1- Did the Jews have legitimate claim to the land?
I would say yes. The UN proposed a two-state solution; Israel agreed, the Palestinians refused to negotiate. Israel moved forward with it's half of the two-state solution. It was immediately recognized by the majority of the UN nations (which strikes me as implicit, if not explicit, UN approval). It was also immediately declared war on by the surrounding Arab nations.
2. Were the Palestinians forced out of their lands by the Israeli Military?
At least a few were. By the way, I did read the Palestinian Exodus article, and it's not as damning as you make out. But, the rest of this response is better covered in the next question.
3. Were the Palestinians forced out of their lands by the Israeli Military unfairly?
I would claim that for the majority of the Exodus was fair, but that doesn't mean all of it was.
But, let's look at Israel's response. A year afterwards, they say, "very well, we are willing to take back a hundred thousand of those who have been displaced". The Arab nations rejected it; not on its merits, but because it would require recognizing Israel.
If most of the world believes that it is wrong to forcibly take someone's land, why should the Arab nations and Palestinians have to accept that the Jews took their land fairly?
If the world actually believed that it was wrong to forcibly take someone's land, there would be outrage at every tax repossession.
The world believes that it is wrong to forcibly take land without just cause. The world, apparantly, believes that the Jews had just cause (on the whole, at least).
And certainly, if the Palestinians were indeed forced off their land (we're talking parts that even the UN said should belong to Palestine), they were not treated fairly.
The thing is... many Palestinian villages were cleared by allied armies so they could use those villages as military encampments. Israel pushed out the people of several settlements they saw as security threats. This is where we get back to the "all's fair in war" argument- they *should* be recompensed somehow or allowed to return once the war is over
, but it's pretty hard to argue that the war is over when the democratically elected Palestinian government has as one of its goals the total destruction of Israel.
Who started it? (hint: the Jews)
You say it wasn't the Jews. I wonder who it was then?
How about the Babylonians, or the Romans? They were the ones that scattered the Jews from their original homeland. It's hard to pretend that Jerusalem wasn't built by Jews originally. While I consider it silly to say the Jews have an explicit claim to Jerusalem because of that, many Zionists clearly believe so and have acted legitimately to repossess it.
The 6 Arab nations that declared war on them made the jews go ballistic on the Palestinians?
Look at the two-stage theory from the Palestinian Exodus article.
Essentially- the Exodus was largely voluntary, until the war happened, at which point the Israeli military sped it up and finished it.
But did the Jews have the right to make a unilateral declaration of sovereignty in the first place? I say no, placing the blame for starting the war on them.
The British Mandate said it would pull out at a certain point.
The Jewish response? "Well, there's a two-state solution that has been proposed. Let's follow through on our half and organize a state."
The Arab response? Well, there wasn't a unified Arab response, and thus there wasn't a state to replace the British once they left.
As a result, nearby Arab countries and a pseudo-country declared war on a state that had already constructed itself, and was thus able to defend itself.
Should the Israelis have patiently waited for the Arab consensus, when the Arabs were unwilling to negotiate?
Should they have put off organizing a military until after they were invaded? Placing the blame on them requires yes to either or both, and I don't really see how you can answer yes to either or both.
Why oh why are the Arabs still mad?
Blind, illogical hatred, was it?
You're missing the point.
Arab hatred today
can be explained, in part, by the refugee situation. Arab hatred today
can be explained, in part, by Israeli government actions.
We're talking about Arab hatred in 1948
, when they first tried to exterminate Israel. If that cannot be explained by multi-generational refugees, or Israeli government actions, how do we explain it?
And no, they hadn't stolen land then. They bought it. The majority of land taken by force was taken during the Arab-started war.
Maybe because the Jews have largely refused to let the Palestinian refugees (yes there are refugees... 4 million of them now, to be exact) return to their own land.
They tried, and got spat at. I can see why they haven't tried again.
Still, compare the Israeli response to refugees to the Arab response. Israel welcomed the Jewish refugees; they needed more people. The Arabs made it illegal for Palestinian refugees to become citizens; instead of absorbing them into their populations, fixing the problem, they artifically extended their refugee status, to use as a weapon against Israel.
Not even to the parts that were supposed to be theirs according to the UN plan, but which the Israeli's took during war and forced the Palestinians to leave.
If you declare a war, spoils of war are in effect. You cannot risk your property and sovereignity attempting to annihilate me and then complain when I took part of it. Many of the lands taken by Israel were necessary to make it easier to defend themselves against the inevitable Arab attempts to destroy them.
And don't listen to my opinion about this. Ask the Jews themselves. Ask Ariel Sharon (well you can't, he's dead now) why exactly he started an unprecedented pullout of Jewish settlements from the West bank and the Gaza Strip. Ask Olmert why his hard line conservative views regarding the Palestinians has earned him a fabulous 3% approval rating from the Israeli public. Ask the dozens of Israeli professors that are siding with the Palestinian side of the story.
We never claimed Israel was perfect; just that they had a right to exist, and that they were a legitimate country.
The reason why the Jewish pullout happened is because the Israeli voters have reached a point where they are willing to exchange property for peace. However, they are dealing with people who have shown, time and time again, that they are willing to sacrifice peace for property. I don't think it's an exceptionally wise plan.
For there to be peace in the Middle East, Israel needs to admit their wrongdoing and make serious concessions to the Palestinian people and try to repair some of the damage they have done for the last 50 years.
Do you think Israel is correct in expecting some show of good faith from the Palestinians and their remaining allies before they make concessions? If not, why not?