Table of Contents
The conflict between Israel and Palestine burst out in the beginning of the 20th century and lasts till the present day. This conflict has become quite wide-ranging, and today the term is also applied to refer to the earlier stages of the same conflict that took place between the Arabic population that inhabited Palestine under British and Ottoman rule and the Zionist yishuv (the group of Jews from Europe who decided to colonize Palestine in the end of the 1800s). It forms a constituent part of a wider conflict between these two countries. In essence, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict concerns the territory. Moreover, the religion plays a very significant role in it. The constant wars that devastate each of these countries due to their mutual animosity deplete the sources to lead a good life as well as the amount of population decreases all the time due to the unstoppable blood-shedding activities against one another.
The history of the conflict dates back to the late 19th century when two nationalist movements among the Arabs and among the Jews were formed. The aim of both groups was to gain sovereignty for the peoples in the Middle East. Nonetheless those short periods of peace that arose between them from time to time (for example, after the First World War), the collisions would start anew and the situation only worsens with time, causing problems to the neighboring states, too. The emergence of the nationalism in Palestine and the conflict between those two main forced in the south of Levant in the 1920s, finally led to the development of this serious problem between Israel and Palestine in 1947, adding up to the later coming problems between two nations.
There are two major issues that stand at the core of this long-lasting conflict. First of all, there is the unavoidably destabilizing impact of trying to support an ethnically superior state, especially when it is mainly of foreign origin. Namely, the original population of the territory which is now Israel comprised 96 percent of Muslims and Christians (with the relation 86 percent to 10 percent), yet, these people in exile are banned from going back to their homes in the so-called Jewish state (and all those who live in Israel are subjected to constant discrimination).
Second, Israel's confiscation of the land which is privately owned area in the West Bank and constant military occupation, including the control over Gaza sector are overwhelmingly oppressive, as Palestinians have minimal control of their own lives. More than 10,000 Palestinian women, men, and children are kept in Israeli prisons. Only some of them have had the opportunity to go on a legitimate trial. Torture and physical abuse are frequent. All Palestinian borders (including the internal ones) are carefully controlled by Israeli forces. Occasionally, women, men, and children are searched in a humiliating way; people are often beaten; pregnant women are prohibited to reach hospitals (which often leads to death); medicine and food are blocked to enter Gaza, causing an escalating humanitarian crisis. The forces of Israel invade fiercely almost daily, kidnapping, injuring, and sometimes killing citizens.
According to the Oslo peace agreement of 1993, these areas were supposed to eventually become a Palestinian state. Despite this, after many years of Israel’s endeavors to confiscate land and with the conditions constantly worsening, the Palestinian population revolted. This uprising which was called the "Intifada" (from Arabic "shaking off") started at the end of September, 2000.
Why Is It so Difficult to Reach a Consensus between the Countries?
Nonetheless the fact that Palestinian citizens of Israel have the right to vote and even
participate in the political life of Israel, and a few Palestinians are members of the Israeli parliament (the Knesset), they are not treated in the same way as the Jewish citizens that have power in the government. Israel still uses 20 laws that give a great deal of privileges to Jews over Arabs. For instance, the Law of Return of 1950 gives automatic citizenship rights to all Jews from anywhere in the whole world just upon request, at the same time denying the same rights to Palestinians. The Main Law of Freedom and Human Dignity ensures that Israel is the country of the "Jewish people”, and not its citizens. This law was adopted in 1992 to function as a specific "bill of rights” – Israel does not possess a written constitution.
The flag of Israel and some other national symbols are all Jewish religious symbols, not national or neutral ones that can represent all the people of the state. Meanwhile, government resources are disproportionately granted to Jews and definitely not to Arabs – this is one of the main factors that cause the Palestinians of Israel to lead the lowest living standards in the whole Israeli society due to all economic indicators.
An extensive study of the policy of separation of not equal Palestinian children in schools was conducted by the Human Rights Watch which found out that "Government-run Arab schools are a world apart from government-run Jewish schools. Practically, in any respect, Palestinian Arab children get an education inferior to that of Jewish children, and their relatively poor performance in school reflects this.
The Israeli government does not recognize over 100 Palestinian rural areas in Israel, most of which were founded before the state. These areas are not listed on maps, too, and get no services (electricity, roads, sanitation, water, etc.) from the government. Over 70,000 Palestinians live in such unrecognized villages. In the meantime, a lot of new Jewish towns have been built on lands taken away from Palestinians.
Israel started the building on a "separation barrier" in the area occupied by West Bank in October of 2003, validating it on the security grounds. This barrier consists, in some places, of a twenty-five feet high wall, with trenches, razor wire, electrified fences, sniper towers, electronic surveillance, military roads, and buffer zones that in some areas reach up to100 meters in width. The larger part of the wall will be constructed on lands that were confiscated from Palestinians within the West Bank – and not within the territory owned by Israel. Many Palestinian businesses, homes, orchards, and other valuable areas in the way of the wall have been already destroyed.
The wire wall has been trialed repeatedly in the Israeli High Court, which has ordered the military several times to re-route certain sections of it, though the court has announced that such a wall built on the Palestinian areas does not, in fact, violate any international laws. Despite this, the wall has to be militarily justified and respond to the important principle of proportionality (namely, that the burdens imposed on citizens are proportional to those security benefits which are achieved through the following military's action).
