2. Arab-Israeli Conflict
The Arab–Israeli conflict refers to the political tension and military conflicts between certain Arab countries and Israel. The roots of the modern Arab–Israeli conflict are bound in the rise of Zionism and Arab nationalism towards the end of the 19th century. Territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is also regarded by the Pan-Arab movement as historically and currently belonging to the Palestinians, and in the Pan-Islamic context, as Muslim lands. The sectarian conflict between Palestinian Jews and Arabs emerged in the early 20th century, peaking into a full-scale civil war in 1947 and transforming into the First Arab-Israeli War in May 1948 following the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.
The contemporary history of the Arab–Israeli conflict is very much affected by the religious beliefs of the various sides and their views of the idea of the chosen people in their policies with regard to the “Promised Land” and the “Chosen City” of Jerusalem.
The Land of Canaan was, according to the Hebrew Bible, promised by God to the Children of Israel. This is also mentioned in the Qur’an. In his 1896 manifesto, The Jewish State, Theodor Herzl repeatedly refers to the Biblical Promised Land concept.
Muslims also claim rights to that land in accordance with the Quran. Contrary to the Jewish claim that this land was promised only to the descendants of Abraham’s younger son Isaac, they argue that the Land of Canaan was promised to what they consider the elder son, Ishmael, from whom Arabs claim descent. Additionally, Muslims also revere many sites holy for Biblical Israelites, such as the Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount. In the past 1,400 years, Muslims have constructed Islamic landmarks on these ancient Israelite sites, such as the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. This has brought the two groups into conflict over the rightful possession of Jerusalem.