JERUSALEM, Israel – For nearly 2,000 years, with the conquest of the Romans and the expulsion of much of the Jewish population, the region that today forms much of Israel was known as “Palestine.”

The British Empire had control of the region between 1917 and 1948, until it was proposed by means of a treaty in the United Nations to divide the territory between a Jewish state and an Arab state.

While the Jewish leaders agreed to divide the region, the Palestinians, who had already fought the British over the territory where they lived for hundreds of years, opposed and the treaty was never implemented.

The first war for control of the region was fought between Israel and a coalition of Arab nations that supported the Palestinians. In the end Israel won and took a large part of the territory.

In the Six Day War in 1967, Israel captured more territories from its neighboring countries, and negotiated the recognition of Egypt as an independent state.

Since then, Israel’s continued occupation of territories it has seized and its rule over millions of Palestinians living within its borders has sparked decades of conflict and violence.

The caliber of hostilities and the lack of a clear ending are reminiscent of the devastating 50-day conflict seven years ago between Israel and Palestinian militias in the Gaza Strip.

Some Palestinian leaders still support a formal separation of the territory into two states, but Israel continues to build new settlements in occupied territories, so an end to the dispute does not appear to be in sight.

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