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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.
It is a small area—approximately 10,000 square miles, or about the size of the state of Maryland.
Most of them observed traditional, orthodox religious practices.
Mc Mahon convinced Husayn to lead an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany against Britain and France in the war. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”), was successful in defeating the Ottomans, and Britain took control over much of this area during World War I.
Mc Mahon promised that if the Arabs supported Britain in the war, the British government would support the establishment of an independent Arab state under Hashemite rule in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine. But Britain made other promises during the war that conflicted with the Husayn-Mc Mahon understandings.
The Ottoman Empire was weakening, and European powers were strengthening their grip on areas along the eastern Mediterranean, including Palestine.
During 1915–1916, as World War I was underway, the British high commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry Mc Mahon, secretly corresponded with Husayn ibn ‘Ali, the patriarch of the Hashemite family and Ottoman governor of Mecca and Medina.
According to Ottoman records, in 1878 there were 462,465 subject inhabitants of the Jerusalem, Nablus and Acre districts: 403,795 Muslims (including Druze), 43,659 Christians and 15,011 Jews.