What is the Arab-Israelite Conflict All About?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Why has it seemed that Arabs and Israelites have been at war forever? The roots of this conflict go way back.

Natural Enemies

Why has it seemed that Arabs and Israelites have been at war forever? The roots of this conflict go way back. If you know your Bible, you know that Isaac was the son of promise from whom the Messiah would descend, but it all started when Ishmael became angry that Isaac would receive Abraham’s blessings (Gen 16:1-16). When Ishmael mocked his younger brother Isaac, Sarah sent them away, including Ishmael’s mother Hagar (Gen 21:9-21). Because of this, an angel prophesied that Isaac and Ishmael’s descendants would be enemies and this prophecy has proven true for the last 4,000 years. Later, in Genesis 25, we read about Esau despising his birthright and how Rebekah later aided and abetted Jacob in stealing Esau’s blessing from his father Jacob. Maybe now you can see the roots of these animosities and that they go back thousands of years, even though most of the modern day Arabs and Jews have no idea about the origin of their original animosities.

12 Tribes of Israel


The term “Palestine” is believed to be derived from the Philistines which were an Aegean people who, in the 12th Century B.C. They happened to settle along the Mediterranean coastal plain of what are now Israel and the Gaza Strip. In the second century A.D., after crushing the last Jewish revolt, the Romans first applied the name Palaestina to Judea (the southern portion of what is now called the West Bank). This was done in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel, but who does this land really belong too? When Israel was called out of Egypt to the Promised Land, there were pagan nations living throughout Palestine. Some idolaters were so heinous that they even sacrificed their own children in the fire before Moloch (a pagan god). That’s why God commanded Israel to expel these people and end these pagan religions and inherit the land promised to Abraham’s descendants.

Rebirth of Israel

On May 14, 1948, Israel was officially declared a state before the world. This date marked the first Jewish state in over 2,000 years. Naturally, the very next day, war broke out between Israel and five Arab countries—Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. At the end of this conflict, known as the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Egypt was given control of the Gaza Strip, but Israel has remained and will remain a nation until the coming of Jesus Christ to judge the world. After that time, those of Israel who are still alive will finally believe in their Messiah…understanding that it was Jesus Christ all along. In their tongue, He is Joshua (Yashua).

Land Settlements

The world will never agree to this but in truth, “…the earth is the Lord’s…” (Psalm 24:1), and it is the Lord God Who determines the boundaries of nations (Acts 17:26, Psalm 74:17, Deut. 32:8), not men. Therefore, the Land of Israel, like every other nation, belongs firstly to God. Even so, thousands of years ago, God told Abram that both he and his descendants would be given this Land (Gen. 12:1-3). In fact, this promise was given to the sons of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and to their descendants (Gen. 17:19-21, 26:1-5, 35:9-15). U.N. Resolution 181 was a resolution where the United Nations recommended the establishment of the Jewish and Arab states, actually paving the way for the modern nation of Israel. [1]

Escalating Violence

Recent violence in the Middle East has been escalating and we can expect it to grow worse. Jesus referred to the time before His coming as being like the days of Noah, when every evil thing they could think of they would do, and violence increased up till the time the flood of God’s judgment came (Matt 24:37-39). It may ease for a time, but this conflict will never truly be over until the Strong Arm of God comes in the Person of Jesus Christ. Only He can rule the nations with a rod of Iron (Rev 22:7). Until then, it will only grow worse and we can expect wars and rumors of yet more wars to come (Matt 24:6). While Israelite and Arab people fight each other, most are running for shelters and waiting for the bombing to stop, but it won’t.

Palestine Violence

Palestine was purchased by the Jews from the Ottoman authorities in the 19th century but then was taken from its owners when Jordan illegally occupied the eastern part of Jerusalem in 1948. The Jordanian government’s “Custodian of Enemy Property” took possession, and the Jewish owners reclaimed it by title after 1967. The current lawsuits are between the owners holding Israeli titles and trespassers, squatters and overstaying tenants whose residency began between 20 and 70 years ago. The final hearing has yet to be heard because of the escalating violence. Palestinian Authority strongman Mahmoud Abbas is still in power, however his unpopularity in the West Bank over corruption and brutal repression of dissenting voices made Hamas think it might win the next elections. Any time you hear a call to “protect the mosque,” you can be sure it will lead to violence.


It didn’t take long in the history of mankind before “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Gen 6:10-11), so “God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Gen 6:13). At present, on any given day, you’ll find Hamas rockets aimed at Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Givatayim, Yavne, Ashkelon, Jerusalem, Holon (where a bus was hit), Netanya and Kadima-Zoran, but the world-wide violence has been escalating too, including greater and more severe persecution of those sharing the gospel. It is a world that’s just as hostile toward Jesus Christ and the gospel as they were toward Noah’s preaching.

The flood of God’s judgment came after time but it did come for certain, and it is coming again when “he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father” (Rev 2:27). This is why when Jesus “is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen” (Rev 1:7). You too will mourn if you have not trusted in Christ. Make today your day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2), for who knows whether tomorrow will even get here before we’re facing Jesus Christ as our Judge (Heb9:27; Rev 20:12-15), or whether we’ll rejoice as we see our Savior and our King and our God.

Here is some related reading for you: Are We Living in the End Times or Last Days Right Now?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/United-Nations-Resolution-181

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