U.S. History/us history


why is there a conflict between israel and palestine,how did it start?
between russia and ukraine? is it over oil and is there more to that?
why is washinghton siding with the capital of kiev in ukraine over the russia ukraine conflict?  please answer   thanks  val

The Israel Palestine conflict dates back thousands of years.  You can read about battles between the Jews and non-Jews over the territory in the Old Testament of the Bible.

The modern portion of this conflict began after WWII.  Jewish survivors of the Holocaust began fleeing to the area, hoping to create a modern Jewish State (the old one having been destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD).  There had always been Jews living in the area, but they were a small minority being oppressed by the Muslim majority.  The British had taken the land from Turkey after WWI and were in control at the time.  After WWII, the British decide to leave and to allow the area to become an independent nation.

The Muslims saw the influx of European Jews as a type of invasion.  They did not want to allow the refugees into the area.  The Jews were determined to create a country where they were a majority so that they did not have to face the oppression that they had faced for centuries while living in countries where they were a minority.

The Jews declared a Jewish State in Israel in 1947.  The British decided to leave and the UN tried to develop a plan to partition the area in Jewish and Muslim areas.  However, after the British left in 1948, Israel's neighbors Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq all invaded the area.  The Israelis were able to prevent the invading countries from taking over, but Egypt took control of Gaza, Jordan took control of the West Bank, including Jerusalem.  

Again in 1967, the neighboring countries attempted to invade Israel.  Israel had a better military by this time and was able to crush the invasion, taking back control of the West Bank and Gaza.  The Palestinian Muslims living there continued to live there under military rule.  Israel's neighbors attempted another invasion in 1973, which also failed.  Since then, most of the violence has been the result of Palestinians attempting to take back full control of the West Bank and Gaza, with many still hoping to destroy Israel entirely.  Israel has been moving Jewish settlers into the territories, in an apparent attempt to make those areas part of Israel and unavailable to Palestinians.

The Russia Ukraine dispute is a result of the fall of the Soviet Union.  Ukraine has traditionally been part of Russia, but has also been under the control of Poland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire at times.  When the Communists took over Russia at the end of WWI, Ukraine fought for its independence.  It became a separate Republic, not part of Russia, but part of the Soviet Union (which was essentially a new single nation anyway).  

When the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the Ukraine became an independent State.  It signed a treaty with Russia in which the Ukraine agreed to give up all the nuclear weapons under its control in exchange for agreement by Russia not to attack it.  However, many Russians including Vladamir Putin, consider the loss of the Ukraine (and the other Soviet Republics) as a failure for the nation.  Putin has attempted to exert control over the former Soviet Republics through both military threats as well as trade benefits.  Ukraine had been receiving a great deal of subsidized Russian natural gas as long as it did what Russia wanted.  

In 2004, a Pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was elected in Ukraine.  Russia was very involved in the election and there were many who believed the votes were rigged.  Protests result in a new election where the other candidate is elected.  In 2010, Yanukovych ran again and won, this time remaining in office.  In 2013, Yanukovych rejected an agreement to form closer ties with the European Union and instead enters into more trade agreements with Russia.  This resulted in protests that led to his overthrow.

After his overthrow, Russia invaded Crimea and declared the region to be part of Russia.  Eastern parts of the Ukraine rebelled against the newly installed government and have asked either to become independent or part of Russia.  Western countries accuse Russia of fomenting these rebellions and providing weapons to the rebels.

The US views Russian involvement in the Ukraine and other former Soviet Republics as a dangerous and destabilizing force.  Beyond that, the US and Europe have an incentive to keep Russia from growing in size and power to the extent it will eventually pose a greater threat to Europe.  Ukraine is not part of NATO and has not treaties which obligate Western powers to come to its aid, but those powers continue to see a danger in allowing Russia to invade and take control if its neighbors when it sees fit.

I hope this helps!
- Mike

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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