of Palestine de facto control over Jewish immigration.

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1942: A call is issued from Zionist leaders for the establishment of a Jewish state in all of western Palestine, when World War 2 ends.

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1948 May 14: The State of Israel is founded. The World Zionist organization continues to back Jewish immigration to Israel.”

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“There have been two competing mythologies about Palestine circa 1880. The extremist Jewish mythology, long since abandoned, was that Palestine was ‘a land without people, for a people without a land.’

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The extremeist Palestinian mythology, which has become more embedded with time, is that in 1880 there was a Palestinian people; some even say a Palestinian nation that was displaced by the Zionist invasion. The reality, as usual, lies somewhere in between.

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MAHMOUD ABBAS Positions – President, Palestinian Authority (PA), as of January 9, 2005- Member, Palestine National Council, 1968– Member, PLO Executive Committee, 1980– Prime Minister, PA, 2003- Member, Fatah Central Committee, 1964-2003- Founding member of Fatah, 1957Involvement 1991 Madrid Conference (Palestinian delegation)1993 Oslo Declaration (Signer)1995 Oslo Interim (Signer)2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada

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“In the spring of 1967, the Soviet Union misinformed the Syrian government that Israeli forces were massing in northern Israel to attack Syria. There was no such Israeli mobilization. But clashes between Israel and Syria had been escalating for about a year, and Israeli leaders had publicly declared that it might be necessary to bring down the Syrian regime if it failed to end Palestinian commando attacks against Israel from Syrian territory.

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“A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors. The settlement will resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967, based on the foundations of the 1991 Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, UNSCRs 242, 338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah – endorsed by the [2002] Beirut Arab League Summit – calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbor living in peace and security, in the context of a comprehensive settlement.”

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Under the impact of rapid, momentous, and unsettling changes during the period from the outset of World War I to some time early on in the British mandate for Palestine, at the outside in 1922 or 1923, the sense of political and national identification of most politically conscious, literate, and urban Palestinians underwent a sequence of major transformations. The end result was a strong and growing national identification with Palestine, as the Arab residents of the country increasingly came to ‘imagine’ themselves as part of a single community.

..In succeeding decades, this identification with Palestine was to be developed and refined significantly, as Palestinian nationalism grew and developed.”

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“During most of the 1800s, the political identity of the people of Palestine was of several overlapping types: a commitment to local Arab leadership; awareness of the distant rule of the Ottoman Turks; and a growing but still diffuse sense of connection with the larger Arab community. For Muslim Palestinians, there was also a sense of belonging to the Islamic millet, but because the Ottoman Turks were also Muslims, this did not serve to differentiate the Palestinian Arabs as a national group. Initially, Palestinians were part of the general movement of Arab nationalism that engulfed the Levant. With the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the division of the Levant into areas of French and British control, Arab hopes of a Greater Syria encompassing the entire Levant region were quashed, and a separate Palestinian national identity, which was already present, began to flourish.

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Baruch Kimmerling, PhD, Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Joel S. Migdal, PhD, Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington, in their 2003 book The Palestinian People: A History, wrote:”Had it not been for the pressures exerted on the Arabs of Palestine by the Zionist movement, the very concept of a Palestinian people would not have developed; and Palestinians quite accurately understand their society’s essential, existential status as the direct result of Jewish political rejuvenation and settlement.

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“Important though Zionism was in the formation of Palestinian identity — as the primary ‘other’ faced by the Palestinians for much of this century — the argument that Zionism was the main factor in provoking the emergence of Palestinian identity ignores one key fact: a universal process was unfolding in the Middle East during this period, involving an increasing identification with the new states created by the post-World War I partitions.”

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“Their sense of distinctiveness as a Palestinian people has come not from an ancient source but largely in reaction to the creation and growth of Israel on part of the land where they lived. Their Palestinian awakening, even with its pre-state origins, was heightened by the upheavals of Israel’s birth in 1948 and the refusal of the Arab governments to accept the presence of the tiny Jewish state on the edge of Arab territory.”

