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WATCH: Conflict in Israel and Palestine

In which John Green teaches you about conflict in Israel and Palestine. This conflict is often cast as a long-term beef going back thousands of years, and rooted in a clash between religions. Well, that's not quite true. What is true is that the conflict is immensely complicated, and just about everyone in the world has an opinion about it. John is going to try to get the facts across in under 13 minutes. Thought Café's series on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGAL9TcH76MBKR5hywFZ4CA You can directly support Crash Course at https://www.patreon.com/crashcourse Subscribe for as little as $0 to keep up with everything we're doing. Free is nice, but if you can afford to pay a little every month, it really helps us to continue producing this content. Citation 1: Arthur James Balfour, Balfour Declaration (letter to Baron Rothschild, leader of British Jewish community). 1917. Created by World History Project.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user gadifinegold
    So what do you mean in by "soon enough the 1948 war broke out"? Who started it? There was a UN partition plan. Why wasn't it implemented? Also in when you mention the Clinton talks and Ehud Barak offering so much even Arafat was surprised, you say "The Clinton talks failed". Why didn't Arafat take the offer, or make a counter offer? In you say the Palestinians live under what amounts to a military occupation. But Gaza is ruled by Hamas. Is that the military occupation you refer to?
    (12 votes)
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    • female robot grace style avatar for user KhanAcademyAnt
      The 1948 war was started by most Arabs excluding Palestine. They joined after Israel invaded the other states. The Palestinians didn't agree with the Partition plan because they had to give up historic Muslim holy sites. Clinton talks failed because it was a reflection of the Partition plan. No that isn't the military occupation he was referring to. The state where Both parties live in is historically called Palestine. Israel Owns most of it and control Palestinians living there via militaristic occupation of their homes, They also deport them to the states around it.
      (0 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user 2030jasongarren
    can you do video about 9/11
    (5 votes)
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  • male robot donald style avatar for user JackB
    how come this is the first video that i see him with a beard
    (6 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Scott Gordon
    1. The Brits allocated 78% of the Palestine region to Jordan and split the remainder between a Jewish state and Arab state so the Jews got 10-11% of the land. The Jews accepted this 1948 partiton; Arab countries launched a war against the Jews. Not: Fighting broke out, suggesting both sides wanting war.
    2. Some population figures include what is now Jordan thereby overstating the historical Muslim population in the area now Israel/West Bank/Gaza.
    3. Most Palestinian Arabs are descendants of 19th & 20th Century immigrants from Egypt, Syria, and Algeria.
    4. In 1948, the Jordanian army ethnically cleansed Jews of East Jerusalem and destroyed over 50 synagogues. But Mr. Green refers to East Jerusalem as historically Palestinian territory!
    5. The 2000 Ehud Barak offer was rejected by Arafat with no counter proposal. Not: It simply didn't work out, suggesting both sides at fault.
    6. There was no Palestinian national feeling until Israel. They historically regarded themselves as part of a larger Arab population. Check out primary sources.
    7. Palestinians directly target Israeli civilians and use Arab civilians as human shields. Israel goes out of its way to avoid civilian damage. See Col. Richard Kemp.
    8. Mr. Green does not seem to be aware of these issues or of the ancient Jewish kingdoms in this land. There's a lot more he left out. And his "fighting broke out" and "negotiations didn't work out" are clever ways to hide Arab fault.
    (4 votes)
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  • piceratops seed style avatar for user Vultures
    Last week Israeli protesters attacked aid trucks and destroyed humanitarian supplies destined for desperate Palestinians in Gaza.
    (4 votes)
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  • blobby blue style avatar for user Misty
    But didn't the Brtish take territory that wasn't there? Wouldn't that mean that the land is rightfully Palestine, not for jews?
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user ambika.preetham
    How did countries let the british rule over them?
    (1 vote)
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  • cacteye green style avatar for user AdelEye
    So long story short, the jews and muslims were living peacefully in Palestine but the British came and ruined everything. Of course... typical colonizer behavior.
    (2 votes)
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  • female robot amelia style avatar for user Faatimah Sadat
    Um, who gave the British the right to give or take the state of Palestine as though it were their own?
    As stated in this video, there was a state in which Muslims, Christians and Jews whether they were arab or not lived peacefully before the British decided to start playing with it.
