The conflict between Palestine and Israel is a complex and historically rooted issue that dates back to the early 20th century. To understand the history, let’s take a brief look at the key events and factors that have contributed to the conflict:
1. Background: In the late 19th century, the Zionist movement emerged, advocating for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire.
2. British Mandate:
– After World War I, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate to administer Palestine. The Balfour Declaration in 1917 expressed Britain’s support for a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.
3. Arab-Jewish Tensions:
– As Jewish immigration increased, tensions between Jewish settlers and the Arab population grew. Arab nationalism and resistance movements emerged, opposing Zionist aspirations.
4. Partition Plan and Israeli Independence:
– In 1947, the United Nations proposed a partition plan, dividing Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states. The Jewish leadership accepted the plan, but the Arab states rejected it. Israel declared independence in 1948, leading to a regional conflict.
5. First Arab-Israeli War:
– The declaration of Israeli independence sparked a war with neighbouring Arab states, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. Israel successfully defended its territory and expanded beyond the UN partition borders.
6. Palestinian Refugees:
– Many Palestinians fled or were displaced during the first Arab-Israeli war, becoming refugees in neighbouring countries. The issue of Palestinian refugees has been a significant point of contention throughout the conflict.
7. Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip:
– In the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. This led to the ongoing Israeli military occupation and the establishment of Israeli settlements in these areas.
8. Peace Efforts:
– Over the years, there have been various peace initiatives and negotiations, including the Camp David Accords, Oslo Accords, and the Arab Peace Initiative. However, achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace agreement has proven challenging.
9. Palestinian National Movement:
– The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), led by Yasser Arafat, emerged as the primary representative of the Palestinian people. In 1988, the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist and sought a two-state solution.
10. Continuing Conflict and International Involvement:
– The conflict has continued with periods of violence, including the First and Second Intifadas. International actors, including the United States, have been involved in peace efforts, but a lasting resolution remains elusive.
It’s important to note that the history of this conflict is highly complex and multifaceted, involving deep-seated political, religious, and national aspirations on both sides. Multiple narratives and perspectives exist, and attempts to achieve a resolution continue to this day.
The history of Hamas and the Israeli occupation spans several decades. The current Iron Sword war and the Al Aqsa Flood attacks need to be understood in this context.
As mentioned above, in 1948, Israel declared independence, leading to a war between Israel and its neighboring Arab countries. As a result of the war, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes, creating a major refugee crisis. Many Palestinians, with the support of neighboring Arab states, rejected the establishment of Israel and sought to regain their land. Israel has even take their claim of the land back to Biblical times. Another aspect that adds a different dimension to this issue. One we will save for another day.
Fast forward to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the Six-Day War. Israeli forces occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, which had been under Jordanian and Egyptian control respectively. The occupation of these territories by Israel became a major point of contention between Israelis and Palestinians.
In the 1980s, Hamas emerged as a significant political and military force within the Palestinian territories. Hamas is an acronym for “Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya,” which translates to the Islamic Resistance Movement. It was founded in 1987 during the First Intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.
Hamas has its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic political organization. It emphasizes armed resistance against Israel and the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state. Initially, Hamas focused on social welfare programs and gained popularity for its efforts to address the needs of Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip.
However, Hamas’s position on Israel has often been controversial, depending on how you understand history and see and accept facts. The group refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel and has called for its destruction. It has engaged in numerous acts of violence, including suicide bombings and rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians. As a result, Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by several countries, including the United States, European Union, and Israel.
This conflict between Israel and Hamas has led to several military confrontations and ongoing tensions. Israel has launched multiple military operations in response to Hamas attacks, resulting in loss of life and destruction in both Israeli and Palestinian territories. Additionally, Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007, which has severely restricted the movement of goods and people and contributed to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the area.
Israel has committed the same attrocities in Gaza and the West Bank. It has desecrated the Al Aqsa mosque numerous times and humiliated the Muslim and Christian Arabs for over five decaades.
Efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the establishment of a independent Palestinian state, have been ongoing for many years. However, the history of Hamas and its refusal to recognize Israel’s legitimacy, as well as differing political and territorial aspirations, have complicated the peace process and perpetuated the cycle of violence in the region.
Today in October 2023, the conflict continues and it seems it will get worse before it gets worse. This is going to be a long protracted bloody war which will destroy the Middle East and put paid to any prospective peace effort between Palestine and Israel. Understand the historical facts in order to fully grasp the depth of this war. Israel has called October 7th 2023 their 9/11. Some say at least they have a date to pinpoint the day terror visited them, but the Palestinians have no singularly date to look to as they have lived under occupation for over 70 years. This is a very polarizing topic and as a social commentator and working on the principle of Omni- partiality, I have provided historical facts to try to explain a complex issue which many have strong opinions about without understanding the context and truths. I hope this has given you an explanation many are seeking on this conflict.
The Palestinians are the original indigenous people of the land on which Israel is based: Fact. The majority of the people living in today’s Israel are immigrants of European origin who are victims of the Holocaust and from all over the world. Israel was created as a safe haven for Jews: Fact. These truths should always be factored in when having the discussion about the occupation and the settlements. It is this important to note that there is no military solution to this situation.
Let’s pray for peace, stability and a political solution to this war. Israel cannot destroy Hamas, Gaza or Palestine as much as the resistance cannot kill the idea of Israel. These groups are not mutually exclusive. They are intertwined and after a lot of destruction based on vengeance. The current war is only going to get worse before it gets worse than only get better. Once the ground forces get in, the casualties are going to grow exponentially. Then what? Then the parties will have suffered so much and created much pain and hate and realize they have to live together. Let’s pray this happens sooner rather than later before there is spill-over into the region and across the globe.
Let love, acceptance and peace reign in The Middle East.
BY ABUBACAR JÀBBIE