In international politics there exist several complicated issues that continue to persist without any real solution in sight. One such issue is the old conflict between Israel and Palestine. Such has been the animosity between the Israeli Jews and the Palestinian Arabs over the years that the death toll as of 2014 of both sides stands at 24,969 Jews killed to 91, 105 Arabs. While 36, 260 Jews and 78, 038 Arabs have been wounded in what can only be termed as a brutal conflict.
The trigger for the Israel-Palestinian conflict
So the pertinent question to be asked is what was the trigger behind the brutal conflict between the Jews and the Arabs? The answer to this question is not simple and is complex. As it involves a combination of factors such as religion, right to self-determination, invasion of Palestine by the British, and eventually failed foreign policies by the United States of America. This issue though first took root during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Arab and Jewish nationalist movements gathered momentum. The Jewish nationalist movement was called “Zionism” and was established in 1882 The Jews during this period were spread all across the world and were looking to establish their own nation. Now, according to one of passages i.e. Zechariah of the Jewish bible “Tanakh” the “Land of Israel” is supposed to be given by God to the people of Israel. The land of Israel also included the Palestine region. So it was logical that the Jewish found Palestine the perfect place to establish their nation.
Meanwhile, during the 1920’s a Palestinian nationalist movement to obtain independence and establish their own land also began to take shape. It was this growing Arab and Jewish i.e. Zionist national movement that eventually collided with each other to trigger a brutal conflict that is yet to find an appropriate solution.
The role of the British in the conflict:
Now Palestine was ruled by the Ottoman Empire during the beginning of the 20th century. Although this empire during this period of time was beginning to weaken and, many European powers such as the British, French etc were trying to gain a foothold in the eastern Mediterranean region which included Palestine. So in 1915-1916 during the First World War the British High Commissioner in Egypt Sir Henry McMahon promised Husayn Ibn Ali the Ottoman Governor of Meca and Medina that if they (Arabs) helped the British in the war. Then the British Government would support the establishment of an independent Arab rule under the Ottoman Empire. This promise resulted in the Arabs led by Husayn’s son Faysal and TE Lawrence i.e. Lawrence of Arabia revolting against the Ottoman Empire and emerging victorious. Thus, paving the way for the British to exert total control over Palestine during the war.
Unfortunately though the British failed to fulfil their promise of helping the Arabs establish their independent state and continued to exert control in Palestine. It was during this period that there was sharp rise in European Jews migrating to Palestine. In response to the rising Jewish migration from Europe the British then promised to support the Jews in establishing a Jewish State. This added more fuel to the already ignited fire which made the Arabs extremely angry. They felt that their dream of establishing an Arab state would be replaced by a Jewish state which was not acceptable to them.
The United Nation Partition Plan:
During World War 2 the persecution of Jews at the hands of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany saw an increase in Jewish migration in Palestine. Thereby, increasing the hostilities between the Arabs and the Jews. During this period the British wanted to surrender its mandate over Palestine. And it sought help from newly formed United Nations or UN, an organization created and controlled mainly by the United States of America. The British by relinquishing its mandate over Palestine to the UN was hoping that the organization would fail to find a solution. And as a result would return Palestine back to them under a UN trusteeship. Unfortunately, what the British had hoped for did not turn out to be true. With the UN deciding that Palestine should be divided into nation states.
So on November 29th 1947 the UN General Assembly voted in favour of dividing Palestine into two states i.e. Palestine and Israel. It was decided that while dividing that the Jewish state would be slightly larger than the Arab state. This decision was taken on the assumption that the migrating European Jews would require a larger state to accommodate them. This partition resulted in the Zionist accepting the plan although in the hope that they would somehow manage to extend their borders. On the other hand Palestinians were extremely disappointed with the plan and felt that they were betrayed.
So days after partition the Jews and the Arabs began to fight for what each of sides proclaimed to be their land. Then on May 15th 1948 the British evacuated Palestinians which enabled the Zionist leaders to proclaim a new nation state called “State of Israel”. It was finally 1949 that the battle between the Arabs and Jews finally ended with both the sides signing an armistice agreements. This land was now divided into three parts and resulted in being ruled by different political regimes. The State of Israel comprised of 77% of land were ruled by the Jews, East Jerusalem also known as West Bank was ruled by Jordan, and the coastal plain around the city of Gaza also known as Gaza Strip came under the control of Egypt. Thus this partition was an absolute failure as it failed to provide the solution it promised i.e. a two state solution. All it did was in fact support the Jews directly and isolate the Palestinians and thereby add more fuel to the fire.
The role of United States of America in this conflict
The role played by United States in this brutal conflict is huge and is a major reason why there has been no amicable solution to it. And the reason why no solution has been found is because instead of the US acting as a mediator to the two sides it directly supports one side against the other. And this direct support began minutes after the State of Israel came into existence when the Truman administration officially recognized it as a nation. This direct support for Israel is due to the fact that most of the top business corporations in America belong to Jews which means they run the American economy. Secondly there is a strong Jewish lobby in the Senate which control key decisions pertaining this conflict. So powerful is this lobby that US have been openly providing diplomatic support, military and financial aid (over $ 3 billion annually) to Israel in this conflict. Even the peace processes attempted by the US such as the “Oslo Peace Accord” turned out to be a “farce” rather than a genuine attempt to find a solution. With the real intention of the US and Israel being to block any attempts to create two states in the garb of this accord.
Two state solution is it reality or just a myth
The real solution of this continuing problem actually lies in a two state solution. Having said this though, a solution that promotes creation of two states is highly unlikely because the US and Israel lack the political will to see the real benefits of this solution. It is said that “Behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining” and I hope and pray that one day there will be a “silver lining” to this brutal conflict.
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