Most people are as uninformed about the history of the Middle East as they are about its geography. Supposedly Jews took over the Palestinians’ homeland in order to create the state of Israel.
But there was no Palestinian homeland. That whole region belonged to the Ottoman Empire until the Ottoman Empire was dismembered after its defeat in the First World War.
Christians, Jews, and Muslims had all lived in Palestine for centuries. In the course of carving up the Ottoman Empire to create new nations, the British set aside a small part of it for Jews — and after violent objections from the Arabs, stalled for years on letting this bit of land become an independent nation.
Jews lived in Palestine long before there was a state of Israel and even before there was an Ottoman Empire. In 1939, Winston Churchill commented that Jews in Palestine ”made the desert bloom.” The resulting prosperity of the area attracted both more Jews and more Arabs, including some Arabs whose descendants would later claim that Jews took over their country.