The Israel-Palestine Conflict

The Israel-Palestine Conflict

Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank (the three regions shown on the map above) were once known as Palestine in unison. In 1897, the First Zionist Congress met in Basel, Switzerland and created the Basle Programme, which aims to establish a homeland for Jewish people in Palestine. This was primarily in response to European anti-semitism.

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Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank (the three regions shown on the map above) were once known as Palestine in unison. In 1897, the First Zionist Congress met in Basel, Switzerland and created the Basle Programme, which aims to establish a homeland for Jewish people in Palestine. This was primarily in response to European anti-semitism.

Before World War I, the Ottoman Empire controlled nearly all of the Middle East region, including the area known then solely as Palestine. However, Arab forces backed by the British successfully drove the Ottomans out of Palestine. In the early 1900’s the British occupied the Middle East region and was named as the mandatory power in 1922 by the League of Nations. At the end of the 19th century, large amounts of Zionists emigrated from Europe in hopes to fulfill the Basel Programme’s intentions and establish a Jewish Colony in Palestine. The Zionists were successful in establishing a colony, and as a result many Jews began to immigrate to Palestine to live in this newly colonized region.

In 1947, the United Nations decided to intervene due to the increasing hostilities between the growing number of Jews and the Muslims. The UN decided to divide the region of Palestine. Fifty five percent of the land went to the Jews, and forty five percent went to the Muslims. The land allocated to the Jewish population was named Israel, and the land which remained in control of the Muslim population continued to be known as Palestine, although not for long. During this time, tension between the Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs escalated into a war, known as the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, which lasted until 1949. In the end the Israeli Jews won the war and gained an additional seventy-eight percent of Palestinian land, leaving only the Gaza strip and the West Bank for the Palestinians.

Since the end of the Arab-Israeli War and throughout the decades that followed, few attempts have been made to end the ongoing conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians. Both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs have been geared towards obtaining sovereignty and a homeland for their people in the Middle East. The most recent outbreak of violence reportedly stemmed from the kidnapping of two Israeli teenagers from the West Bank and the abduction and murder of a Palestinian boy from a mosque in the West Bank. Palestinians reacted to the loss of the young boy as an act of vengeance against their people for prior kidnapping of the two Israeli teenagers. As riots commenced in the streets of Arab East Jerusalem and Northern Israel, rockets were fired from Gaza into Israeli airspace but were quickly shot down by Israel’s advanced drone technology.

Israel responded to Gaza’s failed airstrike with a successful air raid. Hostilities between Gaza and Israel intensified within hours of the first air strikes resulting in more than 500 rockets, over 100 civilian fatalities, and 600 injuries in Gaza. The days that followed continued to be filled with air raids by Israel, and unsuccessful attempts by Gaza’s government. Hamas, which was founded to liberate Palestine from Israel, has been deemed as a terrorist group by Israel and much of the Western and non-Western world. Since 2007, Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip when the group won a majority in the Palestinian Parliament in a democratic election. On the 17th of July, ten days after air strikes began, Israeli forces entered the Gaza Strip for a ground offensive. During the first night of the Israeli ground offensive, dozens of Hamas tunnels were destroyed and the presence of Israeli tanks along the boarder was strengthened. The most aggressive fighting during the thirteen-day war came when Israeli troops entered Gaza’s urban areas causing thousands of civilians to flee in fear. Witnesses have reported hearing gunfire on the streets.

Since the beginning of this now two week long war, its been estimated that 378 Palestinians have been killed and 2,700 have been injured during air raids and the intensifying ground opposition in the West Bank. At least 60,000 people have sought shelter in the 49 UN supplied shelters in Gaza. Some power stations and water mains in Gaza have been damaged, leaving certain areas without any electricity or access to water. So far, both Israel and Gaza have rejected calls to halt hostilities. With the death toll rising on both sides, the international community’s concern grows.

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