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Understanding the Conflict between Israel and Palestine

Updated on October 30, 2015

Those well-versed in history as well as global current events have surely heard of the ongoing struggle between the people of Israel and Palestine. The Israel-Palestine conflict began in the middle of the 20th century and is used to refer to the earlier sectarian conflict between the Arabs who were then under the British rule, and the Zionist yishuv or Jewish residents in Palestine.

Early History of the Israel-Palestine Conflict

For centuries, this conflict did not exist and Palestine had been peacefully inhabited by a diverse population of people with different religions composed of 86% Muslim, 10% Christian, and 4% Jewish. So where did this conflict begin?

In the late 1800s, a European group decided to colonize the land. They were known as the Zionists and were the representatives of a certain minority of the Jewish people. The goal of this group was to establish a Jewish homeland. They had been considering other locations in Africa as well as the Americas before deciding to settle on Palestine.

Initially there was no problem as the people of Palestine are used to having a diverse population made up of different sects. However, time passed and more of the Zionists immigrated to the land. This was where the indigenous population felt the need to be alarmed. After some time, fights began to break out and the violence had more alarming manifestations.

During this time, Hitler was also on the rise and so the Jewish people sought refuge in the homeland that the Zionists created. Combined with the activities of the Zionists, there was a faster increase of the Jewish population in Palestine which caused the conflict still being felt by these nations today.

Increased Violence and Continuing Loss of Casualties

The initially seemingly friendly relations between the Arab population in Palestine and the new Zionist settlers turned into a nasty national conflict that living in peace was no longer possible between the people of the land. Palestinian Arab nationalists under the leadership of Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was the leader of Mandatory Palestine which was then under the British rule, moved to establish their national home for the Arabs of Palestine. They had riots waged against the Jews in 1920, and because of this, the Jews established the Haganah or “The Defense” which was later known as the Israel Defense Forces.

For years, there was an onslaught of military conflict between the Arabs of Palestine and the Zionists who increased in number, especially after more Jews went to Palestine as a safe harbor, out of Hitler’s reach. A great number of Arab nationalists from all over the Middle East went to join the cause. One notable figure is Izaddin al-Qassam, the Syrian who established the militant group referred to as the “Black Hand.” He planned the Arab revolt which happened in 1936. The wave of violence from this movement lasted up until 1937 when a forced expulsion of Arab leaders was performed.

That event lead to the formation of the Peel Commission which aimed to have a partition within Palestine, but this was rejected by the Arabs. The main Jewish leaders, namely David Ben-Guiron and Chaim Weizmann accepted, but some of the secondary leaders did not agree to it.

Almost 5,000 casualties were lost after the renewed violence which lasted until the Second World War, mostly coming from the Arab forces. Since the WWII became a more pressing concern, the issues of Mandatory Palestine quieted for a time.

When WWII ended, the crisis revolving around the Holocaust survivors prompted a renewed tension between the original inhabitants of Palestine and the increased number of the new Jewish settlers. The British established immigration quotas, but at the same time, illegal immigration coupled with Zionist revolts were also on the rise.

Peace Efforts to Resolve the Conflict

Because of this, the General Assembly of the United Nations decided to intervene in 1947 to achieve peace. They adopted the Resolution 181(II) which recommended the plan of turning Palestine into an Arab state, and the City of Jerusalem into a Jewish state. Right after the announcement, Palestine was again in turmoil which led to more unwanted violence despite the peace plans of the UN. In 1948, the yishuvs gained more territory and the Palestinian Arabs began to dwindle in number.

Support came for the Palestinian Arabs in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War which led to over 15,000 casualties. Egypt and Jordan supported the Palestinians while the Israelis continued with their reprisal operations. The Zionists outnumbered the Arabs which was why in the end of the war in 1949, the Israelis had conquered over 78% of Palestine.

Despite the long and ongoing peace efforts and even after Israel’s peace with Egypt and Jordan, Israel and Palestine still have not reached a final agreement for peace. The key issues still to be resolved include but are not limited to borders, water rights, Israeli settlements, control over Jerusalem, and mutual recognition.

Watch this video to learn more!

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    • kgmonline profile image
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      Geri Mileff 2 years ago from Czech Republic

      Thanks, @Titia. That's what we love to do. :)

    • profile image

      Jorge 2 years ago

      I have to disagree with you , Yaacov.Since peace broke out, thngis are much worse. Before "Oslo", how many drive by shootings, bus bombs, supermarket bombs, etc were there?Itis time that we take it all back - take back control over the land, take back the guns, take back the radio and tv programming, take back the schoolbooks which teach their children to kill us - and restore some security.Yes, we have to define "permanent resident" (ger toshav) status more clearly, for the arabs and for all the Phillipinos, Sudanese, etc. But that should not involve giving anyone sovereignty over our country, adn ceratinly should not involve giving those who seek to destroy us weapons and the political freedom to kill us.

