Israel – Palestine Conflict- Why do they fight? - Seeker's Thoughts

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Israel – Palestine Conflict- Why do they fight?

Israeli airstrikes kill 26 more Palestinians in Gaza

While the world is facing death by coronavirus since 2019 December, politicians still find reasons to fight. 
In May 2021, while the world was hoping to recover from the negative impact of COVID-19, Israel and Palestine again hit the news for bad reasons. 

Israel airstrikes kill 33 Palestinians, rockets fired from Gaza-

Previously, the Israel – Palestine war escalated fast and rapidly on 5th May 2019. It was the worst combat since 2014. The Palestine rocket and missile attacked four Israeli civilians, and Israeli forces took aim at individual Gaza Militants.

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The attack resulted in the death of 22 Palestinian citizens, including 9 militants but many civilians which included a pregnant woman, 12-year-old boy and 4 month- old girl.

       Why does Palestine - Israel fight?

While both sides accuse one another of attack, as the first attack was done by          Palestine, and Israel attacked in return. Gaza (Palestine) kept on accusing Israel of ‘war crime,’ and Israel kept on accusing Palestine of ‘terrorist activities.'

Jews claim that they have a birthright in Palestine and seek self-determination.  Despite repeated attempts to end the conflict between the two countries, there is no peace settlement in sight. 

 The history of Gaza – Palestine conflict in 20th Century

Gaza has 5 administrative districts. In 1993, the Oslo accord was signed between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Oslo Accord -1st was signed in 1993 in Washington, D.C, in 1993, while Oslo Accord 2nd was signed in Taba, Egypt, in 1995.

What is Oslo Accords?

The Oslo accords or the Oslo process, was a peace process aimed at achieving a peace treaty based on United Nation’s Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. It supports the fulfillment of the ‘Right of the Palestinian People of Self Determination’.

According to the accord, the Palestinian Authority of PLO was tasked with limited self-governance of the parts of the West Bank of Gaza strip. However, there remained various unsolved questions like – borders of Israel and Palestine, the status of Jerusalem, etc. The Oslo accord did not create a Palestine State.

The core issue of the Oslo Accords was the withdrawal of the Israeli Military from Palestinian territories.  

In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza Strip. In 2007, the Battle of Gaza happened, and it was a conflict between Fatah and Hamas. The center remains for the power struggle.

In 2006, Fatah lost the parliamentary elections and Hamas fighters took control over Gaza Strip. Hamas fighters removed Fatah Officials (PLO). Due to their fight, the West Bank was governed by Palestinian National Authority, and Gaza was governed by Hamas.  

The conflict between Israel and Gaza has been constant since Gaza was taken over by the militant Islamic Group –‘Hamas’ took power in 2007. Israel imposed a ban, and blockade the territory which affected roughly two million residents. 

The militant group, Hamas, agreed to ‘restrain’ the protest in return for few concessions. Both sides are locked in the loop of clashes.

However, Egypt brokered talks repeatedly to achieve a temporary peace at the border. The Money was supplied by Qatar to provide relief in Gaza, and these efforts restored calm on the Israeli side of the border. 

It resulted in November 2018; Israel adopted different approach. It eased blockade and allowed millions of dollars in aid to flow into Gaza. 

However, there was a fear among Israeli that ‘help and aid’ would bring a new Gaza war. But at the same time, the Prime Minister of Israel – Benjamin Netanyahu, was under pressure from Israeli residents near Gaza to bring a halt to the fights. 

The other side- the president of Palestine- Mahmoud Abbas has imposed economic sanctions on Gaza to weaken Hamas, which violently ejected the Authority from Gaza in 2007.

Mr. Habbas demanded reconciliation between Fatah Factions and Hamas before any cease-fire starts between Israel and Gaza. 

