The origin of the conflict between Jews and Palestinian ascribe to the beginning of the Zionism at the end of the XIX century, when its founder, Teodoro Herzl creates a movement which propose the Jewish’s return to Palestine, after so many centuries of exodus.

The first Jewish exile happened in 606 B.C., when the Babylonians conquered the Kingdom of Judah. They destroyed the first temple and transferred the Jews leaders to Babylon. Seventy years later, the Persian King “Ciro II, the Big One” allowed to the Jews to return to the Israel land but

some people stayed and the Jewish community of Baghdad has been existing until the XX century, when the state of Israel was created definitively.

The second exile was in 70 A.C. when Tito, the Roman general and future emperor, defeated to the Jewish revolt and destroyed the second temple. A bigger number of Jews were expelled after the Bar Kojba’s rebellion, which was defeated in the year 135 AD. Since then, the Jews are dispersed over the world, fact that is knew as “Jewish Diaspora”.

In this way the Jews expanded around the Mediterranean, in the south of Spain, Greece, Turkey and Italy mainly; also in Palestine, in the Asian Mesopotamia, in Iraq and in the north of Africa. But between the II and V centuries the Christian culture was consolidated and imposed in those regions; and then, during the VII and VIII centuries the Islam was developed with a great cultural strength around the Mediterranean. By this way a lot of people with Jewish origin were assimilating these predominant cultures.

Historically the hate to the Jews was more intense among Christians than Muslims. The Christian accused the Jews of being the God’s son murders; and the Muslims aroused their rage against them for not recognizing the prophet Mohammed. But it was only under the Outman’s caliphate (third caliph) which began after twelve years the prophet’s death, that the definitive writing of the Koran was established; where many of its passages are expressed against the Jews.

In spite of the incessant Jewish hate and the different persecutions some Jews communities were able to remain in Israel during the long interval between the Roman dispersion and the reestablishment of the Jewish State in 1948.

The Britons in Middle East 

The interest of Great Britain in Middle East became end when, at the end of the XIX century, its leaders understood that the petroleum would replace to the coal like the main source of energy of the XX century.

In that time Great Britain didn’t have access first-hand to the petroleum and they depended on USA, Russia or Mexico for its supplies. Quickly they understood that it was an unacceptable situation and through tangles that involved the British spy Sidney Reilly and to the geologist and engineer William D’Arcy, Great Britain could secure petroleum rights of inspection in the lands of the Persian Shah Muzaffar al-Din.

In 1901 D’Arcy obtained a concession of 500,000 square miles (almost 85% of what today is Iran) for 60 years. It gave him the exclusive right of exploiting the petroleum for a payment to the government of 20,000 pounds sterling, 20,000 pounds in stocks and 16% of the earnings. By this way in collaboration with the English Government, D’Arcy established the company Anglo-Persian Oil (that later became Anglo-Iranian Oil and then British Petroleum). Today BP is one of the biggest oil companies in the world that began exclusively with the petroleum of the Middle East.

In that time the procedure to continue in the countries where the deposit of oil were discovered, consisted in that a delegation interviewed with the dictator, king or shah who in general ignored what it was or for what reason the petroleum did serve, and then by means of a payment, usually in currencies of gold or silver or a small percentage was gotten the concession. These concessions were a permission to extract, to treat and to transport the crude.

However, even with the supply of Persian oil, Great Britain was losing the race to secure the oil’s reserves of Middle East in front of the Germans, who thanks to their alliance with the Ottoman Empire had access to its immense reserves. In 1889 the Germans financed, through the Deutsche Bank, a railway to Constantinople, (today Istanbul) and later, in 1899, the final agreement was signed for the construction of a railway which united Berlin-Baghdad, but the Britons made sure that this didn’t complete thanks to its ally’s intermediation, Serbia that was amid the German alliance which included Austro-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire.

The World War I

The industrial development and the neo-colonialist competition (1) generated tensions and rivalries in a world in which was no longer anything to distribute to level of markets and colonies. It also increased the nationalism in the big powers.

The official history sustains that the World War I began when the Serbian Gabrilo Princip murdered Francisco Fernando (heir of the throne of Austria) and his wife. The war began as a confrontation between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, but Russia united to the conflict, because it was considered protector of the Slavic countries. After the declaration of Austro-Hungarian war to Russia on August of 1914, 1 the conflict became a military confrontation to European scale. Germany responded to Russia with the war and France was mobilized to support to its allied, Russia.