    • profile image

      Titia 2 years ago

      An ineltligent answer - no BS - which makes a pleasant change

    • kgmonline profile image
      Author

      Geri Mileff 2 years ago from Czech Republic

      Thank you, @Leptirela!

      Exactly why we tried to state only official historical facts :)

    • Leptirela profile image

      Leptirela 2 years ago from I don't know half the time

      kgmonline Thanks for sharing.

      I wont tell you to 'underline' anything , if the whole world is not aware of the facts and action s by now then it never will be.

      I think you did the right thing sticking to the facts - a variety of thoughts and opinions may rise a verbal war though I think there is good and bad on both sides .

    • kgmonline profile image
      Author

      Geri Mileff 3 years ago from Czech Republic

      Thank you for commenting, Ami and Shinkicker!

      Thanks a lot for the additions, your input is much appreciated.

      As I mentioned above, with this short article, we tried to serve as a basic platform for future discussions and all points of view are really going only to make it richer and more valuable to the readers.

    • Shinkicker profile image

      Shinkicker 3 years ago from Scotland

      A succinct summary and very readable. Thanks for writing and sharing.

      But you really should mention:

      a) The ethnic cleansing conducted by the Israelis in the 1848 Nakba

      b) The illegality of the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land.

      Voted up.

    • profile image

      Ami 3 years ago

      A n issue too complex maybe for such a short discussion.

      Several key facts may help round this out:

      1. Palestine was almost depopulated after a thousand years of neglect beginning in the Middle Ages. Many of the Arabs residents migrated for jobs in Pakestine only after the agricultural and industrial developments starting in the mid 19th century with the arrival of new Jewish pioneers continuing up to the 1940s. The Jews of Palestine were called "Palestinians" until the creation of Israel per UN charter in 1948. The Arabs called themselves "Arabs" and affiliated themselves to their clans , historical ancestry (Syria, Etc.) or towns. Only after creation of the PLO in the mid 1960s did the Arabs adopt the identifier "Palestinian"

      2. Relations were mostly good between the Jews of Palestine and the Arabs until the advent of the Pan-Arab nationalistic movement (leading to the Ba'ath party doctrine of Assad, Sadam Hussein and others) that modeled itself after European Facism (the Haj Ammin el Huseini mentioned in the article even visited Hitler in the 1940s to create Arab Storm Troopers to help in extermination of the Jews. The Haj was considered a Nazi sympathizer by the Allies).

      3. This topic is so big I recommend accessing this link:

      https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths...

      Myths and Facts about the Arab Israeli Conflict. It's from the Istaeli perspective but ALL of its materials are referenced to primary, historical sources.

    • Iakovos Alhadeff profile image

      Iakovos Alhadeff 3 years ago

      You are welcome

    • kgmonline profile image
      Author

      Geri Mileff 3 years ago from Czech Republic

      Thanks for sharing, Iakovos Alhadeff.

    • Iakovos Alhadeff profile image

      Iakovos Alhadeff 3 years ago

    • kgmonline profile image
      Author

      Geri Mileff 3 years ago from Czech Republic

      Thank you for commenting, maxoxam41 and HSchneider!

      We really tried to state only official historical facts that could serve as a framework for discussion of the conflict and give the word to people who are more well-versed on the intricacies of this painful topic.

      Thank you once again and if you need to share any additional info in regard to this, please, don't hesitate to do so. Any comments are more than welcome.

    • maxoxam41 profile image

      Deforest 3 years ago from USA

      Both sides I don't think so. It was acknowledged that ONLY Israel has an interest in the prolongation.

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      Howard Schneider 3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Very informative Hub on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kgmonline. This is a very thorny and difficult subject to understand. Both sides continue to throw obstacles in the way for progress on peace. Hopefully this will change and give their peoples some chance for peaceful coexistence.

    • maxoxam41 profile image

      Deforest 3 years ago from USA

      You forget to underline that the different peace projects were and are automatically rejected by Israel. You also forget to underline the massacres perpetrated by Israel. You forget to underline that in their conquest to the middle east Israel intends to spread to Lebanon (it launched missiles two days ago), to Jordan, to Syria for the Great Israel.