Once again the Israel-Palestine conflict has gained worldwide attention. Israeli air raids on the besieged Gaza strip saw the most intense aerial exchanges between Israel and Hamas since the 2014 war in Gaza, and triggered international concern that the situation could go haywire. At least 192 people, including 58 children and 34 women, have been killed in the Gaza strip since the latest violence began a week ago. The situation in West Bank and in the Arab-dominated eastern part of Jerusalem has been tense since the arrival of Ramadhan.
This is not first time when heart-wrenching pictures and horrible videos of the atrocities committed on Palestinians are coming from Gaza, for the pogrom against Palestinians has been perpetuated since long.
Background of the conflict:
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the continuing conflict between Israel and Palestine that started in the mid-twentieth century amidst the greater Arab-Israeli conflict. After the end of 2nd world war, Jews fled from Nazi Europe. There arose a strong demand from Jews for a homeland within Palestine, an Arab-dominated region. In 1947, Britain requested United Nations to take up the Palestine issue. In May, the UN special committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) was created by a general assembly resolution. On September 3, the UNDOP submitted its report to UN general assembly. According to the report the population of Palestine at the end of 1946 was almost 1846000 (65%)and 608000 Jew (33%). UN proposed an Arab Jewish partition of Palestine between Palestine and the State of Israel. The partition plan proposed 53% of territory to the Jewish majority State Israel and 47% to the Palestine. But the Idea of creating a new Jewish state was loathed by Arab countries in the middle east. However, Jewish paramilitary groups created State of Israel by force. On March 14 ,1948 Israel was officially declared as a state, making it the first Jewish state in over 2000 years.
Since the idea of creating a new Jewish majority State didn’t bode well for the Arab countries, a deadly war between Israel and its Arab neighbours — Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan — began following the Israeli declaration of independence.
Israel won this war. It occupied more land than previously envisaged in the 1947 United Nations partition plan. The war came to an end with the signing of the 1949 Armistice Agreement between Israel and each of its Arab neighbour. Till the agreement was signed Israel had taken up 78% of the historical Palestine.
Palestinian territory shrank to 22% of what it had been earlier.
In 1967, a six-day war, also called the June war or Nakash, took place from June 5-10 between Israel and the states of Egypt, Syria and Jordan. The war proved decisive, and as a result, the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, old city of Jerusalem and Golan Jeights was captured by Israel. The Israeli victory in the war drastically changed geographic borders and political fortunes in the Middle East. Soon after the six-day war, Israel started to build settlements for its Jewish community in the newly-occupied Palestinian land, including in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At present in West Bank 160-odd Israeli settlements and outposts exist.
Gaza strip is controlled by Hamas which won elections in the year 2006. Since then we saw flare-up between Israel and its adversary every now and then. In 2008, Israel sent soldiers into Gaza. As many as 1300 people, many of them civilians, were mercilessly killed in Gaza before a ceasefire was declared. Similarly, in 2012, no less than 167 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli operation. Most recently, in July 2014, an estimated 2200 people were killed , mostly civilians, and thousands injured during 50 days of violence. After which a ceasefire was agreed between Israel and Hamas on 20 August.
Where things stand now:
For 70 years, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has badly affected the Middle East landscape. Today, the West Bank is nominally controlled and run by the Palestinian Authority and in reality is under Israeli occupation. The Israeli troops enforce restrictions on Palestinian movement and activities, and Israel builds ever-expanding settlements in the West Bank. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, an Islamist militant group, and is under Israeli blockade but not ground troop occupation.
Before 1948 Israel didn’t exist on the world map. Jewish people were called as terrorists by Britishers before 1948. Later they grabbed the Palestinian land by force and kicked the Palestinians out. Now the same people who fight for just cause, to get their land back, are called as terrorists by Israel.
An old man in Gaza held a placard in 2012 that read, “You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all but I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.” This old man’s message aptly describes the plight of Palestinians.
There are two ways by which the Israel-Palestine conflict might end, i.e., “two-state solution” and “one-state solution”.
The two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict proposes an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, west of the Jordan river. This is the mainstream approach to resolving the issue. Most polls suggest that both Israelis and Palestinians prefer a two-state solution. Antonio Guterres In his address to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which was established by the UN General Assembly in 1975, said: “peaceful and just solution” to the Israel-Palestine conflict can “only be achieved” through two states “living side-by-side in peace and security”. However, the incapacity of Israelis and Palestinians to come to terms has resulted in a recent surge in interest in the one-state solution.
The one-state solution envisions Israel, The West Bank and Gaza strip as one big country with citizenship and equal rights for all citizens of all three territories, without regard to ethnicity or religion.But as the interest in one-state grows, the human-rights violations are soaring year after year.
It is now time for United Nations and world community to resolve the long- standing Israel-Palestinian issue. Mere consolations in favour of Palestinians and condemnations of Israel are not enough. The world community should immediately take steps to put a halt, once for all, on the oppression and atrocities being inflicted upon innocent Palestinians. There is no justification for the incessant oppression of Israel in Palestine. There is no justification for the deafening silence from the rest of the world.
At this critical time, it also becomes a religious obligation for all Muslims to stand with the their Palestinian brothers because, “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever” (Al-Hadith Sahib al- Bukhari 6011, Sahib Muslim 2586). This is time, though, for people of all religions and races to join the Palestinians in their fight against tyranny and oppression of Israel, because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
The writer is a law student at Kashmir University. [email protected]