For four centuries, the Levant is part of the Ottoman Empire and Palestine is occasionally the site of regional and international conflicts. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Arab and Palestinian nationalist sentiments begin to emerge. In Europe, Zionism starts to take shape and sets its sights on Palestine through immigration and colonization. This is met by growing opposition in Palestine. By the end of World War I, the Ottoman Empire is defeated and Great Britain occupies Palestine. The British government issues the Balfour Declaration which endorses Zionist goals against the will of the indigenous population.