The Israel-Palestine conflict: a brief, simple history

One of the biggest myths about the Israel-Palestine
conflict is that it’s been going on for centuries, that this is all about ancient religious hatreds. In fact, while religion is involved, the conflict
is mostly about two groups of people who claim the same land. And it really only goes back about a century,
to the early 1900s. Around then, the region
along the eastern Mediterranean we now call Israel-Palestine had been under Ottoman rule
for centuries. It was religiously diverse, including mostly
Muslims and Christians but also a small number of Jews, who lived generally in peace. And it was changing in two important ways. First, more people in the region were developing
a sense of being not just ethnic Arabs but Palestinians, a distinct
national identity. At the same time, not so far away in Europe,
more Jews were joining a movement called Zionism, which said that Judaism was not just a religion
but a nationality, one that deserved a nation of its own. And after centuries of persecution, many believed
a Jewish state was their only way of safety. And they saw their historic homeland in the Middle
East as their best hope for establishing it. In the first decades of the 20th century, tens of thousands of European Jews moved there. After World War One, the Ottoman Empire collapsed,
and the British and French Empires carved up the Middle East, with the British taking
control of a region it called the British Mandate for Palestine. At first, the British allowed Jewish immigration. But as more Jews arrived, settling into farming
communes, tension between Jews and Arabs grew. Both sides committed acts of violence. And by the 1930s, the British began limiting Jewish
immigration. In response, Jewish militias formed to fight both the local Arabs and to resist British rule. Then came the Holocaust, leading many more
Jews to flee Europe for British Palestine, and galvanizing much of the world in support
of a Jewish state. In 1947, as sectarian violence between Arabs and Jews there grew, the United Nations approved a plan
to divide British Palestine into two separate states: one for Jews, Israel, and one for
Arabs, Palestine. The city of Jerusalem, where Jews, Muslims, and Christians all have have holy sites, it was to become a special international zone. The plan was meant to give Jews a state, to
establish Palestinian independence, and to end the sectarian violence that the British
could no longer control. The Jews accepted the plan and declared independence as Israel. But Arabs throughout the region saw the UN plan as just more European colonialism trying to steal their land. Many of the Arab states, who had just recently
won independence themselves, declared war on Israel in an effort to establish a unified Arab Palestine where all of British Palestine had been. The new state of Israel won the war. But in
the process, they pushed well past their borders under the UN plan, taking the western half
of Jerusalem and much of the land that was to have been part of Palestine. They also expelled huge numbers of Palestinians
from their homes, creating a massive refugee population whose descendants today number
about 7 million. At the end of the war, Israel controlled all
of the territory except for Gaza, which Egypt controlled, and the West Bank, named because
it’s west of the Jordan River, which Jordan controlled. This was the beginning of the decades-long
Arab-Israeli conflict. During this period, many Jews in Arab-majority
countries fled or were expelled, arriving in Israel. Then something happened that transformed the
conflict. In 1967, Israel and the neighboring Arab states fought another war. When it ended, Israel had seized the Golan
Heights from Syria, the West Bank from Jordan, and both Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula from
Egypt. Israel was now occupying the Palestinian territories,
including all of Jerusalem and its holy sites. This left Israel responsible for governing
the Palestinians – a people it had fought for decades. In 1978 Israel and Egypt signed the US-brokered
Camp David Accords and shortly after that, Israel gave Sanai back to Egypt as part of
a peace treaty. At the time this was hugely controversial
in the Arab world. Egypt President Anwar Sadat was assassinated
in part because of outrage against it. But it marked the beginning of the end of
the wider Arab-Israeli conflict. Over the next few decades, the other Arab
states gradually made peace with Israel, even if they never signed formal peace treaties. But Israel’s military was still occupying
the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, and this was when the conflict became
an Israeli-Palestinian struggle. The Palestinian Liberation Organization, which
had formed in the 1960s to seek a Palestinian state, fought against Israel, including through
acts of terrorism. Initially, the PLO claimed all of what had
