Opening a can of bees: How did the Israel/Palestine situation come about?

My public school education never really went into modern Middle Eastern affairs. Basically, the last time any of my HS history teachers mentioned it, we were talking about the Ottoman Empire.

Since I read about the Israelis vs the Palestinians just about every day in the news, I’d like to know what the conflict is really all about.

I’m not looking for rhetoric, just a historical timeline that will give me some perspective on the issue. When was Israel established? Was it the U.S.'s idea, or the United Nations? What happened to the Palestinians?

I realize it may not be a great idea to open such a loaded debate, but I figure the SDMB is always a good place to get factual, unbiased answers. I say again, I’m not looking to be converted, I just would like some historical background.

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to request this, but I’d like to ask anyone who replies to please try and leave emotional responses out of it, as I would really like to have some grounded information on the conflict, I think there must be others out there who wonder the same thing, and it would be a shame if this thread had to be closed or moved to The Pit.

Thanks in advance to all who reply.

Start with territory, mix in religion, add in fundamentalism, bring to a boil.

Oh, season to taste with racism.

*Serving Suggestion

The BBC has a pretty good timeline of the Israeli/Pelestinian conflict. Starts in 1250 BC and ends in June 2003.

I’m sure other posters can come up with more detailed information.

Thanks, Tapioca, I’m bookmarking that.

This thread did a nice job of explaining things.

Don’t go to that thread, because CK Dexter is full of shit and has some very ‘interesting’ ideas about Palestinians. Go to this site:

To sum up:

The Zionists movement began in the late 1800s and really began to pick up steam around WWI. Several sites for a Jewish homeland were bandied about, but the only one that everyone (except for Arabs) could agree on was in Palestine.

Jews began immigrating into Palestine and buying land off the local Arab landowners (mostly wealthy), inadvertently screwing the Arab peasants who worked the land. The Arabs didn’t like this, nor did they like the transference of authority from Arabs to Jews. Anti-semitism begins to grow.

There’s a mess with the Balfour Declaration. Things continue to bubble.

After WWII, the British duck the entire issue and toss it over to the UN. The UN partitions Palestine between the Jews and the Arabs, naturally this doesn’t go over well with the Arabs, since the Jews were handed authority over a lot of Arab-owned land. Fights and terrorism begin from both sides.

1948 Israel declares its independence, the Arabs declare war on Israel. Israel wins and takes most of the Arab land and annexes it. Jordan takes the West Bank and annexes that.

Things are still heated, more wars are fought with Israel winning. Israel offers land for peace, no one except Egypt takes them up on it. Egypt gets the Sinai back and falls into semi-pariah status among the other nations.

I agree with most opf that Neurotik, except the last-line, only the Sinai was offered by Israel at the time.

Care to explain in particular, and not just your opinion, how Dext is “full of shit?”


  1. The ‘soil’ was not left idle, much of the land occupied by the Jews was land owned by abstentee landlords who evicted the Arab tenants to make way for the new settlers.

  2. Irrigation was rarely used by both jews and Arabs in Palestine before 1948.

  3. The Israelis encouraged the Arabs to leave (the only place in Israel that they asked them to stay wads in Haifia) and the main motivating factor were a couple of massacre cariied out Irgun and their Ilk on the Arab population.

  4. the 1948 war was never viewd as an attempt to exterminate the Jews.

  5. The 1956 war was about the Suez canal and the Red Sea.

There is so much more crap in CK Dexter’s post, the whole post is highly misleading (for example the ‘sizeable Jewish community’ was only the 3rd largets religous minority in the country). it forgets to mention how the land was seized or the brutal repression of the Palestinians by the Israelis, etc., etc.

Oops, you’re right.


1),2) come from reports from the mandate to the Legaue of Nations and to the British Government, avaidable at the UN website

  1. Various sources, but the books World Conflict in the Twentiefth Century and The Wrath of Jonah, also mideastweb

  2. World Conflidt in the Twentiefth Century detailks the 1956 Suez crisis as well.

Actually, I suspect the burden of proof cite wise would be on CKD, given that he made the initial assertions.

I think Abe said it best in the final paragraph of the final post in that other thread: