The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A History of the Violence, and What Comes Next
Israel and Palestine: A Reality of Violence
Throughout history, many lands have been dampened by blood and warfare, though few have been so fully soaked as those of the Middle East. It is a place where war is rampant, has been for ages, and nw with the hails of Palestinian bullets and Israeli bombs growing in frequency, there also grows concern that those sands will end up dampened by war once again.
This violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians isn't a new phenomenon. It is, rather, a culmination of ancient conflicts. The Israelis and the Palestinians of today are stuck between an ideological rock and a geographical hard place, each side making claims to the other's territories, and each side is less than willing to relent.
Unfortunately, it's becoming difficult to sift fact from hyperbolic media fiction. What's given to the public in news stories and radio casts are hardly a snippet of what's actually happening. It is critical now more than ever to emphasize truth over fiction, and there is an obligation to approach from an unbiased perspective.
Perhaps a solution can then be found, and the land can be kept from running with any more red.
When and Where the Modern Conflict Began
Retracing the Roots
Although the roots of the modern conflict can be traced back through centuries, they grew thickest in the early 1900's.
In response to growing anti-Semitism throughout Europe, a large group of Jewish idealists found their way to Israel, inciting an ideological movement known as Zionism. This movement would seek to establish a Jewish state in the land of Israel, which was at that time an Ottoman region.
After the First World War, the Ottomon Empire was dissolved, and what followed was a series of Allied Mandates which carved the land into several new Arab states. In the wake, the Palestinian populations living there were displaced, and thus occurred a mass exodus in an event known today as Al Nakba.
World War Two Comes to a Close, And The World Rejoices
For the Zionist Jews and Palestinian Arabs, this joy would not last. On May 14th, 1948, the Israeli Zionists declared themselves as an independent state. This move was immediately rejected by the Palestinian-Arab nations who moved their militaries into the region, instigating the Arab-Israeli War. Though the Israelis would ultimately prevail against the Arab armies, peace would not reign, and the next years would be tumultuous at best.
By the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel had managed to take a large amount of territory that was initially under Arab control. Swaths of Palestinians fled from the newly occupied lands to the Gaza Strip and the West bank, and many of those refugees remain there to this day.
The Search for a Statehood Solution
As it stands, there is no Palestine.
Extant, only, is the country of Israel (shown at the left in green), and in the immediate proximity, two Palestinian territories (shown in white). The first of these, the West Bank, is located along the western borders of the Jordan River. The second territory, known as the Gaza Strip, is a smaller but more densely inhabited area adjacent to Egypt. Together, they are home to around 4.5 million Palestinians, a populace that lives in crowded and oftentimes dangerous conditions.
The problems that the territorial disputes have presented are complex. They are constantly changing, and due to religious beliefs on both sides, there are additional secular aspects to consider
There can be no quick fix, but a few proposed solutions are on the bargaining table:
- The One-State Solution is a territorial convergence that would combine the West Bank, Israel, and Gaza into a single democratic state. However, this would result in a Palestinian majority in the region, effectively ending Israel as a Jewish state. For Israel, intended to be a Jewish nation, this move would completely defeat the purpose.
- The Two-State Solution would grant Palestine sovereignty as it's own state, one composed of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and Israel would remain in control of the lands they currently hold. While a two-state solution sounds promising, Gaza and the West Bank are separated by a large body of Israeli land, and concurrently, each governing authority disagrees about where the borders should be drawn.
New Variables Have Entered Into The Equation
The Israeli Settlements
As the Israelis push further and further east into the Palestinian West Bank, they've begun to establish new Jewish communities known as settlements. These communities spring up among the existing ones, creating an ipso facto - as well as literal - division between the Palestinians. Tensions are only furthered when Israeli protectorate forces follow the settlers inward, something Palestinians consider a violation of their territorial sovereignty.
The American Embassy Moves to Jerusalem
To further complicate matters, in May of 2018, the United States officially transferred their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This act came with an American declaration that Jerusalem was to be the rightful capitol of Israel. The result was a series of protests and violent clashes in the city and the surrounding Palestinian territories.
What Comes Next
The Future Is Yet Uncertain
To say the present situation is 'tense' would be a vast understatement. Because new variables are added into the Israel-Palestine equation on the daily, it's impossible to predict what comes next.
What can be said with utmost certainty is that the sooner a solution is be reached, the sooner both groups can focus on reconciliation and cohesive living.
If you'd like to learn more, or if you want to find out how you can help with the peace the process, there are plenty of great resources. Take a look at the links below, and remember to stay open to all perspectives. Be especially wary of bias.
With the continued dissemination of information and external support, then soon, "Midde-East Peace" will stop being such an oxymoron.