been British Palestine, meaning it wanted to end the state of Israel entirely. Fighting between Israel and the PLO went on
for years, even including a 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon to kick the group out of Beirut. The PLO later said it would accept dividing
the land between Israel and Palestine, but the conflict continued. As all of this was happening, something dramatic
was changing in the Israel-occupied Palestinian territories: Israelis were moving in. These people are called settlers, and they
made their homes in the West Bank and Gaza whether Palestinians wanted them or not. Some moved for religious reasons, some because
they want to claim the land for Israel, and some just because housing is cheap — and
often subsidized by the Israeli government. Some settlements are cities with thousands
of people; others are small communities deep into the West Bank The settlers are followed by soldiers to guard
them, and the growing settlements force Palestinians off of their land and divide communities. Short-term, they make the occupation much
more painful for Palestinians. Long-term, by dividing up Palestinian land,
they make it much more difficult for the Palestinians to ever have an independent state. Today there are several hundred thousand settlers
in occupied territory even though the international community considers them illegal. By the late 1980s, Palestinian frustration
exploded into the Intifada, which is the the Arabic word for uprising. It began with mostly protests and boycotts
but soon became violent, and Israel responded with heavy force. A couple hundred Israelis and over a thousand
Palestinians died in the first Intifada. Around the same time, a group of Palestinians
in Gaza, who consider the PLO too secular and too compromise-minded, created Hamas, a violent
extremist group dedicated to Israel’s destruction. By the early 1990s, it’s clear that Israelis
and Palestinians have to make peace, and leaders from both sides sign the Oslo Accords. This is meant to be the big, first step toward
Israel maybe someday withdrawing from the Palestinian territories, and allowing an independent Palestine. The Oslo Accords establish the Palestinian
Authority, allowing Palestinians a little bit of freedom to govern themselves in certain areas. Hard-liners on both sides opposed the Oslo
accords. Members of Hamas launch suicide bombings to try to sabotage the process. The Israeli right protests peace talks, with
ralliers calling Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin a traitor and a Nazi. Not long after Rabin signs the second round
of Oslo Accords, a far-right Israeli shoots him to death in Tel Aviv. This violence showed how the extremists on
both sides can use violence to derail peace, and keep a permanent conflict going as they
seek the other side’s total destruction. That’s a dynamic that’s been around ever since. Negotiations meant to hammer out the final
details on peace drag on for years, and a big Camp David Summit in 2000 comes up empty. Palestinians come to believe that peace isn’t coming, and rise up in a Second
Intifada, this one much more violent than the first. By the time it wound down a few years later, about 1,000
Israelis and 3,200 Palestinians had died. The Second Intifada really changes the conflict.
Israelis become much more skeptical that Palestinians will ever accept peace, or that it’s even worth trying. Israeli politics shift right, and the country
builds walls and checkpoints to control Palestinians’ movements. They’re not really trying to solve the conflict
anymore, just manage it. The Palestinians are left feeling like negotiating
didn’t work and violence didn’t work, that they’re stuck under an ever-growing occupation
with no future as a people. That year, Israel withdraws from Gaza. Hamas
gains power but splits from the Palestinian Authority in a short civil war, dividing Gaza
from the West Bank. Israel puts Gaza under a suffocating blockade,
and unemployment rises to 40%. This is the state of the conflict as we know
it today. It’s relatively new, and it’s
unbearable for Palestinians. In the West Bank, more and more settlements
are smothering Palestinians, who often respond with protests and sometimes with violence,
though most just want normal lives. In Gaza, Hamas and other violent groups have
periodic wars with Israel. The fighting overwhelmingly kills Palestinians,
including lots of civilians. In Israel itself, most people have become
apathetic, and for the most part the occupation keeps the conflict relatively removed from
their daily lives, with moments of brief but horrible violence. There’s little political will for peace. No one really knows where the conflict goes
from here. Maybe a Third Intifada. Maybe the Palestinian
Authority collapses. But everyone agrees that things, as they are now, can’t
last much longer — that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians is too unstable to last, and that, unless something dramatic changes, whatever comes next will be much worse.

