Monday, October 09, 2006

Zionism: return of the Jewish people to Palestine & the resulting conflict

Palestinian kids in Aqaba
Originally uploaded by velvetart.
In a skit I've created for geography class a group of students portray impoverished Arab shepherds - about the year 1935. The shepherds have lived on this land - topsoil denuded by their lack of knowlege in land usage - for centuries. Unbeknownst to them, official deeds to their land are actually held by officials of the Ottoman Empire. These men in Istanbul do not care about this virtually worthless land. Their ownership came along with the Ottoman's long-ago conquest of Palestine.

The other group of students portrays well-educated Jews from Europe. They are Zionists. The Zionist movement was created to seek a homeland for the Jews. Tired of centuries of abuse in European nations, Jews developed the Zionist movement in the late 1800's.

These men have raised money and come to buy the deeds to the land. They will then force most of the Arabs to leave so that a modern farm can be built. "Make the deserts bloom" is their famous battle cry.

After WWI the British controlled Palestine. Their solution to the problem of Palestinian Arab vs Jew was to ask both parties to share the nation.

Sadly, equal sharing is a rare thing in this world. In 1948 the Jews brought the skirmishes between themselves and the Arabs to a conclusion by militarily taking over Palestine. They proclaimed a new nation: Israel. It became a haven for displaced Jews from across the globe.

Most of the Arab peoples became refugees - fleeing to the neighboring nations of Lebanon and Jordan.

Since then the world has tried to force the Jews and Arabs to compromise on control of the territory in what was Palestine. Both sides have militant groups which have preferred to use violent retaliation as a tool. Suicide bombings were developed in this part of the world by militant Islamic groups.

Leaders of the Arab nations have been able to proclaim that the Jews must be driven into the sea to end the conflict.

The Israelis have survived by building a strong army and air force. Their weapons are supplied mostly by the US. Indeed, Israel gets more US aid each year than any nation, says Time magazine.

There is no end in sight to this conflict in the historic land where 3 great religions were founded.

- Zion: ancient site of the temple mount in Jerusalem. Zion means "rock," and is a symbolic word meaning temple or center of one's religion.

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