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:. . Middle East:. . Israel & Palestine

The term Israel refers to the territory ruled by the various Jewish monarchies in ancient times. The term was utilized again when a Jewish state was created in 1947. The specific borders of Palestine have varied under the various empires but essentially has referred to the area comprising modern-day Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is this competition for control of territory that has formed the crux of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict over the last 100 years.

Jews have lived in the area called Palestine since about 2000 BC. The first Jewish monarchy was founded in 1030 BC under King Saul, and furthered under Kings David and Solomon. In 950 BC, Solomon built the First Temple. In 586 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia captured Jerusalem, destroyed the temple and forced the people into exile. In 538 the Persian king Cyrus the Great gained control and allowed the Jews to return. The Second Temple was completed in 515. Alexander the Great of Macedon (Greece) defeated the Persians (333) and established control of Egypt and Palestine. In 63 BC, the Romans took Palestine as a Roman province. The Jews revolted against the Romans in 66 AD. The rebellion was crushed and the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. In 135 AD the Jewish population of Palestine was dispersed throughout the ancient world.

Islam was born in 610 AD when the prophet Mohammed received revelations from Allah (God) through the archangel Jibril (Gabriel). After defeating the Sassanids of Iran and the Byzantines, the land of Palestine was then ruled by successive Arab-Islamic empires before coming under the control of a Turko-Islamic empire (the Ottoman Empire). The few Jews that lived within these empires were generally well treated. Being non-Muslims they were expected to pay an additional tax (jizyah) and to accept the political leadership of the rulers (caliphs and later, sultans). But, being "people of the book" (meaning that Judaism, as well as Christianity, are acknowledged as part of the same prophetic tradition as Islam) the Jews were given special status being able to freely worship, to apply their own laws on most matters, and to be ruled by their own local leaders.

Thus between the time of the Romans and final years of the Ottoman Empire, there were relatively few Jews living in Palestine. The Jewish communities that did exist in the Middle East were not mistreated.



Ancient History
..|..British Mandate Over Palestine..| Birth of Israel..|..The Arab-Israel Wars..|..The Peace Process..|..Security Issues

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