Comments 100

  • Read more about the Israel-Palestine conflict on Vox:

    Your basic questions about Israel and Palestine answered:
    – What are Israel and Palestine? Why are they fighting?
    – What is Zionism?
    – How did Israel become a country in the first place?
    – What are settlements, and why are they such a big deal?
    – What were the intifadas?
    – How does the world feel about Israel/Palestine?
    – What is the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?

    Further reading on the Israel-Palestine conflict:

    You can also watch our three-part documentary series on Israeli settlements from 2016. Start with part 1 here:

  • After the 1948 election where British mandate legally given gave the land to the Israelis, there was so such thing as Palestine anymore, it was just the state of israel, and now when people who refer to themselves as 'palestinians', they are just people who refuse to want to live in israel and call it by that name. Now the constant conflict, where Hamas traps the gazzan citizens in buildings that israel warns them that they will fire at, has been caught by the media to get only 10 percent of that story.

  • Israel was claimed in 1948 as a country by America after WW2 because Israel was a British occupied country. Then a day after Israel was claimed as a separate country, all Arabic countries invaded Israel. They eventually lost and kept trying to invade them for numerous years until they ultimately stopped because Israel kept defeating them. Israel are not terrorists, they good people keeping greedy land hungry powered Muslims from them. Israel is always a Jewish country for 3,000 years and will always be. 'Palestinians' as they call themselves are the threat and hamas(Palestinian terrorist group) keep on killing many Israeli, gazan and arab citizens.

  • As an Israeli, I must say, I reallt don't understand people who try to justify owning a land by saying "I was here before you". No matter how far you go, there is always someone who was there before it. And it doesn't matter. Someone wins territory in a war, it's his. Other ways, the us "ows" land back to the British and french. It's BS. You can't give land BACK. You won it. It's yours.

  • But israel offered the Palestinians their own state, oh wait did I mention they offered the Palestinians their own state 5 times but they refused because they don’t want their own state, they want to take all of Israel, israel wants peace but the Palestinians responds with bombings, wait do you know why I refer to them as Palestinians and not Palestine it’s because they don’t want their own state.

    Wait I made this comment before, ohh yeah I think vox deleted it aww boo hoo but you know what I’m baaack

  • Nice video in general. Liked! However, the English caption has a pretty serious delay. Would you mind fixing it? Thanks

  • Jews are the problem not brits, it was british jews…therefor jews the problem…don't put the blame on Britain

  • Everything is true I'm from Palestine and I almost got killed this is DONALD TRUMP fault

  • So Jews have no blame…just the british

  • Basically Israel is Daenerys Targaryen

  • Everyone is blaming the british, when the UN split the region into Israel and Palestine

  • Wow this is the most neutral political video vox has made.

  • The Wests will never tell the real story behind the Israel and Palestine conflict, but yet we can't blame them, cause they honestly don't know or can't tell the truth.

  • I'm a new student of International Relations and I want to know whether this account is accurate

  • British colonialism was the worst thing that could happen to a country back then, their rushed and untimely exits from both these countries as well as their divide and rule tactics have created problems not only in Israel and Palestine but as well as India and Pakistan, the entire Middle East as well as Africa

  • Palestine should just let Israel have its own territory, Islam already has multiple holy sites around the world, more then a 50. While the Jews only have a few which are all located in Israel.

  • Israel vs. Parmesan

  • One of the major conflicts in the modern world India-pakistan and Israel-palestine . Guess what's common? …… BRITAIN

  • Solution: Nuke England

  • If history repeats itself does that mean England will become Musland?

