10: The Holy Land


Ancient Claims to Jerusalem

I. Jewish Jerusalem

The Dome of the Rock

Key Terms

  • Dome of the Rock
  • Temple Mount
  • Foundation Stone
  • Waqf
  • Sykes–Picot Agreement

II. Christian Jerusalem

  • A. Jerusalem: the City of Peace
  • B. Christians & the Temple Mount
    • As a Byzantine site, the Temple Mount was repurposed and then ignored
    • After the First Crusade in 1099, Western Christians took back control
    • Templars renamed the site Solomon’s Temple
    • Christian Zionism holds that the Temple must be rebuilt to enable Jesus’ return

III. Islamic Jerusalem

  • A. Al–Quds (Jerusalem): the Holy City
    • 638 the Islamic Caliphate took Jerusalem from Byzantine control
    • The Temple Mount, a garbage dump under Byzantine leadership, is protected
    • 691 the Dome of the Rock is completed
    • Jews are welcomed back to worship
    • Christian pilgrims are likewise tolerated
    • Many important prophets have roots in Jerusalem

  • B. Muslims & the Noble Sanctuary (Temple Mount)
    • Muhammad’s Night Journey to the Foundation Stone, where he ascended to Heaven
    • Well of Souls under the Foundation Stone houses spirits awaiting Judgment Day
    • Islamic Waqf entrusted with the protection of the Dome to this day

The Crusades

IV. The Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem

  • A. Motivations for the Crusades
    • By the 1000s, Western Europe is filled with restless knights
    • Pope Urban II takes cues from Spain where battles against Muslims have become legend
    • He says “God wills it!” that Christians retake Jerusalem (1098)
    • As incentive, knights receive full forgiveness for past, present, and future sins if they participate
    • Europe gains:
      • Fewer knights at home
      • Islamic treasures
      • Expanded tax base
      • A hopefully reunited Christendom

  • B. Massacres at Antioch & Jerusalem
    • Untrained Europeans are led into Asia Minor where they attack without waiting for nobles and knights
    • They suffer heavy casualties outside Nicaea but are soon supported
    • The Crusaders take Antioch and then Jerusalem
    • The losses suffered by those living in Jerusalem at the time are severe

  • C. Islamic Response
    • Islamic forces slowly retake cities lost to the Crusaders
    • Muslim leader Saladin retakes Jerusalem in 1187
    • Saladin and Richard the Lionheart of England negotiate a settlement held for years
    • Safe passage for European traders and pilgrims are honored by Muslims for centuries

  • D. The Lasting Effects of the Crusades
    • Perpetuated stereotypes
      • Europeans are unwashed barbarians who desecrate holy places and harm innocents
      • Muslims are armed enemies of Christendom
    • In reality, neither stereotype is true
    • These interactions led to increased trade, resources, technology, and a way out of the Dark Ages for Europe

The Holy Land in Modern History

V. Empires Old & New

  • A. The Ottoman Empire
    • First Islamic Empire not ruled by Arabs
    • Turkish empire ruling Asia Minor and Middle East till the end of WWI
    • Took Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) in 1453
    • Gave a home to disenfranchised Jews and Muslims as they fled Spain
    • Fell behind with the advent of Modernity

  • B. The Middle East in the 1800s
    • Ottoman Empire in decline in the 1800s
    • Ottomans attempted to compete with Britain and France, but borrowed money to do so
    • Instead became dependent on and indebted to the West

  • C. World War I
    • Ottoman Empire allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary
    • Britain, France, Russia, and United States oppose them
    • Allied forces are victorious and dismantle the Ottoman Empire

  • D. Oil & the Sykes-Picot Agreement
    • Crude oil is needed by Modern nations and the Middle East has lots
    • 80% of the world’s oil comes from the Middle East
    • Allied powers plan how to best utilize these oil reserves
    • Promises are made to Arabs to gain their support against the Ottomans, but these promises are later broken
    • Instead a secret agreement in 1916 called the Sykes-Picot Agreement divides the spoils between Britain and France
    • No attention is given to population during this map–making; only oil fields

