Conflicts between Israel and Palestine: Why and since when?

Israel palestine conflict : Why and since when?
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International Relations is a field of study where readers get to know about the relation between two nations and the interaction of nation-states. It also allows nations to come together and co-operate. Through this, they can share information and advice on how to face global issues that go beyond any particular country harming other nation-states. The conflicts between Israel and Palestine are carried on for decades, and recently in May 2021 more than 200 Palestinians and 20 Israeli policemen were wounded. This is an issue that dates back more than a century.

Origins of the conflict

In the 19th century, there emerged the flowering of nationalism in Europe. A nationalist identity was in demand, and as a result, several states evolved. Theodor Herzi has started the nationalist identity among the Jewish people. He contributed to the Zionist movement in which Jews wished to go to the Holy Land where Jewish religion and Jewish kingdom emerged, i.e., Israel. Israel is well known by the name ‘Holy Land’, and the other words for this nation are Canaan, Al-Sham, Levent and the Promised Land. Yet another reason for which they wished to migrate was due to their persecution everywhere all over Europe. France, Russia, Italy, Poland and eastern Europe all persecuted the Jews, and hence in 1890, they wished to move to their Holy Land.

During World War 1, immigration accelerated. In this war, with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, Britain occupied in the middle-East a place acknowledged as Palestine. In this place, minorities-Jews and majority-Arabs were settled from before. The tensions started when the International Organisation ordered a task to Britain to establish Palestine as a national home to Jewish people. For Jews, it is their ancestral home. Arabs also had their rights over this land and opposed this order. During 1922-40, Jewish people migrated here to save themselves from Holocaust. At the same time, the conflict was raised between the Arabs, Palestinian and British governments.

Balfour Declaration

Sir Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign minister, on behalf of the British Government, declared that they would let settle Jewish people in Palestine. With this Balfour Declaration by the UK in 1917, the conflict started. Yet another agreement after World War 1 was the Sykes-Picot agreement with France and Russia, which decided that Syria, Jordan be given to France, parts of Turkey to Russia, and Palestine was promised to Arabs as Arabs were against the Ottoman Empire and the Britishers thought that in return for this, Arabs would support them against Ottoman Empire.

Creation of Israel, 1947

In November 1947, for the creation of Israel, a UN Resolution was passed. The UN had agreed to partition Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state. According to this division, equal division of the British Mandate into Jewish-Israel state and Palestinian-Arab state was offered. And also, international control over Jerusalem was decided. However, on 14 May 1948, the British, which held Palestine as a mandate, withdrew from there before the partition could be affected. The Jewish state of Israel was proclaimed, which was recognized by the United States the very next day.

Arab-Israel war 1948-49

An Arab-Israel war followed the establishment of the state of Israel. Most Arab states such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Jordan declared war on the newly formed Israel nation. This war, however, resulted in the victory of Israel. In this war, Israel extended its boundaries. Israel annexed many of the Palestinian areas. The Palestinian Arabs were deprived of their lands and homes. Over a million of them had to leave as refugees in other Arab countries. In 1949, Jordan occupied the territory of Palestine, which lay to the west of the Jordan river, popularly called the West Bank. With the help of the US, Israel began to be built up as a powerful state in the region. She began to be used as an instrument to curb the rising strength of Arab nationalism.

Six-Day War, 1967

Egypt, Jordan and Syria did not have good relations with Israel. In this six-day war, Israel captured Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, West Bank. The Sinai Peninsula was later returned to Egypt. The Arab nations saw a crushing defeat in the hands of Israel, and Israel tripled its area.

The status of Jerusalem

Jerusalem is the Holy site of Jews, Muslims and Christians. These three together are known as Abraham religion. The eastern part of Jerusalem is Muslim populated, whereas the western part of it is Jewish populated. It is a centre of holy shrines. Though Israel considers Jerusalem, as its capital, is not internationally accepted. The world finds ‘Tel Aviv’ as its capital, and subsequently, all the embassies are established in Tel Aviv.

Israel has taken control over Jerusalem and takes care that no religious conflicts arise in this part for which it puts all the effort of every kind, whichever is required.

Rise of Hamas

Hamas is a militant organization that is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist group and much more extremist. This group was formed as a result of the “1st Intifada 1987-93” which was an uprising rebellion group aiming at large-scale violence. Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which was formed in 1964, did not recognize Hamas, though PLO was itself involved in plane hijackings and terrorist attacks at the time of its formation. But in the “Oslo Accords 1993”, PLO changed its nature. It gave recognition to Israel and, in return, Israel considers PLO as a representative of Palestine.

The new clashes between Israel and Palestine in May 2021 involved Hamas The organization brutally killed and bombarded Israel, and Israel too attacked Palestine. Now, who declared the war first and why this happened this time is not known until now. But the fact is until these nations won’t be involved in peace negotiations and the demolition of Hamas is the need of the hour.


The leading cause of conflicts in the Arab world during the post-war period was the policy of the United States and its allies to prevent the spread of Arab nationalism. The war was made in the name of preventing the spread of communism and the influence of the Soviet Union in the region. The Western Countries’ determination to retain their control over the available resources of this region was another reason for this conflict. The primary source of tension in this area, and the main ally of the US, was the state of Israel. The conflict between Britain and Arab nationalism over the question of US immigration to Palestine and the creation of a Jewish ‘national home’ are the root cause of these conflicts.

Way Forward

Two State solution

The panacea to this conflict is the identification of two separate nations as Israel and Palestine. Most of the countries of the world are agreeing and suggesting this solution. This was once tried in 1947 by the UN. Still, Israel and other Arab nations were continuously involved in the war. Israel got the chance to annex more areas and expand its territories. Therefore, separating the homes for Jews and Arabs into Israel and Palestine respectively shall work effectively.

Understanding each other’s legitimacy

Each party needs to understand the legitimacy of each other’s narrative. The Jewish people in Israel are correct in having a ‘national home’ as they were persecuted horrifically during World War I and World War II by the Europeans. On the other hand, the Palestinians were the natives of their Holy Land previously, so they also need to have a valid place to live and to make a better place and settlement for their upcoming generations.

Identification of Hawks and Doves

The presence of hawks and doves among the stakeholders on both sides is not easily identified, so they need to be distinguished and dealt with accordingly. The hawks who Support aggressive military action and the doves who are inclined to peaceful and diplomatic solutions are to be worked upon separately. The ‘Hamas’ is like a hawk, and the ‘Fatah.’ affiliated to the PLO is like a dove. There are other hawks and doves hibernated in the two nations, which are hollowing the nations internally by playing with the sentiments of the citizens.

Reach a common ground by talks

The two nations, Israel and Palestine, must center on a peaceful negotiation to benefit the two nations and their citizens. They need to look forward in a way to establish a well-settled and horror-free environment so that they prosper as a more developed country and to end this war among them.

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