Lately it seems that the only thing on the news has been the fighting that is taking place between Israel and Palestine and how it has intensified over the last couple of weeks. As I watch the news coverage my heart breaks for the innocent lives that have been lost. When the subject of Israel and Palestine pops up in conversation I have come to realize that most Americans do not understand the reason behind the conflict, and what is being fought over. Here is a brief snapshot to bring understanding of what the Israeli and Palestinian Conflict is and why it is taking place?
May 16, 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement it Sets Borders:
Officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement, laid down the borders of the Middle East as we have known them for a century. Iraq, Transjordan and Palestine under British control; and Syria and Lebanon under French control.
The Nazis rise to power in 1933 led to many German Jews and those in surrounding countries to flee from persecution and discrimination. Many European countries refused to allow them entry. As well as the U.S which had implemented a law to limit immigration. The British empire that controlled Palestine and other European powers decided to place the Jews seeking refuge in Palestine.
Nov. 29, 1947:
United Nations proposed to Partition Palestine. Turning Palestine into a Jewish state and Palestinian State.
The Arab-Israeli War breaks out in response to the creation of a Jewish state, on Arab territory. The Arab countries support Palestinian people. The following truce agreement leaves Israel with more territory than expected. Causing 750,000 Arab Palestinians to flee or be expelled.
6-day war, in which Israel claims Golan Heights from Syria and Sinai in Egypt. Israel establishes illegal settlements in West Bank, Gaza, and Golan Heights.
The Yom Kipper War involving Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. Egypt takes back Sinai Peninsula.
Israel confiscates acres of land from Palestinian citizens. Triggering mass protests which are then brutally put down. “Land Day” is commemorated every year in remembrance.
Water Issues become a negotiating factor for Palestinians and Israelis.
The Oslo Accords created a Palestine Authority with limited self-governance of parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; it acknowledged the PLO as Israel's partner in permanent-status negotiations about remaining questions. The most important questions were the borders of Israel and Palestine, Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, Israel's military presence in and control over remaining territories after Israel's recognition of Palestinian autonomy, and the Palestinian right of return. The Oslo Accords however did not create a Palestinian state
Oslo two Accords were agreements between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The Oslo Accords marked the start of a peace process aimed at achieving a peace treaty. And at fulfilling the "right of the Palestinian people to self-determination." The Oslo process started after secret negotiations in Oslo, Norway. Resulting in the recognition by the PLO of the State of Israel and vice versa, the recognition by Israel of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.
The First Intifada was a series of Palestinian protests and violent riots in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.The protests were against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza that had begun twenty years prior, in 1967.
International Court of Justice advises the UN that Israeli settlements in West Bank and Golan Heights are illegal.
The Second Intifada which was another Palestinian uprising against Israel due to the failure of 200 Camp David Summit to reach a final agreement on the Israeli- Palestinian peace agreement. In response to the protest it encourages Israel to build a wall around the contested Jerusalem. Further splitting the country.
UNSC (United Nations Security Council) determines Palestine to be a non-member observing state. Making the Israeli settlements fully illegal.
President Donald Trump recognizes Jerusalem (a much-contested land) as the capital of Israel. And moves the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Causing tensions to rise.
In May 2021 fighting intensified with protest, rioting, and rocket attacks against Israel by Hamas and Israeli airstrikes targeting the Gaza Strip. The violence renewed on May 6 when Palestinian protest began over an anticipated decision of the Supreme Court of Israel on the eviction of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. Under international law, the area which is annexed by Israel is part of Palestinian territories. On May 7 Israeli police stormed the compound of the Al-Aqsa Mosque the third-holiest site in Islam, located on the Temple Mount, which is sacred in Judaism.
It is very important to note that Muslims, Jews, and Christians had already lived peacefully in Palestine before European powers decided to settle Jews seeking to flee persecution there. With the influx of Jews coming in, it left those already living there feeling bereft as outside countries made decisions that would have lasting impacts on them. The fighting that is taking place is less so about the difference of religions, and more so about nationalism between two distinct set of people.
Goldschmidt Jr., Arthur. A Concise History of the Middle East. Tenth, Westview Press, 2012.
Dana. “History of The.” Question of Palestine, 30 Apr. 2021, www.un.org/unispal/history.
Staniforth, Michael, and Philip Andrew Davies. “Performance Analysis and Optimisation of a Saline Groundwater Batch Reverse Osmosis Desalination System for Irrigation and Education in the Jordan Valley.” ResearchGate, 25 May 2020, www.researchgate.net/figure/Brief-Timeline-of-Israel-Arab-History_fig3_336370262.
For a visual explanation about the fighting taking place click on the video.