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It is a small area—approximately 10,000 square miles, or about the size of the state of Maryland.
The competing claims to the territory are not reconcilable if one group exercises exclusive political control over all of it.
The conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Zionist (now Israeli) Jews is a modern phenomenon, dating to the end of the nineteenth century.
Although the two groups have different religions (Palestinians include Muslims, Christians and Druze), religious differences are not the cause of the strife. From the end of World War I until 1948, the area that both groups claimed was known internationally as Palestine.
The great majority of the Arabs (Muslims and Christians) lived in several hundred rural villages.
Palestinian Arab claims to the land are based on their continuous residence in the country for hundreds of years and the fact that they represented the demographic majority until 1948.Most of the Jews who emigrated from Europe lived a more secular lifestyle and were committed to the goals of creating a modern Jewish nation and building an independent Jewish state.By the outbreak of World War I (1914), the population of Jews in Palestine had risen to about 60,000, about 36,000 of whom were recent settlers. The British Mandate in Palestine By the early years of the twentieth century, Palestine had become a trouble spot of competing territorial claims and political interests.Many spent their time studying religious texts and depended on the charity of world Jewry for survival.
Their attachment to the land was religious rather than national, and they were not involved in—or supportive of—the Zionist movement that began in Europe and was brought to Palestine by immigrants.Jews and Palestinians both started to develop a national consciousness and mobilized to achieve national goals.