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“Despite the pan-Arab rhetoric of Syrian and Iraqi leaders, protection of Palestinian national rights was a lower priority for them than assuring their own local interests.

For this reason, many scholars believe that a separate Palestinian national movement would have developed after World War I even without the incentive provided by Zionism, because the perceived need for an independent political identity existed as a discrete issue.”

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“In the 1880s, the Jews could not have been percieved as very different from the Templars, a marginal group of evangelical Germans who settled in Palestine at about the same time…Most of the country’s rural Arab population was simply unaware of either group’s existence..

.Nevertheless, Jewish land buying, mostly of state-owned or notable-owned tracts [of land], did affect the local peasants and resulted in numerous land disputes..

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Even if the scope of Jewish land purchases was limited, they did shape future Jewish-Arab relations. The Jews were establishing an economy based largely on the exclusion of Arabs from land they farmed and from the Jewish labor market. Slowly, the most fertile lands in the northern valleys and in the coastal plain passed to Jewish hands, with jobs and higher wages going to the Jewish newcommers. The logical conclusion of this process was the separate development of the Arab and Jewish economies and, eventually, the creation of two separate nationalist movements.”

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The book the Lemon tree is based in a time bases of when the conflict was happening.

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The great Arab revolt in Palestine, as Arabs have called it, was sparked by the murder of two Jews on April 15, 1936.

Although there were some claims that the act was purely criminal, it was probably engineered for political purposes by a disciple of Sheikh Izz al-Din al-Qassam. In any event, Jewish retaliation followed swiftly, leaving two Arabs dead as well. Within a few days, beatings and additional murders inaugurated a period of horrifying violence in the country. In a short time, the violence was transformed into a major Arab upheaval.

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As the first sustained violent uprising of the Palestinian national movement, and the first major episode of this sort since 1834, perhaps no event has been more momentous in Palestinian history than the Great Arab Revolt. It mobilized thousands of Arabs from every stratum of society, all over the country, heralding the emergence of a national movement in ways that isolated incidents and formal delegations simply could not accomplish. It also provoked unprecedented counter mobilization..

. The Zionists embarked upon a militarization of their own national movement — nearly 15,000 Jews were under arms by the Revolt’s end…

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While the Arabs’ concerted opposition would not in the end bring about the demise of Zionism, they did appear, for the moment, to have the advantage. The result impelled the British to reverse their policy in support of a Jewish national home, first set out in the Balfour Declaration two decades earlier. The extensive Arab mobilization and the intensity of their activity demanded unprecedented British attention to the Palestinian position, and Palestinians somehow seemed to have developed the social and political cohesion necessary to make their point forcefully and unambiguously.

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According to records of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Palestine for several centuries, in the year 1900, the population of Palestine was 600,000, of which 94% were Arabs.

While many Arabs were willing to sell land to the incoming Jews, many other Palestinian Arabs were worried about becoming a minority in a country they considered their own.

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Israeli troops fired tear gas and stun grenades at rock-throwing Palestinian protesters Saturday as soldiers tried to dismantle an encampment that activists set up in the West Bank to protest Israeli building restrictions.

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In particular, they protest what they say is Israel’s broader policy of not allowing Palestinians to build in areas under Israeli control. And the Palestinians got mad about this.

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By building encampments, Palestinians are imitating the hard-line Jewish settlers who have established a series of wildcat outposts throughout the West Bank, typically clusters of caravans near already-built Jewish communities. Although Israel views the wildcat outposts as illegal, few have been dismantled.

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500,000 Israelis who live in Jewish settlements scattered through the West Bank and around east Jerusalem, the Palestinians’ hoped-for capital.

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Israel’s settlement policy is seen as illegal by the international community, and the United Nations sharply criticized the Jewish state’s West Bank settlements in a report released Thursday.

