The history between Israel and Palestine can be considered to have such enormous background that many scholars and historians had engaged in several studies with regards to the conflict and quarrel among these nations which began long ago and still unresolved up to now. Many can argue that the conflict between Israel and Palestine has steadily decreased compared before but tensions are still alive due to a lot of indifferences about their respective claims on the land and territorial disputes. Recognition of each other is also a critical issue especially for the Palestinian government that does not recognize Israel as an independent state.
In depth study about the circumstances between these nations should begin with its historical background. This will enable a more understanding about the questions that might appear as the study between Israel and Palestine continue to unfold.
Pre World War 1: Palestine and the Ottoman Empire
It was on the year 1516 when the Turkish Empire conquered the land of Palestine and was subjected to a governor and taxes for the empire.
Various rebellions took place in defiance with the rule of the Turks but none did flourished. In the year 1700’s, France took a chance to capture the whole Palestine land but also failed eventually. The Egyptian army, on the other hand, took the Palestinian territory in the year 1831 but the people revolted against the Egyptian rule and were subjected again under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Palestine then became influential in the political affairs within the empire until the First World War broke out. There were even high ranking officials that are Palestinian by birth and even political figures that shaped up the Empire until its fall. In the early 1840’s, interests began to appear for the
Europeans with regards to Palestine and these countries sent ambassadors but was later sparked the war between them by arguing who has the authority to hold such important relics and materials found in the land of Palestine. Even Germany paid visits in the land that signifies their interests in this portion of Asia. When the World War 1 began, the Turks sided with the Germans against the British but the latter won the struggle, starting the fall of the Turkish rule in Palestine.
The British and Palestine
When the British won the war against the Turks and the Germans, the British monarchial rule delivered the intention of the British in Palestine. The statement was made by Arthur Balfour in the year 1917 which declared that the Palestine is to become a dwelling for the Jewish community. He also stated that nothing inhuman should also be dealt with the non-Jews people currently living in Palestine with regards to their basic rights. Therefore, a dwelling will be made possible between Jews and Arab people in the land. This was totally unacceptable for the Palestinians and they felt the insult for this development. However, the declaration still pursued its completion after Balfour declared such proclamations.
In the year 1880’s, a group was formed somewhere in Eastern Europe and called themselves as the Zionists. Their primary intention was to advocate the organization of a Jewish nation in the land where they claim to be their God’s promised land to them as stated in the Bible. The land they are claiming then was the land occupied by the Palestinians, who also have claims on the ancestral lands of Palestine. The group finally got what they wanted when the Balfour declaration was made and the migration of Jews from distant lands happened since the founding of the Zionism ideology up to the open declaration of Balfour pronouncements.
Ancestral Claims by Israelis and Palestinians
As stated in the holy Bible, Israel’ ancestors lived in these lands approximately 2000 years ago. Historical accounts shown the construction the Jewish temple under King Herod but was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. What was left in the former structure was the Western Wall which was the most important site for the Jews up to today. The said wall is said to be the key element to Israel’s assert to this land.
On the other hand, Palestinians claim that their ancestors’ remains lie on this area and that their ancestors settled for this area a long time ago, almost the same time the Jews mentioned as the time their ancestors lived in this land. In addition to that, their claims to the land is also based on the site called the Dome of the Rock, which was regarded as the third most important Muslim site in the world to visit.
The United Nations Intervention
The United Nations intervened in the territorial crisis between Israel and Palestine. In the year 1947, the United Nations made a plan for territorial distribution between these two conflicting nation. Under this arrangement, the land will be divided into two distinct countries: a Jewish state and a state of Arab Palestine. The approximate number of Jews during this time was said to be around one-third of the total population in Palestine. The Jewish state was given 5
percent more than half of the total land in Palestine. The remaining territory was given to the Arab nation of Palestine. Moreover, Jerusalem was declared to be a transnational city under the supervision of the United Nations. When this arrangement was made, no representative from Palestine was present, and therefore was rejected by the Palestinians. On the part of the Jewish community, they accepted the plan though there are stories that Zionists did not fully accepted the proposal and did violate the UN proposal by seizing lands that were made available by the UN to the Palestine state only. Many Palestinians up to now believed that the Jews did not comply with the resolution and still has plans to conquer the whole Palestine territory, as what they have claimed to God-given lands to their race.
