Misconception #1 - Jews are an imperialistic foreign nation with no connection to the Land
Many people believe that the situation in Israel is one of a foreign nation imposing its will on the local, native population. The Jews, having no connection to the land itself, arrived in the last 100 years, and quickly began to violently take land from the native Arabs who had been there forever. Clearly though, when one looks at history, this conception is proven false. Jews have had an intensely strong connection to the Land of Israel for an even longer time period than the Arabs themselves.
When discussing the Land of Israel, Arabs often begin the history in the year 638. This is the year that Omar, a follower of Muhammad, conquered Jerusalem. Muhammad himself never came to Israel, dying in 632, but his followers soon arrived and took over the land. The Palestinian side describes this time in history as the beginning of the importance of this land. In truth it is - to the Muslim world. But to the wider world around them - specifically the Jewish as well as Christian world, the importance of the land of Israel dates back much further. This view ignores the over 1800 years of history before the arrival of Muslims, which contained a continual Jewish presence.
Jews first came to the land of Israel as a nation, in the year 1272 BCE. This dates back 1800-1900 years before Islam even began! For the next 13 centuries, Jewish Kings and prophets changed the world spiritually and culturally. Finally, the Jews were exiled by the Romans (their second exile) from being an autonomous ruling kingdom in Israel in the year 70 CE. This means that 600 years before Islam was even created - Jews were already yearning to come back to their land! Thus, it is impossible to begin looking in the year 638 CE to understand what's happening in the Middle East, since there is a rich Jewish history much before.
There are many other ties that Jews/Judaism have to the land. In the Jewish Bible, Jerusalem, Zion and Moriah are mentioned over 700 times. It is an integral part of the Jewish religion. (Interestingly enough - Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran.) This intense focus shows how crucial this land is to the Jewish people. But one shouldn't think that a Jew's connection to Israel is an ancient relic with no connection in later centuries up until the present. The everyday actions of Jews since then show the connection remains up until today. Every time a Jew prays he faces Jerusalem (as opposed to Muslims who face Mecca). In the prayers themselves, which are recited 3 times a day, the rebuilding of Jerusalem is mentioned. At a Jewish wedding under the chupah ? does anyone know why the bridegroom breaks a glass? It's as a remembrance of the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. Even in the greatest moment of joy, a Jew commits himself to remembering his longing to return to his land. Has anyone been in a Jewish home which has a small part of a wall opposite the entrance that is not finished? Why is this done? Again, to remember that something is missing in the life of a Jew - their homeland. It is clear that for centuries upon centuries, the Jewish people have made it an integral part of their lives to remember Israel and Jerusalem. An essential part of being a Jew is the wanting to come back to this land.
Not only are Jews spiritually tied to Israel, but they are also physically connected to it. A big misconception is that in the year 70 CE Jews were exiled from Israel, and then 2,000 years later in 1948, 600,000 Jews came flooding back. In truth though, Jews have had a continuous presence in their land since their exile by the Romans. In the year 70 CE, after living in Israel for over 1000 years, the vast majority of Jews were exiled, but not all of them. Going through the 2000 years since the exile, ample evidence shows Jewish communities continuously present. There are two famous Jewish works, the Mishna and the Jerusalem Talmud, which were both written in the land of Israel. The Mishna in the 200's and the Talmud a little later, which show that there were Jews still there. Later on by the 9th century there were major Jewish populations in Jerusalem and Tiberius. When the crusaders came in the 11th century the Jews were nearly the majority in Jerusalem. At that time they didn't live in the Jewish quarter of today, but instead by the Damascus gate, which is presently the Moslem quarter. The first crusade came, rounded up all the Jews, gathering them into a building and burned them all alive. This destroyed almost the entire Jewish population in Jerusalem. If this catastrophe wouldn't have happened, one could assume that the Jews would have become the majority of the population. Even after the crusades, Jews returned to their homeland. The famous Rabbi Nachmanadies, the Ramban, brought a delegation here about a century after the Crusades. By the 1500's there was a famous community in Safed, from which a foundational book of Jewish law called the Shulchan Aruch was written. Jewish presence in Israel continued to grow until by the 1850s, Jews were again the majority in Jerusalem. Thus, not only are there spiritual ties that connected Jews in exile all over the world to their homeland, but Jews were actually living there the whole time.
Thus, it is a misconception to say that Jews were foreigners without connection to the land, who took it over from its native population. History shows that Jews have lived here longer than the so-called "natives" themselves. History also shows that there has been a continual Jewish presence in the Land of Israel, and that Jews all over the world have anxiously awaited the time to return.