Navigating the Strained Landscape: Understanding the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Navigating the Strained Landscape: Understanding the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Conflict is typically defined as a dispute between two opposed parties over limited resources. Conflict is unavoidable because one party may infringe the rights of the other. The Israel-Palestine conflict is mostly a modern conflict that began in the 20th century. However, the conflict stems from rival historical claims to the same length of land that date back thousands of years. The conflict may be traced back to the late 19th century when Jewish nationalism, known as Zionism, formed, calling for the formation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. After the World War I, the British Mandate of Palestine was established, which exacerbated tensions between Jewish immigration and the Arab majority. 

The United Nations suggested a partition proposal in 1947, with the goal of dividing Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab governments. While the Jewish community supported the plan, Arab states and Palestine leaders opposed it, resulting in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and the foundation of the state of Israel. The Zionist movement captivated 78 percent of historical Palestine with the leftover 22 percent split into what is now the occupied West Bank and the surrounded Gaza strip. On May 15,1948 Israel announced its establishment, the following day, the first Arab-Israeli war began, and the conflict concluded in January 1949 after a cease-fire between Israel and Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Egypt took control over the Gaza strip in 1948 and Jordan established administration over the West Bank in 1950. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964, and the Fatah political party was founded a year later. During a six-day war against an alliance of Arab forces in 1967, Israel captured the rest of historical Palestine including the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, West Bank, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai-peninsula. The first intifada occurred in the Gaza Strip in 1987. The Unified National Leadership of the Uprising, an alliance of Palestinian political parties focused on eliminating the Israeli occupation and securing Palestinian independence, led the Intifada. The Intifada concluded in 1993, with the enactment of the Oslo Accords and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA), an interim administration permitted restricted self-rule in areas of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel has conducted four lengthy military incursions into Gaza: in 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2021. Dozens of Palestinians, notably many children, have been slain, and numerous thousands of homes, schools, and office buildings have been demolished. The 2008 attack included the deployment of internationally prohibited weapons such as phosphorous gas. The battle has centered on Jerusalem, a place of tremendous religious and historical importance to Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Because both Israelis and Palestinians regard Jerusalem as their capital, any change to its position will be very divisive. The issue of refugees is particularly critical, with millions of Palestinians demanding the right to return to their ancestral homes after being forced to flee during the 1948 and 1967 wars. 

Numerous obstacles stand in the way of an amicable solution to the Israel-Palestine issue. Because of persistent violence and failed peace endeavors, mutual hostility between Israelis and Palestinians has grown over the years. International efforts to mediate and help facilitate peace talks have also faced serious hurdles. The US has always played an important role in conducting peace talks, but its apparent tilt towards Israel has weakened its reputation as an unbiased mediator. The lack of Palestinian unity, with Hamas dominating Gaza and the Palestinian Authority administering parts of the West Bank. Finding a solution to the Israel-Palestine dispute demands a thorough and equitable strategy that addresses both side’s main problems and worries. A long-term agreement must prioritize mutual recognition, security assurances, equitable treatment for refugees, and the development of sustainable and continuous borders for both Israel and Palestine. Individuals, grassroots movements, and civil society organizations all play critical roles for fostering harmony and mutual understanding. Initiatives that bring Israelis and Palestinians together, promote communication, and support peace can assist in bridging the divide and cultivating a shared goal for a peaceful future.

Author – Avni Bhayani

A student at Pravin Gandhi College of Law, Mumbai


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