Israeli Palestinian Conflict
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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a present conflict that has been there between Israel and Palestine. The conflict reaches far and wide. Its history dates back to the times of conflict between the Jewish and the Arab people of Palestine under the British rule. It is also a part of the larger Arab-Israeli conflict. The remaining main conflict issues are: security, borders, mutual recognition, control over Jerusalem, the settlement of Israeli, Palestinian freedom movement and the legalities about refugees. The violence that emanates from the conflict has enhanced international actions together with other human rights and security concerns both inside, between the two sides and globally. Moreover, the violence has prevented tourism expansion in the region that is characterized with a lot of religious and historic sites that are of a great interest to many people around the globe (Shlaim, 2000).
The confrontation between the Palestinians and the Israelis came to being through two parties that sought the possession of a piece of land. They were both not willing to share the land peacefully. Having turned down many plans of dividing the land, tension grew into violence against guiltless people. Escalating tension and continuing violence has complicated the Israeli-Palestine conflict. It has become very hard to handle the conflict. Terrorism acts in the region started before Israel stated its independence in 1948. The 1920 Palestine riots or Nabi Musa riots started immediately after Israelis began drifting to the region that had been guaranteed to their state in Balfour Declaration. The riots were rather violent disturbances against the Jews by the Arabs in the Old Jerusalem city. The relations of the Arabs, Jews and the British people disintegrated due to the violence that erupted and the Jewish people took a very bold step towards establishing an autonomous security and infrastructure system that was parallel to the one established by the British (Morris, 2008). The move taken by the Jews was meant to protect them.
Jaffa riots emerged in 1921. The Jewish Communist Party that would afterward be known as the Palestine Communist Party went along the streets; this was a part of celebration of the Israel Day Parade (Bregman, 2002). On this occasion, they attacked the Zionist society calling to put down the British rule. The wish was to create the Palestine Soviet Union. As years passed, the violence was becoming increasingly devastating and frequent. The Hebron Massacre is an example of terrible and violent execution of sixty-seven Jews by their enemies, the Arabs in 1929. The Arabs were influenced by the impression that the Jewish people had been killing Arabs who dwelt in the city of Jerusalem and taking up the holy places of the Muslim community (Gelvin, 2005). The survivors of this 1929 massacre went to Hebron; their deserted property had been occupied and seized by the Arabs for a very long time. This was experienced up to the time of the war that took place for six days in 1967.
The Jewish responded to the attacks by reorganizing the Haganah. This was a Jewish group of defense that ultimately developed into the Israel Defense Force. Jews are not just victims in this Israeli-Palestine conflict. There are many extremist groups of Israel that are allegedly guilty of committing terrorist acts against Arabs, the same way the Arabs have initiated attacks against the Jews (Shlaim, 2000). One of the renowned organizations of terrorist Israeli gangs is the Kach. The Kach advocates for the removal of Arabs entirely from the biblical areas of Israel. The Kach has not initiated an immense attack lately. The last attack that they launched was back in 1994. All the same, it is believed that the Kach has been behind a number of low level attacks dating back to 2000.
The Kach terrorist group and the Kahane Chai gang grew together from the anti-Arab Rabbi Meir Kahane teachings. Rabbi Meir Kahane was an extremist born in the United States who was assassinated in 1990 in the New York City. After his death, a supporter of Kach shot and murder twenty-nine worshippers of Islam at a mosque in the West Bank. Immediately after that occurrence, Israel banned the operations of the two terrorist groups within Israel borders, and huge attacks from the two organizations have lately ended for quite some time. The current violence has had a huge harmful effect on the kind of peace negotiations for the region. It is difficult to imagine that the two groups having such levels of hostility could lay down their weapons of war to find a solution, specifically after peace talks failed in the past and more so were seen to agitate more attacks (Cohn-Sherbok, 2003).
The propagation of violence enhances the formation of a wall between the Palestinians and the Israelis that gets more impregnable with time (Shlaim, 2000). Every attack moves the victim further from accepting terms for an enemy and the aggressor grows more anxious and hostile to attack again. The cycles continues with the roles of the victim and aggressor changing hands to the level where the two sides are hurt, hungry and are not ready to negotiate on peace matters. Terrorism has vividly contributed to a big role in impacting the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This issue started as a mere dispute over the piece of land and may have been handled cautiously. However it was left to violent extremists. With each illogical violent act through these organizations, the area is pushed far away from realizing any logical and sound solution. The best approach to handle this issue would be eliminating the threat of the terrorist groups as they only make the dispute more personal, intense and beyond reconciliation.
