This article is written by Samriddhi, a BA. LLB. student at Symbiosis Law School, Noida. This article analyses the history and the recent conflict that took place between Israel and Gaza.
Table of Contents
The conflict between Israel and Gaza could be traced back to the nineteenth century. This conflict is more against Jews than anybody else. This world is well aware of the treatments given and situations faced by the Jews during the Hitler phase and even before that. After all the struggle for years, the war was on again recently, with Israeli warplanes bombarding Gaza City, compounding the civilian suffering in the coastal enclave. At the same time, the rocket barrage by Hamas, the militant group that has ruled Gaza since 2007 and does not recognize Israel, continued to take its toll on Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, the commercial center of the country.
How it all started
Everyone is aware of the treatments faced by Jews during the Hitler phase, but very few look back at the history and recognize the problems faced by them before that. The crimes and suffering against Jews can be traced to 957 BC. During that period, as well as today, some people tend to believe that Jesus Christ was born in a Jewish family and that some Jews even wanted to crucify Jesus. This ideology affected the society for long enough and stayed with the Christian group taking a root in their minds. Later, the Crusades started happening and many Christians killed Jews based on the made-up ideologies and fake rumors, making it difficult for them to survive. In this manner, crimes against Jews kept increasing over time. Jews suffered the level of hatred which was rarely ever shown to any other religion.
After the 1800s, the Jews were not only hated because of the rumors, the authorities also considered them a different ethnicity.
The Jewish country
Due to all of these reasons and sufferings experienced by the Jews, the Jews began considering that they did not belong to any particular country. They desired to shift to a new country, built just for them, where they could feel like they belonged.
An Austro-Hungarian Jewish, namely Theodor Herzl, was a journalist, playwright, political activist, and writer, who was the father of modern political Zionism. Herzl formed the Zionist Organization and promoted Jewish immigration to Palestine to assassinate the right-wing from a Jewish state. In his 1898 pamphlet, he introduced a new political movement called Zionism. He raised the idea of creating a separate country for the Jews. During that period, the concept of Zionism was already popular and there were organizations and supporters of Zionism calling themself the Lovers of Zionism, promoting these ideas since the 1870s.
In the year 1881, the first large-scale Jew migration was recorded in the Palestinian area. Jews started making permanent settlements and started living in that area.
Why was Palestine chosen
Jerusalem is the holy place for the Jews, which is located in Palestine, Thus, Palestine was a significant place for the Jews to settle down. During that time, there was no Israel, Gaza, or the West Bank, but only a big plain land called Palestine. The whole area fell under the Ottoman Empire, where all Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived more or less peacefully.
Known in Hebrew as Yerushalayim and in Arabic as al-Quds, Palestine is one of the oldest cities in the world. It has been conquered, destroyed, and rebuilt time and again, and every layer of its earth reveals a different piece of the past.
During this period of World War I, the British, Arab, and French revolutionaries were fighting the Ottoman empire. The British, with their cleverness during this period, promised the Arabs the area of Palestine for their support in defeating the Ottoman Empire. Arab revolutionaries were fighting for a unified Arab country from Syria to Yemen. The plot twisted and the British played the Arab revolutionaries when they promised the same Palestine area to the Jews.
The British did so with their ulterior motives but for the public; the motive was of appeasing the American Jews and gaining influence over American politics. In reality, the British made a secret deal with the French. As soon as the Ottoman Empire fell, the British and French divided the area of the Middle East in half. From 1918 to 1948, Palestine was totally under the control of the British, and at the same time, Hitler, in Germany, massacred millions of Jews. The Jews started escaping from Hitler-controlled Europe; some got refuge in America while others sought refuge in Palestine. In Palestine, the Jews were initially given refuge but were later denied. This event led to the start of the Israeli Nationalist Movement and the Palestine Nationalist Movement, demanding their land.
Birth of Israel
After years of struggle and a million deaths, the British finally left Palestine and let the Jews and the Palestinians make separate countries for their survival. This responsibility was handed over to the United Nations by the British.
