The conflict between Israel-Palestine is the one of the most long lasting and controversial conflicts. The conflict seems to be all about demanding an international significance, but there are various other factors which cause this conflict to begin and those factors make this conflict more complex. So, this conflict is not only controversial but also complicated. And this article aims to simplify those complexities by presenting a detailed analysis regarding the historical background of this issue. This brief documentation will also focus on the current situation in both the states. This article does not aim to point out what is right and what is wrong, rather it aims to present all the necessary points to deliver the readers a basic understanding of the complex situation and lets the readers determine. This article is drafted after a thorough research on several articles, documentations, news etc.
Israel is the only Jewish Nation in the world. To know about the historical details about Israel, it is important to know the geographical history of Israel. It is a country in the Middle East Asia. Some of the countries in Middle East Asia are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. While discussing the geography of Israel, few places should be worth mentioning. Those are the Golan Heights which are situated between Syria and Israel, the West Bank is a territory which is bordered by Jordan to the east, and the Gaza also known as Gaza Strip is a place whose small part is in Egypt and the rest of the part is under Israel.
This whole thing was regarding The Holy Land which had different names and they are:
- Al Sham
- The Promised Land
But what is the reason behind this conflict? How did it start? These questions will be discussed below.
The history of this issue started when the Ottoman Empire started capturing various parts and captured Western Asia i.e. Palestine in 1516. They ruled Palestine for over 401 years. But during the 19th century the Ottoman Empire started losing its power.
During the 19th century there was another hassle and that was Nationalism. Nationalism is nothing but identification of a Nation state and a nation state consist of the main three features and they are a sense of common identity, shared history, and struggle. Many states got identified as nations like Italy, Germany. And during nationalism a new movement was formed known as the Zionism or Zionist movement. The Zionism movement was established to bring back the Jews to their homeland in the Middle East Asia and reinstate Israel as a Jewish nation. And due to the persecution of the Jewish people not only in Germany but also in many other European countries, many started migrating to Middle East Asia. In 1897 Theodor Herzl established modern Zionism.
The United Kingdom declared the Balfour Declaration in 1917; this declaration shows the support of British Government to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine. But in Sykes-Picot agreement with France and Russia, this agreement was made to distribute all the Middle Eastern countries separately after World War 1. Syria and Jordan were given to France, Turkey was given to Russia and Palestine was taken by the UK. They also promised Arabs that they will give them Palestine.
After World War 1, The British Mandate of Palestine was started. The Jews started migrating due to the Balfour Declaration and migration rate increased and the Jews population rose to 30%. The Jews started buying lands from the poor Arabs and started settling there. In 1936 the local Arabs started a revolt against The British Mandate. And to fight against this revolt Jewish militias were formed. But to calm the local Arabs the British put certain restrictions on the Jewish migration.
From 1941 to 1945 during the World War 2, the HOLOCAUST in Europe took place. In this holocaust nearly six million Jews were brutally killed. And at that time the Jews felt they were not safe in any part of the world except Israel. So half of the European Jewish people started migrating rather, they started escaping to Israel.
After the end of the World War 2, the UN Resolution with maximum vote divided the whole Palestine mandate into two:
- The Jewish State
- The Palestine Arab State.
The UN resolution also decided that Jerusalem will be controlled internationally. After this declaration Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan attacked Israel which initiated the Arab Israel war (1948-49). But Israel benefited from this war by extending its boundaries, but after this the Gaza strip was completely occupied by Egypt and the West Bank by Jordan. In this war the 50% of Palestine was also occupied by Israel.
In 1967 another war took place which is known as the six day war, and Israel preoccupied Gaza and West Bank including Golan Heights, Sinai Peninsula and by this Israel extended its area. In 1973 Yom Kippur war took place where Egypt wanted to get back Sinai and Israel suffered a huge loss. In 1978 in the Camp David Accord Egypt got back Sinai and recognized the State of Israel. Egypt was the first Arab country to recognize Israel.
But after this in 1964 an organization was created by the state of Palestine known as Palestine Liberation Organization which aims in making Palestine independent. This organization had several political and terrorist strategies to gain independence. Yasir Araffad was the leader of this organization. This PLO started the 1st INTIFIDA in 1987-93 where they started boycotting and protesting for independence.
In 1993 OSLO Accords was created between Israel and Palestine. And in this agreement PLO recognized Israel as a state. And Israel recognized PLO as the official political representative of the Palestine people. Also the West Bank and Gaza was declared to be governed by the Palestine Authority. This was said to be continued for five years and they decided to negotiate after five years for getting more peace.
But after five years they failed to find common ground to initiate a peace process by which the second Intifada in the year 2000-05 was formed which was more dangerous than the first one. The main reason for the second Intifada was that the then Israeli president Ehud Barak went to Temple Mount with 1000 security guards which was an extremely holy place for both the Jews and the Muslims.
After the second Intifada Israel changed some of its policies to handle the situation. It was impossible for them to solve the problem; they tried to manage the issue. They removed all the Israeli settlements and all the Israeli Jews from Gaza; they even withdrew all their armed forces from Gaza in 2005. In 2006 Hamas won the election but PLO didn’t want them to rule Gaza so they took away the position from Hamas. But in 2007 Hamas totally captured Israel. War started after Hamas captured Gaza and so Israel blocked Gaza i.e. no one can enter or exist without permission. Three wars were fought after Hamas occupied Gaza and this completely destroyed the infrastructure in Gaza.
There are some major issues why the Israel and Palestine are still in conflict and one of the major issues is the Status of Jerusalem. The eastern part of this city is Muslim populated and the western part is Jewish populated. This city is considered to be the holy place for all the three religions the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians because Jesus crucification was done here. Israel controls the city and also restricts to visit people to holy sites. Israelis’ wants Jerusalem to be its capital but the world does not accept it to be the capital.
Another most important issue is the Palestinians refugees. After the 1948, 67 wars the refugees are still not allowed to come back to their homelands. Those refugees are now residing in Arabian countries. There are near about 5 million refugees staying outside and the Palestinians want them back but the Israelis say they can’t be allowed in Israel because they can harm the safety of the country.
There are many other such issues for the conflict which includes settlements of the Israelis in the West Bank which is illegal because the West Bank was given to Palestine in the negotiation.
After Hamas started ruling Gaza the situation became much worse and now Gaza is one of the poorest states. 40% of the state’s populations are unemployed. Situation is much worse in the Israel and Gaza border. Many Palestinians are killed every day. Research says this is a century long conflict and it will not end so soon.
According to the above analysis it is completely necessary for the leaders to handle the situation peacefully. The leaders need to think about the poor civilians who are facing difficulties since the 16th century. The main issues such as borders, refugees, politics, and economics should be handled with much care and most importantly “peacefully”. Leaders also need to compromise a few things to maintain peace and order.