This Essay is submitted by –
- Kartikey Srivastava, 4th semester law student, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow.
To be specific the conflict between the two states has started since the creation of Israel in 1948, however, the conflict is mainly based on religion/ethnicity. The conflict between the ethnic/religious groups dates back to more than 3000 years ago.
The article sheds some light on the history of the conflict emerging ever since between the two states, Israel & Palestine and it also enunciates the contemporary context for both the states with respect to India. The article will mainly emphasize on the history of the emergence of the Israel-Palestine dispute.
Jerusalem, the epicenter of the 3 religions in the world which constitutes more than fifty percent of the earth’s population is the place where it all started. The two states here in conflict i.e. Israel and Palestine were not ready to even recognize each other. The dispute among inhabitants of this place dates back from around 3000 years ago. The fight was among the Jews, the Arabs, and the Christians.
History of Arab Palestine Dispute
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century, Zionism began to emerge all over Europe. Zionism was a nationalist movement of Jews where they aimed to form a nationalist state as Jews at that time were getting persecuted almost all over the globe. Palestine was the ancient homeland of Jews and Jerusalem was of their religious importance. The migration of Jews was at zenith during the time of First world war mostly because of the Balfour Declaration which was given by Sir Arthur Balfour which stated that the British will give Jews their national home i.e. Palestine after the war ends. But the British formed a secret agreement named ‘Sykes-Picot’ where they promised many different countries to be given to their allies. They kept Palestine for themselves but it was also promised to the Arabs.
After the end of the First World War, the British Mandate came into force and the population of Jews in Palestine raised to 30 percent as compared to 3 percent which was during the ottoman empire. Jews started forming their settlements i.e. they forced the local Arab Palestinians out of their land by buying the neighboring land. These Jewish settlements spread all over Palestine.
In 1936, Arabs of Palestine revolted against the British mandate and the British suppressed them with the help of Jewish militias. To satisfy the Arabs too the British capped the number of Jewish migrants entering the state yearly. This was not welcomed by the Jewish militias and they turned against the British Mandate.
The Holocaust came with World war 2 where the Jews were killed by the Nazis. The estimate of the casualties of Jews was approximately 4.2 million.
Creation of Israel
After the end of the Second world war, the British left the Palestine dispute in the hands of United Nations, the state of Israel came into existence as it was made a Jewish state and Palestine was given to Arabs. However, the city of Jerusalem was put under International control as it was equally important to Jews as well as Arabs.
Arab-Israel War 1948-49
As soon as Israel came into existence all the neighboring Arab states (Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq) attacked the newly formed Israel, but Israel marched towards all of them and it annexed the neighboring lands including the territory of Palestine. Gaza Strip came under the control of Egypt and the West Bank under Jordan. At this time Israel possessed much more land than it was promised to it by the United Nations.
Six-Day War 1967
Israel annexed Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza Strip from Syria, Jordan and Egypt respectively and defeated them with a great margin. Israel even managed to conquer the Sinai Peninsula which was initially Egypt’s territory.
Yom Kippur War 1973
Syria and Egypt attacked Israel intending to recapture their territories. This resulted in the signing of the Camp David Accords in 1978 by Egypt and Israel where the Sinai peninsula was returned to Egypt and in return Egypt gave recognition to Israel as a country, Egypt being the first Arab country to do so.
Israel Palestine Dispute
After the formation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, the war for independent Palestine was led by them.
1st Intifada (1987-93)
‘Intifada’ means rebellion or uprising in Arabic. There were protests and boycotts by PLO. Violence caused in this cost the lives of 100 Jews and 1000 Palestinians. The major thing which happened during this was the emergence of a new organization in the Gaza Strip named ‘HAMAS’ which was more nationalistic and extremist in approach as compared to PLO.
The main distinction between PLO and HAMAS was that PLO wanted a peaceful agreement between Israel and Palestine and would later recognize Israel as a nation whereas according to HAMAS, Israel, a Jewish state had no right to exist.
Oslo Accords 1993
A peace agreement signed between Israel and PLO which was mediated by the USA. The agreement’s mentioned the following things majorly: –
- Recognition of State of Israel by PLO.
