Palestine and Israel – it’s complicated.

Well, at least that’s what some people would want you to think.

We’ve long been sold the narrative of a tit for tat skirmish of rockets, a real-estate dispute or even a centuries old religious feud. There’s so much more to the story of Palestine – we all need to know.

So, how did we get here?

Let’s take it back to the beginning. It starts with the end of a World War, Muslims fighting each other and a promise made by the West only a century ago. So here’s how the story begins…

So it’s 1916 and the first World War is raging on. The Ottoman Empire is 617 years old at this point and is on the brink of collapse. The British and the French had promised the Arabs sovereignty and Arab leadership over the Arabian peninsula and the Levant if they helped them defeat the Ottomans. And so the Arab’s said ‘Ok’… and so they helped them defeat the Ottomans.

Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘What’s this got to do with Palestine and the creation of Israel? Just trust me, this is crucial information to the creation of Israeli State. I promise.   

Sykes-Picot Agreement

Okay, so when the Allies won, the Arabs wanted the land that was promised to them, but little did they know, the British and the French had this little top secret meeting. And in this top secret meeting, it was planned that the captured Ottoman province will be divided into areas of British and French control and influence. The British would receive Palestine, Jordan and Southern Iraq while the French would control southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This was called the Sykes-picot agreement.

But then the Arabs found out about this agreement and they were shocked. They had been tricked. They thought that they were fighting a war inorder to overthrow their non-Arab Muslim rulers, only to end up with European colonial rulers. Anyway, that’s a long story for another video, but if you want to see a video about that then let us know down below.

The Rise of Zionism

Now that the British occupy Palestine, something unusual is happening back in Europe. The Zionist movement had grown increasingly influential and lobbied hard to support the mass migration of Jews to Palestine and recognise a Jewish claim to Palestine. 

And in 1917, Britain, out of nowhere publicly declared it’s intentions of establishing a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. So the British just gifted Palestine, a country which was made up of 90% Palestinians to European Zionests. They gave it just like you would give a box of chocolates. Historians still debate till this day on how or why the british gave Palestine to the Zionists. 

Now at this point, the Jewish population in Palestine at the time was less than 10 percent. So when the British started to facilitate the immigration of European Jews to Palestine from 1922 and 1935, the Jewish population rose to 27 percent.         

With the British Mandate in full swing, mass European Jewish immigration meant that more land would be seized and the native Palestinian population grew increasingly worried. The Palestinians would demonstrate their concerns to their British overlords but they wouldn’t  have it. European Jewish settlement was on the rise. The British proposed a partition of Palestine and even advised the forceful removal of the Arab population from their homes. And yes this was their plan to resolve the issue.

The Transfer of Responsibility to the UN

So the Palestinians naturally rejected and revolted against the British. The revolts were crushed violently killing thousands of Palestinians. But the Palestinians wouldn’t give up. They would continue their fight for independence and the British were clearly fed up. So in 1947, the British decided to hand over their responsibility for Palestine to the United Nations. They just said ‘Here, you handle our mess.’  

And so the UN proposed this ridiculous proposal where Palestine would be partitioned into a Jewish and Arab state. Remember, Jews in Palestine only constituted one-third of the population – most of whom arrived from Europe a few years earlier yet in the proposal they were allocated 55 percent of the land. Feeling like they got a bad deal, again, the Arabs rejected the proposal and the Zionists accepted, however here’s the catch, the Zionists didn’t agree to the proposed borders and even campaigned for more land. So they agreed to an Israeli state but didn’t agree to the size of it so they can just choose it for themselves.

The Creation of Israel

By 1948, Zionist militia would storm and capture Palestinian populated villages and cities leaving thousands of Palestinians homeless and landless. The Zionist wanted to seize and cleanse as much land from Palestinians before the British would officially withdraw their forces. And on the same day that they left, the Zionist proclaimed the establishment of the new Israeli state. Overnight millions of Palestinians lost their country. Immediately the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union recognised the new state of Israel.   

The Catastrophe

May 15, 1948 was perhaps one the darkest days in Palestine’s history. They called it the Nakba or the catastrophe. To lose your country, your identity and your home just like that is something truly horrifying. But that wasn’t enough for those Palestinian men, women and children, they had to be ethnically cleansed from their lands and driven into near-total destruction. See, the creation of the state of Israel didn’t just mean that 1.9 million Palestinians were forced out of their homes, didn’t just mean that 78 percent of historic Palestine had been taken from it’s natives, didn’t just mean that 530 villages and cities were destroyed and ethnically cleansed and didn’t just mean the killing of 15,000 Palestinians in a series of mass atrocities.

It means that it was the start of something even more horrifying for the Palestinian people. It lead to over 70 years of occupation, home demolitions, arbitrary arrests, displacements, Israeli expansion, military checkpoints, construction of walls, discrimination massacres and bombing of innocent women and children…          

This is how the events of the past shape the conditions of today. This is why it is important to remember and reflect on our history before it repeats itself again. Because Allah knows we don’t need it to happen again in another part of the world. May Allah lift the pain and the struggles from our Palestinian brothers and sisters. Ameen.