At the center of one of the world's most intractable conflicts are a
people who number fewer than 10 million worldwide: the
Palestinians. For centuries these people of Arab ancestry lived in the
eastern Mediterranean region known as Palestine or, because of its
significance to the Christian faith, as the Holy Land. In 1948 a
United Nations plan to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab
states led to what Palestinians call al-Nakba ("the disaster")--an
Arab-Israeli war that produced hundreds of thousands of refugees
and left Palestinians without a homeland.Another war, in 1967, brought hundreds of thousands of
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas under Israeli
military rule. Since that time, Palestinians and Israelis have been
locked in bloody conflict. This continued violence has prevented the
establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
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