Conflict between Israel, Palestine endures over decades

Sean Khanna, Staff Writer

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is not something that started a few weeks ago; rather, it’s a 100-year-old dispute between the two states. 

The recent Israeli-Palestinian events arose from the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in April 2021, where Palestinians had nightly clashes with the police. Palestinian families living in East Jerusalem threatened with eviction also lead to rising anger toward the Israelis. Currently, the violence between the two parties continues to escalate as Israel carries out multiple airstrikes in Gaza and the militant group firing missiles in Tel Aviv (Israel’s commercial capital). This resulted in the death of dozens of Palestinians and multiple Israeli’s. Both sides warn the other of the consequences they will face, as this matter intensifies into a full-scale war.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire post-WWI, Britain took control of the area of Palestine. Palestine was already inhabited by a Jewish minority and an Arab majority, and tensions rose when Britain started the task of creating a new “national home” in Palestine for the Jewish people. This was the Jews’ ancestral home, but the Arabs’ also claimed the land and opposed Britain.

Between the 1920s and ‘40s, the number of arriving Jews increased, with many of them fleeing the oppression they faced in Europe and seeking refuge after the Holocaust of WWII. The violence between the Jews and Arabs continued to rise, as well as the tension caused by British rule. 

In 1947, the United Nations (UN) decided to split Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem becoming an international city. Although this policy was accepted by Jewish leaders, it was rejected by the Arab leaders and never implemented.

In 1948, unable to find a solution to create peace between the Jews and Arabs, the British rulers left Palestine while Jewish leaders declared the creation of the state of Israel. Many Palestinians, as well as troops from neighboring Arab countries, objected, and a war followed. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced out of their homes in what is called the Al-Nakba, or “the Catastrophe.” By the time the fighting ended, Israel controlled most of the territory, and Jerusalem was divided between Israeli forces in the West with Jordanian forces in the East. Jordan is an Arab nation. There was never peace between the two parties, and there were more wars and violence in the decades to come.

Tensions are often high between Israel and Palestinians living in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The Palestinian militant group Hamas rules Gaza, and Israel controls Gaza’s borders to stop weapons from reaching Hamas. Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank say they’re suffering from Israeli restrictions, but the Israelis claim that they only act to protect themselves from Palestinian violence.

“Similar things have been said by both sides in claiming victory and then essentially the seeds of the next conflict are sown,” BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen stated about the future of these two states. “I can tell you one thing for certain — that if the status quo does not change favorably, there will be another round of this.”