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All You Need to Know About Israel and Palestine Conflict
Nov 06, 2022
Our today's edition of Current Affairs is here and it's on Israel and Palestine conflict. Read to upgrade your UPSC CSE preparation and also find the topic's relevance to the IAS syllabus.
For Prelims: Israel, Palestine, The Ottoman Empire, the Balfour Declaration, The two-state solution, Jerusalem.
For Mains: Background of Israel-Palestine Conflict, Creation of Israel and Palestine, the current conflicts, Proposed solution for Israel-Palestine conflict.
In the recent parliamentary elections in Israel, the former Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes a comeback. He is a divisive leader, who had once said that an independent Palestinian state would not be formed under his watch.
It is not an era of war but of dialogue and cooperation. It is time that the age-old Israel-Palestine Conflict is put to an end. Comment.
About the Background of Israel-Palestine Conflict
The land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is claimed by both Jews and Palestinians, based on their historical claims.
It was under the Ottoman Empire and then the British Empire in the early 20th century.
Aliyahs: It is a movement, when the Jews came to Palestine between 1882 to 1948 from around the world, as they claim it as their natural homepromised land mentioned in their religious scriptures.
Palestinian people are the Arab people from the same area, who want to have a state by the name of Palestine in that area.
1917's Balfour Declaration:
The United Kingdom declared its support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine.
However there were Arabs in greater majority, who resisted it which led to violence.
Some 75,000 Jews emigrated to Palestine between 1922-26 and some 60,000 Jews emigrated in 1935, that worsen the situation between Palestinian Arabs and Jews.
In 1923, the British Mandate for Palestine came into effect. The document was issued by the League of Nations, the failed predecessor of the United Nations (UN).
In 1936, after several rounds of violence between Jews and Arabs, the Peel Commission was set up to recommend the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, by the UK government.
The UN resolution in 1947:
In 1947, the Britain referred the issue of Palestine to the UN, which came up with two proposal partition plan:
The majority proposal: Two separate states joined economically.
The minority proposal: A single binational state made up of autonomous Jewish and Palestinian areas.
The first proposal was approved by the Jewish community, while the Arabs rejected both.
The 1947 final proposal called for the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, with the city of Jerusalem governed by an international arrangement.
This was too rejected by the Arabs, on the ground that the majority of their agricultural land resources were given to the Jews.
In short, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is over who gets what land and how its controlled.
Israel accepted the UN plan and declared its independence in 1948.
The establishment of Israel provoked the Arab countries of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, that immediately invaded the newly-declared country.
The Israel won the war and gained some more territory formerly granted to Palestinian Arabs under the UN resolution in 1947.
Egypt and Jordan also retained control over the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively. This territorial control remained in place till 1967.
In the 1967 Israeli-Arab war, Israel also captured the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Old City of Jerusalem, and Golan Heights.
Jerusalem, a holy city for the three major Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam was initially divided between Israel in the West and Jordan in the East, the eastern part was also captured by Israel.
All of this led to immigration, migration of millions of Palestinians and they became refugees in their own land.
The Gaza strip was occupied by HAMAS, a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist, militant, and nationalist organization, in 2007.
Current Situation in Israel and Palestine
Settlements: The captured land of Palestine as per the UN plan, is to become permanent settlements of many Israeli households.
Jerusalem: It is also the constant cause of dispute as Israel claims the whole of it as its capital, while Palestinians see East Jerusalem as their future capital.
Security: Israel is constantly harassed by terrorist group Hamas that controls Gaza Strip. Hamas and other Islamist groups in Gaza launch rockets into Israel time-to-time.
De-facto Border: Israel has a de-facto border in the West Bank that will make it difficult to establish that land as part of an independent Palestine.
Proposed Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict
Two state solution:The two-state solution refers to an arrangement where Israeli and Palestinian states co-exist in the region.
Single state solution: A single state merging Israel, West Bank, and Gaza would reduce Jews to a minority.
Three state solution: Since Hamas controls Gaza, some people have said the reality is that it's now a three-state solution with Gaza being a separate state.
Five states: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) says there are five states in the region instead of envisioned two states.