The beginning of the Palestine-Israel conflict has a long history and in spite of many attempts made to tackle the struggle, has not been resolved until today. It belongs to a wider Arab-Israel conflict; the confrontation has various reasons for geopolitical, religious, economic, and ideological nature. In fact, almost all of the states of the Middle East have been drawn into the conflict between the countries of Palestine and Israel. In addition, the confrontation concerns the interests of other states of the world community. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the reasons and the course of Palestine and the Arab-Israel conflict.
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History of the Relationships between the Two Nations
Relations till the Confrontation
Now it’s hard to imagine that once peace reigned on the ancient lands of Palestine but it is so. The Arabs and the Jews coexisted on this territory in ancient times. They lived in what is now Palestine from the 12th century BC until the creation of the Roman Empire (Brecher, 2017). The Romans ousted the Jews, while the Arabs continued living on Palestinian lands. Subsequently, Palestine was part of Byzantium, the Arab Caliphate, and the Ottoman Empire (Harms & Ferry, 2017). By the 20th century, about seven percent of the inhabitants of Palestine were Arabs (Brecher, 2017). At the 1897 congress in Basel, the Zionist organization decided to make Palestine, the historical homeland of the Jews, inhabited by the representatives of the nation to a higher extent (Makdisi, 2018). The mass movement of the Jews to the territory of Palestine began after the First World War (Makdisi, 2018). Then, at the beginning of the XX century, the region came under British control (Harms & Ferry, 2017). This event might be regarded as the starting point of the confrontation between the Arabs and the Jews.
In fact, the British Foreign Secretary started promoting the idea of returning the Jewish people to the land of Palestine. One of the steps towards the implementation of this goal was the Secretary’s letter to the leader of the Zionist movement that established Palestine as the center of the Jewish nation (Makdisi, 2018). Hence, the Middle East became the center of the struggle for the influence of Western states; the Arab and Jewish national movements were both pawns and participants of the political game.
Reasons for the Conflict
Speaking about the grounds for the confrontation between the Arabs and the Jews in detail, the main impetus of the conflict was territorial claims. By the time of the mass migration of the Jews, Palestine had already been densely populated by the Arabs for about one and a half thousand years (Brecher, 2017). Hence, the Arabs considered themselves to be indigenous inhabitants of the region and did not want to share the territorial and natural resources of their country with another nation. One more important reason for inciting hatred was the religious factor (Harms & Ferry, 2017). Incompatible ideologies, the location of shrines on the same territory, different cultural and historical values of the Arabs and the Jews prevented the nations from breaking off the argument.
The course of the Confrontation
The Second World War and its consequences gave a new impetus to the argument between Palestine and Israel. The processes that contributed to the development of the conflict were the mass movement of the Jews to Palestine and the growth of terrorist groups from both nations. During the war, about two hundred thousand Jews arrived in Palestine (Makdisi, 2018). Thus, by 1947, the population of Palestine was almost a third Jewish (Makdisi, 2018). Besides, the disapprovement of British control was stirring among the Arabs. Hence, several attempts were made to overthrow the rule of the Crown that encouraged the migration of the Jews; the disapprovement also provoked the appearance of Arab and Zionist terrorist movements.
The aggravation of the situation in Palestine and the increased number of armed clashes between the Arabs and the Jews made Great Britain turn to the world community for help in resolving the conflict. This issue was submitted for consideration to the UN General Assembly in November 1947 (Harms & Ferry, 2017). As a result, world political leaders within the UN adopted a resolution on the creation of a new state. Thus, Palestine was divided into three parts: Jewish Israel, Arab Palestine, and the neutral territory of Jerusalem. This was a major event in the history of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The Arab states immediately responded to the UN resolution, and in 1948 the first Arab-Israeli war began that lasted for one year and did not bring the Arabs the benefit expected (Brecher, 2017). From that moment, the argument between Palestine and Israel grew into a larger Arab-Israeli conflict which still remains unresolved.
During the years of the confrontation, there were many escalations of the situations. The most significant ones include the Suez Crisis, the Six-Day War, and the Yom Kippur War (Brecher, 2017). Nowadays, the most active opponent of the state of Israel is the Islamic movement Hamas, which came to power in Palestine in 2006 (Harms & Ferry, 2017). In order to find a way to peace, the nations need not only political will but also a change of ideologies.
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To sum up, the Arabs and the Jews lived together on the territory of modern Palestine centuries ago but due to historical events, Jews were then ousted from the territory. Their attempts to settle again in the region supported by Great Britain became an impulse for their ongoing conflict with the Arabs. The confrontation then was transformed into a larger argument which is known as the Arab-Israeli conflict. The problem has not been resolved yet but hopefully, the nations will find a way to reach peace.
Brecher, M. (2017). Crises within the Arab–Israel protracted conflict: 1948–2014. In Dynamics of the Arab-Israel Conflict (pp. 127-143). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Harms, G., & Ferry, T. M. (2017). The Palestine-Israel conflict: a basic introduction. Pluto Press.
Makdisi, K. (2018). Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict: 100 years of regional relevance and international failure. MENARA Working Papers.