An informative introduction to the history of Israel/Palestine is a six-minute video put out by Jewish Voice for Peace:

To provide a little history, following the horrors of World War II, many Jews left Europe and immigrated to an area known as Palestine. At that time the British controlled the area under a mandate from the United Nations. Jews, Arabs, and Christians all lived in Palestine under British rule. As more and more Jews immigrated to the area, the Arab population felt threatened by the new immigrants. The British made contradictory promises to both the Arabs and the Jews. A partition was proposed by the UN, dividing the land into two states. The Palestinian Arabs rejected that proposal.

When the British left Palestine in 1948, armed Jewish militias took control of the land allocated to them under the UN proposal and formed the Jewish state of Israel. Many Palestinian Arabs were displaced at this time when their villages were destroyed and their lands confiscated for the new state of Israel. Some fled to nearby Arab countries. Others remained in Israel and became Arab citizens in the Jewish state. Some fled to areas such as Gaza and the West Bank where they lived in refugee camps overseen by the United Nations.

The UN Resolution on refugees posted prominently in the Deheshi refugee camp.

In 1967 during the six-day war, Israel annexed the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem and occupied the West Bank and Gaza. This was illegal under international law. The Arabs and Christians living in the Occupied Territories have again been displaced for the building of illegal Jewish settlements. Palestinian movements are now restricted by walls, roadblocks, and checkpoints. (Note that in common usage, the word “Palestinian” has now become synonymous with “Arab” but also includes Christians who live in Palestine. It no longer includes Jews.)

Entire books have been written about this history and I am providing a bare summary. Some readers may think I have left out essential information. I like the video provided by Jewish Voice for Peace because it illustrates both the need for Jewish refugees from Europe to have a safe place to live and that the creation of Israel created a new group of refugees, the Palestinians.

By advocating for the rule of law in the Occupied Territories and for genuine democracy in Israel, it seems to some that I have taken sides. My intent is to educate and advocate for those who are oppressed. We have heard the Israeli narrative for 60 years. There is another narrative (actually, there are many narratives!) and I believe that it is time to hear from those who were displaced and who continue to live under discriminatory laws in Israel or under humiliating military occupation in the Occupied Territories.

  1. al zook says:

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

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