The 1948 War
In May 14, 1948, the nation of Israel was formally created and to be recognized by all the nations in the world. Immediately the following day, Israel was assaulted by nations like Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia to show their defiance against the founding of the Jewish state. Even though, Israel was newly established, they eventually won the conflict. They successfully defended their country and made these Arab armies fled out of their homeland. During this conflict, roughly a million Jews migrated form the Arab states into Israel to avoid further risks on their lives. On the other hand, almost 800 000 Palestinians were forced to leave the Israeli territory because of the war. At the end of this struggle some of the Arab countries that attempted to overturn Israel signed a peace pact to avoid repetition of such acts in
the future. With regards to the territorial domains, the Jews boundary expanded even in the land intended for the Palestinians including the western part of Jerusalem city. Jordan then occupied the eastern part of the city which includes the ruins of the Jewish temple and the holy Mosque relocation sites. Similarly, Egypt controlled the Gaza region while the West bank was also under the Jordan nation. As such, no Palestinian nation was established after the war in 1948.
The war that happened during this year has further strengthened the Jewish community and many claimed that should Israel was already made long ago, tragedies such as the holocaust during the World War II should have avoided. They also claimed the war as the war for freedom where they eventually came up to be victors and further establish their presence in the region. For the Palestinians, the war is a tragedy for them because they were forced to flee and leave their houses during the war. It was also catastrophic foe them because after the war, no lands were left for them because the territories intended for them was either under the Israel control or by either Arab countries like Jordan and Egypt. As a result, no land was left for their people.
The Suez Crisis
The Red Sea is a very important route for the Jews which can be accessed only through the Suez Canal. Another unfortunate event came when Egypt started to control the Suez Canal and eventually blockade any passage from Israel to the Red Sea. This scenario became very hostile that it sparked another war between the Israelis and the Egyptian military. Israel attacked Egypt to enable them to stop this blockade made by the Egyptian nation. Israel got reinforcements from other European countries like France and England to further advanced to the struggle. The battle eventually came to a ceasefire between these nations and the Egypt was directed to reopen the trade routes for Israel. The United Nations even sent forces to maintain peace in the Suez Canal region.
A decade after, Egypt requested the United Nations to direct its forces to leave the premises it was stationed before and then was believed to had in mind another struggle against Israel. After the UN forces left the region, Egypt started to strategically position its armies and blocked again the trade routes, just as what they did almost ten years ago. Israel then planned another attack to prevent their enemy to progress with their intentions. The war broke out again in this year and Israel again became triumphant with their mission to stop Egypt from doing harm on their nation. In addition to that, new territories were conquered by Israel when it also made attacks on other Arab countries like Jordan and Syria. Israel then believed that these nations are concurrently planning connivance in attacking their territory. As a result, Israel gained more territories that included the West Bank and the Gaza region. They also took control over Golan that was previously under Syria’s control and Sinai from Egypt. Moreover, their objective to control the whole Jerusalem also happened after they had the victory over these mentioned Arab nations. This implies that Israel gained control over important lands which were intended for the Palestine nation. Palestinian still has no homeland during this time.
Social and Economic Issues after the War
After the war, a lot of social and economic issues began to appear particularly on the Jewish nation and the Palestinian people. Israel then viewed the aftermath of the war as a vindication and strong signal that they cannot be bullied by other countries and that they have maintained a strong social relationships with other countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. Due to the victory Israel had in the war, economic issues are not a major problem in the country with the full support of the mentioned European countries. The control of Golan Heights also augments to the economy of the Jews because the place can be used as a source of water system. Aside form that, the capture of such places serves as a protection against rockets and missiles coming from their neighboring countries.
For the Palestinian, such aftermath is unacceptable and because of that, they ventured on terrorism actions to gain the other nation’s attention about their current situation and their longing to create their own state with bounded territories. They did these acts after all the attempts to defeat Israel did not flourish. An organization was formed by these people even before the Suez Canal crisis happened to spearhead these advocacies and serve as the representative of the people of Palestine for treaties and pacts. They also see Israel’s presence in their lands as something very infuriating because Israel should have followed the United Nations resolutions on the land territories.