Australia recognized west Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2018. 
Australia also supported the two-state solutions while Israel and Palestine fight un Jerusalem.  Most of the foreign nations have avoided moving embassies until the city gets final status. US President Trump first moved the US embassy in 2018, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 

The Israeli- Palestinian conflict is over who gets what portion of land and how it’s controlled. Though both Jew and Arab Muslim claims to the land back a couple thousand years, the current political conflict began in the early 20th century.

Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, located in the east of the Mediterranean Sea. Palestinians are the Arabic population that comes from the land Israel now controls.

Historical background: The Zionist Movement – The root cause of Palestine Israel Conflict

The land of Palestine is very important to the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). Palestinian residents want to establish a state by the name on all or part of the same land.

Historically, the majority of Jews lived in Europe. Over the years, Jews were treated miserably in Europe. They were treated like the weird sect, accused of the killing of Christ, blamed for some of the misfortunes that happened to Europe, etc.

European Jews were perceived as the evil and blamed for many things. Over that time, the idea of creating a Jewish State came up to free Jews from the tyrants of medieval Europe. 

During the late 19th century, and as Europe was being shaped by nationalistic waves that led to the rise of the Nazis, Jews of Europe didn’t fit in the mostly Christian Europe—things just started to become worse for the majority of them. 

The idea of creating a Jewish state became an urgent need as the rise of Hitler was worst for Jews. 
The Holocaust, also referred to as the Shoah, was a genocide during World War II in which Nazi Germany, aided by its collaborators, systematically murdered some six million European Jews, around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe, between 1941 and 1945.

Zionism is a controversial movement largely made up of secular Jews, fuelled by a desire to achieve and maintain a Jewish state in the "Holy Land". And, The Zionist movement is a movement of world Jewry that arose late in the 19th century with the aim of creating a Jewish state in Palestine.

Jews, wanted their own state, and in the justification of why Palestine, historian believe it’s to do with the fact that Palestine is important to the Jewish faith, as it’s important to other faiths as well, but anyway so the idea was appealing at first, and more so as the Ottoman Empire was at its deathbed. Hence, Jews of Europe thought that Palestine was a good idea. 

However, the Arabs resisted, seeing the land as rightfully theirs. Arab nationals battled several wars over the territory. 

Today’s lines largely echo the consequences of two of these wars, one happened in 1948 and another in 1967. The 1967 war is chiefly important for today’s conflict, as it left Israel in control of the west bank and Gaza strip, two territories home to large Palestinian populations.

Jordan established control over the west bank with the agreement of Israel, and Egypt established control of the Gaza strip. Control of Jerusalem is split between Israel in the west and Jordan in the east. 

Israel – Palestine conflict and the U.S

The U.S has played a significant role as the mediator role in the Israeli Palestine conflict. After the failed 2000 Camp David Summit, Washington never made any meaningful attempt to push the Israelis to accept the two-state proposal.

The 2007 Annapolis conference was a failure too. The previous U.S administration launched a peace bid which also collapsed at an early stage.

The U.S.A has been criticized by the OIC (organization of Islamic cooperation) and other Arab organization, for vetoing most Security Council decision critical of Israel.

The U.S.A has more Jews than Israel. Jews have significant control over the US media and economy.

Also, Israel receives about 3$ billion in direct foreign assistance each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America’s entire foreign aid budget. On the other side, United States has been vocal about its intention to veto any Palestinian bid for statehood. Due to which Palestine had to be satisfied with a non-member observer status in the UN.

The second term of the previous administration saw a degrading US-Israel relationship. Iran Nuclear deal of 2015 irritated Israel, and it criticized the US for the deal.

President Donald Trump has pledged to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights during March 2019. Israel took control over the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights, which was previously part of Syria, during the Six-Day War in 1967. The eastern portion of Golan remained under the control of the Syrian Arab Republic

The western section of the Golan remained occupied by the Israeli army from 1967 until December 14, 1981, when the Israeli government passed the Golan Heights Law, essentially annexing the area.

However, Germany and other US allies opposed the move.

