After discussing current events involving the conflict, Nassar talked about the history of the conflict. Before 1948, Israel was a part of the country of Palestine, a country that was colonized by the British following World War I. “Things started to change during the period of the British occupation of Palestine,” Nassar said. “The British promised the European Jews represented in the Zionist Organization to solve the problem of anti-Semitism in Europe by removing the European Jews to bring them to Palestine. During the 30 years of British occupation, European Jewish immigration went towards Palestine.”
After the Holocaust increased the Jewish immigration to Palestine, the Jewish immigrants began to purchase Palestinian land in order to create Jewish communities. “The majority of the Palestinians were hostile to this project because they were feeling that they were about to lose their homeland because of the crimes of Europe against the Jews,” Nassar said.
In 1947, after the British began to leave Palestine, the United Nations partitioned Palestine into two states: one Arab state and one Jewish state.
“When the British left, Palestine fell into chaos and a civil war,” Nassar said. “Basically, the new Jewish state was created and conquered much more than it was supposed to under the partition plan. In 1948, the Jewish state was declared and it called itself the state of Israel.”
The states of Israel and Palestine would fight many wars for the next 60 years, including one in 1967 where Israel occupied the Palestine, Egypt’s Sanai and Syria’s Golan Heights. “The people who lived in what is now called the Gaza Strip were mostly refugees who were pushed out by Israel in 1948,” Nassar said.
“Now most of them fell under Israeli control. We have a situation in which all of historic Palestine was under control of Israel, and we have a large number of people who are not citizens of the state because they are not Jews.”
Nassar said if Israel removes their citizens from lands occupied in 1967, the conflict would end. “That is the solution that the United Nations and the world community aspires to,” Nassar said.
“The only thing we can do as Americans is pressure our politicians to rethink the position of the United States from Israel’s side and kind of look into the light on the side of the Palestinians,” Tim Webster, senior political science major, said.