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The Israeli Palestinian Conflict Essay

1259 words - 5 pages

ISRAELI PALESTINIAN CONFLICTThe Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is a dangerous and volatile situation that has attracted American attention for some decades. The conflict is a sensitive subject that produce strong emotions in people. This conflict deals with Jewish nationalism, distribution of resources, and politics.About a hundred years ago, Jews underwent a drastic change in their view of themselves. At first a few, and then more, began to call themselves Zionists. Zionism is a term that in its broadest and early sense meant simply the 'return' of Jews to their ancestral homeland. That homeland was called Zion (or Israel) and its heart was Jerusalem, known as the 'City of Zion.' Early Zionists were simply pious, nonpolitical, religious Jews who thought they could best practice their faith in the Land of Zion. Some went primarily to pray, to study their religious books, and to await the arrival of the Messiah. Politics played a influential role in their thinking. By the beginning of the 20th century, however, Zionism came to have a political meaning: that Jews were not just a religious or ethnic group but were a nation of people who should have their own state. Today Zionism is the term for Jewish nationalism.Not all Jews agree upon what Zionism is, but to a point there is agreement, it is upon three things: there should be a Jewish state; it should be permanent, independent, and secure; and Jews who are threatened anywhere in the world should be able to go there to be safe. All other issues--the boundaries of the state, the nature of government, relations with the Palestinians, relations with American Jews, religious law--are in dispute.It is important to understand the Palestinian views . Keep in mind two points. First, people respond to the circumstances in which they live. If one is rich, one sees problems one way; if one is unemployed, one sees it a second way; if one owns a small shop, one sees it a third way. One must understand the circumstances in which Palestinians live if we are to understand their positions and actions. Second, there are about five million Palestinians. Like Americans, they disagree on political issues. They also change their minds as new circumstances develop. It is wrong to think Palestinians have a common view that remains unchanged. Their view changed considerably over the years. They view that the Israelis are taking the land rightfully theirs, and are being "bullied" by Israelis. They are the ones who had their land taken away from them and are left with no where to live.In 1948, there were approximately 860,000 Palestinians inside today's Israel. About 700,000 were driven out or fled during the fighting that followed the declaration of Israeli statehood. The Palestinian population of Jerusalem went from 75,000 to 3,500; of Jaffa from 70,000 to 3,600; of Haifa from 71,000 to 2,900; of Lydda-Ramle from 35,000 to 2,000; of Tiberias from 5,300 to zero. All refugees lost their property (about 800,000 acres were taken...

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