The land Israel sits on became a wasteland in the hands of people other than the original Jews after 70CE when Judea and the Jews fell from the Romans attacking Jerusalem. Most of the Arabs came into the area because of the Jewish presence in bringing it back to life in the 19th Century. There were very few Arabs living there when the 1st Aliyah of 5 Jewish settlements returned in the late 1800's. The land always had Jews living there but were also few in number. For almost 2,000 years it lay wasted and the closest Arab people were not interested in these swamps and deserts.
The establishment of Israel once again for Jews was the most important happening in the past 2,000 years for them. After not being able to meld into any country permanently without suffering from much anti-semitism and going through a Holocaust and seeing 6 million of their own slaughtered, less than half of their population, just because they were Jewish was a huge impetus to have their own nation back once again. The Pograms had been bad enough and brought in many Jewish people. The world thought so also, perhaps out of temporary guilt feelings or just seeing the just rationale of it happening to this wasted and unwanted piece of property, but they looked with favor upon the creation of a national Jewish homeland.
Until the British Empire began to kow-tow to Arabs and their already oil-rich properties, they were the ones dealing with the creation of a Jewish state. They quickly threw their promises aside and remembered the Arabs and what they offered to their British Empire; oil. Arabs' numbers were altered, making their population bigger than it was. The British armed the Arabs but not immigrating Jews. Restrictions were put on Jews, trying to prevent them from entering the land that was to be Israel. What had been in the works for almost 30 years of planning suddenly was being pulled out from under the feet of the Jews and they hardly realized what was happening to them.
An international Arab terrorist and lieutenant to Osama bin Laden, Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradhawi, said on TV in May, 2005 to his followers that Arabs do not excel in military or civil industries and that they import everthing from needles to missiles. How come the "Zionist gang" was superior to them being so few? It became superior because of knowledge, technology and strength and work. "We had the desert before our eyes but we didn't do anything with it. When they took over, they turned it into a green oasis." He continued, chiding that a nation that does not work does not progress or grow.
Mark Twain vacationed in the "Holy Land and Egypt, the Crimea, Greece and points inbetween in 1867. He and friends left New York June 1st on a first class steamer ship. What he saw was an Arab sent to him as a guard against dangerous Bedouins from the Sheik of Tiberias who imposed guards upon travelers and charged them for it. This was a source of finances and sometimes brought into his treasury as much as $35 to $40 a year. There were evidently not many tourists. He was able to view the entrance and the exit of the Jordan, Safed, "the city set upon a hill," one of the four holy cities of the Jews, and the place where they believe the real Messiah will appear when he comes to redeem the world, ....pages 220, 221. He continues in his book of 285 large pages " Desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds--a silent mournful expanse...A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the the pomp of life and action. We reached Tabor safely...We never saw a human being on the whole route." Another observation was "There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country....Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. Palestine is desolate and unlovely.." Perhaps they had no need for a guard after all.
When Arabs hear the word "Palestine" they view this thinking of Jews as intruding with a Jewish state amid what the Arabs consider their own exclusive environment or milieu, the "Arab region." Egypt's Nasser's statement in 1956 was that this was "the imperialists' 'destruction of Palestine" and was "an attack on Arab nationalism" which "unites us from the Atlantic to the Gulf."
They didn't want the land, didn't do anything with the land and didn't inhabit the land hardly at all, but were incensed with anyone else wanting and using the land that wasn't an Arab. It seems like only the Arab leaders such as Emir Feisal had any background as to the Jewish history in the land. The rest were quite uneducated about their own history.
Britain showed its colors and continued siding with the Arabs by rejecting the US State Department's undersecretary Robert Lovett's request to suspend weapons shipment to the Arabs, as they ignored that and shipped arms to Iraq and Transjordan (Jordan). They even helped Jordan's army by training the soldiers and leading them with a British officer. The RAF flew with the Egyptians against Israel. Israel managed to shoot a few down.
Even so, public sentiment was with Israel as their image was of a weak little nation surrounded by enemies seeking its annihilation. This picture changed after 1967 when Israel won against immense odds against all the prevailing Arab attacks and Israel managed to win in 6 amazing days. The Arabs decided to change the picture to focus on homeless refugees which attracted the world's compassion. The Palestinians who had left their homes that were in the range of land making up Israel in 1948 were kept away in refugee camps and not integrated into the Arab societies they were living among. They were pawns in a terribly important chess game of life in the Middle East's holiest section. They now have the distinction of being the world's oldest refugee population that hasn't been taken into surrounding territories by their own people, meaning that they have lived throught about 3 generations of people on welfare supplied through the U.N of which the United States is one of the largest contributors. These are the people that are to make up the new state of Palestine.
Israel has gone through a metamorphasis of being a nation of accountants, rabbis, and emaciated survivors of the Holocaust to the likes of King David's warriors defending their land against their enemies. They have witnessed their promised land sliced and diced, giving them the tiny worthless piece only to face attacks that could only have been won with G-d's help, the odds were so against them. And still they face losing what ground they gained in their defensive struggle without the promise of peace in their time. Now they face the proposition of finding their land taken from them and being only 10 miles in width making it indefensible if these 1967 lines are not adjusted. The Good Book says that those that treat Israel badly will be treated likewise. So goes the Saturday people will go the Sunday people. I think it's time for the nations to shape up and support Israel for a change.
Reference: Big Lies: Demolishing the Myths of the Propaganda War Against Israel by David Meir-Levi
The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain
Battleground; Fact and Fantasy in Palestine by Samuel Katz
From Time Immemorial: the origins of the Arab-Jewish conflict over Palestine by Joan Peters