The Guilfordian

The origin of the Israel-Palestine Conflict

The Jubilee YouTube channel, which makes videos showcasing people from both sides of a conflict and bringing them together to have conversations, posted a video of Israelis and Palestinians.

The moderator asked the question “Should Israel and Palestine be one state?” One Israeli said “I believe it should be one state, under Israeli sovereignty.” A Palestinian responded “Why can’t it be under Palestinian sovereignty.”

Stern-faced, the Israeli replied “It’s not your land.” The Palestinian responded with a question. “7 generations ago, where did your grandfather come from?” The Israeli man responded “20 generations ago? Hungary.” The Palestinian responded “20 generations ago my Grandfather was from Palestine.”

Both Israelis and Palestinians lay claim to the land in Gaza, the West Bank and Palestine. It is a conflict with religious, cultural, and political significance, one that evokes a deep emotional pain and sense of moral imperative among the two groups. Judaism originated in ancient Israel, but the Jews were expelled by the Romans, spurring a 2000-year-old diaspora.

After the collapse of the Roman empire, Palestine became part of the Ottoman empire and Islam became the main religion of the region. Faced with hatred and discrimination, as well as a longing for an autonomous country, the return to Zion figured heavily in the theology of European and middle eastern Jews for over a thousand years.

Historically, Jewish American and American evangelical support for Israel have been major political forces in the United States. Even Jewish progressives, many of whom played active roles as political activist, refrained from criticizing Israel. If someone’s was not at risk from Palestinian terror, they had no right to judge.

The Israeli Palestine Conflict has its roots in the early 1880s to early 1900s when many Jews began immigrating to Palestine to escape anti-Semitism in Europe. The first incidence of violence was the accidental shooting of an Arab men, which led to the sacking of a Jewish village in retaliation.

Jewish settlers began complaining of the Arab “nationalism.” After World War I, Britain gained control of the former Turkish territory of Palestine through a league of nations mandate. After the war, when many colonial possessions were being re-divided, Britain gained control of Palestine through a League of nations mandate.

The 1917 Balfour declaration called for the establishment of a Jewish state in return for Jewish support in usurping Ottoman rule. This led to a new wave of immigrants to Israel, creating rising tensions with the Arab Palestinians. In 1929, the British established an emir to give Jews a state in Palestine.

Arab Palestinians refused to accept this. Mounting tensions led to the slaughter of 133 Jews at the wailing wall. Palestinian activists emphasize that it was not the immigration of Jews that angered Palestinians, but the fact that a European power established the state without consent of the Palestinians. As a matter of fact, before the establishment of Israel, Palestinian coins were minted in three languages. English, Arabic, and Hebrew. Palestinian student Leena Nahhas explained that even today, Palestinians and Jews sometimes make friends, but it is difficult to befriend a Zionist.

Tragically, the British limited Jewish immigration during World War II, even though this was the time when Jews needed to escape Europe. After this war, support for a Jewish state gained traction as the horrors of the holocaust became apparent. The league of nations decided to establish two states in Palestine, one for primarily Arab Muslims, one as a secular state for Jews.

This was at a time when secular Arab nationalist movements were strong in numbers. In 1948, Palestine and the neighboring Arab countries declared war on Israel. Israel won and their military occupied the West Bank and Gaza.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization was formed in 1964 as a coalition of different governing groups. A second war was fought in 1967. A preemptive strike by Israel against Arabs sent thousands more Palestinian refugees into Lebanon. In 1993, Palestinian Liberation Organization Negotiator Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed a declaration of Principles on interim self-government agreements, commonly referred to as the Oslo Peace Accords.

The PLO agreed renounced terrorism and recognized the right of Israel to exist. Israel recognized the PLO as the representative body for Palestinians. The Accords were facilitated by the United States, which agreed to give support to the development of two sovereign states.

The Accords did not establish immediate sovereignty for Palestine, but the Palestinian Authority was established to give Palestinians a degree of self-governance in Gaza and the West Bank. Five years later, a new round of Israeli-Palestinian conflict broke out.

Unfortunately, the Israeli-Palestine conflict today is marked by intense mistrust and ethnic hatred. Hamas continually calls for the destruction of Israel, and Israeli politicians brag about who has killed more Palestinians in their campaign ads. At one far right rally in Tel-Aviv, attendees brandished signs saying “Kill all Arabs.”

The West Bank is occupied by the Israeli defense force and Gaza is under an economic blockade enforced by Israel, a measure put in place after the democratic election of Hamas. Trapped by walls and fences, and harassed by soldiers, it is possible to compare Gaza to an open-air prison. A retracted UN report concluded that Israel meets the criteria for an apartheid state, but the report was retracted after political pressure from the Trump administration.

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1 Comment

One Response to “The origin of the Israel-Palestine Conflict”

  1. Beer baron on February 15th, 2019 3:12 pm

    Under international law, Israelis are entitled to live anywhere in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). There is no such thing as Palestinian land and never was. Judea and Samaria never belonged to any sovereign ruler after the British withdrew from mandatory Palestine; before that it was part of the Ottoman Empire.

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