Another war broke out in the year 1973 when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel as retaliation in the year 1967 war. Just like the previous engagements before, Israel emerged victorious after the conflict. When Egypt and Syria was defeated again, Egypt started to engage peace talks with Israel. Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat showed interests to talk with the Israel authorities to employ peace efforts between them. Together with the United States, the three countries engaged in uplifting peace in their respective nations. In the year 1978, they came up with arrangements to push with the peace pact. One condition was for Egypt to recognize the existence of Israel as a nation. The second resolution was for the Israel nation to give back the Sinai region to Egypt in exchange of the Egypt’s recognition of Israel as a state.
Social Impact on the Camp David Accords
The peace efforts arranged by the United States between Egypt and Israel came up with some of the important social and political issues in the region. The resolution is clear that Israel is willing to give up lands just to be recognized by its adjacent countries in the region. It also implies that Israel want to develop social and economic stability even it would cost them to give up lands that they claimed to be inherited from God long ago. For Egypt, its effort to push peace pact with Israel was a great development in their economy since they did gain back the control over the Sinai Peninsula. Unfortunately, many Arab people did not accept these efforts by Egypt which was resulted into the assassination of the Egyptian leader Sadat in the year 1981.
The First Intifada
After the war that broke out between Israel, Jordan and Egypt resulting to the control of the Jewish country over lands that includes West Bank and Gaza Strip from Egypt and Jordan respectively, an increasing sentiment and dissatisfaction among Palestinians thriving on these occupied areas continued to grow and was aggravated by the policies that was applied by the Jews toward them. Such policies include strict measures that were thought by many Palestinians as deliberate actions to put more suffering in their people. The growing annoyance and infuriation was given an avenue to be shown in the Israel government in the year 1987 when the first Intifada happened. Intifada is known as the Palestinian people actions against the Jewish rule. This rebellion sparked when allegedly an Israel army vehicle hurt and killed a few Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. When this happened, the whole Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza region engaged a mass action against the Jewish control. This was not inspired by the Palestinian leadership under Arafat but was mobilized by local organization and institutions inside the West Bank and Gaza region. The actions began with civil disobedience by thousands of Palestinian people which includes women and children. Series of protests and demonstrations followed which includes both civil and harsh moves by the populace. Some refused to pay taxes in the government as a sign of protest while some people even engaged in conflict in facing the Israel army with improvised bombs and explosives.
On the other hand, Israel confronted the Intifada with decisive force which includes arresting protest leaders and even killing of people who uses violence in their protest actions. The sais action was later defended by the Jews as a retaliation for the damage made by these irresponsible people in the lives of fellow Palestinian and Israelis.
After 4 years of struggle between the Israel army and the populace in the aforementioned region, the intifada ended in defeat. Such defeat caused more divisions among Palestinian leaders that eventually went to killing of each other by the Islamic militants on those who were suspected to be conniving with the Israeli authorities that led to the arrests of many Palestinian protest leaders.
Social and Political Issues after the Intifada
The intifada did make some of the social and political issues for the Palestine people in their fight for sovereignty. First, they made a clear signal that they do not agree with the continuous occupation of Israel authorities over the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They sent a clear signal to the world that Palestine want a clear state of their own and free from any Israel control. Palestinian militants also urged the Palestinian leadership to provide a clear program that would lead to their independence and freedom. The Palestinian council then conducted series of conventions to come up with the demands of the Palestinian public. The Palestinian leadership then arrived in a resolution that declares an independent Palestinian government in Gaza and West Bank regions. In exchange for this, the Palestinian council recognized the Israel nation. Israel did not make any actions to support such declarations but maintained the status quo. They insisted that the Palestine council is a radical group and they will never talk with any rebel faction. The United States recognized such reforms made by the Palestine council but did not intervene with Israel to change its firm stand with the scenario.
