"To the Arabs, Palestine was an Arab land whose soil they had cultivated for generations; as such, it was as entitled to independence as any other Arab country. To the Jews, Israel was a Jewish land that had been their inspiration throughout eighteen centuries of dispersion, dispossession and persecution; as such its destiny was to be the fulfilment of their dreams of statehood." (Fraser, P. 1). Although Palestine almost disappeared from the map of the Middle East when the State of Israel was announced in May 1948, the Palestinians did not disappear and the conflict between the two sides continued. The five subsequent wars between the two sides confirmed the intensity of the Arab-Israeli conflict and it is fundamental to analyse the history of the region before the independence of Israel. Thus, this chapter focuses on a reflective exploration of the colonial influence, the British Mandate period, and the period of pre-partition in order to realise the history of the conflict before the independence of Israel and the War of 1948.
There have been serious debates and analyses on the origins and causes of the Arab-Israeli conflict and an exploration of the colonial influence, the British Mandate period, and the period of pre-partition can significantly offer some pertinent hint in this regard. According to some scholars, religion has been at the heart of the conflict. They maintain that the contest for Palestine is an extension of the religious wars over Jerusalem in previous centuries and the various wars fought between the two sides are the continuation of the religious tensions. However, it is essential to realise the colonial influence on the Arab-Israeli conflict and there are critics who maintain that Western colonialism was at the heart of the conflict. Accordingly, the Arab-Israeli conflict "was the result of Western colonialism, which denied Arabs self-determination while at the same time favouring Zionism as an essentially European colonialist movement." (Best 2008, P. 107). Therefore, the influence of colonial rule on the Arab-Israeli conflict is indubitable and the religious aspect of the conflict does not tell the whole story of the conflict. According to Antony Best, the real causes of the Arab-Israeli conflict were the product of distinct historical developments of the late-nineteenth century and early twentieth century which include European anti-Semitism and the rise of Zionism, the emergence of Arab nationalism