The Arab-Israeli conflict has a very l-o-n-g history.
Wikipedia has a really good description of the historical events:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab%E2%80 ... i_conflict
"...The conflict involves the establishment of the Zionist movement and the subsequent creation of the modern State of Israel in territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland, and by the Pan-Arab movement as belonging to the Palestinians...
"In the late 19th century, under the banner of a movement called Zionism, many European Jews began purchasing swamps and other desert land from the Ottoman sultan and his agents. Theodore Herzl, the founder of the movement, appealed to the Ottomans as a way to raise tax revenues and to modernize the relatively sparsely populated and barren land. At that time, the entire city of Jerusalem was contained in its tiny walled area and only had a few tens of thousands of inhabitants. Under the Zionists, collective farms, known as kibbutzim, were established, and cities were founded, such as Tel Aviv. Generally, at first, the Arabs welcomed the Zionists with their standard of living, education, capital, and jobs. Many Arabs moved into the region, matching the increase in Jews from Europe.
In 1917, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, which... viewed favourably "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." ... however, the declaration caused great disquiet in the Arab world. After the war, the area came under British rule as the British Mandate of Palestine.
By the 1920s, the Jewish and Arab populations had grown hostile to each other and acts of violence persisted from both sides of the conflict.
...By 1931, 17 percent of the population of Palestine were Jews, an increase of six percent since 1922. Jewish immigration increased soon after the Nazis came to power in Germany, causing the Jewish population in Palestine to double. Palestinian Arabs saw this rapid influx of Jewish immigrants as a threat to their homeland and their identity as a people. Moreover, Jewish policies of purchasing land and prohibiting the employment of Arabs in Jewish-owned industries and farms greatly angered the Palestinian Arab communities.
In response to Arab pressure, the British Mandate authorities greatly reduced the number of Jewish immigrants to Palestine... As a consequence, most Jewish entrants to Palestine were illegal... Following several failed attempts to solve the problem diplomatically, the British asked the newly formed United Nations for help. On 15 May 1947 the UN appointed a committee... After five weeks of in-country study, the commission recommended creating a partitioned state with separate territories for the Jews and the Arabs in Palestine. This "two state solution" was accepted with resolution 181 by the UN General Assembly in November 1947 by 33 votes to 13 with 10 abstentions. The Arab states, which constituted the Arab League, voted against. On the ground, Arab and Jewish Palestinians were fighting openly to control strategic positions in the region. Several major atrocities were committed by both sides.
On May 14, 1948, one day before the end of the British Mandate of Palestine, Israel declared its independence and sovereignty on the portion partitioned... for the Jewish state. The next day, the Arab League reiterated officially their opposition to the "two-state solution" in a letter to the UN. That day, the armies of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq invaded the territory partitioned for the Arab state, thus starting the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The...Israeli Defense Force repulsed the Arab nations from part of the occupied territories, thus extending its borders beyond the original... partition.
Prior to and during this conflict, 711,000 Palestinians Arabs fled their original lands to become Palestinian refugees...
"...Before.. the declaration of the State of Israel in May 1948, several Arab countries adopted discriminatory measures against their local Jewish populations...Jews were deprived of citizenship, and in Iraq, their property was seized. As a result, a large number of Jews were forced to emigrate from Arab lands... Overall, about 850,000 Jews had left the Arab World by the early 1970s (according to official Arab documentation), with many of them leaving their property behind.
As a result of Israel's victory in its 1948 war of independence, any Arabs caught on the wrong side of the cease-fire line were unable to return to their homes in what became Israel. Likewise, any Jews on the West Bank or in Gaza were exiled from their property and homes to Israel...Today's Palestinian refugees are the descendants of those who left..."
That's how this sticky mess all started.
Again according to wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_%28AGTR-5%29
"On the afternoon of June 8, 1967, while in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula, Liberty was attacked and damaged by Israeli aircraft and gunboats; 34 crewmen were killed and 173 wounded. Israel claimed that the ship had been identified as an Egyptian vessel... as Israel was at war with Egypt at the time, and that an Egyptian ship had previously shelled the Israeli-held Egyptian city of El Arish. Israel paid $12 million in reparations to the families of the dead. Separate investigations carried out by Israel and the United States concluded that the attack had been a mistake."
"She was escorted to Valletta, Malta, by units of the Sixth Fleet and was given temporary repairs. After the repairs were completed, Liberty returned to the United States on July 27, 1967. She was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on June 28, 1968. She was laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet of Norfolk until December 1970, when she was transferred to the Maritime Administration for disposal. In 1973, she was sold for scrapping to the Boston Metals Company of Baltimore, Maryland."