History politics World

Israel-Palestine War Over the Last 100 Years

Demonstrators protest near Israeli Consulate following flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence in New York

The world has witnessed a history of ferocious wars between nations over a portion of land and religion. The Israel-Palestine war is one of them which exists to date. It is not a recent issue but dates to 1918 around the First World War.

From the fall of the ottoman empire till date, the Palestinians are in constant battle with Israel. Restoration of the old Palestinian state is their main agenda. Meanwhile, Israel has emerged as a powerful nation and has a hold upon the state strongly with strong allies mainly the U.S.

How did Israel Palestine war start?

Map of British Mandate Palestine

From around 1517, Ottoman Empire controlled the majority of the Palestine region until 1918. Britain defeated the empire and occupied the region.  The Arabs were among the majority with the Jewish minority in the area during that period.

The International Community instructed the British government to build Palestine as a ‘Jewish National Homeland. The proposal was deemed an act of oppression on Arab Muslim citizens. The tensions started to grow between the Jews and the Arabs.

Finally, in 1947, the UN proposed to split Palestine into an independent Jewish and Arab state. Although the plan was accepted by the Jewish leaders, the Arabs found the plan lacking justification for their majority.

UN Partition Plan for independent Israel and Palestine states

Declaration of Israel in 1948 and the follow-up war

Then in 1948 after the departure of the British, proposed Israel announced its independence based on the previous partition plan. A war broke out between the neighboring Arab states and the new Israeli state.

Israel came out occupying two-thirds of the region with Jordan taking on the West Bank and Gaza by Egypt. After the war, around 750,000 Palestinians were displaced from Israel with some being forced to leave and some fled feared.

Palestinians commemorate May 15, the day the 1948 war started, to this day with symbolic gestures and activities. Since that day Israel restricts the refugees to get back.

War of 1967 and First Intifada

Then in 1967, Israel and its neighbors got into a six-day conflict once again. Israel claimed West Bank, Gaza, and Syrian Golan Heights along with the Sinai Peninsula.

With the occupation of Palestinian dwelled states like Gaza and West Bank, Palestinian resistance groups protested which resulted in First Intifada in 1987.

To end up the growing violence and save the lives of innocent civilians, a peace agreement named ‘Oslo Accord’ took place in 1993.  Then in 1995, PLO and the government of Israel signed on a second accord with an aim to bolster peace process.

Despite the agreement on accord, the Second Intifada broke out in 2000. The riots, bombings, and counterattacks shattered the peace process. The battle lasted for five years until Israel government pulled out their troops from Gaza in 2005.

Recent territories of Israel and Palestine areas

Rise of Hamas

Many voluntary groups have emerged over the decades in retaliation for the unjust actions of Israel targeted to Palestinian refugees.

One of such groups named Hamas came into spotlight after winning the Legislative Elections of Palestine in 2006. They defeated the Fatah group that had the administrative authority over Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Now, Gaza is under the rule of Hamas.

Hamas and Israel have participated in armed clashes from time to time, with bloody battles of 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2021 being the highlighted ones. The recent Israel Hamas war that lasted 11 days saw Hamas fire highest number of rockets into Israel than previous wars.

Hamas has claimed the responsibilities for numerous Israel attacks and suicide bombings. Consequently, US, Israel, UK, and other powerful nations have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization.

 Will it ever end?

Both sides came to an agreement on ceasefire after the loss of around 250 lives in recent fight. However, the tension remains quite high still to this very time. Israelis have been settling in West Bank and Gaza strip, areas controlled by Palestine. The settlements have been termed illegal and invasive by the Palestinians.

Likewise, dominance in Jerusalem is one of the major issues. Israel claims whole Jerusalem as the capital. While the Palestinians consider East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent Palestinian state. Al- Mosque, a holy place for both Jewish and Muslims, is another debated topic.

Palestinian resistance groups are holding their ground to defend the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. In response, Israel can not allow the return of Arab Muslims population. The return  would endanger the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

The growth in intensity of Israel Palestine war has concerned many international societies and global leaders. It is high time to get both sides on board to a lasting agreement and put a stop to this war once and for all. Jeremy Bowen at BBC says, if the issue is not sorted out, it won’t take long to see another one of these wars.