During the World War II, the British inhabited Palestine (Morris, 2008). They gave out a declaration to the Jewish community that their homeland in Palestine would be handed over to them. However, the land was already inhabited by the Palestinians. Later on, Britain opened the way to the Jewish immigration from the European countries. This increased in the times of the WWII and later after the war due to the Holocaust. The United Nations partition plan was an intervention in the Israeli-Palestine conflict by the UN in 1947. All the same, the UN applied an outside power that brought more harm than help. The Israeli-Palestine conflict needed the use of “self-determination of people” principles. This way, the people of Israel and Palestine would create their own government system and state (Bregman, 2002).
In 1948, the Jews comprised above 30% of the entire population and owned only 5% of the total land. Thus, the UN voted in an effort to split Palestine into equal portions for both the Palestinians and Jews to establish Arab and Jewish states to co-exist in Palestine. The move was also taken to make Jerusalem a region to be controlled internationally (Gelvin, 2005). However, the conflict began when the population of the Jews occupied almost 80% of the entire land and built Israel there on. In the process, Israel forcibly removed more than 60% of the refugees of the Palestinian community. Immediately, the UN told Israel to permit the refugees of the Palestinian community to go back to their matrimonial homes. The UN’s medieval strategy appeared to divide the land of the people. Under the pressure of the Zionists, the UN sought to give 55% of Palestine to the state of the Jews even though the Palestine community formed 30% of the entire population. The Palestine community at the same time owned less than 7% of the land. However, Israel declined to do so even up to date. What was achieved in the UN effort was the returning of some piece of land to the Palestinian refugees (Shlaim, 2000).
The 1947-1949 war had emerged earlier on comprised five Arab armies. However, it is hard to establish the fact that the Zionist forces had great numbers than all Palestinian and Arab combatants put together by a factor of about two. Additionally, the Arab armies did not actually assault Israel (Bregman, 2002). Virtually the battles that were fought during this time were conducted on the land that was thought to have been the state of the Palestine community. Ultimately, it is important to point out that the Arab armies went into this conflict only after the forces of the Zionists had carried out sixteen massacres (Gelvin, 2005). This included the gruesome massacre of more than 100 men, children and women at Deir Yassin. According to the Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, who was a leader of the Jewish groups of terror, these attacks were splendid. The Jewish people were committed to attacking and smiting their enemies. They believed that God had chosen them for the invasions. The Zionists forces carried out thirty three massacres altogether.
Towards the end of the war, Israel got hold of almost 80% of the Palestine. A great number of Palestinians were made refugees after the war. Many towns and villages were destroyed and thus a new map was drawn, in which every river, hillock and city got a new Hebrew naming. At the same time, all Palestinian culture that had remained was completely erased. For several decades the Israeli had prevented the existence of the Palestinian population. They unanimously agreed that there was nothing known as Palestinian (Morris, 2008).
The six day war broke up in 1967. Israeli went further in their conquest to conquer more land. The forces of Israel initiated a highly victorious surprise attack on Egypt. Israel then occupied the remaining percentage of the Palestine that was not captured in 1948. This was the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. According to the international law, it is not permitted to acquire territory through war. Therefore, the territories do not belong to the Israel community even though they occupy the lands. Moreover, Israel also occupied Egyptian sections and Syria, which have remained under occupation. In the Six-Day War, Israel hijacked the US navy ship, the USS Liberty. They went ahead to kill and injure more than 200 servicemen on board. President Johnson recalled flights of rescue because he did not want to embarrass a friend as he described the attack. This was thought to be an attack on the United States although it has never been fully confirmed (Dershowitz, 2005).
