History of Palestine (Summary)

The territory lying between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea had historically been known as the Palestine. It had been inhabited since pre-historic times by hunters and gatherers, sheep shepherds tribes, and neolithic farmers. In ancient times, from 3,000 to 600 BC, the Palestine was alternately part of the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Hittite empires, falling under the political sphere of influence of Phoenician coastal cities at the end of this period. However, the first political entity that emerged in the Palestine, that is to say, in the Middle East, was the kingdom of Judea (the Israelites). During the Roman Empire, this kingdom became the Roman Province of Judea, which had political autonomy but had to pay taxes to the emperor. In this period, there were three political uprisings against Rome, with the last one taking place from 132 to 135 AD and being led by Bar Kohkba. Although they were defeated and expelled from this region by the Romans, those Jewish people who did not take part in the rebellion remained in Palestine, living peacefully, alongside Christian communities, as farmers and shepherds.

in the 7th century AD, at the beginning of the Middle Ages, the Palestine would be invaded by an Arab army, under Mohammed, who had founded a new monotheistic religion; Islam. Having killed, in an act of vengeance, most of the polytheistic people residing in the city of Mecca, Mohammed began a religious war of conquest, pushing northwards throughout the Arabian Peninsula as he went. Not only Palestine fell to the Islamic armies, but also what is today Syria, Turkey, Northern Africa, Iraq, Persia (Iran), and Pakistan. During the Middle Ages, the Middle East region was part of different Caliphates, which were Islamic kingdoms or States. From the 12th to the 13th centuries, the western portion of Palestine was temporarily conquered by European crusaders in an effort to protect the Christians living there and preserve the Christian Holy Sepulcher and its surrounding area from the Muslims. However, this Christian enclave would be reconquered by a new Islamic army in the mid 13th century as Palestine fell to the Ottoman Caliphate, which would become known as the Turkish Empire.

In World War I, Turkey was allied with the German Empire and Austria-Hungary. As the central powers would lose the war, so would Turkey. In 1918, the last year of this armed conflict, the Middle East was conquered by the British forces that pushed eastward from Egypt. In 1922, the newly-created world organization, the League of Nations, granted Great Britain full administrative control of this portion of the Middle East, called the British Mandate of Palestine. Thus, what is today Israel, Palestine, plus the Sinai Peninsula, would be ruled by the British until 1948. In 1947, two years after World War II, the United Nation General Assembly passed Resolution 181, which established the partition of the Palestine into two independent States: a Palestinian and a Jewish one. The Arab countries and the Palestinians, who are Islamic, rejected this UN resolution on the grounds that they opposed the creation of a Jewish State in the region. Nevertheless, the Jewish people, led by David Ben-Gurion, went ahead and founded the State of Israel, declaring its independence in 1948. The new Jewish country was immediately attacked from all sides by the Arab countries (Egypt, Syria, and Jordan) and Palestinian guerrillas. This is known as the War of Israeli Independence.

In the 1960s, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), a guerrilla group, led by Yasser Arafat, stated that their objective was the creation of a Palestinian State; however they also had as one of their main goals the destruction of the State of Isreal. The PLO was logistically and militarily supported by Egypt, Libya, and Syria. In 1993, however, Yasser Arafat and most of its members finally recognized the existence of the State of Israel through the Oslo Accords, formally signed with with the presence of Bill Clinton. Thus, Israel conceded Palestinians political autonomy in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

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Thor is Carlos Benito Camacho, the manager and writer of this blog.