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Understanding The Israeli and Palestinians Conflict

BY: Zubair Hussain

The Israel-Palestine conflict has been going on for almost a century. This conflict is about two groups of people who claim the same land. The region around the Mediterranean which we now call Israel and Palestine was under the Ottoman Empire for centuries. This region was religiously diverse, including mostly Muslims and Christians but also a small number of Jews who lived generally in peace.

This area was changing in two important ways. First off, the people in the region began developing a sense of being not just ethnic Arabs, but Palestinians a distinct national identity. At the same time in Europe, more Jews were joining a movement called Zionism, which said that Judaism was not just a religion but a nationality, one that deserved a nation of its own. After centuries of persecution, many believed a Jewish state was their only way of safety. They saw their historic homeland in the middle east as their best hope for establishing a Jewish state. In the first decades of the 20th century, tens of thousands of European Jews moved there.

After world war one the Ottoman Empire collapsed, and the British and French Empires took over the Middle East and divided it between themselves due to the Treaty of Sevres. The British took control over a region and called it the British Mandate for Palestine. At first the British allowed Jewish immigration. But as more Jews arrived, settling into farming communities, the tension between Jews and Arabs grew. Both sides committed acts of violence.

By the 1930s the British began limiting Jewish immigration. In response, Jewish militias formed to fight both the local Arabs and to resist British rule. Then came the Holocaust, forcing many more Jews to flee Europe for British Palestine and galvanizing much of the world in support of a Jewish state. In 1947, as sectarian violence between Arabs and Jews grew, the United Nations approved a plan to divide British Palestine into two separate states also known as UN resolution 181. Israel for the Jews and Palestine for the Arabs. The city of Jerusalem, where Jews, Muslims, and Christians all have holy sites, became a special international zone. This plan was meant to give Jews a state, to establish Palestinian independence, and to end the sectarian violence which the British could not control. The British withdrew from Palestine shortly after Israel declared independence. The Arab States rejected UN Resolution 181.

Many of the Arab states, who had just recently won independence themselves, declared war on Israel. The new state of Israel won the first Arab-Israeli war. But in the process, they pushed well past their borders. At the end of the war, Israel controlled all of the territory except for Gaza, which Egypt controlled, and the west bank which Jordan controlled.

In 1967, Israel and the neighbouring Arab states fought another war also known as the six-day war. When it ended, Israel had seized the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank from Jordan, and both Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. Israel was now occupying the Palestinian territories including all of Jerusalem and its holy sites.

In 1978 Israel and Egypt signed the US-brokered Camp David Accords and shortly after that Israel gave Sinai back as part of the peace treaty. Over the next few decades, the other Arab states gradually made peace with Israel, even if they never signed a formal peace treaty.

In the 1960s the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was created whose goal was to create a future Palestinian state. While all this was happening Israelis were moving in. These people were called settlers, and they made their homes in the West Bank and Gaza.

By the late 1980s, Palestinian frustration exploded into the intifada, which is the Arabic word for the uprising. It began with protests and boycotts but soon became violent and Israel responded with heavy force. A couple of hundred Israelis died and over a thousand Palestinians died in this Intifada. Around the same time, a group of Palestinians in Gaza, who consider the PLO too secular and too compromise-minded, created Hamas, a violent extremist group dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

In 1993 the Oslo Accords were held and signed by both parties. The Oslo Accords established the Palestinian Authority, allowing Palestinians a little bit of freedom to govern themselves in certain areas. The signing of this agreement resulted in major protests from both sides. This ultimately led to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Negotiations on peace dragged on for years and a big Camp David Summit in 2000 came up empty.

In 2000-2005 another Intifada rose up, this one more violent than the first. In the end, about 1000 Israelis and 3200 Palestinians had died. In 2007 Hamas finally gained power in Gaza and they split away from the PLO and pursued a different agenda.

More recently the Trump Administration proposed a peace deal between Israel and Palestine. The Deal of The Century. This Deal was rejected by the Arab States including Palestine. It was seen as flavoring Israel.


Whats happening in Israel and Palestine is an effect caused by colonialism. Although we cannot blame each other, as it will cause more division between the two sides, we can do something. It is evident that Israel has done wrong in terms of oppressing Palestinians, while the Palestinians have also done wrong in terms of doing primitive attacks against the Israelis. The Palestinians need to have political leadership which welcomes Israelis with open arms. While the Israelis need to do the same thing. Moreover major countries like the United States, and the Arab League should stay out of these conflicts and let the UN, Israel, and Palestine figure out a bilateral treaty.

*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.

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