World CivilizationsResearch

Students and Soldiers
Warring over Holy Land

You will find help comments in brown. (This table contains exactly the same links and information as the Link Collection, it has simply been reduced and annotated.)
These links provide you a brief overview of the conflict. They are a good place to start if you have little understanding of the issues and events, or if you'd like to see how each side (Israeli and Palestinian) presents their own history. The University of Michigan Timeline is a concise overview, and the extended Teacher Lessons are indepth commentary. You might return to them as you explore different phases of the conflict to gain another perspective.
Overview/Two Perspectives
University of Michigan This is a great site prepared by a university professor as a guide for high school history teachers. He has a wonderful (and extensive) overview of the conflict starting with World War I. His site includes a Timeline of key events in the conflict
Palestinian Government A History of Jerusalem. Prepared by the Palestinian Ministry of Information.
Israeli Government History: The State of Israel. Prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Israeli Government A History of Zionism. Prepared by the Isreali Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Here are some of the primary source documents which shed light on the conflict. You don't have to read all the documents in this list, but take the opportunity to explore the positions you are not as familiar with. If you have a good background on the Zionist side, explore some of the documents which represent the Palestinian side, and vice versa. If you are more conversant with current events, explore the historical roots of the issue.

You will find this issue much more complex than media coverage might indicate. Immediate causes are often cited for actions which are actually rooted in deeper cultural and political conflicts. Remember, that though holocaust documents are not contained in this list, the events of the 1930s and 40s must have weighed heavily upon the collective consciousness of world leaders.

As you read, take careful notes. Whenever you encounter something you feel may have had a hand in instigating this conflict, note it. If you encounter a good statistic or quote, note that too. When you're done, review your notes. Do you notice a pattern? Are there categories which your "causes" fit neatly into? What are they? Are they different than you expected to find? When it's time to write, you can arrange your thesis around these categories, and draw your conclusions based on solid evidence.

