The Arab-Israel Dispute

The Arab-Israel Dispute

The Arab-Israel Dispute

The Arab-Israel Dispute


Each volume of the Library in a Book series is carefully designed to be a complete first-stop resource for research on important issues and events, many of which strongly affect the United States. Clearly written and organized, the books give the researcher an objective overview of the subject and a wealth of information in a variety of formats, as well as an extensive section on additional sources -- from other books to videos to web sites.

Each book includes:

-- A historical survey of the topic

-- A chronology of significant events

-- Information on court cases and/or significant legislation

-- Concise biographies of important people

-- A glossary of terms, names, and acronyms

-- An annotated bibliography (approximately one-third of the book)

-- A list of relevant organizations

-- A detailed index.

The dispute, now in its second century, between indigenous Palestinians and the European-born Zionist movement has been a focus of international attention since World WarI. The Arab-Israel Dispute profiles this conflict, from its historical roots to the present.


Most of the historical events recorded in the Old Testament took place in Palestine; thus it became the focus of many Jewish religious practices, customs and traditions. Many aspects of Jewish religious and cultural life were intimately linked with Palestine. Jewish rabbinical law favored settlers in the ancient homeland; religious literature echoed with sayings such as "it is better to dwell in the deserts of Palestine than in palaces abroad" and "whoever lives in Palestine lives sinless." Holidays, feasts and fasts commemorated events in the Bible and in Jewish religious history, such as the destruction of the first and second Jewish temples in Jerusalem.

Palestine is also important to Christianity and Islam. Jesus Christ was born and died in Palestine and lived most of his life there. Thus it is the scene of most events in the New Testament and the site of scores of shrines and churches built to commemorate events in the life of Christ. Christians from around the world have made pilgrimages to the Holy Land for nearly 2,000 years. In the Middle Ages, Christian rulers in Europe sent their armies to wrest Palestine from Islamic rule.

Palestine became an Arab and Islamic country some 1,300 years ago when tribes from the Arabian peninsula conquered it during their sweep through the Middle East after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. The country became holy to all Muslims because the Prophet initially designated Jerusalem as the first qibla (direction Muslims face during prayer) and because he was believed to have ascended to heaven from the site of King Solomon's temple. To commemorate the event, Muslims built a mosque called the Dome of the Rock on the place from which he ascended. Jerusalem became the third holiest city in Islam, after Mecca and Medina in what is now Saudi Arabia. By the time of the Ottoman conquest, the overwhelming majority of Palestine's population were Arabic-speaking Muslims.



During the Ottoman (Turkish) era, Palestine was not governed as a single or distinctive province but was divided into small administrative districts, part of greater Syria. In 1864 it became part of three newly established Ottoman administrative regions. The central and largest region of Palestine was part of the larger province of Damascus. The northern section was part of the province of Beirut. Because of its special religious status and European interest in the city, Jerusalem and southern Palestine was established as an independent unit or district governed directly from the Ottoman capital, Istanbul.

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