One of the most jarring and important events of recent Islamic history has been the Arab-Israeli Conflict. This conflict is multifaceted, complex, and is still one of the world’s most problematic issues in international relations. One aspect of this conflict is the refugee problem that began in 1948, with the creation of the State of Israel. Over 700,000 Palestinians became refugees that year, in what is known as the “Nakba”, which is Arabic for catastrophe.
In the 1800s, a new nationalistic movement was born in Europe. Zionism was a political movement advocating the creation of a Jewish state. Many Jews believed having their own state was necessary in the face of discrimination and oppression by Europeans. After debating where to create this new state should exist at the First Zionist Congress in 1897, the Zionist movement decided to aim at creating their state in Palestine, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. The sultan/caliph of the Ottoman Empire, Abdülhamid II, refused to accept this, even in the face of a 150 million British pound payment proposed by Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement, in exchange for ownership of Palestine.