On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to divide the Middle Eastern land called Palestine into two independent nations, one Arab and one Jewish. On May 14, 1948, a new nation was born: Israel. The Jews of Israel and the world celebrated with joy and gladness, because for over two thousand years, they had hoped to return to the land of their heritage. (Silverman, 1) However with Jews from all around the world returning to Israel, the Arabs residing in this land were forced into exile. The rebirth of Israel marked the beginning of conflict, violence, and peace treaties between the Arabs and the Jews of the Middle East.
Tensions between Jews and Arabs have been present since biblical times in the Middle East. In 132 AD, when Israel was under Roman rule, the Jews revolted and fought for independence. In 135 AD the Romans crushed the Jewish revolt and expelled nearly all of the Jews of Israel. The Romans then renamed Israel-Palestine, so as to remove any connection between the land and the Jewish people. (Tessler, 12) The Jews never forgot their homeland, and prayed three times a day to return to Israel and to the holy city of Jerusalem.
In the 7th century, a new religion, Islam, arose in the Middle East. The Muslim Arabs conquered Palestine from the Byzantines and began to settle the land. They built the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem, where they believed Prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven to receive parts of the Qur'an. (Goldschmidt, 46) During the early 1500's, Palestine was captured and put under Turkish rule. During the First World War, the Turkish government placed severe restrictions on Jewish daily life, because the Turks believed that the Jews were plotting with their enemies. In December of 1917, the British army under the command of General Edmund Allenby defeated the Turks and captured Palestine. Four hundred years of Turkish rule had ended. Just six weeks before the annex of Turk…