  • E. Oil & the Case of Iran
    • 1909 Anglo–Persian Oil Company developed
      • British government holds majority shares and majority of product goes to Britain
    • 1950 Iran holds democratic elections and a reformer takes office and redirects oil profits
    • 1953 American and British operatives overthrow the government to send profits back to Britain (Operation Ajax)
    • The Western–friendly king (Shah) installed is reportedly a brutal leader
    • 1979 the Shah is overthrown by a Shia leader, Ayatolla Khomeini
    • All diplomatic ties are cut with the West and an anti–modern Islamic government is installed
    • Iran’s current President is comparatively moderate with a Twitter account

Map of Israel

VI. The State of Israel

  • A. 1920-1947: Zionism & British Palestine
    • Modern Jews begin to buy back Israel in the 1800s
    • Palestine has maintained a Jewish population, even in times of persecution
    • Zionist allies support Britain in WWI and the Jews oppose the Ottoman presence in Jerusalem
    • Jewish immigrants begin moving into Palestine through volunteer soldiers and land purchases
      • Over 400,000 acres of unused land is purchased by 1943
    • By the end of WWII, Jews were 33% of the Palestinian population
    • The British Mandate of Palestine was undesirable to Britain because of ongoing Arab riots
    • The 1947 plan was to create two modern states: Palestine and Israel with Jerusalem under control of the UN

  • B. 1948: Israel & the Green Line
    • Britain relinquished control to the United Nations
    • The head of the Jewish Agency declares the existence of an independent State of Israel, which is acknowledged by world leaders
    • It is attacked by every neighboring Arab nation in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War
    • By the end of the fighting, Israel has gained land up to the Green Line

  • C. 1967: The Six-Day War
    • Numerous border skirmishes with Egypt and Jordan
    • 1967 Israel preemptively strikes Egypt, claiming unsubstantiated threats
    • The six-day battle, in which all of Israel’s neighbors attempted to attack, led to even more land
    • Israel’s borders tripled, taking half of the Golan Heights from Syria and the entire Sinai Peninsula from Egypt
    • Israel also takes back control of the West Bank from Jordan
      • Jerusalem Day is declared
      • A week later 200,000 Jews pray at the Western Wall
      • The Islamic Waqf stays on to watch over the Temple Mount

  • D. 1972: The Munich Olympics
    • Palestinian terrorist group called Black September, aided by German Neo–Nazis, take 11 Israeli Olympians hostage
    • When international flags are flown at half–staff after they are all killed, Arab nations object and the German chancellor agrees to raise them
    • Members of Black September receive full military honors when they return to Lybia

  • E. 1973-1978: Yom Kippur War & Camp David
    • Arab states launch a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur
      • Israel, supported by the U.S., gains even more land
    • Five years later, President Carter met with the presidents of Egypt and Israel
      • The Camp David Peace Accords end with Israel returning the Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt and Egypt agreeing to terms of peace
      • The Egyptian president was assassinated shortly thereafter
      • The 1978 Accords result in the current border of Israel
    • Most moderates seek a “two–state solution,” which would result in even smaller borders for Israel, returning it to the Green Line and establishing a State of Palestine

  • F. Israel & Palestine in Recent Memory
    • 1982 IDF invaded Lebanon, expelling the PLO, installing a Christian government, and leading to the Lebanese Civil War
      • This also planted the seeds for Hezbollah to gain power
    • 1987 First Intifada led to increased Israeli settlement of the West Bank and beatings, arrests, and deaths of Palestinians
    • 1993 U.S. recognizes PLO as the voice of the Palestinians, Jordan severs claims to the West Bank and Yitzhak Rabin signs the Oslo Accords
      • Rabin is assassinated shortly thereafter
    • 2000 Second Intifada begins after Israeli Prime Minister visits Temple Mount, Palestinian protesters are dispersed with live rounds, and construction on the West Bank Barrier begins
    • 2005 Israeli Prime Minister issues the Israeli Disengagement from Gaza, pulling troops out of the Gaza Strip and encouraging Israeli citizens to evacuate
    • 2006 Lebanon War begins after Hezbollah militants fire rockets from Lebanon into Israel and take hostages
    • 2008 Gaza War begins when the IDF tries to stop Hamas from lauching rockets into Israel