Primary Source Documents
Official Correspondence
Very good collection of documents, letters and telegrams between Arab and British officials regarding Arab independence.
Section I: Lord John Russell's refusal to favour independence of the Caliph (1860). First stirrings of Arab Secret Societies (1865-1880).
Section II: Arab Secret Societies. From the Young Turk Revolution to 1912. French Comments. Syrian delegation to Lord Kitchener, 1912.
Section III: Arab Syrian Congress in Paris and Franco-Syrian Committee in Paris, June, 1913.
Section IV: Lord Kitchener's conversation with Emir Abdullah, February 1914, and its aftermath. (A) Lord Kitchener's account and views of Sir Louis Mallet. (B) Emir Abdullah s account of his conversation with Lord Kitchener, transmitted with notes by Mr. G. Antonius.
Section V: Aziz Bey and the Arab Movement, 1914. Great sources if you're looking for evidence of early Arab nationalism.
McMahon-Hussein Letters
1915-1916. Decide for yourself if the British official (McMahon) implied an autonomous homeland for Arabs to Hussein (Sharif of Mecca). Index: 1915-07-14: Letter from Hussein to McMahon confirming Arab willingness to fight alongside the British in exchange for autonomy.
1915-08-30: Letter from McMahon to Hussein accepting Arab support while refusing to outline boundaries.
1915-09-09: Letter from Hussein to McMahon taking McMahon to task for his ambiguity on key points.
1915-11-05: Letter from Hussein to McMahon acknowledging territorial concessions, as well as a British military presence in the new Arab territories after the war. Note last paragraph where he comments on McMahon's promise that Government officials "will not interfere with internal affairs".
1915-12-14: Letter from McMahon to Hussein making diplomatic statements regarding French interests in Beirut, etc.
1916-01-01: Letter from Hussein to McMahon warning that Arab peoples would not allow the French to own and occupy any land in Beirut and the coasts once the war concludes.
1916-01-25: Letter from McMahon to Hussein promising to consider the question of Baghdad and reaffirming British/French solidarity without addressing the question of Beirut.
Keep in mind when you read the introduction that this is a pro-Palestinian site, however, the historical merit of the letters themselves is evident.
Sykes Picot Agreement
1916. This secret treaty between the British and French divided the Middle East between the two countries, Britain: Iraq, Palestine, and Jordan. France: Lebanon, Syria, and much of southern Turkey. (Consider how this contradicts implications of McMahon/Hussein letters.) Another location: Sykes Picot Agreement.
Balfour Declaration
1917. Letter from Lord Balfour outlining British willingness to support the creation of a homeland for Jewish people in the Holy Land.
Treaty at Lausanne
1918. Abolished Capitulations and recognized Turkey -without- the Arab provinces.
27 Articles of T.E. Lawrence.
1917. Englishman who led Arab tribesman against the Turkish with Hussein writes of working with Arab tribesman successfully against Turks. Shows general bias of the day as well as giving light to lifestyle and politics of nomadic Arab tribes.
T.E. Lawrence's report on Mesopotamia
1920. He reports on mismanagement and the execution of innocent Arabs by the British officials.
British White Paper
1922. Early evidence of trouble in Palestine, Winston Churchill makes statements regarding Arab rights and the Balfour Declaration.
British White Paper
1939. British Government attempts to quell unrest by limiting Jewish immigration.
UN Partition Plan
1947. This non-binding resolution which calls for two independent states was accepted by Isrealis, rejected by Palestinians.
Massacre at Deir Yasin
1948. Red Cross Report on the Massacre at Deir Yasin by the radical Irgun.
UN Report
1948. Excerpts from the report of the UN Mediator, Bernadotte.
UN Resolution 181
1948. On the Partition of Palestine.
Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.
1948. Proclaimed when the British Mandate finally ended, on May 14.
Khartoum Resolutions
1967. (Note that the introduction was prepared by the Israeli ministry of Foreign Affairs, but the text of the Resolutions is primary source material.)
The Palestinian National Charter.
1967. Outlines basic grievances, refuses to recognize the State of Isreal, etc.
UN Security Council Resolution 242.
1967. Response to the Six-Day War. Outlines strategy for negotiating peace.
UN Security Council Resolution 338
1973. Response to the Yom Kippur War. Calls for a cease fire.
UN Security Council Resolution 425.
1978. Response to Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Calls for removal of IDF troops from Lebanon.
Memorandum of Understanding between Israel and the U.S.
1981. Agreement to share air space, run military exercises together, etc.
Golan Heights Law.
1981. Extends Israeli jurisdiction over the Golan Heights area.
Palestinian Declaration of Independence.
1988. Note the difference in tone, compared to 1967 Charter.
Israel's Peace Initiative.
1989. Does not recognize the P.L.O. or allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Does offer free elections for Palestinian Arabs, transition to self-rule.
Invitation to Madrid Peace Conference
1991. Break-up of the Soviet Union precipitated the joing American/Soviet invitation to Arab and Israeli leaders. Palestinians are included as part of Jordanian-Palestinian Delegation. Reference made to self-rule.
Letters from Arafat to Rabin, and Rabin to Arafat.
1993. Arafat recognizes Israel, renounces portions of the Palestinian National Charter (1967); Rabin recognizes P.L.O. as the representative of the Palestinian people.
Declaration of Principles of Interim State Government.
1993. Outlines arrangements for transition to self-rule. Portions of this document also available at alternate site: Part I and Part II.
Agreement on the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area.
1994. Arrangements between P.L.O. and Israel.
Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
1995. Includes maps of safe passage zones, release of Palestinian prisoners, etc.
1997. Concerning redeployment at Hebron. Includes maps.
Now, get a little closer to the individuals. Explore the links that interest you. You may or may not use them in your paper, but they will had interest to your studies, humanize your research.
Other Voices
Beyond what governments claim, what leaders promise, what citizens wish-- is reality. The actual day to day life continues in spite of the conflict. What of the people? The students, the religious leaders, the villagers and children? Their experiences are sometimes shaped by events entirely outside their control. Here are some sites which give you a more personal look at events which charge forward, sweeping real people along with them.
You absolutely must visit this site. Nigel Parry, a young Scottish journalist lives and works in Ramallah, among Palestinians. He describes life in the occupied territories with wry humor and a sense for what it really means to be a part of a conflict decades old. He treats violence and inhumanity with the same deprecation, whether the Palestinian Authority or the Israeli Defense Force is guilty. His site definitely features the plight of the underdog, the Palestinian in an occupied territory. The photos which accompany his diary bring the conflict to a much more personal level. Look into the faces of those who live with uncertainty.
Chaim Goldberg
Another must see, this virtual tour of Goldberg's work eloquently captures the uncertainty, the sorrow and the joys of Jewish life. Mr. Goldberg was born in 1917 and experienced the horrors of World War II. The first image you will see is called "To The Unknown". Explore the rest of the site and enjoy his marvelous works
You can also read the account of Elihu King, written about his participation in the 1948 War for Israeli Independence, his political beleifs, and his life after Independence.
For information about women, families, social conditions during the conflicts, try a search of the United Nations Documents Archive for information on Palestine, Isreal or any facet of the conflict. Sample of documents you might find:
1995 report on the precarious position of Palestinian Women and recommendations. Report on Water Availability in Occupied Palestinian Territory. Several years worth of Annual Reports from "The Committee on the Exercise of Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People"
This is actually from the overview site at the University of Michigan featured above, however, this links directly to Teacher's Lesson 3. This whole section is good, but scroll down to near the end of the document. "The Bak'aa Refugee Camp in Jordan" is a riveting account of an American's tours of Palestinian Refugee camps.
You can also search the records of Amnesty International. A sampling of reports available include:
1995 Report of Abuses by Isreali forces. 1995 Report of Abuses by Palestinian authorities. 1996 Reports on Human Rights Abuses by the Palestinian Authority. (includes report on Torture of prisoners). 1996 Reports on Israeli Torture of Prisoners. 1996 Reports on Human Rights Abuses by Israeli Forces.
Statistics buffs will find the numbers here and here.
A last touch, some Pictures of Jerusalem.
Done with this section?


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