What You Need to Know about the Israel-Palestine Conflict
Tension and violence between Israel and Palestine have escalated recently as the two countries battle over land and rights.
Much of the discord between the two has been going on for years, including a longstanding debate about who has a claim over land in the area. In response to the increasing violence, international groups have called for a cease-fire, but the battles have continued.
Here’s what you need to know about the conflict:
History of Violence
In 1920, Britain gained control of the region known as Palestine in World War I. Palestine was largely an area of Arabs and had a Jewish minority, according to The Express.
Through the 1940s, many Jews, believing it to be their “ancestral home,” relocated to the area to flee Nazi persecution in Europe.
With the influx of Jews, tensions between the Jews and Arabs grew, and in 1947, the United Nations voted to split Palestine into two countries and make Jerusalem an international city. Jewish leaders approved the idea, but Arab officials rejected the proposal.
“Under the U.N. partition plan, (Jews) were allocated 55 percent of the land, encompassing many of the main cities with Palestinian Arab majorities and the important coastline from Haifa to Jaffa. The Arab state would be deprived of key agricultural lands and seaports, which led the Palestinians to reject the proposal,” said a report from Aljazeera.
In 1948, as the British mandate expired, causing the English to withdraw from the region, Jewish leaders created the state of Israel. The proclamation of a Jewish state immediately sparked a war in the region. The same night the English left the region, Egypt launched an air assault on Israel. The newly formed state was then invaded by Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, History reports.
Also during this time, many Palestinians were forced from their homes. According to some reports, at least 750,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes. Some 15,000 were killed.
In 1949, the fighting ended in a cease-fire with Jordan occupying the West Bank and Egypt occupying Gaza. The Old City of Jerusalem and other holy sites were in East Jerusalem, an area controlled by Jordanians.
In 1967, tensions boiled over into the “Six-Day War” when Israeli warplanes struck Egyptian airfields. During the war, Israel took control of the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem. A few years later, Arab forces would attempt to take back the land, but fail.
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter stepped in to broker a peace deal between Egypt and Israel known as the Camp David accords.
“When we first arrived at Camp David, the first thing upon which we agreed was to ask the people of the world to pray that our negotiations would be successful. Those prayers have been answered far beyond any expectations,” Carter said in a speech at the time.
By the late 1980s, protests and clashes ignited an uprising in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. The unrest continued for a year until the Oslo Accords were signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
“Although the Oslo Accords were noteworthy in that the PLO agreed to formally recognize the state of Israel and that Israel, in turn, allowed the Palestinians some form of limited self-governance in Gaza and the West Bank (the so-called Occupied Territories), they were originally seen only as a stepping-stone toward the ratification of a formal peace treaty between the two sides that would end decades of conflict,” according to History.
Since the early 2000s, division between the countries has remained despite attempts at peace negotiations and treaties. In 2006, the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas won key elections in Gaza.
Later, the group launched rockets into Gaza, and Israeli forces struck back. More than 1,100 Palestinians and about 13 Israelis were killed in just a few weeks of fighting.
The next major conflict came in 2012 when Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari was killed by Israelis. After a week of fighting, some 150 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.
In 2014, Hamas militants killed three Israeli teenagers that were kidnapped in the West Bank. This resulted in a seven-week-long conflict where more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed in Gaza. In Israel, 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed.
In 2017, then-President Donald Trump announced that he would be moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, adding that the U.S. would officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This sparked protests and more violence in the region.
Recent fighting started after Palestinians struck back when a popular plaza was closed just as Ramadan was beginning and a legal battle over the homes of seven Palestinian families appeared set to end with their eviction.
Israel’s Attorney General has asked for a delay on the case. An Israeli organization argues that the landowners before Israel became a state were Jewish families, and the current Palestinian occupants should be evicted. Meanwhile, Palestinians say the law is unfair because they have no way to reclaim the property they lost to Jewish families in the late 1940s when Israel became a state.
At the end of April, hundreds of Jewish extremists marched through Jerusalem, chanting, “Death to Arabs.”
Adding to the division, Israel has not been able to elect a prime minister in four elections, keeping Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the country’s top seat for years.
“Such is the power of Jerusalem,” Richard Allen Green and Oren Liebermann say in an article for CNN. “Protests in Jerusalem can ignite protests in Israel and the West Bank, as well as prompt militant groups in Gaza to fire rockets and the Israel Defense Forces to launch airstrikes. A situation that began in one neighborhood in Jerusalem has now spread across the area and brought international attention to Israel and the Palestinian territories once again.”
This week diplomats with the U.N. Security Council and Muslim foreign ministers met in emergency meetings to demand a cease-fire in Israel.
Recently, Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City demolished three buildings and killed at least 42 people. About 188 people have been killed in Gaza during the violence. Eight people have been killed in Israel.
The Israeli army said recent assaults have targeted the houses of nine Hamas commanders and underground tunnels. The Hamas-run Health Ministry said of the 42 people killed in Gaza City, two were children under three years old.
On Sunday, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the country is trying to “levy a heavy price” on Hamas, and such action will “take time.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Oleksii Liskonih
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.