Israel – Palestine conflict explained

deepak mehto
By deepak mehto September 19, 2019 12:38

The Israel – Palestine conflict is the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians that began in the mid-20th century. The origins of the conflict can be traced back to Jewish immigration and sectarian conflict in Mandatory Palestine between Jews and Arabs. It has been referred to as the world’s “most intractable conflict”, with the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip reaching 52 years.

Israel – Palestine conflict explained

An Abrahamic religion is a religion whose followers believe in the prophet Abraham. The best known Abrahamic religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Jews belong to Judaism.

Seeds of Israel – Palestine conflict: The Holocaust

Nazis killed Jews

It was one of the largest ever genocides (mass killing of people). Approximately six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis by a gas called Zyklon B in gas chambers.

Why the Nazis killed Jews?

Racism, especially antisemitism, was a central ideological feature of the Nazi regime. The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the master race, the purest branch of the Aryan race. Discrimination and persecution against Jews and Romani people began in earnest after the seizure of power. Also, they blamed Jews for Germany’s defeat in World War I.

Israel – Palestine conflict explained

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries, it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s.

About World War I

worrld war 1

The brewing of Israel – Palestine conflict: Jews’ migration to British controlled Palestine

In 1939 World War II began, the Nazis started killing Jews in Europe. The Jews were concentrated in concentration and death camps where they were immediately or eventually murdered. In the occupied territories of the USSR, Jews were murdered by death squads.

Surviving Jews chose to emigrate to the United States, Great Britain, and British-controlled Palestine. Palestine was a common name used until 1948 to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

World War II, also called the Second World War, a conflict that involved virtually every part of the world during the years 1939–45. The principal belligerents were the Axis powers—Germany, Italy, and Japan—and the Allies—France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and, to a lesser extent, China. The war was in many respects a continuation, after an uneasy 20-year hiatus, of the disputes left unsettled by World War I. The 40,000,000–50,000,000 deaths incurred in World War II made it the bloodiest conflict, as well as the largest war in history.

What was this British controlled Palestine?

In 1917, during World War I, the British captured Palestine from the Ottoman Empire. The British renamed it “The British Mandate for Palestine”.

In the Balfour Declaration of November 2, they promised the Jews a “national home” there.  In 1922, the League of Nations set out the obligations of a British mandate in Palestine, including securing “establishment of the Jewish national home”, the future Israel.

The League of Nations, 1920. The League of Nations was an international organization, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, created after the First World War to provide a forum for resolving international disputes.

 

What and where was the Ottoman Empire?

This empire was created by Turkish tribes in Anatolia (Asia Minor). It was one of the most powerful states in the world during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Ottomans were leaders of the Turkish warriors for the faith of Islam. Gradually the Ottoman Empire weakened.

The Ottoman Empire participated in World War I as one of the Central Powers.  The Central Powers consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. Ottoman forces fought the Entente.

The Ottoman Empire’s defeat in the war in 1918 resulted in its partitioning.

Later on, the successful Turkish War of Independence against the occupying Allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey in the Anatolian heartland and the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy.

Israel – Palestine conflict explained

 

Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916): Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire

The Sykes-Picot Agreement was a secret 1916 agreement between Great Britain and France, with Russia asserting, that defined their mutually agreed spheres of influence and control in Southwestern Asia, under control of the declining Ottoman Empire.

The agreement allocated to Britain control of areas between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan, Jordan, and southern Iraq;  France got control of southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon; and Russia received Istanbul, the Turkish Straits, and Armenia.

The agreement is seen by many as a turning point in Western and Arab relations, still mentioned when considering the region and its present-day conflicts. Many historians consider the borders created by the Sykes-Picot Agreement “artificial” and argue they have given rise to many conflicts in the region.

Israel – Palestine conflict explained

Israel – Palestine conflict: the beginning

The Jews were coming in large numbers. There was friction between residents of Muslims and migrant Jews. It resulted in the birth of major nationalist movements among the Jews and among the Arabs, for attaining sovereignty for their people in the Middle East It led to a major Israel–Palestine conflict.

The 1936–1939 Arab revolt, was a nationalist uprising by Palestinian Arabs in Mandatory Palestine against the British administration, demanding Arab independence and the end of the policy of open-ended Jewish immigration.

Britain crushed the great Arab revolt in Palestine.

The UN intervenes (1947)

UN in 1947 intervened to resolve Israel–Palestine conflict. The UN proposed to split the British Mandate for Palestine into Israel and Palestine with Jerusalem as an international zone.

Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power.  However, neither claim is wide. The US has recently recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

 

India opposed the UN resolution and Gandhi termed it as a crime against humanity. But India recognized Israel in 1950.

The Jewish leadership accepted the Partition Plan but Arab leaders rejected it. The Arab League threatened to take military measures to prevent the partition of Palestine and to ensure the national rights of the Palestinian Arab population. One day before the British Mandate expired, Israel declared its independence within the borders of the Jewish State set out in the Partition Plan. The Arabs responded.

First Arab-Israeli War (1948)

The Arab countries declared war on the newly formed State of Israel beginning the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In December 1948, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194. It called to establish a UN Conciliation Commission to facilitate peace between Israel and Arab states.

Under separate agreements between Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan, and Syria, these bordering nations agreed to formal armistice lines.

Israel gained some territory formerly granted to Palestinian Arabs under the United Nations resolution in 1947. Egypt and Jordan retained control over the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively. These armistice lines held until 1967.

The Six-Day War (1967)

Arab states Egypt, Jordan, and Syria attacked Israel on October 6, 1973, the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. After the war, Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank from Jordan, Gaza, and Sinai from Egypt

Jewish settlement of the occupied territories starts shortly afterward and continues in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights today.

