Everyday now I am bombarded with news of the conflict over there in Europe between Palestine and Israel. I only just realised that I knew little, if anything, about the reasons behind it. What I believed to be true was all subjective based on hearsay and opinion.

So I did some research of my own and this is what I now know.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict In A Single Paragraph

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a long-standing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians that began in the early 20th century. The heart of the conflict lies in both groups’ claims to the same land, which is revered by Jews as their historic homeland and by Palestinians as their ancestral territory. This dispute over land rights, national sovereignty, and historical connection has resulted in numerous wars, uprisings, and cycles of violence and negotiation. Central issues include the borders of the state of Israel, the rights and mobility of Palestinian people, the control of sacred sites, Israeli settlement expansion in occupied territories, and the political status and aspirations of the Palestinians, particularly their goal of an independent state.

Understanding the History of the Conflict Between Palestine and Israel

The historical context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deeply complex, with roots that can be traced back to ancient times. However, the modern conflict began in earnest in the early 20th century.

Here’s a concise, and importantly, impartial overview:

The land known historically as Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries until World War I, when it came under British control. During this time, the area was inhabited by a Jewish minority and an Arab majority. Tensions began rising as the Zionist movement, which advocated for a homeland for Jewish people, gained momentum, and Jewish immigration to the region increased, especially following the Holocaust and World War II.

In 1947, the United Nations proposed partitioning the land into independent Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem as an international city. This plan was accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by the Arab side, which led to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War following the declaration of the State of Israel.

During the war, Israel expanded its territory beyond the boundaries set by the UN, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes, an event Palestinians call the Nakba or “catastrophe”. No Palestinian state was established, and the territory meant for it was occupied by Jordan and Egypt.

In 1967, Israel captured the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War. This occupation has been the focal point of the conflict since, with Palestinians seeking to establish an independent state in these territories and Israel building settlements, which are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

The Oslo Accords in the 1990s created the Palestinian Authority and gave it limited governance within parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but a final peace agreement was never reached. The peace process has been further complicated by issues such as the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, security concerns, and political divisions on both sides.

The conflict has been marked by repeated cycles of negotiation, violence, and provisional agreements. Both Palestinians and Israelis have suffered, and the international community remains divided on how to support a path to lasting peace. The history is subject to diverse narratives and deep-seated emotional and political investments by both Palestinians and Israelis, as well as international actors.

Understanding the Involvement of Hamas

Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist political organisation and militant group that has been the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip since its takeover of that area in 2007. Hamas was founded in 1987, soon after the beginning of the First Intifada, an uprising against Israeli occupation in the Palestinian Territories.

The organisation was established with the aim of liberating Palestine and establishing an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. It is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States, the European Union, and other countries due to its long history of carrying out suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israeli civilian and military targets. However, it is seen by its supporters as a legitimate resistance movement fighting Israeli occupation.

Hamas is involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one of the key Palestinian factions that has engaged in both political activities and armed conflict with Israel. Its takeover of Gaza in 2007 led to a violent conflict with the rival Palestinian faction Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

The organisation’s involvement in the conflict is characterised by its rejection of the State of Israel and the use of both political and violent means to achieve its aims. This has included suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and other forms of violence, as well as participation in elections and governance. The group’s actions have been a significant factor in the ongoing conflict, contributing to the blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt and to numerous flare-ups of violence, including several large-scale military confrontations.

Global Escalation

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is often considered to have the potential to escalate into a wider regional or even global conflict for several reasons:

1. Strategic Location:

The Middle East has a strategic geopolitical location and significant oil reserves, making any conflict in the region of global concern.

2. International Alliances:

Israel and various countries in the Middle East have powerful allies. Israel is backed by the United States and other Western nations, while different Arab or Muslim-majority countries have their own alliances, including with major powers like Russia or China.

3. Religious Significance:

The region holds holy sites for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Any major conflict concerning these sites could inflame religious tensions worldwide.

4. Proxy Dynamics:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict sometimes reflects broader tensions in the region, such as the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia, or between the US and Russia, which could draw in other countries and potentially escalate into a larger conflict.

5. Nuclear Proliferation:

Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons, and concerns about nuclear proliferation in the region can add to the tensions.

6. Terrorism and Militancy:

The conflict has the potential to fuel terrorism and militancy, which could spread beyond the region’s borders and draw in other countries.

While these factors contribute to the seriousness with which the conflict is regarded, it is also important to note that the international community has a vested interest in preventing any conflict from escalating to the scale of a world war. Diplomatic efforts are often intensified during periods of heightened tension to maintain regional and global stability.

That’s it, hope this was as enlightening to you as it was for me.


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