For Your Reference:

A Brief History

(August 23, 2001)

The current state of Israel is the product of a political movement known as zionism. Political zionism arose in Europe around the turn of the 20th century. At that time, the area in the Middle East, now occupied by the state of Israel, was Palestine and had been inhabited and developed not only for hundreds but actually thousands of years by Palestinian people and their forebears. As far as religion is concerned, Palestine was the birthplace of three religions and was well-known as a land of religious tolerance in which Moslems, Christians and Jews lived together without antagonisms and contradictions between them.

The zionist movement found its first sponsor in British imperialism which, after World War I, became the colonial ruler of Palestine. During the years of British rule (1918-1947), zionist colonization was actively encouraged.

The state of Israel was founded in 1947 through the intrigues of the British, American and French imperialists. At that time, although Jews constituted only one-third of the population in Palestine, a UN partition plan, drawn up without considering the will of the Palestinian people, designated that 54% of the land of Palestine would be used to establish a Jewish state while the remaining 46% would constitute a Palestinian state. But even before the UN plan could be put into effect, the zionists announced the formation of the state of Israel and waged war against the native population, grabbing 80% of the territory of Palestine.

Israel took control over the West Bank and Gaza (the last 20% of Palestine) through its 1967 war of conquest. Since that time, Israel has established a military infrastructure throughout the occupied territories and imposed a reign of terror on the people, systematically imprisoning, killing and exiling Palestinians, preventing the development of the West Bank economy and other Palestinian institutions, etc. In addition, more than 350,000 Israeli settlers have established 150 settlements: 190,000 in 145 settlements in the West Bank, 6,000 in the Gaza Strip, and 180,000 within the illegally extended municipal boundaries of East Jerusalem. These settlements have been created largely through the forcible expropriation of Palestinian homes and land.

The aims of the Palestinian liberation struggle are for an end to Israeli military occupation and colonization and for the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state.