There are two basic issues at the centre of the present conflict. For one, there is the unavoidably destabilizing effect of endeavoring to promote an ethnically preferential state, specifically when it is mainly of foreign origin. The original population of what is currently Israel was formerly 96% Christian and Muslim although the refugees are forbidden from going back to their homes in the self-defined Jewish state. The people in Israel are put under systematic discrimination. Another issue is the continued confiscation and occupation of privately owned pieces of land by the Israeli military personnel in the West Bank. This has been coupled with having control over Gaza which is extremely oppressive. The Palestinians have insignificant control over their way of living. More than 10,000 men, children and women from the Palestinian community are held in Israeli prisons. A very small number among them has had legitimate trial. There is a lot of torture and physical abuse in the Israeli prisons. These events have continued to fuel the conflict silently (Morris, 2008).
The Palestinian borders including the internal ones are mainly governed by the Israeli forces. Occasionally, children, women and men are strip searched. The people are normally beaten while women in labor are not allowed to access hospitals which at times cause death amongst them. Medicine and food are obstructed from getting into Gaza. This has led to a looming humanitarian crisis. The Israeli forces attack almost everyday kidnapping, injuring and occasionally killing the inhabitants. The 1993 Oslo peace records indicated that the territories were meant to ultimately become a state of the Palestinians. All the same, after many years of Israeli’s action to confiscate land and the situation worsening gradually, the population of the Palestinian community fought back (Shlaim, 2000). Arab uprising, commonly known as “Intifada” meaning ‘shaking off’, started towards the end of September in 2000.
The United States involvement in the Israeli-Palestine conflict has been towards the support of the Israel community. Mainly as a result of special-interest lobbying, the United States taxpayers offer Israel with about $7 million on daily basis. The United States has financially supported the Israel country more than any other country in the history of the world. Many Americans however are not comfortable with the government’s spending on Israel, as the funds have been used entirely for their conflict with Palestine (Dershowitz, 2005).
Many people and nations have supported Israeli actions all through the history but the root cause of the Israeli-Palestine conflict seems to have been occasioned by the Israeli community. The Jewish persecution in Europe for centuries had been the worst of the many bad things linked to Europe. The desire of the Zionists to have a sanctuary place is definitely understandable. Same as every other colonial power, Zionism was founded in the absolute disregard of the rights of the aboriginals (Morris, 2008). This is morally indefensible. All subsequent crimes committed by the Israeli community follow from the initial injustice to the Palestinian community.
With the damage that has been realized on the people of Palestine, the obligation of Israel is to come up with whatever amends feasible. The look of things in the 21st century seems to endeavor to create a sovereign Palestinian state in the whole of Gaza and the West Bank with its main city in the eastern part of Jerusalem. Israel must not object to this state and, moreover, must assist in the foundation process through generous reparations. Many historians believe that this would be the right thing to embark on. The sporadic violent acts against Israel are thought to come to an end through such measures. The conflict has still persisted because there has been a desire by the Palestinians to repossess their legitimate state. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has persisted even to the 21st century with discrimination going in Israel for the non-Jewish communities (Cohn-Sherbok, 2003).
In these modern times, absolute justice would include letting any Palestinian go back to Israel at their own pleasure. However, this is somewhat impractical. It is a recipe for what could be seen as a gateway to more bloodshed. The tension between the two communities still exists. At present, there are some Israeli peace groups that advocate for negotiations to see the return of the many Palestinian refugees who are settling in the state of the Palestinian community. It is felt that the United States has a great role to play in facilitating the success of ensuring justice is realized in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. The financial aid from the United States to Israel has been and is indeed enormous and the diplomatic support is the important factor that has allowed Israel to keep on occupying the territories of the Palestinians. There are concerns about the position held by Israel. Apparently, it is felt that Israel does not abide by the world opinion consensus. The UN votes have demanded the withdrawal of the borders that Israel established in 1967 (Dershowitz, 2005).
The Israeli-Palestine conflict has continued to be a concern for many allies to both sides. The conflict has diversified and has now appeared like it’s a war of the Arabs against the rest of the world. Majority of citizens from both communities have advocated for creation of two states in order to end the conflict according to the 2007 polls record. The process of coming up with an amicable solution seems to be going through a vicious cycle (Morris, 2008). One process of change seems to brew more problems and the bad blood between the Israeli people and the Palestinians has persisted. Despite the efforts being made to come up with a solution to this conflict, it is not clear what would be the best approach to address it.
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