  • Free palestine inshaallah

  • Standing with Palestinian, may god protect them.

  • That swinging camera is nauseating. Completely overdone it with the animation.

  • Anti PALESTINE ????
    Anti Palestinian ????

    Pro Israel ??????✡?✅?

  • I’m with Palestine❤️ I don’t understand how People can just sit there watching people get killed aaahhhhh??

  • Free Palestine

  • Free palentina people gift natoin back

  • Free palentina britain stollen natoin palentina

  • Israel: wins land after being attacked
    Every time in history land is won: kept
    Vox: the land should be given back

  • free palestine

  • Islam=international Society of liars and murderes. ? ??

  • While the occupation of Palestine continues there can NEVER be peace

  • Love PaIestine

  • Vox: As bigoted, anti-Semitic, and ignorant as always. I urge people to learn from less bigoted and more truthful sources.

  • British are war criminal from ages.

  • Palestine, a name given to Israel by Rome in honor of the GREEK Philistines has nothing to do with Arabs. The Arabs who were on the land for centuries are the Bedouins and they were nomads and not a cohesive group. There was never a Palestinian state and the Arabs only started using this term in the 1900's. It is WRONG. A Palestinian really meant (for over a thousand yrs)…a Jewish person living in the former land of Israel. Arabs would have been very upset to have been called this. The problem is no one really learns history and makes up their own.

  • Hey guys, Israeli here. It's funny, actually, but 'palestinians' can't actually pronounce the word Palestine. That don't have the 'p' sound, the closest they get is 'balestine'.
    Just thought it was funny.

  • U all know what will happen to the villain, hehe.


  • Jews are indigenous to Israel, they never left completely the territory, so letting in the descendants of the ones who left was not bad, especially because the territory was mostly uninhabited. There were Muslims, Christians and Jews before these migrations.

  • מי מישראל

  • Viva Israel

  • Where is the part where Arabs blew up coffee shops and busses full of babies?


  • Im watching this crying my country got demolished ? ? ? and no body cares.

    Edit: which is palestine ?

  • Funny fact is that Palestinians believe in Islam which was established by a guy who had jewish origin.

  • Free Palestine ???

  • Its british fault just that.

  • I've always hate britains, all this stuff that is happening today is because of them, in the past they thought they were the best, expensive taxes-in USA, controling almost all countries in the Middle East and not talking about British Columbia in Canada

  • Israel sounds like that one annoying cousin who just got beaten in a corner and now is telling your mom of you

  • Excellent but no mention of the Balfour Declaration.

  • Same thing is going to happen between India and Kashmir. Settlements, in roads like they did in West Bank.

  • lol isreal gives back the sinai to egypt !!

  • Palestinians were there first in majority.

  • Only israel??

  • this is a very complex situation that so few people actually understand

  • Palestine is free and Jerusalem has its capital, a greeting from Algeria to Palestine and to all those who believe in the Palestinian cause.

  • As far as I know Israel was promised to the Jews.The promise was stated in a fictitious book of fairy tales with no basis in fact.Not a great basis to claim a home land.Try that in a court of Law. "An ancient fictious man said I can live here"!? ? ?. Israel was founded by violence and shouldn't exist.Arabs belong in the middle east, Jews belong anywhere else.

  • La Liberté ? ??

  • Paletina""""""""""

  • Love u Israel Israel?? from India ?? ?

  • I think the reason the Jews call Israel is bcuz they're trying to convince everyone that their country IS REAL

  • 160000 BD arab in Palestine
    3000 BD jews in palestine

  • The conflict has nothing to do with religion because the Bible doesn’t say the land belongs to the Jews and God put stipulations to that land belonging to his people which the Jews have failed to meet accept Jesus Christ is one of those stipulations

  • the Jews have a problem.. they think they are entitled to those lands…. .they are NOT!

  • i am from India i can say our government support palistain very much

  • You give wrong information.