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The results of the public opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre… showed a notable increase among Palestinians in the level of support for the establishment of a bi-national state in all of Palestine from 20.6% in June 2009, to 33.8% this month while the percentage of Palestinians who support the two-state solution declined from 55.2% last June to 43.9% in April 2010

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Although some people think that the term ‘Palestinian’ implies a person is a Muslim, Palestinian Christians also exist and their ancestry in the Holy Land goes back to the earliest days of Christianity.

As in the East Mediterranean at large, Christians in Palestine were gradually Arabized during the early centuries following the Muslim occupation of the area in the seventh century. Despite their small proportion of the Arab population, Christians have played a significant role in the Palestinian Arab national movement, society, and culture.

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Palestinian Christians have deep roots in the land. The great majority, estimated at 400,000 worldwide or roughly 6.

5 percent of all Palestinians, are of indigenous stock, whose mother tongue is Arabic and whose history takes them back, or at least some of them, to the early church. At present, the 50,000 Christians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip make up only 2.2 percent of the total population estimated in the mid-nineties at 2,238,0001. Palestinian Arab Christians in Israel were estimated, for the same year, at 125,000 or 14 percent of all Arabs in Israel. Christians in Palestine and Israel make up 175,000 or 2.3 percent of the entire Arab and Jewish population of the Holy Land.

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Palestinian Christians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip belong to fifteen different denominations, the largest of which are the Greek Orthodox (51 percent), and the Roman Catholics (32 per cent.) Some smaller denominations, such as the Copts who are originally from Egypt, do not number more than a score of families. Yet each denomination or community maintains a rich tradition of rites and rituals, beside educational and other institutions, that speaks of its long presence and attachment to the land called holy.

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Despite the Christian contribution to the Palestinian Arab national movement, their relations with it have been ambiguous. Except for a short time during the movement’s formative stage, the influences of Islam on the movement and its affiliation with it have been conspicuous. This affiliation was already obvious in 1922 with the election of the Jerusalemite mufti Hajj Amin al-Husayni as the chairman of the Supreme Muslim Council in Palestine; at the same time, he became the Palestinian Arab national leader and chairman of the Palestinian Arab congresses and delegations. While identifying themselves wholeheartedly with the Palestinian struggle against the Zionist movement in Palestine, the Christians were hesitant about the struggle against the British mandate. They were apprehensive of the growing influence of Islam over the Palestinian Arab national movement and of Muslim suspicions that Christians were collaborating with the West. Hence, the Christians found themselves in a marginal position within the movement

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Despite their minority status in Palestinian society, Christian Palestinians have historically maintained excellent relations with their Muslim neighbors. Christians fully identify with their Palestinian identities, and their psychological trauma at the loss of their homeland was as deep as that of all other Palestinians.

Christians and Muslims have struggled together in the Palestinian nationalist movement, and these shared experiences have fomented cooperation, solidarity and unity among the two faith groups.

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The eyes of the world constantly turn to the Holy Land, the Land that is considered holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Unfortunately our attention is too often drawn by acts of violence and terror, a cause of immense sorrow to everyone living there. We must continue to insist that religion and peace go together..

. On this occasion my thoughts turn also to the Christian communities in the Holy Land, a living presence and witness there since the dawn of Christianity through all the vicissitudes of history. Today these brothers and sisters in the faith face new and increasing challenges.

While we are pleased that diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel have led to more solid and stable forms of co-operation, we eagerly await the fulfilment of the Fundamental Agreement on issues still outstanding.

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The word Ashkenaz appears in the Bible a number of times and seems to refer to a land and a people bordering on the upper Euphrates and Armenia. No one knows how and when it first came to be used of the Jewish community of Germany and northern France. Today the term embraces all of European Jewry north of Italy and Spain, including Jews and the descendants of Jews from Poland, Lithuania, and Russia. It designates the civilization of the Jews who wandered for centuries through the chill world of Europe and is used in contradistinction to Sephardic, the form taken by rabbinic civilization during its encounter with the world of Spain.

