Israel and Palestine Conflict – How did it start?

THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT IS COMPLEX. Its roots are found in regional, national, political, cultural, and religious aspects. Land is what both Israelis and Palestinians desire.

“One side has a state the other one does not.It’s not just about having land, its about having the right to self determination. This is not a conflict between Jewish and Muslims or Jewish and Arabs, it doesnt go back to the biblical times or the old testament at all. This is a relatively modern conflict.” said Dr. Serpil Atamaz, professor in the Department of History and Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program at California State University, Sacramento.

The late 19th century is when the Israel and Palestine conflict first began. From 1516 to 1917, the Ottoman Turkish Empire dominated a sizable chunk of the Middle East, including the region surrounding the eastern Mediterranean. Jews, Muslims, and Christians were among the many different religions represented in the area.

“Judaism emerged in the Middle East, Islam emerged in the Middle East, and Christianity emerged in the Middle East. “They shared the same place for hundreds of years under the Ottoman Empire and there was no war. What changed in the late 19th and early 20th century? We have a Jewish nation. We have British colonialism. That kind of changed the dynamics in the region.” , Atamaz said

After the Allied Powers defeated the Central Powers in World War I in 1918, the centuries-old Ottoman Empire was overthrown. The League of Nations was founded as an international body to maintain world peace two years later. The League formally agreed on the choice of having Great Britain serve as Palestine’s administrator in 1922.

“Palestine had been ruled by the Ottoman Empire for several centuries. When the Ottoman Empire fell, and when Britain and France won the war, it became a British Mandate. It came under the British rule.” Atamaz said.

The British Mandate for Palestine, according to the United Nations, was only intended to endure until the League acknowledged Palestine as a fully independent country. That threshold was never crossed.
The U.N. has also mentioned how the British government assured Zionist groups that a Jewish state would be established in Palestine.

“Zionism was an ideology and a movement that aimed to establish a Jewish state in Palestine,” explained Atamaz. “According to the Zionists in Eastern Europe at the time, Jews constituted a nation. They were not just a religious group, but they were an ethnic group and they deserved their own state.”

Pogroms returned in Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th century as a result of the growth of religious and racist anti-Semitism, which encouraged Jewish immigration to Palestine from Europe. Jews simultaneously traveled in large numbers to Palestine from countries like Yemen, Morocco, Iraq, and Turkey. All of this is stated by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), a nonprofit organization founded in 1993 with the aim of fostering relations between the United States and Israel.

Despite the fact that Zionism had its beginnings in Europe in the late 19th century, some people think its roots can be found in the historical ties between Judaism and the regions that made comprised Palestine. AICE claims that “the centuries-old hope of the Return to Zion and a fear of intolerance” drove some Jews to travel to Palestine.

“In Europe, Jews were being discriminated against, persecuted, and harassed, So, they said, we need to establish our own state to be safe and secure.” They chose Palestine to do that. Atamaz said.

Jews also demanded their own nation state during this era of nationalism, but there was a huge obstacle because Palestine, where they sought to establish their state, was populated primarily by Arab people who had lived there for more than a thousand years.
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Arabs were looking for a chance to either build their own state, or join a bigger Arab entity. Local Arab leaders and organizations were opposed to the Zionists’ aim of Jewish independence.

“The Zionists knew that they needed to increase the number of Jews in the area so that they could have a claim on Palestine,” Atamaz said. “That’s where the second development comes in. In 1917, during World War One, Great Britain announced the Balfour Declaration, which is a turning point in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

A Jewish state in Palestine was to be established under the terms of the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Arabs opposed the mandate and eventually rebelled because the declaration did not grant them political or national rights.
“Under British rule, there was Jewish migration to Palestine; despite all the Arab resistance and opposition to it, the British rule allowed the Jews to come in, migrate to Palestine, settle in Palestine, and purchase land in Palestine. There were rising tensions and hostilities between the Jewish community and the Arab community in the region, and many Palestinians lost their homes and their jobs as a result of the Jewish emigration. Britain tried to appease both groups, but it failed.
British attempts to reconcile Zionists and Arabs were eventually unsuccessful, which sparked the Arab Revolt of 1936. In more than a century, it was the first prolonged violent uprising by Palestinian Arabs. A commission was established by the British government to look into ways for Jews and Arabs in Palestine to coexist peacefully. Palestine should be divided into three states: an Arab state, a Jewish state, and a neutral land housing the holy sites, according to the Peel Commission’s 1937 recommendation.
The British government released the White Paper in 1939 as the riots were coming to a close. According to AICE, the document claimed Palestine would be neither a Jewish state nor an Arab state, but an independent state to be founded within ten years. It rejected the commission’s plan, declaring it was “not viable.” Additionally, the White Paper curbed Jewish immigration to Palestine. Jews sought hard to relocate to the region despite Palestine’s closure to them in order to flee Nazi-dominated Europe during World War II.

As the violence in the area increased, “Britain decided to take the situation to the United Nations in 1947,” Atamaz stated. “The United Nations agreed to establish a Special Committee On Palestine (UNSCOP), which traveled to Palestine, spoke with locals, conducted investigations, and then produced a partition proposal that called for the establishment of two states in Palestine: a Jewish state and a Palestinian one.
Arabs in Palestine did not agree with this plan since, despite the fact that just a third of the population was Jewish and Jews only owned 10% of the country, they were granted 55% of the land. Despite being the majority at the time, the Palestinians ultimately received 45%. But ever since they arrived in Palestine, the Jewish community has been planning for independence. They had already established the organizations and institutions necessary for self-governance.
Britain relinquished its mandate in 1948, according to the National Army Museum, a renowned authority on the British Army and its influence on society in the past and the present. After the British Army left Palestine, the Jews and Arabs fought it out in the ensuing war. Around 750 British military and police personnel had died during the war. Israel was formally proclaimed an independent state on May 14, 1948.

“David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, declared the establishment of Israel as a new state in Palestine when Britain announced that it was withdrawing its troops from the region, which caused the first Arab-Israeli war because the surrounding Arab countries declared war on Israel to prevent it from consolidating itself,” said Atamaz. “The Arabs were defeated in the end. Israel was able to even increase its territory.
Israel and the neighboring governments of Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan, and Syria agreed to official armistice lines under separate agreements. Israel gained some territory that had previously been allocated to Palestinian Arabs via a United Nations resolution in 1947; this conflict is remembered as the “War of Independence” in Israel. The West Bank and Gaza Strip were still under the jurisdiction of Egypt and Jordan, respectively.

According to Atamaz, “almost a million Palestinians were either forced to leave the area or had to evacuate since where they were living suddenly became Israel.” There were three more conflicts between Israel and various Arab nations, and Palestinians continue to refer to the first conflict as the “Nakba,” or “the Catastrophe,” which resulted in the expulsion of Palestinians.

The most significant conflict was that of 1967. Israel won this battle with a resounding triumph. The remaining Palestinian territories were occupied. Whatever the Palestinians retained came to be known as an occupied region. It was intended that this position be temporary. The United Nations recognized it as being illegal. However, the profession is still in existence today. As occupied territories, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip are still governed by Israel.


By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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