  • 7:27 is that nuclear nadal from the dictator oh sorry I mean From the Republic Of Wadiya lol.

  • I appreciate the effort being put to make us aware of all the things that are happening around us. Personally, I felt this video was very confusing.

  • Britain ?? saved the world their was only one britsh empire and it ended all wars

  • Just that one side loves civilian casualties on both sides equally.

  • This is so pro Palestine

  • The answer is so simple: West Bank goes to Palestine. The rest of Israel remains with Jews. Jerusalem should be a commonwealth equally owned by both Palestine and Israel, but ruled by a board of liberal pan-Abrahamic leaders (equal # of Jews, Christians, and Muslims) to keep everything equal. Gaza should be reabsorbed by Israel with the Palestinians compensated financially and relocated to the new formal Palestine. There.

  • Another Anti-Israel video, Why cant anyone just cover the facts?
    Show the rights/wrongs from BOTH side?

  • It’s what was going on.

  • 700k settlers in the westbank – yes, but always anyone, talking about this, forgets to mention, that not one single palestinian had to leave his house.
    All settlements were build on land, that no one owns (as private person, buildings, farmers land, etc.).
    Only exemption is the settlement in Hebron, the first settlement ever… (owning 3% of the city of hebron).

  • Give me a like if you claim white people are the reason why problems exist but you also claim to not be racist.

  • Soooooooo many wrong facts

  • How tf did they win while being completely outnumbered?

  • israel's history is a criminal record.

  • Support Palestine all the way.


  • So British basically implemented the 2 state solution that everyone talks about then Arabs in the region attacked Isreal. Isreal wins and says "to the victors the spoils. Arabs commit terrorist attacks a protests. Isreal has given back some other the "spoils" but attacks on them still occur. Now they take the stance "we wont negotiate with terrorists" and it is a stalemate now.

  • So the Arab world attacked Israel, Palestine lost and now they’re salty…

  • I don’t support Palestine because of this

  • What Hitler did to the Jews was horribly wrong/unacceptable and image if the worlds ppl hadn’t come together…
    But what the Jews are doing is dead wrong and we need strong leaders to help figure out how to deescalate this.
    What Trump and his sociopathic son in law did Jerusalem was dead wrong and not helpful.
    The Jews invaded another country. Open borders?

  • Very bad history in this video. Sick

  • TL;DR: it's Europe's fault when it's convenient, and it's the muslim's fault when that's convenient…, oy vey, 6,000,000, don't question the narrative or you're an anit-semite…

  • instead of using teargas, the jews should undermine palestine's alliances, determination to protest (rubber bullets), and use jewish soft power to override palestinian lobbyists abroad. after the palestinians are expelled, beat lebanon back to the river and establish a stronger line up north.

  • This Conflict was Engineered by Hostile Advanced Extra Terrestrials ——– and it dint really take a lot ——- Just a few Verses about – Apes – into one of their Authored Religious Books ———- and a Telepathically induced – Night Dream – to Ensure all this Conflict around Temple Mount – which was just one of their Architectural Constructs 3000 years ago

  • Not being funny but why should they give it back they won it rightfully in a war im actually so shocked even now that they gave the sinai peninsula back considering egypt wanted there country destroyed

  • thank you israel for standing up for freedom and happiness ?️‍???

  • So no one really has the right of this conflict? OK. I’ll just side with Israel then since they’re a democracy not a horrible authoritarian country.

  • Britishers did the same thing to India and Pakistan

  • I hate when they use the 'holocaust' as an excuse…. Big lie…. Balfour declaration was codified around 1916 when rohtschild made a deal for Palestine….. This Israel today is not at all Jewish….. It's a homebase for global terrorism…

  • I think the lesson we can all take from this is extremists on any side are detestable.

  • The comments are unusually light hearted today 🙂

  • Hey guys,

    What is the piano background music that starts at 2:17 and goes halfway?

    Please and thank you!

  • f Palestinians

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