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   Responses to Common Inaccuracies About Israel
Establishment of Israel   

Jews are interlopers in the Middle East. The Jews that came to Israel have no connection with the land which was populated solely by indigenous Palestinians.

The Palestinians were justified in rejecting the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan.

The Land of Israel – the historical birthplace of the Jewish people, the land promised to Abraham, the site of the holy Temple and David's Kingdom – has been the cornerstone of Jewish religious life since the Jewish exile from the land two thousand years ago, and is embedded in Jewish prayer, ritual, literature and culture.

A small number of Jews lived continuously in the Land of Israel after their exile in the year 70, through Byzantine, Muslim and Crusader rule. At the time of the Ottoman conquest in 1517, Jews lived in Jerusalem, Nablus, Hebron, Safad and in Galilean villages. Hundreds of Hasidic Jews immigrated in 1770 from Eastern Europe. Many pious Jews left Eastern Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in order to pray and die in the four sacred cities of the Holy Land: Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberias and Hebron.

There has been a continuous presence of Jewish residents in Jerusalem from King David’s time (except for periods when Jews were barred from living in the city), and by 1844, Jews were the largest single religious community in Jerusalem. By 1856, the Jewish population in Palestine was over 17,000. Organized Jewish immigration began in 1880 with the emergence of the modern Zionist movement. The number of Palestinian Arabs living in the area when Jews began arriving en masse in the late 19th century remains the subject of dispute among historians.

The early Zionist pioneers saw the Arab population as small, apolitical, and without a nationalist element and they therefore believed that there would not be friction between the two communities. They also thought that development of the country would benefit both peoples and they would thus secure Arab support and cooperation. Indeed, many Arabs attracted by new employment opportunities, higher wages and better living conditions migrated to Palestine from other countries in the wake of economic growth stimulated by Jewish immigration.

The rejection of the partition plan in 1947 by the Arab nations demonstrated an unwillingness to accept the existence of a Jewish state in the region. Neither the Jews nor the Arabs were fully satisfied with the plan calling for a division of British-mandated Palestine into two states, with Jerusalem as an international city, and there was much internal opposition. Giving the Jews only 12 percent of the land promised to them in the Balfour declaration, and drawing borders for the new state which were virtually indefensible, the plan was a difficult compromise for many of the Jews of Palestine. On the other side, the Arab nations desired full control over the land of Palestine and the Arab people in the region. Yet, the Zionist leaders accepted the partition plan despite its less-than-ideal solution, understanding the need to compromise. It was the Arab nations who refused the plan and gathered their armies to wage battle against Israel. Had the Arabs accepted the plan in 1947 there would have been an Arab state alongside the Jewish State of Israel and the heartache and bloodshed that have characterized the Arab-Israeli conflict might have been avoided.

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