Table of Contents
The continuing conflict between the Palestine and Israel is very complicated to understand. The Israelis affirm that the land known as Israel belongs to the Israelis while the Palestinians believe that the area they call Palestinians is theirs. The unfortunate thing is that both parties claim the same piece of land, only that they had named the piece differently. The conflicted history is much more complicated, but the historical and religious differences are critical to this story. The Palestinians and Israelis have been fighting for over 60years, each act of terrorism, each war, each death only excavates the reluctance and hatred between them (Caplan, 2010). This paper gives an in-depth analysis of the history of the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis and illustrates how this process occurred, as well as the peacemaking attempts.
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History of the Israeli/Palestine conflict
According to Handelman, the current apprehensions between the Palestinians and Israelis dates back to early 20th century, when there was a significant migration of the Jews to Palestine under the rule of Ottoman Turkish. In 1948, the continuing self-determination and struggle by both parties resulted in the creation of Israel, a sequence of Israel-Arab wars, the waves of Palestinians refugees and Palestinian uprisings (Handelman, 2011).
Although the concept of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine took shape in the late 19th century, since the exile of Jews in biblical times, Israel area has been critical to Jewish consciousness. For centuries, small Christian Arabs and Muslim lived peacefully in Palestine with small Jewish communities. However, the anti-Semitism times in Europe led to the culmination of the Nazi Holocaust, which led to the death of 6 million Jews during the Second World War. This led to increasing pressure on a Jewish Homeland. A plan was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in November 1947, to divide Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, under the British mandate (Shoshan, 2010). The Jews residing in Palestine affirmed the institution of the state of Israel in May 1948. Consequently, five Arab countries attacked Palestine, resulting in a clash that made some 750,000 Palestinians stop the fighting or they were coerced to leave their household. Additionally, amid the fears of reaction towards them, a similar amount of Jews also fled into Israel from the Arab states. A majority of Jews considered the establishment of Israel as a manifestation of their unrivaled wish for land to reside in. However, for the Palestinians, the loss of their land and homes in 1948 was considered a catastrophe, “al-Nakba” (Shoshan, 2010).
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During the 1967 battle that rutted Israel against Syria and Jordan, there was a displacement of another wave of Palestinians. In six days of the severe war, the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, and the West Bank was captured by Israel, including East Jerusalem. According to the United Nations, as a result, approximately 500,000 Palestinians left mainly to Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria.
As Reiter reports, in 1950, the UNRWA (Works Agency for Palestine in the Near East) and the United Nations Relief began operations, originally as a short-term reaction to the humanitarian conflicts brought about by the new refugees. The agency is today the central body that fulfils the Palestinian refugee needs in Gaza, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, with the fundamental needs such as healthcare, education, and social services. Gradually, concrete buildings that comprise the present day camps replaced the tents built in the initial refugee camps when it was evident that there was no solution to their plight. Palestinian refugee camps have since then grown upwards instead of outwards, with residents constructing new storey buildings to create more space for the upcoming generations. In those refugee camps, the conditions are overcrowded, and sanitation is poor (Reiter, 2017). The levels of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, as well as unemployment are elevating in those camps.
Among the key subjects in peace talks is the status of refugees, with a majority of Palestinians arguing that they want the right to return to what is now Israel, which was initially their home. There are some of the Palestinians who still have keys to their households that they left way back in 1948. Israel fears that giving in to this demand might be disastrous because the increasing numbers of Palestinians implies that the Jewish population would soon be outstripped by a large number of Palestinians. The ‘law of return” held by Israel allow any person with at least a Jewish grandparent to take up Israel citizenship and settle in Israel (Shoshan, 2010). Under this rule, a majority of Palestinians does not enjoy Israel residency.
Social-political situation and the politics and background of negotiations
Other nations, specifically the United States have tried so hard to end the battle between Israelis and the Arabs, although nothing has worked so far. A majority of people want the West Bank and Gaza to be given back to Palestine, but Israel does not agree to that proposal unless it feels safe enough to do so, and Hamas concurs to its right to exist. The other point of concern is the fate of the Israelis who have already settled on West Bank, what will happen to the Palestinian refugees and who will run Jerusalem. However, various peace processes have been attempted.
According to Reiter, a conference held by American in November 2007, in Annapolis, Maryland, Palestinians and Israel officials relaunched the initial formal peace negotiation in seven years. The Palestinian leader Abbas and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, gave an assurance that they would attempt to reach an agreement about the future of Palestinian nations, but they failed (Reiter, 2017).
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For the first time, in 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu, the new Prime Minister of Israel promised to discuss with Palestinians and agreed to the opinion of a Palestinian state. As Matthews says, despite the pressure forms the United States, to manage the expansion, he stressed on West Bank’s “natural growth” to cater to the needs of the growing populations. In September 2010, U. S-mediated direct peace negotiations started but collapsed soon. There was an unsuccessful appeal by Abbas in 2011 for the U.N to regard Palestine as a state, arguing that it was indispensable subject to the failed peace negotiations (Matthews, 2011).
In July 2013, U.S- mediated talks commenced again but stopped later in 2014 April when Israel refused to release the four waves of prisoners unless there was an assurance that peace talks with Palestinians leadership would go on past the end of that April. The response of Abbas was the signing of 15 international treaties (including the Geneva Conventions on war conduct and occupations). However, Israel discredited the plan as a unilateral progress towards statehood. Since then peace talks have been frozen by Israel, arguing that it will not discuss with a government that features Hamas.
- Caplan, N., 2011. The Israel-Palestine conflict: contested histories (Vol. 16), John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.
- Handelman, S., 2011. Conflict and peacemaking in Israel-Palestine: theory and application, Routledge, Abingdon.
- Matthews, E. ed., 2011. The Israel-Palestine conflict: parallel discourses, Taylor & Francis, Abingdon-on-Thames.
- Reiter, Y., 2017. Contested Holy Places in Israel-palestine: Sharing and Conflict Resolution, Taylor & Francis, Abingdon-on-Thames.
- Shoshan, M., 2010. Atlas of the Conflict: Israel-Palestine, 010 Publishers, Rotterdam.