The Palestine-Israel conflict is nothing new. Everyone knows it is ghastly, and it has been going on for a long time, but many people are apparently unclear about this fight. There are five essential things to know about the Palestine-Israel conflict.
The reason Palestinians and Israelis are fighting: Simply put, the conflict is about the control over land. This is not principally about religion. For decades, Israel has kept the Palestinians under tormenting military occupation. On the other hand, Palestinian militia groups terrorize Israelis. The conflict has been made even worse by the long, bitter and violent history between these two peoples for more than 70-plus years.
The start of the conflict: The seed of the Palestine-Israel conflict started long before WWI, when the largely Arab and Muslim region was under the Turkish Empire known as the Ottoman Empire and, beginning in the year 1917, a mandate run by the British Empire. Thousands of Jewish people began settling into the region to create their own homeland, under a Zionism movement.
The United Nations granted a plan in 1947 to break up British-controlled Palestine into two independent countries—Palestine for Arabs and Israel for Jews. Arab leaders took it as Europe’s colonial arrangement and, in the year 1948, attacked to see Palestine undivided. The 1948 war was won by Israel, and they pushed well further than the boundaries which the United Nations had designated to demand land which was part of Palestine. Moreover, they uprooted total Palestinian communities, making around seven hundred thousand refugees, whose descendants now add up to seven million.
Israel occupies territories of Palestine: The military occupation of Israel in Gaza and the West Bank started in 1967. As a result, the West Bank had been relatively dominated by Jordan and Gaza by Egypt. In 1967, another war broke out between Israel and its neighboring Arab countries, in which Israel captured two territories of Palestine. Israel has captured and put control on the West Bank since then. In 2005, it removed its settlers and occupying troops from Gaza, but has maintained a complete obstruction of the territory, which has made Gaza into an “open-air prison.’’
The unending conflict: This is the burning issue of the five essential things to know about the Palestine-Israel conflict. There are three ways the conflict could end, and only one of them is both viable and peaceful—the two-country solution. But it is also extremely difficult, and the more time goes on the harder it gets. Ultimately, the fight has dragged on for so long that the way out has become impossible and it is not clear if it will, or can, happen.
So difficult to make peace: Jerusalem is claimed by both sides as their capital. It is also a holy place for Jewish, Christian and Muslim people. There is no clear-cut pact on where in particular to build the borders, which more or less follow the armistice line of the 1948 Israel-Arab war, particularly since thousands of Israeli settlers have constructed suburban-style communities just on the Palestinian line.
Officially, there are seven million Palestinian refugees, who are considered as such because their descendants escaped or were uprooted from today’s Israel. Palestinians recurrently ask for the “right of return” permission to go back to their homeland. But Israel fears that if they take up seven million returning Palestinians, Jewish people will become a minority.
At the end of the day, whether or not people around the world understand the five essential things about the Palestine-Israel conflict, the violence on both sides is becoming everlasting. Extremism, apathy and distrust are rising on both sides, making things worse for Palestinians every day.
Opinion By Rahad Abir