When the Hebrews settled in Israel (then the land of Canaan), they were not the original inhabitants (if you believe that there is some historical accuracy in Exodus). Even if you do not accept the Biblical history as a source, it cannot be denied that there must have been, at some point, a significant influx of Hebrews to the region at some point a few thousand years B.C., for the ancient Kingdom of Israel to have arisen. Maybe I didn't word my reply correctly, but the Jews were originally foreigners in Canaan, in the same way that the Anglo-Saxons or Normans were foreigners in England. The Jews, however, did not intergrate with the local population in the same way most invaders do, and this is one of the sticking points many Muslims have with the Israelis.
Yes, you are correct there. However, the land was certainly not 'given' to them by God/Jahwe/Allah/Indra/Ahura Mazda/Jupiter/Marduk/Odin/Perun/Whatever else.
As you said, any population has wandered into its home country at one point or another (except perhaps that at the banks of Lake Tanganyika). So it's not too much to believe that the Hebrews did that too.
As for the second error, my Medieval history is sadly lacking. The corrections should be 'Arabs' and 'occupied', sorry! In fact, scratch most of that statement, and replace it with this, as I wasn't thinking straight at the time:
'It's pure Xenophobia. The Jews have a tradition of keeping to themselves wherever they settle, and many people distrust them because of this'
Hope that helps, but if I have made any other ridiculously foolish errors, point them out. My knowledge of the region is sketchy at best.
Righto, I misunderstood your statement and thought you said that at some point, the Muslims retook Palestine- I wouldn't know when that should have happened. Except maybe during the Crusades, which would be arguable in any case.
Let me sketch the basis of the present-day situation (Yes, I've got nothing to do but watch and wait right now as well). During the Judaean revolt of 79 AD, most of the Jewish inhabitants of the country fled, which became known as the Diaspora. during the following centuries, they settled down in most parts of Europe and much of Asia. They were never able to assimilate and always kept their identity. This caused several Catholic societies to view them with mistrust (interestingly enough, this was the same with the Christians in the Roman Empire). This led to occasional pogroms and persecutions. The whole thing started to settle down when the European society became more secular in the aftermath of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), and by the 19th century, the Jews had largely assimilated to most European societies. However, with the ascent of nationalism during the second half of the 19th century, many Jews started to become aware of their religious and largely ethnic identity. This led them to believe they are one people, but without an own country. So, many decided to return to their country of origin, Palestine. In the early 20th century, many Jews in fact did return to that country, which was part of the Ottoman Empire at that point and mostly Muslim. It is an interesting fact, at least to me, that Jews and Muslims never had a big problem of living together. It was mostly the Christians who were being the non-conformists. To my knowledge, there had never been any kind of large-scaled persecution of Jews in any Muslim-controlled country during the Middle Ages or the Modern Age. The same happened in Palestine at that time: Jews and Muslims were peacefully living side-by side. The big problems began when the British promised the Jews to occupy Palestine from the Ottomans after World War I and later give it to the Jews to found their own country. Although the British did
occupy Transjordania, things remained rather calm until after World War II, millions of Jewish refugees from Europe wanted to enter the country. Eventually, the United Nations decided to form three countries from Transjordania: the kingdom of Jordan, as well as an Arab Palestine and a Jewish state, to be called Israel. Palestine and Israel were to be roughly the same size. There were to be two international zones, Jerusalem and the area around Tel Aviv and Jaffa, since both were major centres for Jews and Muslims alike. The Israelis agreed on the plan, but the Palestinians and their Arab neighbours did not and threatened to drive the Jews back to the sea. Since many of the residents of Israel had just survived the holocaust and other mass persecutions in Stalin's Soviet Union, they were ready to defend their lives and their rights as a people. As I said before, they were determined never to be victims again. So, one day after Israels independence in 1948, joint forces from Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon attacked the new country. And this is where the mess began.
Israel managed to defend itself, and even occupy some territories. Later on, it had to defend itself in a good number of other attacks, in 1956, 1967 (don't quote me on that one) and 1973. In the 1980s, the Palestinians, who were under Israeli occupation, began revolting against the Israelis in what became known as the 'Intifadah'. Only in 1979 did a Muslim country actually acknowledge Israel's existence -Egypt- and was heavily sanctioned by all other Arab countries. In 1994, Jordan followed suit. Until now, I believe (don't quote me on this), there are only four Muslim countries who entertain diplomatic ties to Israel- Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan. Iran cut the ties in 1979. The Palestinians revolted again in 2000, in the second Intifadah.
So, it is easy to see that Israel believes itself surrounded by enemies. There are only three or four countries which it can rely on for at least having friendly ties -the USA, Germany, Turkey and, I believe, Great Britain. Many European countries are seen as not supportive, because they tend to take the position of Israel's enemies. Russia has always been known to be supportive of Israel's enemies. So, this is what the whole mess looks like, from the Israeli perspective. Any critical mind should be able to work out the Palestinian/Arab point of view from this short and inaccurate description of mine.