The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is also often referred to by the more generic term “Middle East conflict.” Of course, it’s more difficult to use that term these days, given that the Middle East is suffering from numerous conflicts, many of which have no relation to Israel at all. The truth is that the Middle East has been a region of conflict for centuries, and during most of that time, Israel and the Jews had nothing to do with it.
For much of the past 14 centuries, the true Middle East conflict has been between the different branches of Islam.
Students of Islamic history will know that the Sunni-Shiite rift continues to impact the region to this day, and so understanding its origins must be a prerequisite to any efforts to bring calm, stability and peace to the Middle East. All major religions have a history of bloody in-fighting. But few, if any, continue to play such an important modern political role as the division between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
This conflict began following the assassination of the...