The roots of this conflict are both historical and biblical. Ultimately a majority of scholars believe that both Jews and Palestinians arrived in this area around the same time. The last hundred years have been filled with colonization, violence, theft, and a difficult coexistence. For the Israeli Jews, they are returning to a land promised to them by God and Britain. For the Palestinians, they are existing in a place that has been home for hundreds of years.
Israel’s first king was Saul, he ruled from 1050–1012 BCE, he notably died by falling on his sword committing suicide during a raid. Three of his sons were also killed. His immediate successor was Ish-bosheth, his only remaining son. Ish-bosheth’s reign was challenged by David, Sauls son-in-law. David prevailed and ruled Judah from 1010–1002 BCE and then Israel from 1002–970 BCE. David was succeeded by his son Solomon, and when Solomon died Israel was split into two kingdoms under his son Rehoboam’s reign. The kingdom was broken into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Rehoboam only ruled the Kingdom of Judah.
In 333 BCE Alexander the Great’s conquest brought the territory of Palestine under Greek rule. A 165 BCE revolt in Judea established the last independent Jewish state of ancient times. In 63 BC Judea was incorporated into the Roman province of Palestine, and in 70 AD a revolt against Roman rule was put down by Emperor Titus and this began the Jewish Diaspora.
After 118 AD the Jewish people were allowed to return to Jerusalem, but following another Jewish revolt in 133 AD the city was destroyed and the Jewish people were banished. There was a 638 AD conquest made by the Arab Muslims that ended the Byzantine rule. Following this conquest, Omar the second caliph of Islam built a mosque, which is now the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in the early 8th Century. The region remained under Muslim rule for hundreds of years (except for the age of the Crusades (1099-1187)) until the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th Century.
In 1897 Theodor Herzl put out a book Der Judenstaat suggesting that there should be a Jewish State. The first Zionist Congress met sometime after that to discuss the points set out in Herzl’s piece. Herzl’s want for a Jewish state is said to be a direct response to anti-Semitism shown by the European Nations. The Zionist Congress set forth the mission to create a home for Jews in the already inhabited Palestine and to make this home public law. By 1897 Jewish people had already started immigrating to Palestine, by 1903 twenty-five thousand had immigrated. A second wave almost doubling those numbers came in over the next decade. These immigrants lived alongside the half-million Arab residents in Palestine.
Down the line, in WWI the Turkish control of Palestine was ended and the British regained control. The British after gaining control promised the Arab leadership post-war independence, but then shortly after went back on their promise committing Britain to establishing Palestine as the national home for the Jewish people also known as the Balfour Declaration. The 1917 Balfour Declaration states “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” Britain ruled Palestine roughly from 1920-1947 where they then gave over the reigns to the UN after the Holocaust. The UN came up with a two-state solution that would have made 56.47% of Palestine a Jewish-State, and 43.53% of Palestine an Arab-State. This partition never happened, the Arab leaders did not agree however Jewish immigration to Palestine did continue.
The State of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv. The declaration happened after British troops withdrew. British involvement in this conflict grew unpopular at the home base, especially as the conflict grew violent following the mass immigration of Jewish people into Palestine. The heated intensity brought on by all of these changes has only grown. Soon after 1948, there was a clearing of Palestinians; families lost their homes and lands during this clearing and were forced to relocate. Thus begins modern day Israel.