Israel – Palestine conflict explained

Once Israel took over all of Palestine they were left responsible for governing the Palestinians.

Rise of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

In 1974, the Arab League recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and relinquished its role as representative of the West Bank. The PLO gained observer status at the U.N. General Assembly the same year.

The Arab League is a regional organization of Arab states in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia. It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a member on 5 May 1945.

The two-state solution for Israel – Palestine conflict

In 1974, a UN resolution on the Israel–Palestine conflict called for “two states, Israel and Palestine side by side within secure and recognized borders” together with “a just resolution of the refugee question in conformity with UN resolution 194”.

The borders of the state of Palestine would be “based on the pre-1967 borders”. The two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict envisages an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, west of the Jordan River.

The Palestinian leadership has embraced the concept. It is not accepted by Israel.

India recognized Palestine’s statehood following declaration on 18 November 1988; although relations between India and PLO were first established in 1974. Since then, Indian support for Palestine has been lukewarm although India still recognizes the legitimacy of aspirations of Palestine.

Camp David Accords, 1978

Israel and Egypt signed the US-brokered Camp David Accords and Israel gave Sinai back to Egypt.

Israeli settlements begin (1982)

Israeli military invaded Lebanon to kick the PLO out. Meanwhile, Israelis settlers moved into the Palestinian heavy West Bank & Gaza. Soldiers came with settlers to protect them and force Palestinians off of their land. The international community considers these settlers to be illegal.

Israel – Palestine conflict explained

The Intifada (1987 to 1993)

The First Intifada ( Palestinian uprising) against Israel began. A couple of hundred Israelis and over 1,000 Palestinians died.

During the First Intifada, Hamas was created in Gaza (a violent extremist group dedicated to the destruction of Israel). It has received support from Iran and Syria.

On the other hand, Fatah, a faction of PLO under Yasser Arafat received support from Western nations. 

The peace process, 1993

Israel – Palestine conflict explained

The Oslo Accords take place. The Accords created the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) with responsibility for the administration of the territory under its control. The Accords also called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from parts of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Hamas did not accept the Oslo peace accord or 2 state peace resolution. It wanted the whole state. It controls Gaza. It is supported by Iran.

Fatah accepted the Oslo peace accord and talks for peace. It controls West Bank.

In 2006, Hamas won the Palestine election. This intensified the tensions between Fatah and Hamas for power.

Currently, Gaza is controlled by Hamas and Palestine West Bank region by Fatah with a known presence of Israeli settlements.

Implementation of the Oslo Accords suffered a serious setback with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli Prime Minister and signer of the Oslo Accords, in November 1995. Since 1995, several peace summits and proposals, including the Camp David Summit (2000), Taba Summit (2001), a Road Map for Peace (2002), and the Arab Peace Initiative (2002 and 2007), have attempted to broker a solution, with no success.

The drive for recognition of Palestinian statehood

2000-2005:  A second Second Intifada occurs, this time much more violent. By the end of the Second Intifada, 1,000 Israelis and 3,200 Palestinians died.

2005– Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005.  But, citing security concerns, to this day maintains tight control of it’s land and sea borders, reducing Gaza’s economy to a state of collapse. Hamas gains power but splits from the Palestinian Authority.

Israel operates a two-tiered system in the West Bank that provides preferential treatment to Israeli settlers while imposing harsh conditions on Palestinians. Israel also has maintained onerous restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank, including checkpoints and the separation barrier.

In December 2017, President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced his intention to construct a U.S. embassy there, reversing longstanding U.S. policy. On May 14th, 2018 the United States Embassy was formally relocated to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, on the 70th anniversary of the formation of Israel. The shift of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem reflects the close alliance that has developed between Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu, which Palestinian leaders say has worsened prospects for peace. Many Palestinians protested the opening of the Embassy.

Why U.S. Supports Israel in Israel – Palestine conflict?

There is a broad consensus among policymakers that Israel has advanced U.S. interests in the Middle East and beyond.

  • Israel has successfully prevented victories by radical nationalist movements in Lebanon and Jordan, as well as in Palestine.
  • Israel has kept Syria, for many years an ally of the Soviet Union, in check.
  • Israel’s air force is predominant throughout the region.
  • Israel’s frequent wars have provided battlefield testing for American arms, often against Soviet weapons.
  • It has served as a conduit for U.S. arms to regimes and movements too unpopular in the United States for openly granting direct military assistance, such as apartheid South Africa, the Islamic Republic in Iran, the military junta in Guatemala, and the Nicaraguan Contras.
  • Israeli military advisers have assisted the Contras, the Salvadoran junta, and foreign occupation forces in Namibia and Western Sahara.
  • Israel’s intelligence service has assisted the U.S. in intelligence gathering and covert operations.
  • Israel has missiles capable of reaching as far as the former Soviet Union, it possesses a nuclear arsenal of hundreds of weapons, and it has cooperated with the U.S. military-industrial complex with research and development for new jet fighters and anti-missile defense systems.

Conclusion

Israel has more money, more land, more fighters (every Israeli citizen must work for the Army in some capacity due to conscription of citizens over 18), and the backing of powerful world powers such as the United States of America. In contrast, Palestinians are not allowed to form their own government to lead the people, so terror groups such as Hamas have taken the stage to represent Palestine in the fight for freedom. But Hamas does not truly represent Palestine. In the Israel–Palestine conflict the Palestinian cause is driven mainly by the unarmed civilians.

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deepak mehto
By deepak mehto September 19, 2019 12:38