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“The people of Israel (also called the ‘Jewish People’) trace their origin to Abraham, who established the belief that there is only one God, the creator of the universe (see Old Testament). Abraham, his son Yitshak (Isaac), and grandson Jacob (Israel), are referred to as the patriarchs of the Israelites. All three patriarchs lived in the Land of Canaan, that later came to be known as the Land of Israel…

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The descendants of Abraham crystallized into a nation at about 1300 BCE after their Exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Moses (Moshe in Hebrew). Soon after the Exodus, Moses transmitted to the people of this new emerging nation, the Torah, and the Ten Commandments. After 40 years in the Sinai desert, Moses led them to the Land of Israel, that is cited in The Bible as the land promised by G-d to the descendants of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

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The people of modern day Israel share the same language and culture shaped by the Jewish heritage and religion passed through generations starting with the founding father Abraham (ca. 1800 BCE). Thus, Jews have had continuous presence in the land of Israel for the past 3,300 years

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The extremely close affinity of Jewish and non-Jewish Middle Eastern populations.

.. supports the hypothesis of a common Middle Eastern origin. Of the Middle Eastern populations included in this study, only the Syrian and Palestinian samples mapped within the central cluster of Jewish populations.

Continued studies of variation in larger samples, additional populations, and at other loci are needed to confirm our inferences as well as to clarify the affinities of Jewish and Middle Eastern Arab populations.

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The Hebrew word for Spain, Sepharad, apparently comes from the twentieth verse of the one-chapter Biblical book Obadiah: ‘…

And the captivity of Jerusalem that is in Sepharad…’ There it seems to refer to Sardis in distant Asia Minor. The name subsequently came to be used for the faraway western land we now call Spain. The Jews of that land and their descendants constitute Sephardic Jewry, one of the two major branches of the Jewish people.

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The term [Oriental Jews] applied to non-Ladino-speaking jews from the Arab countries, Iran, India, or Central Asia.

In biblical times their ancestors left Palestine for North Africa or the Middle East — from where they immigrated to Central Asia or the Indian subcontinent. While their religion set them apart from their hosts, they underwent cultural assimilation and adopted the local language as their own. In the late 1960s the 1.5 million Oriental Jews formed about one-ninth of the world’s Jewry. They were the dominant group among the Jews in Palestine under the Ottomans. But since the Jewish aliyas [moving to Israel] into Palestine between 1882-1939 did not include Oriental Jews (except 45,000 from North Yemen), their proportion in the Jewish community in Palestine declined to about one-fifth of the total on the eve of the Second World War. However, following the 1948-1949 Arab-Israeli War, Oriental Jews began to arrive in Israel in large numbers.

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Given their higher birth rate, within a generation they formed half of the Jewish population and became a majority during the next decade. But due to the influx of 540,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union from 1990-1994, they lost this position to Ashkenazim, a trend that continued with further immigration of the Jews from that region. Though only the Jews who immigrated from the countries surrounding the Mediterranean followed Sephardic rituals and practices, those who came from such countries as Yemen, Iraq, and India, with a history of different rituals and practices, often affiliated to the Sephardic chief rabbinate in order to receive public funds for their newly established synagogues.

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Arabs are those who speak Arabic as their native tongue and who identify themselves as Arabs. The Arab world is not to be confused with the ‘Middle East,’ a strategic designation developed during the heyday of the British empire, which encompasses such non-Arab countries as Israel, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

And though Arab history is intertwined with Muslim history, the Arab world does not correspond to the Muslim world. There are significant non-Muslim Arab communities and most Muslims are, in fact, from large non-Arab countries such as Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, and many of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

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Arab Nationalism, like most other Middle Eastern nationalisms, was a child of the intellectual atmosphere of the nineteenth century and one of many responses to the process of incorporation of the world into a single system with Europe at its center which that century witnessed.

