Israel and Palestine conflict
-By Samana Prasai
In 1993 Israel and Palestine were very close to each other and about to draft a peaceful solution. But what happened after that, the situation got terrible between the two countries and started the conflict? How Israel became a country? In world war II, we all have heard that how badly Hitler treated Jewish. In just three months 1.3 million Jewish people were killed. It is said that “Jesus Christ took birth in a Jewish family”. And some Christians believe that some Jewish want to crucify Jesus Christ. This belief remained for many centuries between Christians. when the crusades happened, the Christians killed many Jewish. In that age, much misleading information was spread against Jewish that how they suck blood and use children for religious rituals. By this Jewish had to bear hatred for long.
After 1800 this hatred towards the Jewish was not only because of religious reasons. But also, because the Jewish were being seen as a different nationality as well. Because of all these reasons, till the late 1800 Jewish living around the world had a suspicion that no country admits them as their own. If they wanted to live harmoniously, they would need to create their own country. To create a Jewish country. An Austro-Hungarian journalist named Theodor Herzl started a new political movement in his 1896 pamphlet ‘ZIONISM’. He said that Jewish should get their own separate country. At that time this was not daring. Since 1870 several organizations were calling themselves Lovers of Zion. They were already propagating these ideas. Because of these reasons in 1881, the first broad migration of Jewish was seen in the Palestine area. The Jewish built many permanent settlements and started living in the area.
But why did they choose the Palestine area?
Because this was a very holy area for Jewish. Jerusalem is a religious place for the Jewish.
At that time there was no Israel, Gaza, or the west bank. The whole area was Palestine. That fell under the ottoman empire. Under the Ottoman empire, the Christians, Muslims, and Jewish reside together peacefully more or less. There was no conflict. One reason behind it can be that most of the land was unoccupied. There were very few settlements on that land. And the population was fewer in the area.
In the year 1915, World War I began. The British, French, and Arab revolutionaries were fighting against the ottoman empire. The British played a clever role there. They told the Arab revolutionaries that in return for their support in defeating the Ottoman Empire, they will give them the Palestine area. The Arab revolutionaries were fighting to make a unified Arab country. The Arab revolutionaries desired one Arab country from Syria to Yemen. The British promised the same thing to Jewish that they will help them to create their own Jewish country near Palestine.
Why did the British do this?
They could appease the American Jewish and could get influence on American politics. But in reality, the British did a secret agreement with the French. As soon the ottoman empire fell after the first world war. British and French divided the middle east area between themselves.
The British government ruled the Palestine region. 1918-1948 the entire Palestine area was under the control of the British government. At this time in Germany, Hitler got political power, and the Jewish were killed in millions of mass murders. The Jewish ran away from Hitler-controlled Europe to different countries to save themselves. Some got refuged in America but many of these Jewish went to Palestine. British allowed them to enter Palestine initially at first, but later they started stopping them from coming to Palestine. Because of this, an Israeli Nationalist movement started in Palestine. At the same time around 1940, Palestine nationalist movement had also begun, and Palestine was also demanding their own country.
In 1948 the British government realized that is enough, and they cannot remain there longer. They left the Jewish to form a Jewish country and the Palestinians to form their own country. British accepted that they could not do that and hand over the responsibility to United Nations. Then the British left Palestine.
United Nations came up with a partition plan about how much area to be allotted to Jewish to form a Jewish country and Palestinian to form a Palestinian country. In 1947 the United Nations partition plan was released. In the plan, United Nations kept 57% of the area for Jewish countries and 43% of the area for Arab-Palestinian countries.
Jerusalem is historically a very important area for Muslims, Christians, and Jewish so, the united nation decided that Jerusalem would be under international control. The Jewish accepted this plan and named their country Israel. Here Israel country was born in 1948.
But unfortunately, the other neighbouring Arab countries were not pleased with this plan at all. They believed that the plan was the Britisher’s strategy of continuing their colonialism. So, they started a war against Israel saying that they will not allow the Jewish to take any part of the land.
Arab Israel War
This war was named the first Arab Israeli war of 1948. And that was a very historic war itself. Because more than five countries were fighting against a tiny new country (Israel). The Jewish living in Israel knew that five years ago, they had seen how the rest of the world had treated them. How had Hitler treated them? And then all the Arab countries were starting combat against them. If Jewish (Israeli) did not fight to survive then, they wouldn’t be able to survive ever. So, to save themselves they fought with all they had, and very unexpectedly Israel won the war. After the war ended in 1949, the areas that were supposed to be Palestine according to the UN partition plan. Israel occupied several of these areas. The Gaza Strip area went to Egypt. And the west bank area went to Jordan. This meant that Palestine did not have a country any longer. More than 700,000 Palestinians had to leave their homes and become Ajam in Arab countries. This is named the 1948 Palestinian Exodus. After this in 1967, the second Arab Israeli war took place for 6 days and Israel won this too easily. Not only does Israel occupy the Gaza Strip and the west bank area but also the large Egyptian peninsula gets occupied by Israel after this war.
Palestinians wanted their own country. For this reason, in 1964, the Palestine organisation (PLO) was founded. Initially, their aim was through armed struggle i.e., to use weapons to get their own country. In the beginning, they also wanted that Israel should no longer exist. Because of this, the USA and Israel proclaimed it to be a terrorist organisation.