The UN came up with a plan and released it in 1947. As Jerusalem was a holy place for all Muslims, Jews, and Christians, they kept it under International control. Jews accepted the offer and named their part ‘Israel’. However, on the other hand, the Arabs did not accept the plan and blamed the UN for colonization as well as starting a war against Israel. The war was called the First Arab Israeli War in 1948, with Israel winning it and occupying the majority area. 7 lakh Palestinians were left homeless and became refugees in other Arab countries. This came to be known as the Palestinians Exodus. Israel fought 2 more wars, in 1967 and 1973. However, there were no new changes made for Palestine, as Israel kept winning and occupying more areas including the Gaza Strip and West Bank. In the year 1964, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) was established and was recognized in 1974 by the Palestinians to create their own country one day. PLO has been declared a terrorist organization by the USA and Israel. People over time started settling in the West Bank areas. This has been criticized by international organizations, who claim it to be illegal as it is against the UN plan. Palestinians call it colonization.
1993 Oslo Accords
After years of struggle for both countries, Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzak Rabin, in 1992, declared Palestine a country. Both the countries’ prime ministers met to talk about peace and clear division, which came to be known as the Oslo Accords. As a result, for the first time, the Palestinian government was established and called the ‘Palestinian Authority. By this time, Israeli people had permanently settled in the West Bank. Palestinians started living there in divided areas. Later, this area was divided into 3 parts to make it convenient for the public and the government.
|Israel and Palestine Governments
Later in the incident, the PM of Israel was assassinated by the right-wing extremists. After the assassination, a militant group was established called Hamas. HAMAS is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist, militant, and nationalist organization. It has a social service wing, Dawah, and a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. In 2007, after facing internal disputes, Palestine got divided into two parts based on their ideologies. Hamas occupied the Gaza Strip as a terrorist group and the other side was occupied by Palestinian civilians, who were not a part of the terrorist group.
14 May 2021
While the war has been going on for years, it hasn’t escalated on a massive scale, until now. This war has escalated once again bombarding, both sides killing thousands of citizens on both sides. This fight is between Israel and Gaza. Gaza has been occupied by a terrorist group. While countries like the USA, Israel, and Japan have declared it a terrorist group, on the other hand, the UK and Australia do not regard it as a terrorist group entirely.
Israel and Gaza have always been in an ongoing fight as they keep throwing rockets against each other. Israel has a power shield, Iron Dome, which protects it from all the attacks.
The recent fight started because of orders being given to the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah to move from their homes. In August 2009, the al-Hanoun and al-Ghawi families were evicted from two homes in Sheikh Jarrah, and Jewish families moved in after the Supreme Court ruled that the property was owned by Jews. Therefore, the Palestinians were asked to relocate; some right-wing Israelis also started protesting against the Arabs.
On 7 May 2021, the Palestinians were protesting against the evictions, and with the flow, the protests became violent, resulting in injuries to both sides. On 10 May 2021, rubber bullets and smoke grenades were thrown at the Palestinians who came to pray at the al-Aqsa mosque. Due to this incident, Hamas gave an ultimatum to Israel to remove the troops from the mosque or they will start attacking. After a few hours, thousands of rockets were thrown towards Israel, and in response to that, Israel conducted 130 airstrikes, killing citizens including children.
The war between the two has been ongoing and there is still no scope for it to stop. When it comes to finding the wrongdoer in this situation, both sides have their individual views. This war has divided the world as well India in two parts, one supporting Israel and the other, Palestine. India had supported many UN resolutions favoring Palestine, until recently. In October 2003, India voted in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution against Israel’s construction of a separation wall. In 2011, India voted for Palestine to become a full member of UNESCO. Even now, after years of suffering, pain, assassinations, and harm to people of both sides, none of them is ready to make peace. This leads to the questions from the right-wing of the whole scenario on both sides. If Israel considers the decision provided by the UN, then why not give Palestine a part back? After the division of the West Bank was rightfully given to the Palestinians, where the Israelis overtime started living, and after peace was established between the two, the Palestinians were allowed only in segregated parts rather than being given a defined area. If Hamas is in favor of Palestine, then why not stop the killing and start rebuilding ties and a place for the people of both sides to live peacefully?
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