Israel-Palestine Conflict: Historical Analysis and Recent Development

The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the longest-running conflicts in history that began in the mid-20th century amidst the greater Arab-Israeli conflict.

This 100-year-old issue began when British forces took control of the area known as Palestine after the ruler of the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I. Jewish minority and Arab majority inhabited Palestine.

The tension between the communities was fueled when the international community provided Britain the task of establishing a “national home” in Palestine for Jewish people. For Jews, Palestine was their ancestral home, and the Arab majority claimed the land and opposed the move.

Jews fled persecution in Europe due to the growing influence of German forces in World War II. They wanted to establish a national home.

UN General Assembly Resolution 181: Partition Plan
In 1947, after the British forces failed to control the growing violence, the United Nations voted to split the land into two countries. More than 600,000 Jews went towards the western and southern end of the land establishing a Jewish territory.

Many Arabs saw this as a plan to extend a long-running Jewish attempt to push them out of the land and they retaliated to the attempt of formation of a Jewish state. The Arab states of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria declared war on Israel.

Israeli forces defeated the Palestinian and allied forces in a vicious conflict that turned 700,000 Palestinian civilians into refugees. The United Nations promised 56 percent of British Palestine for the Jewish state, however, at the end of the war, Israel possessed 77 percent of everything except the West Bank, occupied by Jordan and the eastern quarter of Jerusalem, as well as the Gaza Strip, controlled by Egypt.

Six-Day War
In 1967, Israeli forces occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as most of the Syrian Golan Heights, and Gaza. This occupation of territories is considered as the primary source of tension between the states as the West Bank and Gaza Strip are inhabited by large Palestinian populations.

Significance of Jerusalem
Jerusalem bestrides Israel and the West Bank. It is home to some of the holiest sites in both Judaism and Islam, therefore making it a religious place of significance for both Israel and Palestine – the primary reason for both wanting Jerusalem as their capital.

Oslo Accords, 1993
In 1993, Yitzhak Rabin-led Israeli officials and Palestinian leaders from Palestine Liberation Organization led by Yasser Arafat made a monumental effort towards a peaceful solution through what became known as the Oslo peace process. A crucial milestone in this process was Arafat’s letter of recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

In 1993, the Oslo Accords were finalized as a framework for the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations. The foundational framework of the Oslo agreement was that Israel would cede control of the Palestinian territories over to the Palestinians in exchange for peace. The process was delicate and progressed gradually; it took a turning point at the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin post which Arafat and Ehud Barak failed to reach an agreement at Camp David in July 2000.

Israel and Palestine’s issue has once again started to take heights, and aggressive engagements from both sides have made the situation worse; even the UN has rung the alarm of the possibility of full-fledged war between Israel and Palestine Militants over the Gaza Strip.

The World Stands Divided
After the aggressive aerial exchanges from both sides, and after Palestinian militants have inflicted heavy damage and large casualties, the world has come to stand divided. On one side there are people supporting the Palestinians, blaming Israel for the bloody aggression, but on the other hand, some are standing with Israel. With this division and debates of blaming each other for aggression, one thing that the international community needs clarity on is that who is the “real aggressor” in the present scenario and who owes the burden or absolute responsibility of the present escalation.

So, before inclining towards one side, one has to sit and logically analyze the whole incident.

Is provocation a reason?
This is not the first time that clashes took place between Palestinian and Israelis. Back in the year 2000 as well, clashes had happened.  This time an attempt from the Palestinian side was made to escalate the situation which wasn’t required. It definitely cannot be denied that the march of Israelis to celebrate the annexation of East Jerusalem and victory in independence was provocative, but Palestinians taking the liberty to initiate riots also aggravated the situation. Even the religious beliefs of Palestine on the Al Aqsa mosque are also respected by the Israelis, but as emphasized by the Israel PM Nethanyahu – “Palestinians have right to worship but in no manner have freedom or rights to attack and riot” on innocent Israelis who are just celebrating their day. It can be said that some extremist Palestinians may be present at the scene to further escalate the situation.

Post the riot broke, Israeli Police came into action and deployed all necessary anti-riot mechanisms, and made the best of their efforts to disperse the crowd. In this event, people on both sides got injured. A mild to the moderately heated situation has now become extreme and is reeling out of control.

Responsibility of the Situation and Becoming an Aggressor
Palestinians, and Israelis both hold the responsibility for the escalation of the situation. What is currently happening in Gaza Strip has been single-handedly brought down by Israel. Nonetheless, one can also not disregard the part Palestinians are at fault, even according to Rome Statute Article 8- which entails Crimes Of Aggression, and clearly says that “crime of aggression” are the planning, preparation, initiation, or execution.

Undoubtedly, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of both sides have been harmed, in an act of self-defense.

Looking The Other Side:

Large Scale Retaliatory And Successive Strikes Blackout Future of Innocent Palestinians
Israel comes into the soup when it exercises self-defense and launches retaliatory strikes on Hamas. In this event, innocent Palestine severely suffers from series of nightmares. How Israel exercises the process of retaliation is massive and deploying countermeasures on such a massive scale defuses the light of peace and rather brings catastrophe on civilians. There is an immediate need of deploying the right means of weapons or measures so that less damage would take place. Now, this harms Israel’s standing in the international arena. Massive retaliatory measures from Israel’s end also squeezes the space of meditation and gradually gives rise to new problems and conflicts between both the rivals.

Disturbs Magnitude of Conflict    
As mentioned, the way Israel exercises self-defense needs to be re-looked upon.  Israel’s excessiveness paralyzes the situation and disturbs the magnitude of the conflict to such an extent that it forces the world to view Israel as a War Criminal. It’s for sure that Israel has other means of retaliation that could be exercised to hit more required targets rather than destroying the homes of innocent Palestinians.

Dragging Aggression to War
We cannot deny the fact the situation which seems to be rallying between the element of aggression is deliberately dragged towards War by Israel.  Even if initial escalation has been started from Palestinians, there is no need to drag the escalation through a massive campaign of self-defense which leads to War.

Hidden Intentions of Israel
Around the world, it has been debated and discussed that what is the real reason behind Israel’s massive retaliatory campaign? Some view Israel’s retaliatory campaign as a strategy to capture more land in the name of self-defense. Again reflecting this fact the magnitude in which Israel exercises self-defense looks like a provocation of war and once the situation becomes like a war Israel starts to count on self-defense excuse and capture the territories.

At present where It looks like a war may be inevitable but the real assessment that lies here is who’s going to get the real gain and who is going to suffer from huge loss?    

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia, India Today, Jerusalem Centre of Public Affairs, and Middle East Eye

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