    Some might say it was an understanding by both sides. However, I have never heard (in this video) or have ever read in any historical book that the Palestinian state was asked about whether they were interested in giving their land.
    Surely a state should be regarded in their land being given?
    ("Hey there, Palestine, um, we just promised a bunch of countries your land... regards, the British.")

    Also how did the British state take nothingness? it can only mean one thing that there was a Palestinian state they took not caring whether it was internationally ok or even whether it meant they were acting like typical colonizers...
    (1 vote)
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    • stelly blue style avatar for user ³oɔiiᴎ
      Syria Palaestina was never a state. And you cannot blame the British for "taking" that land, because it was under the control of the Ottomans before they were defeated in WW1. And just like most wars, if you lose, you lose land. That's how it worked for hundreds of years. And before the Ottomans were Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and eventually the Islamic Caliphate.

      The British were in quite a predicament because the populations were spread out. They wanted out and happened to make some sort of border.

      Now, the new Jewish State declared independence, but the "Palestinian" one did not. They felt entitled to all that land, which is arguable since there had been a Jewish presence there for just as long, or even longer. And they got angry.

      So angry that other Arab nations went to war [on their behalf]. But guess what? That coalition lost (more than once), and the new State of Israel gained more land. The area of Gaza was under Egyptian control, but when Israel won, they did not want to oversee its population anymore, which is respectable. Same went for Jordan and other Arab States.
      (3 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Keil46
    Why were state official can't help to establish to solve the claims of land that claims lives in Israelis and Palestine people?
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript

Hi, I'm John Green, this is Crash Course World History, and today, we're going to talk about Israel and Palestine, hopefully, without a flame war. Yeah, yeah big ask, Mr. Green, I mean, that fight goes back thousands and thousands of years. Except, thousands of years ago... there wasn't an Islam yet, so, yeah, no. Also, let me submit that very little of this conflict between Israel and Palestine over the last several decades has been about, like, theological differences between Islam and Judaism. No one's arguing about whether the most important prophets descended from Abraham's son Isaac, or his son Ishmael, right? It's not about whether to fast during Yom Kippur or Ramadan. It's about land. Portraying the conflict as eternal or as religious makes it feel intractable in a way that frankly, it isn't. So instead, let's begin as most historians do in the late 19th century. And instead of talking about religion, let's follow the lead of historians like James Gelvin and discuss competing nationalisms. [Theme Music] Ok, so in the late 19th century, the Ottoman Empire ruled over what we now know as Palestine. The population there, according to Ottoman records from 1878, was 87% Muslim, 10% Christian and 3% Jewish. Everybody spoke Arabic as the daily language, and in Jerusalem the religious populations were roughly equal. To give you a sense of life in Ottoman Palestine, an Arab Orthodox Christian musician named Wasif Jawhariyyeh grew up in Jerusalem in the first decade of the 20th century learning the Quran in school and celebrating both Passover and Eid with his Jewish and Muslim neighbors. Ottoman Palestine was, in short, a place in which people of different religious faiths lived peacefully together. Alright, let's go to the Thought Bubble. The late 19th century was the Golden Age of nationalism in Europe, and no place was crazier than the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire in which at least 10 different nations all wanted their own state. And in that hyper-nationalistic empire lived a Jewish journalist named Theodor Herzl who had hoped that Jews could assimilate into European nations but soon became convinced that the Jewish people needed to leave Europe and settle in their own state. The concept of Jewish nationalism came to be known as Zionism. It's important to keep in mind that most Zionists were secular Jews, so they imagined Israel as a state for Jews more than a Jewish state. In 1917, the British government, hoping to gain the support of Jewish people, issued the Balfour Declaration, promising, quote, "The establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," a bold promise considering that Palestine was still technically Ottoman, as they hadn't yet lost World War One. Of course, they would soon, but it turned out that the British were overpromisers when it came to Palestine, because a year before the Balfour Declaration, the British had secretly promised the French that they would divide up the Arab territories and the Brits would keep Palestine. Furthermore, in 1915, other British officials had promised the ruler of Mecca, Sharif Hussein, that he would rule over an Arab state including Palestine if he led an Arab revolt against Ottoman rule, which Hussein promptly did, so basically the Brits had promised Palestine to the Meccans, to themselves, and to the Zionists. What could go wrong? Thanks, Thought Bubble. So shortly