After three consecutive nights of Israeli security forces raiding the Al Aqsa Mosque to stop Palestinians from accessing the Old City during prayers of the holy month of Ramadan. In retaliation, the Hamas group has launched more than 1,000 rockets on 10 May into Israel which resulted in thousands of casualties.
The conflict between Israel and Palestine has raged on for generations and the fighting we see in 2021 is born of more than 100 years of struggle. It is often referred to as the world’s most intractable conflict is rooted in a dispute over land claimed by Jews as their biblical birthright and by the Palestinians, who seek self-determination. Despite repeated attempts to end the conflict between the two countries, there is no peace settlement in sight. As it is a very controversial issue I would say, the facts I will be providing here are based on historical facts only. As you have seen in the picture, these types of conflicts negatively affect the human and especially the child right.
How did it starts??
There was the rule of the Ottoman empire in the area since the fourteenth century. The area was important due to the presence of a passage from Europe to Asia through the “Suez Canal.” After the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I Britain took control of the area known as Palestine under the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the area was occupied by Arab Majority and Jews Minority.
The Jews have been persecuted throughout history due to their religious beliefs and foreign culture. To help the Jews people, international community tasked Britain with setting up a “national home” for Jewish people in Palestine through the Balfour declaration. The same land was claimed as their historical lands by both the Jews and Palestinians.
In 1897 the Jews started a movement called a Zionist movement to escape persecution and establish their state in their ancestral homeland, Israel. The movement later got international reach and was termed as World Zionist Organization. During the 1920 to 1940s, many Jewish people fled to Palestine by escaping the persecution and the atrocities of Hitler’s Holocaust. It incited the Arab population living there, and we witness the start of the conflict between Jews, Arabs, and the Britishers.
The fight between Israel and Palestine
In 1947, the UN voted to split the land into two countries at British request. Jewish people accepted the agreement and declared the independence of Israel. Under the plan, the land was to be split into separate Jewish and Arabs states. Jerusalem, a holy land for both would become an international city. Jewish leaders embraced the plan, but the Arab leaders’ didn’t.
In 1948 the Britishers left after realizing that the problem couldn’t be solved by them, and the Jewish leaders created the “State of Israel” backed by the then US president Harry S. Truman. The declaration was not acceptable to Palestinians a war broke out by neighboring Arab countries including Jordon, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria on Israel. The war was catastrophic for Palestinians hundred and thousands fled. The continuous fight was advantageous for Israel, and it now controls most of the land. However, there was never a peace agreement, but the blame game persists.
It was the beginning of the Palestine refugee crisis which ultimately led to the creation of PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) in 1964 a terrorist organization. More importantly “in the Six-day war” in 1967, the Arabs attacked Israel, but the result was in favor of Israel. The Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt; West Bank, and East Jerusalem from Jordan; and Golan Heights from Syria were captured by Israel. Most Palestinian refugees and their descendants live in the Gaza strip and the West Bank were not allowed to return their homes. These lands are recognized as occupied territories by the UN.
Jerusalem was one of the holiest lands on Earth for Christians, Jews, and Muslims. However, Israel claims the whole city as its capital. Palestine claims East Jerusalem as the capital of its future state.
For the past 50 years, Israel has built settlements in Jerusalem, more than 600,000 Jews now live there. Although, the Palestinians consider them illegal under international law. There have been numerous attempts to resolve over the decades since 1979. In 1993, under the Oslo Accord, the leaders of Palestinians and Israeli met to negotiate on the “two-state solutions” with the mediation of the US and Russia with no positive results.
The tension escalated with Israel’s increased settlement in West Bank and Gaza Strip. The result was First Intifada, in 1987 with a boycott of Israeli products, jobs, etc resulted in massive Israeli economic destruction. In 2000, a more violent Palestine Uprising killed a large number of civilians to death on both sides. This is known as the Second intifada. As a defensive measure, Israel constructed a West Bank Barrier wall and separated Israel and Palestine settlements. Still, Israel is continuously pushing to settle Jews settlers to the West Bank which is changing the demography with prevalent human right violations in Palestine.
New era of Fatah and Hamas
The Palestinian divided themselves into two groups i.e. the Fatah and Hamas. The Fatah accept Oslo accord, were found under Yasir Arafat is the largest Palestinian political faction. It is a secular movement, has nominally recognized Israel, and has actively participated in the peace process. The Hamas (Islamic Militant group) for the liberation of Palestine through Jihad came into existence. It refused to recognize Israel as a country. It has received support from Iran and Syria. Despite numerous reconciliation efforts over the past 15 years, rifts have remained.
The tensions between the groups have dominated Palestinian politics since 2006. After an armed conflict between the two factions and the failure of an attempted unity government, the Palestinian leadership has been divided since 2007. Damascus Gate is one of the main entrances to Jerusalem’s Old City, and a popular meeting place for Palestinians, especially during Ramadan after the evening prayer that triggers problems.
The Palestinians want Israel to withdraw to pre-1967 and establish independent Palestine state in West Bank and Gaza. Israel should stop the era of expansion of settlements and allow Palestine refugees to return back to there homes. However, the Israel want sovereignty over Jerusalem as a capital of a Jewish State.
The issue and the world
The US has been a significant mediator, with more Jews population than Israel, which have significant control over US media and economy. Hence, the US has also prevented the observer status to Palestine in the UN. However, the Obama administration allowed the UN to pass a resolution that declared Israel’s growing settlements in the occupied territories illegal, and had also blocked resolutions criticizing Israel by using its veto power in the UN Security Council. With the new presidency regime under Trump, who is more inclined to Israel, the illegal settlements by Israel in West Bank and Gaza are increasing. In 2018, the Trump administration canceled funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency, which provides aid to Palestinian refugees, and relocated the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a reversal of a longstanding U.S. policy.
India opposes the UN’s partition plan in 1947, however it recognizes Israel in 1950 but it also recognizes the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole representative of the Palestinian. It also recognizes the statehood of Palestine in 1988. In 2014, India favored UNHRC’s resolution to probe Israel’s human rights violations in Gaza. Despite supporting the probe, India abstained from voting against Israel in UNHRC IN 2015. India has tried to maintain the image of its historical moral support for Palestinian self-determination, and at the same time to engage in military, economic, and other strategic relations with Israel.
Nearly 83% of countries have officially recognized Israel as a sovereign state and maintain diplomatic relations. However, at the same time are sympathetic to Palestine.
In August and September 2020, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and then Bahrain agreed to normalize their relations with Israel by following the steps of Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. The world at large needs to come together for a peaceful solution however, the reluctance of the Israeli government and other involved parties has aggravated the issue. A balanced approach towards the issue would help to maintain favorable relations which are required for the wellbeing of people on both sides.