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Religion As The Main Cause Of The Conflict In The Middle East Since 1914

2071 words - 8 pages

Religion as the Main Cause of the Conflict in the Middle East Since 1914

The conflict in the Middle East has been unsolved for years and since
then there has been much violence and suffering. Arabs and Jews both
have a claim to the land that we now call Israel. In biblical times
God promised Abraham the land of Canaan, now Israel if he and his
followers spread the word of God. The Jews settled there. "Then the
Lord appeared to Abraham and said 'To your descendants I will give
this land'". (Genesis 12:7). Over the next 700 years different
societies had control over the land. When the Romans took control, the
Emperor Hadrien pushed the Jews out of Israel and they became a
scattered people.

In the early Middle Ages, the Arabs controlled a huge empire covering
the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Western Europe. Gradually
this declined but the Arabs still kept Palestine. An important
religious development took place during the 7th Century when most
Arabs converted to Islam, after the death of their leader Muhammed.
Jerusaluem, in the heart of Palestine, became a holy Islamic city as
many Arabs believed this is where their great leader Muhammed had
ascended to heaven. This made Jerusaluem a great religious centre for
Arabs.

In 1896 a Jew named Theodor Herzl published the Jewish State which
says that the Jewish people needed a homeland. He wanted to call for
immediate attention and start the Jews fight for their homeland. It
states "Let us Jews be given sovereignty over part of the world big
enough to satisfy the needs of a nation." Both Arabs and Israelis
believe that Israel is their homeland. " O ye Arabs! You all dwell in
one land, you speak in one language, so be also one nation and one
land!"(An Arab writer 1914). These statements show that both sides
have strong opinions and are prepared to fight for their homeland.

The First World War was a turning point for the Jews and Arabs. During
the war, the interests of Turkey and Britain determined the fate of
the people in Palestine. Turkey declared war on Britain in 1914, they
feared the vital oil supplies would be cut off from Persia. Prior to
this Britain and Turkey had been allies against Russia. So Britain
lead by Sir Henry McMahon decided to enlist the help of the Arabs. To
secure the help of the Arabs Britain promised to help them in their
struggle for independence from Turkey, as an extract from a letter
from McMahon to Sherif Hussein in 1915 shows "…Great Britain towards
the aspirations of her friends the Arabs and will result in a firm and
lasting alliance, the immediate result of which will be the expulsion
of the Turks". Having made one promise to the Arabs Britain openly
made a statement supporting the establishment of a Jewish homeland in
Palestine called the Balfour Declaration "Favour the establishment in
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