Sources of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians include ancient claims by each party to the same land, Ottoman changes to laws regarding the title and ownership of land, and the establishment of Israel as a sovereign state. Israel’s claim to the land along the Mediterranean stems from Hebrew tradition dating back to God’s promise of the land of Canaan to Abraham.
The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were driven from the region for more than 1,000 years. During this time, semi-nomadic Bedouins, Arabs, Babylonians and descendants from other groups became tenant farmers and often acquired ownership of the land known as Palestine.
The Ottoman Empire changed laws related to land titles in 1858, and land ownership fell to absentee interests who sold large sections to Zionist groups that sought to re-establish a Jewish homeland in the former land of Israel. Conflicts arose when Zionists began displacing previous Palestinian tenants. The establishment of protectorates under British rule following World War I intensified hostilities and resulted in several full-scale wars once Israel proclaimed its independence in 1948, with each side committing acts of aggression and atrocities.
Israel, which sees itself as the rightful and historic occupant of the area, claims to defend itself from attacks by Palestinian and Arab groups. Palestinians believe Israel has no legitimate claims to the region and is oppressing them in keeping them from their ancestral homes.