The Past Of Israel And Palestine


Amna Amjad , Contributor

Most of us are aware of the current conflict taking place between Israel and Palestine. The question is, what is the reason and history behind all of this? What is it that led to all these current attacks we see today? This conflict between Israel and Palestine is one that is long and heartbreaking. Tracing the reason behind all this brings us back to the mid 1900’s, when the state of Israel was established.

After the defeat of the Ottomon empire in World War I, the British took control of the area of land known as Palestine. At the time, the land was occupied mainly by Arabs and a minority of Jews. The issues began as Britain was given the task of establishing a “national home” in Palestine for the Jewish people. Jewish people had considered the land their ancestral home, however the Palestinian Arabs also claimed the land and opposed the move. At the time, The Jewish people were fleeing persecution in Europe and seeking a homeland after the Holocaust during WWII. Between the years 1920 and 1940, Jewish people arriving in huge numbers led to numerous violent incidents between the Arabs and Jews. In 1947, The United Nations voted for the split of Palestine into two separate Jewish and Arab states. Though the plan was accepted by Jewish leaders, it was rejected by the Arab side, and thus never implemented. The British failed to create peace between the Muslims and Jews, thus declaring the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Palestinians objected this decision, and so a war followed.

A great number of Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes (they called it, Al Nakba, or the catastrophe). Fast forward to the next year, the war had ended in a ceasefire, and Israel had control of most of the territory. This war led to more than 700,000 Palestinian refugees. Jordan occupied land, which became known as the West Bank, and Egypt occupied Gaza. Jerusalem was divided between Israeli forces in the West, and Jordanian forces in the East. Since there was never a peace agreement, each side blamed the other and wars and conflicts continued. The most significant one among them was fought in 1967, when Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as most of the Syrian Golan Heights, and Gaza and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula.

Tensions are always high between Israel and Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank. Gaza is ruled by a Palestinian militant group called Hamas, which has fought Israel many times. Israel and Egypt tightly control Gaza’s borders. Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank say they’re suffering because of Israeli actions and restrictions. Israel says it is only acting to protect itself from Palestinian / Hamas violence.

It is truly a sad situation. While many American Presidents have involved themselves in this conflict, none have succeeded in helping end suffering.