I'm starting this thread to put down specific facts about this conflict that we can all agree on and are historically verified.
I'm going to list a couple on this post and will list more as we go on.
If you list a fact on this board, you MUST cite the source (for example The New York Times, Post-Zionist Scholar Benny Morris, www.mideastweb.org etc.)
A note about mideastweb.org - it IS NOT a pro-Israeli site, its as neutral as I can find. It does not mention that the 1973 war was begun on Yom Kippur, nor does it call it the Yom Kippur war, for example. It also cites a bunch of "after-the-fact" historians, so I'm suspicious about some of their writings.
Lets start with a couple:
1. Israel was home of the Jewish People from as early as 1800 BC until about 135 AD. (133-135 was revolt)
The archeological record indicates that the Jewish people evolved out of native Cana'anite peoples and invading tribes . Some time between about 1800 and 1500 B.C., a Semitic people called Hebrews (hapiru) left Mesopotamia and settled in Canaan. According to the Bible, Moses led the Israelites, or a portion of them, out of Egypt. Under Joshua, they conquered the tribes and city states of Canaan. King David conquered Jerusalem about 1000 B.C. and established an Israelite kingdom over much of Canaan including parts of transjordan, but the kingdom was divided into Judea in the south and Israel in the north following the death of David's son, Solomon. Jerusalem remained the center of Jewish sovereignty and of Jewish worship whenever the Jews exercised sovereignty over the country in the subsequent period, up to the Jewish revolt in 133 AD.
2. The Romans expelled the Jews from Israel and changed the Areas name from Judea to Palestine in 135 AD, subsequent to the Great Revolt.
In A.D. 135, the Romans drove the Jews out of Jerusalem. The Romans named the area Palaestina, at about this time. The name Palaestina, which became Palestine in English, is derived from Herodotus, who used the term Palaistine Syria to refer to the entire southern part of Syria, meaning "Philistine Syria." Most of the Jews who continued to practice their religion fled or were forcibly exiled from Palestine, eventually forming a second Jewish Diaspora. However, Jewish communities continued to exist in Galilee, the northernmost part of Palestine. Palestine was governed by the Roman Empire until the A.D. 300's and then by the Byzantine Empire. In time, Christianity spread to most of Palestine. The population consisted of Jewish converts to Christianity and paganism, peoples imported by the Romans, and others who had probably inhabited Palestine continuously.
3. Arabs came to Judea in the 600's.
4. In 1071 the Turks took over the area, and with the exception of the Crusaders (1099-1187) and Egyptians (mamaluks 1200's-1517) held the land until the end of WWI.
5. According toour best knowledge, there were about 400K (about 24K jews) people in the area around 1880, 700K(about 85-100K Jews) in 1914, and about 600K Jews and 1.2Mil Arabs in 1948.
6. In 1917 Britain promised the area's both East (Jordan) and West (Israel) of the Jordan river as a Jewish homeland, but in 1922 changed that to only the Western part.
7. The 6 day war was, from the Israeli perspective, a preemptive strike.
in Mid-May, 1967, Egyptian President Gamal Nasser again closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and dismissed the UN peace force from the Sinai Peninsula. The United States failed to live up to its guarantees of freedom of the waterways to Israel. A torrent of bellicose rhetoric issued from Arab capitals and in the UN. At the UN, PLO Chairman Ahmed Shukhairy announced that "if it will be our privilege to strike the first blow" the PLO would expel from Palestine all Zionists who had arrived after 1917 and eliminate the state of Israel. Nasser said on May 27, "Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight." On May 28, he added: "We will not accept any...coexistence with Israel...Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel....The war with Israel is in effect since 1948."
On May 30, Jordan signed a defense pact with Egypt, readying itself for war. King Hussein stated: "The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel...to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act will astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of serious action and not declarations."
On June 4, Iraq likewise joined a military alliance with Egypt and committed itself to war. On May 31, the Iraqi President Rahman Aref announced, "This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear--to wipe Israel off the map."