after the end of the war, the British established a colony in Palestine with the idea that they'd rule until the Palestinians were ready to govern themselves, at which point the people living in Palestine were like, "Well, now seems good," and the British were like, "Yeah, but maybe not just yet." Meanwhile, the British established separate institutions for Christians, Jews, and Muslims, making it difficult for Palestinian Christians and Muslims to cooperate and easier for the British to, quote, "divide and rule" the inhabitants of Palestine. Again, what could go wrong? Meanwhile, the British did attempt to honor the Balfour Declaration's promise to, quote, "facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions." Between 1920 and 1939, the Jewish population of Palestine increased by over 320,000 people. In fact, by 1938, Jews were just under 30% of the population of Palestine. And the growing Jewish population focused on purchasing land from absentee non-Palestinian Arab landowners and then evicting Palestinian farmers who were living and working there. By controlling both the land and the labor, they hoped to establish a more secure community within Palestine, but of course, these practices heightened tensions between Jewish people and Arab Palestinians between the 1920s and the 1930s. Along the way, Palestinian Arabs began to think of themselves as the Palestinian nation, and that growing sense of nationalism erupted in 1936, when the Palestinians revolted against the British. With the help of Jewish militias, the British brutally suppressed the Palestinian revolt, but in the aftermath, the British issued a white paper, limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine, and calling for the establishment of a joint Arab and Jewish state in Palestine within ten years. This managed to leave no one happy. The Zionists were angry at Britain for limiting Jewish immigration at a time when Jews particularly needed to leave Europe, and the Arab Palestinians were unhappy about the prospect of waiting ten years for a state. And then came World War II, which was actually quite a peaceful time in Palestine. But then it ended, and tensions resumed, and the British realized that colonies like Palestine were far more trouble than they were worth, so they handed the issue of Palestine over to the newly created United Nations. They were like, "Oh hey there, United Nations! For your first problem..." So in November of 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into separate Palestinian and Jewish states. The Partition Plan called for two states roughly equal in size, but the borders looked like a jigsaw puzzle. I mean, you do not look at this map and think, "Yeah, that's gonna work!" Sure enough, it didn't, and soon after the plan was announced, the cleverly named 1948 Arab-Israeli War broke out, with Israel on the one side and the Palestinians and many Arab states on the other. The Israelis won, and when an armistice was signed in 1949, Israel occupied a third more land than they would have had under the UN proposal. Meanwhile, Jordan controlled and later annexed the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem, and Egypt controlled the Gaza strip. Over 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes and became refugees in the surrounding Arab countries. To Israelis, this was was the beginning of their nation; to the Palestinians, it was the nakba, the catastrophe, as they became stateless. Over the next 18 years, nothing changed territorially, and then, in 1967, Israel and several Arab states went to war again. It was called the Six-Days War because -- get this -- it lasted six days. Israel won, and then gained control over the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights. So the 1947 proposal looked like this; by 1967, things looked like this. Then the UN passed Resolution 242 - man, they are good at naming resolutions! - which outlined a basic framework for achieving peace, including Israel withdrawing from the territory acquired in the war, and all participants recognizing the rights of both a Palestinian and an Israeli state to exist. This of course did not happen. After the war, the broader Israeli-Arab conflict morphed into a more specific Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and this is a nice moment to note that not all Muslims are Arabs, not all Arabs are Palestinians, and not all Palestinians are Muslims. Like, there's a significant Christian minority of Palestinians, for instance. Palestinian is a word used to describe the ethnic identity of those who have historically lived in Palestine. There were, for instance, lots of Christians in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, or PLO, formed in 1964 and led by Yasser Arafat. The PLO oversaw guerrilla groups that attacked civilians, but also used nonviolent approaches to try to achieve a Palestinian state, and meanwhile, the Israeli government began to establish Jewish settlements in what had been Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. There are now over 350,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and over 200,000 in East Jerusalem, and these settlements are illegal, according to international law, but Israel counters by saying that they aren't really illegal because Palestine isn't really a state. By the late 1980s, Palestinians launched the first intifada, which literally means "shaking off." And this began with, like, boycotts of Israeli products and services and refusing to pay Israeli taxes, but when the Israeli armed