Ciarab's Blog

A Brief Historical Outline
May 16, 2010, 10:34 am
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A very brief historical outline.

'A picture/map paints a thousand words'

Throughout the history of Palestine, it has been invaded, conquered and ruled by many tribal groups and armies. It is known to many as the Holy Land as many famous historical sites dating back thousands of years are located in historical Palestine. The three main religions are Judaism, Christianity and Islam all of which are present in the area and each religious historical site has some significance to each of the religions.

In the late 1800s, European society was becoming increasingly anti Semitic and some Jewish thinkers decided that the only way to prevent this was to physically escape this discrimination. As a result, Zionism emerged. Essentially Zionism is  the desire to return to Mount Zion, in Jerusalem which holds great significance to the Jewish faith. However, the Zionist idea to establish a Jewish state in historic Palestine was only supported by a small minority of European Jews. During WWI this dream became feasible for the first time, when Britain achieved control of Palestine and warranted the creation of the Jewish state.

Before the 1800s Palestine was primarily inhabited by Muslims (with 10% Christians and only 4% Jewish). However, 167,000 Jewish settlers arrived from 1882-1928 and 250,000 from 1929 to 1939 (the time of the Holocaust), so that by the end of WWII over half a million Jews immigrated to these lands. This mass immigration prompted the uprising of the native Arab population which was being deprived of land and resources.

By 1947, riots and violence had grown substantially which caused the United Nations to propose a partition plan of the territories which resulted in over half of Palestine (56%) going to the Jewish immigrants, who comprised of 30% of the population and owned less than 7% of the land and the remaining being left to the Palestinians. Despite this internationally accepted solution, the Zionists who were superior in military power, began forcibly removing thousands of Palestinians from their lands. To this day this event is referred to as the Nakba (Arabic for ‘catastophe’). By May 1948 the State of Israel was proclaimed on 78% of historic Palestine.

In June 1967, during the “Six Day War”, Israel eventually occupied the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and thus all historic Palestine. Since that time, more land has been confiscated for erecting illegal Israeli settlements, building the Apartheid Wall and creating military zones in 45.5% of these lands. As a result, Palestinian communities are isolated from the outside world but also from eachother (permission must be sought from the Israeli authorities if one wants to travel to Gaza from West Bank or vice versa and permission is also required to enter Jerusalem).

Today, the occupation continues to negatively affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. The Israeli State continues to breach the human rights of the Palestinian people, holds civilians hostage in their own country and subjugates them to military laws which are needlessly repressive, racist and discriminatory.

I realise this is a very brief outline of the history of Palestine, and if anything is incorrect, please add a comment to let me know. I will add to this through the coming months so if you have any questions please send comment and I will try to answer these. Also thanks to Marika and Palestinian Monitor, 2010 where some information has been taken from.