The conflict pits Palestinian aspirations for a state of their own against Israeli demands for security in what it has long regarded as a hostile region. Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the modern State of Israel on May 14, 1948, establishing a safe haven for Jews fleeing persecution and seeking a national home on land to which they claim deep ties over generations. Palestinians lament Israel’s creation as the Nakba, or catastrophe, that resulted in their dispossession and blocked their dreams of statehood. In the war that followed, some 700,000 Palestinians, half the Arab population of what was British-ruled Palestine, fled or were driven from their homes, ending up in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel, a close US ally, contests the assertion it drove Palestinians from their homes and points out it was attacked by five Arab states the day after its creation. Armistice pacts halted the fighting in 1949 but there was no formal peace. Palestinians who stayed put in the war today form the Arab Israeli community, making up about 20 per cent of Israel’s population.
Download our special readings from here. CSS students are also required to study the following report from the attached link. If students still want to learn more about the history of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they may refer to the podcasts of Scottish historian and art historian William Dalrymple from YouTube.