- Recognition of PLO as representative of Palestinians by Israel and not a terrorist organization.
- Governance of West Bank and Gaza to be given to Palestinian National Authority.
The main objective of this peace agreement was to hold the situation for the next 5 years. But after 5 years, in 2000 when Camp David II i.e. the talks failed. It gave to rise of Second Intifada.
2nd Intifada (2000-05)
This was more violent than the first intifada which was accompanied by bus bombings and various other terrorist attacks which led to the loss of lives of 1000 Jews and 3200 Palestinians.
The Aftermath of the 2nd Intifada
There was a rightward shift in Israel’s politics as those political parties which claimed to remove Palestine from the world’s map started gaining popularity in comparison to those who wanted peace between the two states. Israeli forces were withdrawn from Gaza Strip as they knew that Gaza would never join Israel. Elections were held after this in Gaza in which HAMAS won, and after a conflict with ‘Fatah’ (a PLO affiliated party), HAMAS removed them completely from Gaza.
HAMAS after coming into power started launching rockets over the civilian areas of Israel and thus violating the Geneva Convention. The reply given by Israel to this was blockading Gaza. This meant that no one can enter and exit Gaza without permission from Israel. There were three wars between Gaza and Israel which led to the deterioration of Gaza’s condition to the very extent.
Major Issues between Israel Palestine’s Peace
Status of Jerusalem
Both religions have historical religious importance to this city. Israel claims Jerusalem as their capital whereas the whole world considers Tel Aviv as its capital.
5 million Palestinian refugees are staying in the neighboring countries. Israel itself has a population of 8 million and let the huge number of refugees on Israeli land will surely be a threat to its security.
Israel had encouraged its people to settle in the west bank and they are provided security and cheaper rates.
The blockade of Gaza by Israel has a major impact on the overall situation of Gaza. It has become one of the poorest countries in the world.
India has good connections with both the countries as the United Nations has urged India several times and even sent the delegation to mediate between Israel and Palestine. Our Prime Minister has visited both these countries as the first-ever Indian prime minister who visited these countries and thus making the diplomatic relations stronger.
Even the President of Palestine requested Prime Minister Modi to help resolve their issue ongoing for 3000 years. To which our Prime Minister assured him that one day Palestine will be a free, Independent State. In 1974 India became the first non-Arab country to recognize PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of Palestinian people. In 1988 India was also one of the first countries to recognize Palestine as a state. In 2011 India voted for Palestine to become a full member of UNESCO. India even voted in favor of the resolution titled “The right of Palestinian people to self-determination” in the United Nations.
India is the largest arms buyer from Israel, and last year India signed the biggest deal in the history of Israel which was close to 2 billion dollars. The visit of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu also marked the 25 years of establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The Teen Murti Chowk in central Delhi was renamed as Teen murti-Haifa after the Israeli city Haifa. Israel has also helped India during the Kargil war.
In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, India also sent five-tonne cargo via airplane to Israel which mainly consisted of a drug named ‘Hydroxychloroquine’ which is usually an anti-malarial drug but it has been anticipated that it is the best possible cure for coronavirus. Several countries have been experimenting to find the cure of coronavirus through this drug and the current prime minister of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu also thanked the Indian counterpart on behalf of all citizens of Israel for this essential drug.
The possible solution acknowledged by the experts and various political personalities across the globe is the “Two-State Solution”. Where both states have to acknowledge each other’s existence and their legitimacy. The facts belonging to both the states are somewhat true and both of the states should achieve common ground. For Example, as Jewish were persecuted all across the globe, there is a need for a Jewish state, but as the Palestinians are staying in Palestine so why should they leave their homeland on which their ancestors are living. So claims from both the countries hold water, and the two-nation should negotiate and come forward to sign a peace agreement and this can likely happen if India pitches itself in as a mediator and make the leaders of the two-state talk to each other on the table rather than continuing an ongoing war from ages. The extremist approach from the side should be cut off loose as it just hampers the situation like the HAMAS which denies the existence of Israel should not come into the picture but the organization like PLO which wants two peaceful states should be put in a major role. Eventually, the world hopes to see the two peaceful neighboring states named Israel and Palestine.
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje