The rights of the two conflicting parties, people in Israel and Palestine, are listed in the United Nations Resolution of 1947. According to the United Nations General Assembly (1947), Palestine is to be partitioned to form two independent states, Jewish and Arab, with a special international control regime for Jerusalem. Based on the document, Arabs have no right to establish residence in the Jewish State during the transitional period, whereas Jews cannot do it in the Arab State (UNGA, 1947). Jews living in Palestine and Arabs living on the territory of the Jewish State have limited election rights in the areas where they reside. At the same time, no discrimination is allowed against Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Jews, but people’s freedom to exercise religion can sometimes be limited to maintain public order (UNGA, 1947). Both Arabs in Israel and Jews in Palestine have the right to be educated in their native languages and with respect to their cultural traditions (UNGA, 1947). The expropriation of land owned by religious minorities, not for a public purpose, is also prohibited.
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The Israeli-Palestinian struggle that began more than seventy years ago can be called a conflict related to territory and economy. As for the territorial component, the sides have disputes over the piece of land called the land of Israel by Jews and Palestine by Arabs (Waxman, 2019). The conflicting parties have different explanations of why the land should belong to them. Arabs point at the fact that they have lived there for centuries, whereas Jews claim that their remote ancestors were the first to come to the land (Waxman, 2019). The right to territory involves new opportunities related to the management of natural resources, which makes this conflict related to economic reasons (Waxman, 2019). Contrary to popular myths, religion does not belong to the causes of the struggle since there are no irreconcilable philosophical differences between people practicing Islam and Judaism (Waxman, 2019). Historically, in Islamic Empires, Jews could coexist peacefully with the Muslim majority and were granted the status of protected people (Waxman, 2019). Thus, the conflict is based on territorial disputes involving strife over economic resources.
Israeli settlements in Palestine and their legal status are among the most disputable topics today. According to the United Nations Security Council (2016), the majority of countries do not regard the settlements as valid and legal. In particular, it is accepted that their existence violates international law since the forced transfer of population is prohibited (UNSC, 2016). Based on the statement of Dr. Ashrawi, Israel and its authorities are not committed to peace (The Palestine Liberation Organization, n.d.). Despite the opinion of the majority of the UN member countries, Israel refutes any accusations and continues to pursue its national interests related to expansion (Waxman, 2019). Taking that into account, it is possible to agree with the position of Ashrawi.
The United States does not belong to the number of countries criticizing Israel’s current approach to settlements. For instance, it abstained from voting on the UN resolutions that are to call Israel to order and make it consider the interests of other nations and their territorial rights (UNSC, 2016). As it is noted by modern researchers, the United States is committed to “the survival of the Jewish State” and also tries to cultivate ties with the Muslim population to avoid losing its diplomatic achievements of the recent years (Waxman, 2019, p. 150). In reference to international relations, the country in question does not regard the settlements as the barrier to peace, which helps it to support Israel without engaging in open conflicts (Waxman, 2019). Thus, the position on settlements heavily impacts the country’s international relations and makes it balance between the two conflicting parties to pursue its global interests.
The Palestine Liberation Organization. (n.d.). September 28, 2017: Dr. Ashrawi: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is more committed to settlement expansion than to peace.” Web.
The United Nations General Assembly. (1947). Resolution 181 (II). Future government of Palestine. Web.
The United Nations Security Council. (2016). Israel’s settlements have no legal validity, constitute flagrant violation of international law, Security Council reaffirms. Web.
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Waxman, D. (2019). The Israeli-Palestinian conflict: What everyone needs to know. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.