The Establishment of the State of Israel
Partitioning of Palestine
A New Jewish Homeland
Antagonism between cultures has caused many wars, but there is one conflict that has divided the world for 60 years and shows no signs of ending.
Om May 14th 1948, David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the modern state of Israel. He was to be it's first prime minister and would preside over a new country carved out of the British controlled territory of Palestine. The remainder of Palestine was left to the Palestinians. The presence of a Jewish homeland in the midst of the Arab world inevitably created conflict.
Gideon Fiegel lives in Wembley, North London. He was one of the first Israelis and served as a soldier in the Haganah, the Jewish militia, set up to defend the new state of Israel.
Around the corner in Golders Green, lives Gharda Karmi a Palestinian driven from her home in Jerusalam as a direct result of the formation of Israel.
For the 6 months leading up to Ben-Gurion's declaration there was an escalation of violence on both sides. Arab and Jewish terrorists carried out sniper and bomb attacks against each other's communities. The day after the formation of Israel, a coalition of five Arab armies attacked the borders of the new state. This was to be the first in a series of Arab/Israeli conflicts that would continue for the rest of the century and cost tens of thousands of lives.
Since 1948 there have been five Arab/Israeli wars, and on each occasion the Israelis gained more territory unril they occupied the whole of Palestine. The failure of direct military action against the western-backed Israelis led some Palestinian factions to pursue their cause through terrorism, both inside Israel and beyond. Most notably the PLO under Yasser Arrafat.
The conflict has become much more than the territorial dispute that started with the foundation of Israel. The clash of ideologies has made it a hair-trigger for many other conflicts around the globe. Until there's peace in the Middle East, there can be no peace in the world.