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8/26/05

Who started the bus bombings in the Middle East?

For those of you who think that the terrorists bombing hotels and buses is new and that it is the arabs that always used this tactic, you might find this timeline interesting.

For those of you who think the Palestinians started the bombing of civilians in hotels and buses and assasinations in the middle east, you need to read this timeline so you understand the actual history.

I'll probably be accused of being anti-semetic or a jew-hater or whatever as is the case everytime someone exposes their history, such as Mel Gibson did in "The Passion of the Christ". But these are undisputible facts and in timeline fashion so that you can see the Israelis are no stranger to what we label as terrorist and extremist actions. The Palestinians had good teachers.

In AD 70, the Romans crushed a Jewish revolt, sacked Jerusalem, and destroyed its sacred temple--the focal point of Jewish life. Jews were slaughtered, enslaved, or driven away. By 135, when another rebellion met with the same fate, no Jew could set foot in Jerusalem. The old city was rebuilt as a Greco-Roman one--complete with circus, amphitheater, and baths--and Judea was renamed Palestine.

When Rome turned Christian, Jerusalem followed suit, and churches went up around the sites holy to those in the faith. Pilgrims flocked in, and came for three centuries--until 638, when the city fell to a Muslim army from Arabia.

Muslims, too, held Jerusalem holy. Early on, they even faced toward it in prayer rather than Mecca. Within a century, the Dome of the Rock had been built on the site where Muhammad is said to have ascended into heaven, the Al-Aqsa Mosque had gone up next door, and Jerusalem had become an Arab and Muslim city. Except for a century or two of Crusader rule after 1099, Muslims held sway there almost continuously for more than a thousand years.

Most Jews lived in the diaspora. But then came Zionism, a 19th-century movement rooted in the idea that every nation deserves an autonomous home. That's where the modern Arab-Israeli conflict--and our timeline history of it--begins.

1881 - Beginning of mass migrations of Jews to Palestine, at that time part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Most of the first Jews come from Russia, fleeing pogroms and harsh discrimination. They join a small and politically inactive Jewish population already in Palestine.

1897 - First Zionist Congress meets in Basel, Switzerland, to discuss Theodor Herzl's 1896 pamphlet The Jewish State. The congress calls for "a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured by public law." Herzl writes in his diary, "At Basel I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. Perhaps in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will know it."

1914 - World War I begins. The Ottoman Turks ally with Germany and Austria-Hungary against Britain, France,
and Russia.

1916 - Arab nationalists, backed by the British, revolt against Ottoman rule in Palestine. The British suggest they'll recognize an independent Arab state if the revolt succeeds. Yet at the same time, Britain signs a secret agreement with France to carve the region into colonial zones.

1917 - Britain's foreign minister, Arthur Balfour, says that the British "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." Zionists hail the Balfour Declaration as a crucial step forward. Yet Balfour also says that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine."

1918 - British forces gain military control of Palestine.
World War I ends.

1920 - Arabs in Syria declare independence, but French troops quickly occupy Damascus. As part of the resolution of World War I, France assumes a mandate to govern modern-day Syria and Lebanon. Britain gets a mandate for Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq. Arab nationalists, whose hopes have been dashed by these events, reject British rule. Zionists cooperate with British authorities yet organize independent armed militias. Violent anti-Jewish riots begin.

1922 - The League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations, confirms Britain's mandate over Palestine, charging Britain with the establishment of a "Jewish national home," "the development of self-governing institutions," and the facilitation of Jewish immigration, "while ensuring that the rights and position of other sectors of the population are not prejudiced." A British census shows that Jews account for 11 percent of Palestine's 750,000 inhabitants.

1929 - Violent anti-Jewish riots start up again, triggered by disputes over holy Jewish and Muslim sites in Jerusalem and increasing land sales to Jews.

1933 - Hitler comes to power in Germany. Jewish immigration increases. By 1936, almost 400,000 Jews live in Palestine, about 30 percent of the population.

1936 - Arab nationalists revolt, demanding the end of land sales to Jews, Jewish immigration, and British rule. The revolt continues until 1939, with a general strike, bombings of British installations, arson, assassinations, and attacks on Jews. The British impose martial law, seal borders, demolish homes, and arrest, kill, or exile rebel leaders. In response to attacks on Jews, radical Zionists begin bombing Arab buses and crowds. Eventually, even mainstream Jewish militias embrace "aggressive defense," coordinating retaliatory strikes. Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion notes that the Arab rebels are "fighting dispossession. . . . We and they both want the same thing: We both want Palestine."

1937 - A royal British commission led by Lord William Peel calls conflicting Jewish and Arab interests "irrepressible." Confronted with "right against right," the Peel Commission recommends that Palestine be partitioned into separate Jewish and Arab zones.

1939 - World War II begins. Britain tries to regain crucial Arab support. Rejecting the Peel Commission, a British white paper proposes a 10-year plan to limit Jewish immigration, curtail land sales, and create a Jewish national home within a Palestinian state. The proposal, rejected by Arab nationalists as insufficient, ends Anglo-Zionist goodwill. Despite dire events in Germany, Britain works to prevent Jewish immigration to Palestine. Radical Zionists begin attacks on British installations.

1942 - A Zionist conference in New York garners increasing U.S. support for a "Jewish commonwealth" in Palestine and unrestricted Jewish immigration to it.

1944 - Radical Zionists declare war on British authorities in Palestine and assassinate a British minister in Cairo.

1945 - World War II ends. Nazi death camps are liberated, and the full extent of the Holocaust becomes clear. Six million Jews have been murdered--one third of all Jewish people worldwide. U.S. President Harry Truman urges Britain to accept 100,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors into Palestine. Arab nationalists protest that help for Holocaust survivors should not come at the expense of Palestinian Arabs.

1946 - Radical Zionists bomb British government and military offices at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

1947 - Britain gives control of Palestine to the United Nations, which votes to partition the region into two states: one Jewish and one Arab, with Jerusalem under international control. Zionists accept the partition, which grants them 56 percent of Palestine, including fertile coastal regions. Arab nationalists reject the authority of the U.N. to partition the land. Civil war between the roughly 678,000 Jews and 1,269,000 Arabs in Palestine begins. Soon, Zionists control most of the territory allocated to them under the U.N. plan.

1948 - Britain pulls out of Palestine. Zionists, led by David Ben-Gurion, immediately declare the independent State of Israel. Arab armies from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon immediately attack. The First Arab-Israeli War begins. Intense fighting early on leaves the war's outcome in doubt. But after arms from Czechoslovakia reach Israel, the Jewish state establishes military superiority and conquers territory beyond that of the U.N. partition, including the western part of Jerusalem.

1949 - Armistice agreements end military action. The State of Israel controls 77 percent of the former British mandate of Palestine. Jordan controls the eastern part of Jerusalem and the West Bank, which it formally annexes. Egypt controls the area around Gaza known as the Gaza Strip. As a result of the conflict, more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs flee or are expelled from their homes (the precise circumstances are still in dispute). Israel refuses to permit these refugees to return to their homes inside the new Israeli borders. Arab states refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state, and organize an economic and political boycott of the country.

To be continued . . .

Michael Himick
August 25, 2005

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