THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE ENIGMA: THE PAST, PRESENT AND THE POSSIBILITIES

PART-I

Introduction

One of the world’s most controversial and an incessant conflict, the Israel-Palestine issue has left the world frightened and Human Right activists startled. The issue majorly founded on the claim over the same territory finds its roots in the two past movements (the Palestinian Nationalist Project and The Jewish Zionist Project). However, in the present day it has become an issue of human rights and one of an international concern with each side twisting the historical details into their favor to blame the other one. The aim of this article is to provide a wholesome understanding of the undefinable issue. This article goes deep into the roots of the issue in order to highlight the history, the reasons and the present scenario pertaining to the matter.

It is requested from the readers to note that there have been various claims that have been laid down by both the sides pertaining to the issue with each side disputing the others claim. This article tries to highlight those points from both sides of the parties which have been agreed to by the International Lawyers, Human Rights Activists and the officials of Interfering State.

History of the current Israel-Palestine Conflict

The omnishambles that today binds Israel and Palestine has a deep history. Today, what the world is witnessing is the outcome of chain of events that have been taking place for more than a century.

Although the dispute dates back to thousands of years, the conflict that the world witnesses today began in early years of the 20th century. The constant persecution faced by the Jews in the Europe led them to flee the region and settle on the land that was then under the control of Ottoman Empire, later ruled by the Britishers. The region was, then, the land of Arabs and Muslims, who saw the influx of Jews as unfair and undesirable invasion. This influx of Jews increased after the Nazis gained power in Germany in 1930s, creating even more skepticism for Arabs. This is where the main dispute started, with more and more Jews settling in the Palestine and demanding a sovereign land for themselves. This created a bitter relation between the habitants of the region and led to violence, with Jews fighting Arabs.

Unable to solve the dilemma, the British Government, in 1947, left it on the United Nations to decide the matter, resulting into acceptance of two state solution by the Jews and creation of the country Israel. However, due to insecurity of Arabs due to occupation of the region by Jews, several wars were fought between surrounding Arab nations and the Israel, the most significant of which were the war of 1948 and the six-day war of 1967. Meanwhile, the conflicts gave rise to an organization PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) in 1964. Israel emerged out as victorious in both of the wars, occupying control of Gaza Strip and West bank, home to large number of Palestinians. UN Charter mandated Israel to return the occupied territories, only to witness reluctance from Israel. Such annexation of homeland of the Palestinians led to the formation of an Islamic militant group Hamas in 1987, that aimed for liberation of Palestine. Even after several Intifada(s) and peace accords, the peaceful settlement of the conflict is out of sight. One of the famous peace accords, the Oslo Accord (1993), signed between the Israel and the PLO, with mediation of US and Russia, turned the Hamas towards more violence as they didn’t approve of the accord. Today, the PLO has control over the West Bank, where the status of violence is much lesser than that of Gaza, totally controlled by the Hamas. As it stands today, both Israel and Palestine claim sovereignty over Jerusalem, for it being the holy city for both Islamism and Judaism.

Understanding the Factual Matrix: The ultimate reason of the fight

Located in the east of the Mediterranean Sea, Israel is the only Jewish state in the world whereas, Palestinians are part of the Arab population and hail from the neighbouring land which is generally referred to as Palestine. The ultimate aim and objective are to establish a state by the particular name and therefore the fight is over the control of the land combined with other factors such as brutal behaviour, religion etc.

The Mismanagement & resulting Mayhem

It has often been opined that creation of Israel was the result of the mismanagement of the British rulers when they were not able to establish peace between the Jews and the Muslims. The Palestinians were against the creation of a new state for which they raised their voices too, leading to a war. The situation turned so bad that lakhs of Palestinians were forced out or had to fled. In local poetic terms the then situation was called Al Nakba (the local language word for catastrophe). In the end and during the war, it was Israel who controlled the territory and 7,00,000 Palestinians became refugees.

The peculiar thing to note here is that a peace treaty/agreement between the nations never came into existence and therefore, wars and conflicts continued while blaming each other. One of the notables is the war of 67 whereby Israel was able to occupy East Jerusalem and the west bank along with Gaza and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. The situation as it stands today, is nothing but a reflection of the two of these many wars that these countries have fought (the war of 1948 and the war of 1967)

The Settlements And Their Impact

To define it in the basic terms the communities of the Jews can be regarded as the settlements that have established themselves under Israeli Occupation. This has been done majorly for three reasons:

a- The cheap and subsidized land

b- To lay the claim on the territory of West bank

c- And most importantly; for the religious reasons

The settlements find their place in this matter as according to the both sides “new fats on the ground” are introduced by them. These settlements weaken the Palestinian claim to the territory since they are scattered apart. In fact, it has been claimed that these settlers have one common objective i.e., to incorporate the Israeli Territory to the West Bank Territory therefore, leading to almost a negligible possibility for a new Palestinian state.

The Way Forward

It has been argued that there is a possibility of having the below-mentioned approaches to the current problem:

1- The first and foremost approach has been called as “two-state solution” that would give an authority to the people (Palestinians) to establish independent state in Gaza and the Israel can continue all of its operations in the remaining part of the land. However, this solution has only been discussed in theories all around the world and the two states have never been able to reach a consensus on it.

2- The other solution is a “one- state solution” (although nations throughout the world hardly believe it to be a solution) whereby Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip will be converted to one country. However, this particular solution has been rejected since it involves serious human rights violations and suppression of interests of either side and therefore, most polls have preferred the two-state solution.

Even after the criticism that the one-state solution received from people, the irony lies in the fact that if no solution is reached in the present matter, a single de facto state will indeed be created. In that scenario either Israel will not exist as a Jewish state anymore or the Palestinians will continue to face human rights violation and a second-class citizen treatment.

Israel is a state which is proud of itself for being a Jewish as well as a democracy. However, the number of Arabs in the country pose a threat to its existence. And if the outnumbered Arabs are devoid of the rights they deserve, then Israel won’t remain a democratic state anymore. It is to be understood that even after the various declines by the state of Israel pertaining to its existential crisis, the Israel can either enjoy a two-state solution or a one state chaos (which will further lead to either the end of Jewish state or end of the democracy by Jewish minority)


Image Source- Council on Foreign Relations


This article has been authored by Lakshay Garg and Mahak Agrawal. Both are students at GNLU, Gandhinagar. Lakshay is a penultimate year student while Mahak is in first year.