The conflict involved to 32 countries, denominated 28 of them “Allies”: France, the British and Russian Empires, Canada, United States (from 1917), Portugal, Japan, and Italy. This group faced the coalition of “The Central Powers”, integrated by the Austro-Hungarian, German and Turkish Empires, accompanied by Bulgaria.

In 1916, in full World War I, the Britons together with the French, with the consent of the Russians established a secret pact, known as “The Sykes-Picot Agreement” that consisted in the control of the Turkish possessions in Middle East. This agreement created the arbitraries limits of what today are Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Kuwait. Great Britain would control the Persian Gulf, rich in petroleum (then Iraq and Kuwait) and Palestine would be also taken (then Jordan and Israel); while France would take the area that would become Syria and Lebanon.

For it T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) commanded the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turks on behalf of the Britons, who assured to their Arab allies that Great Britain would respect their desires of independence. A promise that then was not completed. The famous Declaration of Balfour also took place one year later, a letter between Lord Balfour (British Secretary of Exterior) and Lord Rothschild (British baron and banker of Jewish family), which Great Britain committed to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

In 1916 the Britons occupied Palestine, where they maintained the control up to 1948.

(1) – neo-colonialism: Concealed colonialism that consists on the economic control of a politically independent country but economically underdeveloped, for other more evolved in this aspect.

Distribution of the Arab lands 

The Arabs were betrayed and used by the Britons to win the absolute control of the region with the biggest reservations of petroleum in the world.

In the fight against the Ottoman Empire, the Britons won the support of two important Arab leaders. The first was Hussein Ibn Ali, of the Hashemite dynasty that showed direct lineage to the prophet Mohammed. Hussein Ibn Ali governed the area of Hijaz, (west of the Arabic peninsula) that included the sacred cities of the Mecca and Medina.

The second Arab leader of the time was Ibn Saud, sheik of the tribal sect Wahhab (wahhabism) of Central Arabia. Ibn Saud was financed by the Britons to reinforce its position like religious figure and to buy the support of the Bedouin.

After the Turk-Ottoman were defeated and the Agreements of Sykes-Picot and Balfour were revealed, Hussein Ibn Ali understood the deceit to which had been subjected and because of it he left that his three sons Ali, Abdallah and Faisal proved luck to the Arab government’s front.

The Prince Ali took the Hijaz but he lost it in 1925 in a confrontation with the forces of Ibn Saud that continued having the support of the Britons. The Saudis (the house of Saud) have governed Arabia from then on. The biggest error that Great Britain made was to lose interest in the Saudis and the Arab deserts, allowing the Standard Oil of California to enter and to buy the rights for inspection and extraction of petroleum in Saudi Arabia for 250.000 dollars in 1933. From then on the Saudi real family has enjoyed a very special relationship with the United States.

In 1920, the Prince Faisal who next to Lawrence of Arabia had fought and pull over Damask and Aqaba of the power Turk-Ottoman, demanded the government of Syria under control of the French, but after four months of intents he failed. Faisal (a Sunnite Prince) retired to Great Britain and one year later was given him the predominantly territory Shiite of Iraq to govern as king. Faisal I governed until his death in 1933. His son Ghazi succeeded him governing Iraq until he died in 1939, followed by Faisal II, last king of Iraq dead in a military coup in 1958. From then on there were several military coups, until in July of 1979 Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr, president of Iraq and of the Council of the Command of the Revolution (CCR) gave up and chose as successor to Saddam Hussein who assumed both positions.

But the Hashemite dynasty only continues until the moment through the second of Hussein’s Ibn Ali son, the Prince Abdallah. To him was given the land of Trans-Jordan to govern in 1921 and then as king he maintained a very accented pro-British position, in spite of the deceit that they committed with his father, because he had understood that there was not any future contradicting his bosses. The King Abdallah was murdered in the Al Aqsa Mosque in 1951, and one year later his grandson Hussein with sixteen years old inherited the throne. The King Hussein governed until his death in 1999, and his son, now King Abdullah, governs the Kingdom Hashemite of Jordan.

The Hashemites were traditionally the strongest Arab force, but the spine of their power broke when Ibn Saud throw them from The Mecca and Medina. The Britons piously put to Abdallah and Faisal on the thrones of Jordan and Iraq. These princes Hashemites were “outsiders” in their respective countries, but the Britons pushed the religious spring because of the Hashemite lineage had its origin in Mohammed, because any Arabic would have felt honest of being governed by a sacred clan as the Hashemite.

If you wish to know more about my trip, get the documentary: The World by Bike