The Origins and Motivations of the Israel-Palestine Conflict

This video is part of Crash Course World History written by Rao and presented by John Green.

This video provides a background to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. It discusses both the state of affairs prior to the emergence of the two states we know today and the origins of Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. The video makes an admirable attempt to move the focus away from religious and military affairs and contextualise the conflict as part of a wider long term-fall out from European Imperialism.

The latter part of the video discusses important instances of conflict between the two in the 20th century as well as other developments like the First and Second Infitadas and the rise of Hamas as one of the leading organisations .

In 19th-century Ottoman-ruled Palestine the 87% Muslim, 10% Christian, 3% Jewish population coexisted peacefully. During World War 1, Britain promised Palestine to the Muslim ruler of Mecca, but decided to take Palestine for itself. The Balfour Declaration promised the Jews a Palestinian homeland. Britain established a postwar colony there and started to ‘divide and rule’.

Fleeing an increasingly dangerous Europe, Jews began to immigrate, by 1938 constituting 30% of the population. Bloody resistance grew, and in 1948 Britain handed the problem to the UN, which set out an even, but unmanageable land allocation. Israel has since taken more land for security, and both sides have become increasingly violent. Many peace talks have failed; but this conflict has a traceable root, and can be resolved if each side listens fully to the other.

Alex is a history student at King's College London focusing on Europe and the Near East in the Middle Ages. He currently works writing and editing content for madefromhistory.