The United States was the first nation to move its embassy to Jerusalem in 2018

With the new presidency regime under America, who is more inclined to Israel, the illegal settlement by Israel in the west bank and Gaza may see a rise

What does Palestine want?

Palestine wants Israel to withdraw from pre-1967 borders and establish independent Palestine state in the west bank and Gaza. And Israel should stop all expansion of settlement before coming to peace talks. Palestine wants East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestine state.

What does Israel want?

Israel has the intention of having sovereignty over Jerusalem and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.  Israel is the only country in the world created for a religious community. They also want the right of return of Palestine refugees only to Palestine and not to Israel.

Resolutions- 242, and 338

In response to the war, the UN Security Council passes resolution 242, which calls for Israel's armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.

Egypt and Syria organized a surprise attack on Israeli forces in the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan heights on the day of the Muslim month of Ramadan, in which the annual fast is performed.

The UN Security Council passes resolution 338, which calls for an immediate cease-fire.

Madrid Peace Conference

The conference includes delegations from Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and the Palestinian. The Madrid conference marks the first time most of the Arab parties (except for Egypt) and Israel sat down at a table together. The conference is organized along bi-lateral lines as well as multilateral lines.

What is the two-state solution?

The two-state solution would create an independent Israel and Palestine and is the mainstream approach to resolving the conflict.

The 1993 Oslo Accords marked the first time that the state of Israel and the Palestine liberation organization formally organized one another and publicly committed to negotiating a solution to their decades-long conflict.

That two-state vision requires Israel to abandon its opposition of Palestinian claims (to national sovereignty).

Ever since the Oslo Accords, giving statehood to the Palestinians has been the bedrock of any proposal to solve the conflict as it is considered the internationally acknowledged solution.

What is the alternative?

One is to retain the status quo. That is, a militarized Jewish state permanently occupying the Palestinian territories without giving full citizenship rights to the Palestinians. The other one is to have a single democratic federal state with equal rights to Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others. It is time for international actors who care about the situation of the Palestinians and start pushing for the latter solution.


Why India does support Palestine?

India with a considerable number of Muslim populations has always been sympathetic to the Muslim population in Palestine. India did not want to jeopardize the interest of its citizens (more than 7 million) working in Arab countries, which are a good source of forex reserves. 

India is dependent on Arab nations for its larger oil imports. India’s co-operation with the Soviet Union cold war era our desire to counter Pakistan with the support of Arab nations was another reason for our pro-Palestine policy.

India and Israel relationship

Israel supported India during the Indo-Pakistan wars even before full diplomatic ties were established. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the US as a superpower, India started aligning itself with the US and this further added to our improved relations with Israel.

Importance of Israel relation of India

Israel became an important defence partner for India. When India was planning to undertake a military strike against Pakistan in June 2002 as part of Operation Parakram, Israel supplied hardware through special planes. Indian president visited Israel in 2015 was another milestone in bilateral relations, as this was the first visit by an Indian president to Israel. India is the world’s largest buyer of Israel weaponry and in 2013 India was the third trading partner of Israel in Asia

What is the solution?

There has been a constant power struggle, which is making ‘the lives of civilians’ vulnerable. There have been temporary halts, but no permanent solution has come up.

In the time of Mr. Donald Trump, and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel obtained international support where United States recognised the Jerusalem as a part of Israel. Further, America supported Israel’s claim on Golan Heights in 2019.

Israel is politically stronger, and Gaza has division inside.

Australia recognized west Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2018. Australia also supported the two-state solutions while Israel and Palestine fight in Jerusalem. 

Most of the foreign nations have avoided moving embassies until the city gets final status. US President Trump first moved the US embassy in 2018. 

The only way to peace in international relations between Gaza and Israel lies in a two-state solution.

Palestine should be considered as an independent state alongside the state of Israel. The boundary remains the subject to dispute, and the Palestinian and Arab sides insist on 1967’s borders.

The longer it stays more chaos the world will face. Lives should matter over the brutality of war. 

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