But one thing that needs to be remembered is if you see them from the viewpoint of one person, they will seem like a terrorist organisation. And from the viewpoint of another, they are revolutionaries who want freedom for their country.
In 1973, the third Arab Israeli war began, after that nothing changed much. But in 1974, PLO got officially recognised by the United Nations General Assembly to be the representative of the Palestinian people. In 1979, the peace talks between Egypt and Israel were successful and Egypt became the first Arab country to recognise Israel as a country that exists there. After the peace talks, the entire Egyptian peninsula area captured by Israel was returned to Egypt by Israel. The Egyptian and Israeli prime Ministers both were awarded Nobel Peace Prize for this successful peace treaty. But unfortunately, after two years 6 Oct 1981, the Egyptian Prime Minister got assassinated by the right-wing extremists in Egypt. The fanatics of Egypt questioned the prime minister’s treaty with Israel. They wanted to kill him because he reached an adjustment. And so, he was assassinated.
From 1967 to 1980, it had been more than 10 years since Israel had occupied the Gaza strip and the west bank. During this period many Israeli started establishing their colonies on the west bank. They started constructing settlements and living there permanently. The Israeli government supported them directly or indirectly. And the prices of the homes were cheap there. Some people went there for cheap housing while others for their religious nationalism. Some fanatic Israelis claim that the entire west bank areas are theirs and so they will reside there. And so Israeli settlements started cropping up in the west bank area.
The international community judged these settlements to be illegal because these settlements went against the United Nations partition plan. And the Palestinians saw them as colonisation. Their country was colonised by Israelis.
In 1992, Israel got an amazing prime minister. His name was Yitzhak Rabin. He mentioned that PLO is not a terrorist organization. They just want their country and Israeli should let them have it. Israel officially recognized PLO. And in consideration, PLO officially recognized Israel as a country. And here the 1993 Oslo Accord took place. For the first time, both came together and talk about how the country can be correctly and peacefully divided. About how the Palestinian country can be made.
As a result, in 1994, the Palestinian government was established for the first time named the Palestinian National Authority. But at this point, Israeli had already established permanent settlements in many west bank areas which were supported by the Israeli government. And the Palestinians were living in little areas in bits and pieces. It was then decided to divide the west bank areas into three parts Area A, B, and C. Area A would be where the Palestinian government would be in power. In Area B both the governments will have control. And area C will be the area where the Israeli government will have control. Let alone the united nation’s partition plan. In 1994, Palestinian got only some bits and pieces in the west bank area and Gaza strip to form their country. But the good news was that at this point Palestinian and Israel was very close to coming up with a peaceful solution. For this reason, in 1994, the president of the Palestinian Authority- Yasser Arafat, and the prime minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin were awarded the Nobel peace prize.
But, unfortunately, after this, the whole situation went annihilation when the extreme wight-wing Jewish people assassinated their prime Minister. A Jewish fanatic shot the Israeli prime Minister thrice from a pistol at point-blank range in 1995. This fanatic Jewish person questioned the compromise with Palestinians, about why they were given any land at all. They wanted entire Palestinian to be Israeli’s. And because of these fanatics, the situation kept on worsening. Around 5-6 years before this incident, some Islamic fanatics in Palestinian came together to form the HAMAS group. HAMAS group claimed that the PLO is being too secular and compromising a lot with Israel. But, they wanted to erase Israel from the maps. So, the fanatics created a new organization to fight for the extermination of Israel. And here the HAMAS group formed.
Obviously, when the accord was signed around 1994 between Palestinian and Israel the Jewish fanatics started hating their prime minister, and on the other hand, the HAMAS group started hating the PLO all because they reached an adjustment with Israel. HAMAS group not only boycotted the 1996 Palestinian election but also carried out a suicide bombing in Israel. Because of this, on both sides, the dominance of the extreme right-wing groups started arising. There was increasing polarization. People on both sides Israelis and Palestinians started hating each other. Some hatred was already there and after 1995 it keeps on enlarging. Around 2002, the violent protest was seen on both sides more than 100 Israelis and Palestinians died on another side of the border. There are clashes on the ground and the people have become so skeptical of each other that Israel started building walls around its settlements, security guards were deployed around the permanent house of Israel in the west bank, and checkpoints were placed. And it continued to become increasingly difficult for Palestinians to live there.
In 2006, the HAMAS militant group ran in the Palestinian election and won. It defeated the PLO party, Fatah but by a very small margin. It won 72 out of 132 seats. But after this in 2007, a civil war took place between these two parties in Palestine. Internally the supporters of the party started fighting the supporter of the other. In 2007, this war was known as the Battle of Gaza. And Palestine was divided into two parts. In the Gaza strip, HAMAS established its control. And the west bank area is controlled by Fatah and PLO who were non-violent and ruled the west bank as government. But today when the Gaza strip is under the rule of HAMAS, they have basically occupied the area like a terrorist group.
The war and the rockets that we get to see are sent from the Gaza strip to Israel. Where in the west bank where the PLO is in control, this sort of violence is not seen there. The most important question is what can be the solution to this?
what can be the solution for Israel and Palestine?
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