However, after over 700 years of peaceful coexistence, the true start of the Arab-Israeli conflict can be dated to 1920 and the rise of one man, Haj Amin Muhammad Al Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem. As grand mufti, al Husseini presided as the Imam of the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the highest Muslim authority in the British mandate.
Al Husseini found the Nazis to be a strong ideological match with his anti-Jewish brand of Islam, and schemed with Hitler and the Nazi hierarchy to create a pro-Nazi pan-Arabic form of government in the Middle East.
However, al Husseini’s central role in the creation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964 is perhaps his most indelible mark on the Middle East today.
Most Mideast observers today recognize the younger Al Husseini by the secular name he adopted as his own in 1952, Yasser Arafat.