The People And The Land (Israel And Palestine). By Zaineddin Obeid

3498 words - 14 pages

Aiman AbousamiehENG 101Final DraftDr. RiegerThe People And The LandThe conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Jews is a modern phenomenon, which began after the fall of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire. Although these two groups follow different religions (Palestinians include Muslims, Christians, and Druses), religious differences are not the cause of the conflict. It is essentially a struggle over approximately 10,000 square miles of land, which until 1948, was known internationally as Palestine.From 1500's until 1918, the Ottoman Empire controlled most of the Middle East. Although many Arab movements for independence from the empire began in the 1880's, the key factor that ended the empire was the Hussein-McMahon correspondence during World War I. In this correspondence, Sharif Hussein of Mecca and British Commissioner of Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, agreed that the Arabs would be granted independence and a unified Arab territory under Hashemite rule if they fought against the Turks in World War I, since they were aligned with Germany against Britain and France. After having defeated the Ottomans, the Arabs were betrayed by Britain, which along with France took control over most of the Middle East through the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, a secret agreement between England and France to divide the territory of the former Ottoman Empire amongst them. In top of all; Britain's Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, created a secret statement called the Balfour Declaration of 1917 to provide a national home in Palestine for the Jewish people, who constituted 10 percent of Palestine's population at that time. This meant that they did not care about Arabs opinions and rights, and basically insulted the Arabic society of that time.Throughout 1881 to 1903, Russia pogroms against Jews in Russia and a widespread European anti-Semitism initiated the first wave (aliyah) of Jewish immigrants to Palestine. Seeing how this could possibly send the Jewish community into extinction, Theodor Herzl published The State of the Jews, which sparked the stage for political Zionism and the first Zionist congress met at Basel, Switzerland, to discuss the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Jews based their claim to this land on biblical promise to Abraham and his descendants, on the fact that this was the historical site of the Jewish kingdom of Israel destroyed by the Roman Empire, and on Jews' compensation from European anti-Semitism. Palestinian Arabs' claims to the land are based on continuous residence in the country for hundreds of years and the fact that they represent the demographic majority. They reject the notion that a biblical-era kingdom constitutes the basis for a valid modern claim. If Arabs engaged the biblical argument at all, they maintain that since Abraham's son Ishmael is the forefather of the Arabs, then God's promise of the land to the children of Abraham includes Arabs as well. Many Arabs do not believe that Palestinian Arabs should forfeit their...

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