The Oslo Agreement
After a series of failed attempts for the Israel and Palestine nation to achieve a mutual agreement between them, a meeting was conducted between many nations to converse and arranged a joint resolution to the crisis since the reestablishment of Israel as a nation. This was the first direct negotiation by Israel and Palestine together with other countries concerned with the crisis in the region. The pact was formally finalized in Norway and was then signed by the political diplomats of Palestine and Israel in the year 1993 witnessed by the delegates from Russia and US. The Oslo agreement was signed to benefit both parties and provide a long time solution between Israel and Palestine. Though the agreement was only intended to last for half a decade, the parties looked for permanent solutions to the problem and they believed that it would start with the signing of this treaty. Under the treaty, there are several provisions that were agreed upon and should be followed by both nations. One of the principles under this treaty is that Israel should transfer portions of the West Bank and Gaza under the Palestinian rule to enable them to create their own state affairs. This would also enable them to run their own economy and provide social status among nations in the world. Another principle under this pact is that Israel retains its position that Jerusalem is the inherited capital of the Jews. Israel was also allowed to take control of the border defense of the disputed lands. Withdrawal of Israel troops from designated regions was also included in the agreement as well as the conduction of election for the leader of the Palestinian state was embedded in the treaty.
On the part of the Palestinian side, there are also provisions that they should follow in the agreement. One is that Palestine is to recognize Israel as a nation to exist. Palestine should also honor the United Nations resolutions with regards to their conflicts and other important resolutions. They should also be committed in maintaining peace in the region, advocating peace process should the need arise. They also condemn radical movements in any manner and the Palestinian government would apply sanctions and penalties for their citizens that would engage in such horrendous acts of destroying peace in the region.
Under the accord, economic cooperation between them is also expected particularly in the basic industries needed by the populace like water, food, health, transportation energy and other important industries. Other mutual aids are also expected between the two nations and maintaining peace and harmony in the relationship of Israel and Palestine.
Political and Social Issues on the Oslo Agreement
Some political analysts further see the agreement to fail in the long run due to the unresolved issues on both claims to the land as their inherited territory form their ancestors. The agreement did not get into the very heart of the matter which is the land disputes between the two nations. For the Palestine, having an independent economy to run is a big start for them in reaching their primary objective to achieve a Palestine country. This will improve the social status of the Palestinian people if they already have their homeland.
The Second Intifada
After the five-year agreement expired, there were already attempts to seek a lasting resolution for the said struggle in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Meetings were held by the respective leaders that eventually failed because of unclear reasons. In the year 2000, the second uprising of the Palestine came through against Israel. There were various issues that were said to have started the second intifada. One issue is that when Palestinian leader Arafat left the negotiating table, thee uprising started. Meetings were held with Arafat, Israel leader Barak and US president Clinton to seek a long term solution for their problem but eventually Arafat rejected the propositions made by the other parties. Because of this, he left the meeting and was accused by many to have instigated the start of the second intifada.
Another story that was blamed for the start of the second uprising was when Israel leader Sharon visited the site where the Dome of the Rock was located. This annoyed the Palestinian people and the riot starts to break out against Israel. The death of a twelve-year old boy caught in crossfire was also given account for the populace to join the rebellion against Israel. According to Palestinian testimonies, the boy was killed by the Israel Army even the boy was unarmed and was waving on the Israeli forces not to shoot. On the other hand, Israeli forces deny the responsibility of murdering the child and pointed the Palestinian forces the accountability for the loss of life of the child. The child’s death became the inspiration for many Palestinian people to fight Israel and treated his death as martyr. Up to now, the responsibility on the death of the child
is still not clear and both are blaming each other as the culprit for the shocking death of the child. The second intifada showed Palestinian people using improvised bombs, suicide bombers, and many radical actions against Israel. The Jewish army responded with military force and put economic blockades on the Palestine territory.