Like these other ideologies, Arab nationalism in its fully developed form represented an expression of identity and of group solidarity within the projected new format of the nation-state by an amalgam of old elites and new social forces at once desirous of seeing their society resist control by outside forces and deeply influenced by the example and the challenge of the West.

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Arab nationalism represented both a revival of old traditions and loyalties and a creation of new myths based on them, an invention of tradition… Thus, as Arab nationalism took hold, what had been described for thirteen centuries as the glories of Islamic civilization came to be called the glories of Arab civilization; the language and literature of the Arabs, always revered and cherished, took on a new and heightened importance; and a sense of pride in Arabism that had always existed but had long been dormant was consciously revived and actively fostered.

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By some time early in the twentieth century, at the end of this process of synthesis, the idea was widespread throughout the ‘Arab world’ (itself a concept born of the rise of Arab nationalism) that anyone who spoke Arabic, looked back on the history of the Arabs with pride, and considered himself or herself to be an Arab was one, and that this sense of shared identity should in some measure find political expression. Soon, with the power of the state propagating it through the educational system, the media, and other avenues of access to cultural and political discourse in a number of newly independent Arab countries, the Arab idea was strongly entrenched.

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The Israelis believe that they are entitled to the land now known as Israel, while the Palestinians believe that they are entitled to the land they call Palestine.

Unfortunately, both sides claim the same land; they simply call the land by different names. For religious Jewish Israelis and religious Muslim Palestinians, the belief is deeper still, for both sides believe that God (called Jehovah by the Jews and Allah by the Muslims), gave them the land, and that to give it away or to give it up to another people is an insult to God and a sin.

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In the 1930s, the Great Arab Revolt took place against the British, who ruled Palestine after 1918. The Arab Revolt was directed at both the British and the growing Jewish population.

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It should be noted that while large numbers of Jews moved to Palestine in the 1940s, a movement called “Zionism” began in the late 1800s, which influenced many Jews from around the world to move to Palestine to reclaim their ancient “homeland” of Israel.

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By the 1930s, the numbers of Jews had risen to a point that alarmed many Palestinian Arab leaders.

The British put down the revolt with the help of Jewish militias, but the fighting and hostility never really ended between the Jews and Arabs.

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From that point on, both the Jews and the Palestinians formed militias and other military units to fight each other and to prepare for the day when the British would leave

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In 1948, the British did leave, and the Jews in Palestine declared the independence of the new State of Israel.

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The neighboring Arab nations of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded Israel to aid the Palestinian Arabs who were fighting to create their own nation.

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The Arabs lost that war (see Arab-Israeli Wars), and the Palestinian diaspora began, as hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled the new nation of Israel and moved to neighboring Arab nations to live as refugees, awaiting the day when they could return to their homeland.

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This loss and the exile of these Palestinians is known in the Arabic world as “al-Nakba,” or “The Cataclysm.”

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Two significant parts of the old Palestine did not become part of the new Israel; the a small, crowded coastal area around the city of Gaza, which came to be called the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank.

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The West Bank is a section of the old Palestine on the west side, or bank, of the Jordan River. The Arab nation of Jordan sits on the east side, or bank, of that river. After the war ended in 1949, Egypt took over the Gaza Strip, while Jordan took control of the West Bank.

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In the 1950s and 1960s, Palestinians conducted cross-border raids into Israel, often with the aid of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

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These attacks prompted Israeli military reactions, and the entire border area, especially around Gaza and the West Bank, was often the scene of violent warfare. (see Arab-Israeli Border Wars).

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The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians reached a new level of intensity and complexity on December 31, 1964, with the first al-Fatah raid into Israel from Lebanon. al-Fatah is a Palestinian political and military group formed in the late 1950s with the aim of retaking Palestinian land from Israel. Led by Yasser Arafat, the group joined the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in June of 1964.

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