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The Roots of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 🇮🇱 🇵🇸🪖

Israel-Palestine conflict

By Rakindu PereraPublished 8 months ago 4 min read

For over a century, the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea has been the site of ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, both of whom claim historical and religious ties to the region. To understand the roots of the current violence, it is essential to examine the long history of this dispute over the Holy Land. The Jewish connection to the region dates back thousands of years to the ancient Kingdom of Israel. However, beginning in the early medieval period, Jews across Europe faced widespread persecution at the hands of Christian rulers who blamed them for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Restricted to ghettos with few rights, some Jewish thinkers began advocating for a Jewish homeland where their people could live freely without fear of oppression. This Zionist movement gained traction in the late 1800s amid rising anti-Semitism in Europe. Figuring their ancestral homeland the best location, Zionist leaders set their sights on the region then known as Palestine. At the time, Palestine referred to a province of the Ottoman Empire populated predominantly by Muslim and Christian Arabs who had resided there for centuries. Often described as Palestinians, they did not view themselves as interlopers and saw Jews as just one among several religious groups in the diverse population. However, the plight of European Jews meant this perception was about to dramatically change. Between 1882 and 1914, around 35,000 Jews fled persecution and resettled in Palestine, reviving Hebrew as a spoken language. As World War I embroiled Europe, Britain sought to rally Jewish support and in 1917 issued the Balfour Declaration expressing support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Britain’s motives were largely strategic amid its campaign against the Ottoman Empire which ruled Palestine. However, the declaration disregarded the sentiments of Palestine’s Arab majority and sowed the seeds of the ongoing conflict by promising lands already inhabited. In the war’s aftermath, Britain received a League of Nations mandate to administer Palestine. Continued Jewish immigration grew Arab unrest, spurring violence between communities in the late 1920s and1930s. Things took a drastic turn with the 1933 rise of Hitler’s Nazi regime in Germany. Initiating a program of Jewish persecution that would culminate in the horrific Holocaust, the Nazis imprisoned, tortured and systematically murdered six million Jews across German-occupied Europe between 1933-1945. The sheer scale of Hitler’s genocide against Jews transformed the faltering Zionist movement into an urgent question of Jewish survival. Nowhere was refuge more pressing than in the Holy Land, and between 1945-1947 over 100,000 Jewish refugees fled Europe for Palestine. Their arrival sparked further clashes with Arabs still reeling under colonial rule and opposed to the piecemeal theft of their homeland. In 1947, exhausted by decades of violence, Britain withdrew from Palestine and transferred the escalating crisis to the new United Nations. On November 29th, 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 calling for the British Mandate of Palestine to be partitioned into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem under international control. For Jews exhausted by centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust, this was a long-awaited acknowledgement of self-determination in their ancestral land. However, Palestinians rejected the move, viewing it as an unjust denial of their national aspirations. Clashes between the two sides quickly escalated into an all-out civil war as 1948 approached. On May 14th, 1948, the last British forces withdrew from Palestine. That evening, David Ben-Gurion, Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization, proclaimed “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.” Over the next six months, around 350,000 Palestinians became refugees as they fled or were expelled in the fighting, while some say their expulsion constituted ethnic cleansing. In response, neighboring Arab states invaded Israel but were repelled as the new country fended off multiple attacks during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. By the time ceasefires took hold, more Palestinian territory had been seized beyond the original UN partition boundaries. Later wars in 1956, 1967, 1973, and wars of attrition solidified Israel’s control over East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights. Over the decades, Israel constructed settlements across occupied lands despite international objections, deepening the territorial disputes. Meanwhile, remaining Palestinians in the occupied territories and those in surrounding refugee camps faced restrictions on their movement and civil rights. Periodic uprisings against Israeli rule, known as intifadas, only saw further oscillations of control between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In 1993, mutual recognition produced the Oslo Accords, establishing limited Palestinian self-governance in parts of the West Bank and Gaza. However, disagreements over borders, settlements, security, Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees prevented a resolution even after Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. With the two-state solution facing possible collapse, renewed violence has engulfed the region once more in 2023. Both Israelis and Palestinians invoke compelling historical and religious attachments to the contested Holy Land, leaving its future profoundly clouded after over a century of bloodshed. Only a just and mutually-agreed settlement offering genuine self-determination to both peoples holds hope to end this ongoing tragedy.

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About the Creator

Rakindu Perera

I’m a highly successful content writer with articles recognised by huge varieties of organisations. Also being in completion of a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering, I have the upmost know when it comes to exteme applications.

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  • Antoinette L Brey8 months ago

    I just had a general knowledge of the conflict. Thanks for sharing the history

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