Cultural Issues on the Second Intifada
The cultural differences really have staged a lot in the struggle between Israel and Palestine. On of the issue of rejecting the resolutions and just leaving the meeting is a clear indication of cultural indifferences between leaders of every nation. Each of them has its own agenda and was not able to give in for lasting peace in their region. They hold on to their claims very tight even that would lead to further conflicts with the public as victims of their poor decisions. The leaders were unaware of the benefit of having harmonious ties with their neighbor countries. They discounted the price of not coming up with trade-offs to enable a mutual solution to the problem. Should the leaders set aside their personal egos over the matter, no further violence should have happened and loss of civilian lives should have been avoided. At the end of the war, both blamed the other side as the one who implicated this struggle.
The Gaza Strip
The Israel completely left the Gaza region in the year 2005. They totally gave up the territory for the Palestinian government by removing all of its settlements in Gaza along with its military presence. However, they did not give up some of the rights like the air space and coastlines. Years after, the region came under the control of a terrorist group Hamas, which vehemently deny the right of Israel to exist as a nation.
There are cultural variations that separate Hamas militants and the Jewish nation. Being an extremist, Hamas people do not believe in lasting peace with Israelis and will do anything to remove Israel nation out of the map by force. On the other hand, Israel recognized Hamas as a radical group and will never negotiate with these Islamic extremists. Israel eventually entered into a ceasefire contract with Hamas to avoid further war and struggle.
Israel and Palestinian leaders continue to find ways to improve the relationship of each other hoping for a co-existence between the two independent states. However, there are still issues that remains to be resolved and may induced more struggle and conflict should these will not be properly handled.
Up to now, both the Jews and the Arab people do not give up their claims on this site. While Israel still stands on its assert over the entire Jerusalem as its capitol, Palestinians still asserts their ancient ownership of the portion of Jerusalem particularly the location of the holy mosque in the site.
West Bank Settlements
Israel still has settlers along this territory and this was due to their preventive measure to provide a buffer zone between Israel and Palestine lands. This action defies the Palestinian people’s goal to have a solid Palestinian state in the future with the continuing presence of Jews in their land.
Israel had constructed barriers that would provide protection from further attacks from Palestine extremists. They are continuing to build such barricade to filter out those that may inflict harm to their people and properties. For the Palestinians, the fence was placed in a location that was beyond the borders of Israel. Due to this, they were contesting the placement of such barriers by the Israel authorities.
Many Palestinian citizens suffer from the present approaches made by Israel whenever they want to pass through the West Bank and because of that, Palestinian undergoes much restriction on their daily living which includes their jobs and other important matters in their lives. On the other hand, Israel claims this approach as a means to prevent terrorism acts on their citizens and properties. Such scenario needs a resolution in order to prevent another struggle between these two conflicting nations. Israel cites the continuous acts of Hamas and Hezbollah of firing rockets and sending suicide bombers as their excuse for such strict application of restrictions on the West Bank. This was unacceptable for Palestinian people since majority of the people are harmless and such restrictions should not be applied to all the Palestinian populace.
Right to Return
The issue that many Palestinians are planning to return to their homeland that is now part of the state of Israel still becomes a big issue particularly on the side of people who had left their homes due to the series of wars happened since the founding of nation Israel. For Israel, such return by the Palestinian people into their former lands is totally intolerable because that would mean
giving up what they are fighting for even before the founding of their nation. They believed that if they would allow this to happen, there will be a great implication on several issues which includes land ownership, and security of its citizenry. For many Palestinians, such return is for their families’ sake and nothing political in nature. Therefore, such issue should also be resolved to have a communal result.
There are far more issues between Israel and Palestine and all of these are deeply rooted on the history between these two races. Having different religions, there will be an enormous misunderstanding between them because religion is a part of culture and such would also affect the political stand of a particular country. What should be done is to set aside these differences and start to treat each other as co-equal and respect the rights of each other’s existence. Being a Muslim, there have been a lot of indifferences they had with the Judaism ideologies of Israel. Most of these even resulted to loss of lives of many Israelis and Palestinians alike. The series of wars happened also because of cultural and religious disputes between the two countries. Many mentioned that these two nations cannot co-exist because no one would give way for the other’s benefit. Such belief should serve as a challenge for both nations to meet halfway and set aside such misunderstandings with each other. By doing this, any cultural or political issues can be resolved and the peace that every nation wanted will finally happen in that particular region in our world.
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