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The start toward the end of the millennium

Theodor Herzl was an early proponent of what we call modern day Israel. Herzl was born on May 2, 1860, in Budapest Hungry, and was born to Jacob and Jeanette Herzl. He attended the University of Vienna first to study law, this switched to journalism. After graduation he worked for Allgemeine Zeitung of Vienna until 1892. He then went to Paris as a Correspondent. The anti Semitism he saw in France greatly troubled him and he published a pamphlet "The Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern Solution of the Jewish Question" (1 ).

He then organized the First Zionist Congress that met in Basel, Switzerland, on August 1897. He obtained the level of President in the Organization, a post he had until his death. The goal of the Organization was "a secured homeland in Palestine for the Jewish people.". He met with various heads of states and leaders to no avail. He even met with sultan of Turkey, Abdul-Hamid II, because Palestine was part of Turkey at the time, the meeting did not bare fruit (2 .

Still Jews migrated to "Israel", before it was an official country. One was movement was the Kibbutz movement. The Kibbutz were communities that were based on socialist ideals, one such community was Degania that was founded in 1910 and was founded on the of the Sea of Galilee. Things change, Israel is now a recognized country and the Kibbutz are starting to go Capitalist (3 ).

A letter dated 2 November 1917 from Arthur Balfour, to Lord Rothschild, is also called the Balfour declaration it gave British support for a Jewish home in Palestine and said "without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish people [Arabs]' in Palestine." This was in direct contradiction to British policies in the area. Arab leaders revolted, regardless the Balfour declaration was supported by the allies. This declaration was the basis for Britain's Mandate for Palestine, that was granted by the now defunct League of Nations in 1920 (4 ).

Due to the British Mandate of Palestine, in 1947 the United Nations approved the partition of Palestine into two states one Jewish one Arab. In 1948 Israel declared its independence this started the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Israel won its bordered that lasted until the six day war in 1967 (5 ).

The first president of Israel was Chaim Weizmann who served from Feb. 17, 1949 and died in office on Nov. 9, 1952. He was born on Nov. 2, 1874, in Motele, Russia. After receiving his religious education he was admitted to gymnasium of Pinsk, where he continued his Hebraic studies he received a baccalaureate. He then majored in chemistry and received a doctor of science degree from the University of Freiburg. (6 ). He was succeeded by Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (7).

What did person who would become Israel first president say about the inhabitants of the land that would be Israel? "With heartfelt admiration and great interest we are viewing today the current war of liberation conducted by the ancient Arabic nation. We see how the scattered Arab forces are being united under the good will of Western governments and other peace-loving nations, and how, from the mist of war there emerge new and immense political possibilities. We see again the formation of a strong and united Arab political body, freshly renovated and aiming to renovate the great tradition of Arab science and literature that are so close to our heart. This kinship found its glorious expression particularly in the Spanish period of the Hebrew-Arabic development when our greatest authors wrote and thought in the Arabic language, as well as in Hebrew." he also wrote in the newspaper Ha'aretz " If indeed there is among the Arabs a national movement, we must relate to it with the utmost seriousness ... The Arabs are concerned about two issues: 1. The Jews will soon come in their millions and conquer the country and chase out the Arabs ... Responsible Zionists never said and never wished such things. 2. There is no place in Eretz Israel for a large number of inhabitants. This is total ignorance. It is enough to notice what is happening now in Tunis, Tangier, and California to realize that there is a vast space here for a great work of many Jews, without touching even one Arab. " (8 ).

Its interesting to note that Albert Einstein was offered the post of President of Israel after Weizmann death, by David Ben-Gurion, but he declined (9 ).

Who was David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973)? He was born on October 16, 1886, in what is now known as Poland he received a traditional Jewish education and he served as Israel's first prime minister and minister of defense (10 ).

Before Israel was a country it was suggested (in 1918) by Israel Zangwill, a sporadic member of the Zionist movement and author of "Children of the Ghetto", that the Arabs leave Palestine. Ben-Gurion protested and wrote in the Yiddish-language newspaper Yiddishe Kemper "Eretz Israel is not an empty country ... West of Jordan alone houses three quarter of a million people. On no account must we injure the rights of the inhabitants. Only "Ghetto Dreamers" like Zangwill can imagine that Eretz Israel will be given to the Jews with the added right of dispossessing the current inhabitants of the country. This is not the mission of Zionism. Had Zionism to aspire to inherit the place of these inhabitants--it would be nothing but a dangerous utopia and an empty, damaging and reactionary dream ... Not to take from others--but to build the ruins. [We claim] no rights on our past--but on our future. Not the preservation of historic inheritance--but the creation of new national assets--this is the core claim and right of the Hebrew nation in its country." (11 ).


Sometimes Israel allowed militant Muslim groups to take shape in Israel to counter a rival Muslim group. Israeli leaders allowed a Muslim cleric Sheikh Ahmed Yassin to start the group that would become Hamas in order to counter weight the Palestine Liberation Organization (12 ).

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin live was in contrast the extravagant and often corrupt leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). His life was modest, though he could raise money most of this went to education, welfare charities, and probably weapons too for fellow Muslims. He was once looked on kindly by Israeli authorities as a counter weight to the PLO at one time, things changed he was imprisoned in Israeli jails and Israel's deputy defense minister said he was "marked for death". He did die, he died from missile fire from Israeli helicopter. Its unclear what present threat a half blind quadriplegic man who was coming from prayers was, though (13 ).

Israel human rights issues 2008/2009

There are allegations that Israel used white phosphorus against Personnel, in its 2008/2009 offensive against Palestine, this against the rules of war (14 ).

White phosphorus is a chemical weapon whose use is permitted if used for smoke screens for cover troop movements or military operations. However it can also cause serve or even fatal burns. Its been charged that Israel fired white phosphorus shells into civilian areas. Israel denies that and asserts they only used it in approved ways (15 ).

It's also alleged that Israel did not take enough care in distinguishing between combatant and civilian during this offensive, more than 1,300 Palestinians had been killed in this offensive (16 ).

The rights group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR) release a report that "reveal that not only did the (military) not evacuate besieged and wounded families, it also prevented Palestinian (medical) teams from reaching the wounded.". the report said 16 Palestinian medical personnel had been killed by Israeli fire during the offensive and 25 were wounded while performing their duties. The report also said The Israeli military attacked 34 medical care facilities, including eight hospitals. (17 ).

In a rare admission of wrong doing the Israeli military reprimanded two senior officers and a brigadier general and a colonel for firing a shell that hit a United Nations compound (18 ).

Human Rights Watch rejected the claim that Hamas made that it did not target civilians in the war in Gaza after Israel launched an offensive on December 2008 (19 ).