forces cracked down on protesters, violence ensued. And the first intifada also saw the founding of Hamas, which launched the first suicide bombing against Israel in 1993. Hamas gained support partly because of its militancy, but mostly because of its social welfare projects in Gaza. It built and staffed schools, mosques, and clinics. The most important legacy of the First Intifada was the emergence of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis. This led to the Oslo Accords, and the peace process, based on our old friend, United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. But there were a lot of issues to resolve - I mean, putting aside the question of, like, how to make two states that don't look like a jigsaw puzzle, there was the question of the Jewish settlement, and the right for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to Palestine. Water rights, which are a big deal in that part of the world, and so on. It's very complicated! So then came the Clinton talks. Oh, it's time for the Open Letter! But first, let's see what's inside of the globe. Oh, look! It's a collection of philandering American presidents. An Open Letter to Bill Clinton: Hey, Bill, so your talks probably came closer than any other time in recent history to an actual peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was willing to give up more land currently claimed by Israel than at any other time in the past; even Yasser Arafat was surprised. Although not all the questions got addressed, you were definitely closing in on something. But in the end, it didn't happen, and since then, not to criticize you, things have gotten kind of worse and worse and worse. Worst of all, that was your big legacy moment. Now all you've got is the conflict in Northern Ireland getting resolved while you were president. In short, it could have been amazing, but instead it was kind of... neeeeh. Kind of like your presidency, actually! At least you always have those vodkas-soaked hugs with Boris Yeltsin to look back on. Best Wishes, John Green. So the Clinton talks failed; Ehud Barak's government was undermined, and then, in September of 2000, Prime Minister candidate Ariel Sharon led a group of 1,000 armed guards to the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. To Muslims, this is known as the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and it's the third-holiest site in Islam, behind only the Kaaba in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina. And it's the holiest site in Judaism, so in short, it's a pretty touchy place to march to with a thousand armed guards. So the events sparked a massive protest, which eventually led to the much more violent Second Intifada, in which more than three thousand Palestinians and one thousand Israelis were eventually killed. In 2002, the Israelis, claiming to act in defense of civilians, began construction of a wall around the West Bank, but instead of following the borders established after the 1967 War, the barrier was built to include many Israeli settlements on the Israeli side. To Israelis, that was about self-defense; to Palestinians, it was an illegal land grab. Then, in 2005, Yasser Arafat died, and in an election shortly thereafter, Hamas won a majority of the parliamentary seats. Since then, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have sort of divided how to govern Palestine, and it's also sort of been poorly governed. In the past ten years, Hamas has frequently launched rocket attacks into Israel; Israel has responded with extended and extremely violent invasions of Palestinian territory that have seen thousands of Palestinians killed, many of them militants, but also many not. Both parties claim to be responding to the provocations of the other, but much of the conflict reflects the consistent failure on all sides to understand the legitimacy of the other's narrative. To Palestine, the Palestinian people have been denied a state not just since the formation of Israel, but also for decades before that, and now they live under what amounts to a military occupation. And that's all true. To Israel, the Jewish people clearly need a homeland, which the United Nations established. And they certainly aren't the first nation state to consolidate and increase their territory via military victory. And they need to protect their nation against the many active threats made against them by their neighbors. That's also true! It's important to understand the internal logic of these competing nationalist visions. For both Zionists and Palestinian national visions to eventually work, it's necessary to understand the right of each to exist and the legitimacy of each's historical narrative. But these problems aren't thousands of years old, and they aren't intractable. They emerged in the British Mandatory Period. But let's hope that by understanding this isn't an endless religious war, that we might be closer to seeing its end. Thanks for watching. I'll see you next week. Crash Course is filmed here in the Chad and Stacy Emigholz studio in Indianapolis, and it's made possible by our subscribers on Subbable, so thanks to you all. By the way, if you want to learn more about Israel and Palestine, our friends at Thought Café have made a series of videos; you can also find a link to them in the video info below. Thanks again to all our Subbable subscribers; thanks to the educators who share these videos with their students and to the students who share them with their teachers. As we say in my hometown, don't forget to be awesome.