This wall was the subject of a case in front of the International Court of Justice, too. The Court of Justice stated in July 2004 that the wall is illegal, and must be dismantled. There was the order to Israel to compensate Palestinians all the damages caused by the wall's construction, too. The Court also called upon all third-party states to ensure that Israel will perform the judgment. However, the law was violated and the judgment was not carried out. Nowadays, the wall is the focus of protests that happen each week across the West Bank and lasting for more than five years. Headed by Palestinians, these protests have applied non-violent techniques (for example, roadblocks and sit-ins) and have obtained increasing support from internationals and Israelis.
Violence of Palestinians outside Israel’s Border
A lot of Palestinians have committed cruel acts over the whole planet on the basis of struggling against Israel. A good number of foreigners, including Europeans and Americans, have been murdered and injured by Palestinian soldiers. At least 53 American citizens have been already killed and about 83 injured by Palestinian violent acts since the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords.
During the end of the 1960s, the Palestinians became very infamous for the use of the international terror. Only in 1969, the Palestinians were responsible for hijacking 82 planes. The El Al Airlines was a regular hijacking target of that time. The hijacking of Air France Flight 139 by the deadly Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine happened at a hostage-rescue mission, when Israeli special forces rescued the majority of the hostages without losses. Nevertheless, one of the most notorious and well-known terrorist acts was the capture and then a murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games.
In the near past, Israel demanded full control over the border crossings between Egypt and Jordan and the Palestinian territories, including the right to set the export and import controls, and stating that Israeli and the Palestinian areas constitute a single economic and political space.
In the short-term agreements settled as a part of the Oslo Accords, the Authority of Palestine has attained control over cities (they called it Area A) when the surrounding countrysides have been placed under the security of Israel and Palestinian civil administration (a so-called Area B) or total Israeli control (which is Area C).Moreover, Israel has constructed additional highways to aid Israelis to cross the area without the need to enter Palestinian cities. The primary areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority are non-contiguous and diverse. These areas have changed with time due to the subsequent negotiations, (Wye River, Oslo II, and Sharm el-Sheik).
As Palestinians say, the separated territories make it impossible to form a viable nation and, therefore, fail to address the needs of Palestinian security. Israel has established no agreement to withdraw from certain Areas B, which caused no reduction in the ongoing division of the Palestinian territories, together with the institution of a secure pass system, excluding Israeli checkpoints, among these parts. However, because of the increased Palestinian violence,this plan is delayed.
How to Solve the Problem?
Responding to a weakening tendency in Palestinian violence and, on the other hand, growing security and economic cooperation between the Palestinian and Israeli Authority, the military of Israel has destroyed over 120 checkpoints in 2010 and even plans to disengage from the major population areas of Palestine. Moreover, the terrorist activity in the area of the West Bank has decreased by 97% today in comparison to violence in 2002. Palestinian-Israeli efforts in the area of the West Bank have significantly increased confidence of investors and the economy of Palestine rose up to 6.8% in 2009.
The Palestinian Authority has appealed to the Israeli military to permit Jewish tourists to visit the cities of the West Bank area as an effort to increase the Palestinian economy. Avi Mizrahi, Israeli general, negotiated with Palestinian security officers during his tour to the soccer fields and malls in the West Bank. The general permitted Israeli tour guides to enter Bethlehem, trying to contribute to the Israeli and Palestinian economies.
Of course, the best way to stop the conflict would be to recognize the rights of each country and permit people finally live good lives. However, the religious issues, as well as the longevity of the problem make the situation still very complicated and even small alterations for better do not bring a long-term result as any minor complication makes the conflict burst out anew. Moreover, many people view the activities in the Middle East through the prism of needs of the Jewish people, and little recognize that the Palestinians are also people. To preserve “Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people” can be a very risky action that may entail many negative consequences.
Besides, it is worth asking, whereas permanent occupation is really good for the Jews, too. Palestinians know about thousands of years of Jewish woes, genocide and persecution, and it is quite a good question whether Israel can be the true height of Jewish achievement. Many political analysts agree on the thought that the Jewish people suffered and survived through so many years not because they have to become the main oppressive power and a permanent occupier over some other nation, making its people feel the way the Israeli felt all the way long. I support this thought and would never recommend he Israeli people to step on this path as their unhappiness and insecurity would never be over in such a way.
In conclusion, I would like to state that whatever the conflict is, and no matter how much it lasts, there will be an end to it one day. The point to ask is whether this end will be favorable for both of the countries or no. As in any other field of human relationship, compromises and tight cooperation are vital, without them no peace, no effective collaboration, and no life at all can be obtained. Therefore, reasonable steps must be taken on both sides and those steps should not do in different directions anymore. The sooner the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is settled down, the sooner the real life for both nations will start. It is always difficult to forget past and start anew, from a completely clean page. Despite this, it is possible, as nothing happens in our world that cannot be somehow changed or at least influenced. If the people of two countries, especially their governments managed to create a conflict, they are able to solve it, and do not harm themselves and all around them.