Peace Puzzles: Decoding 100 Years of Israel-Palestine Tensions

Explore a century-long tale of Israel and Palestine – from 1915 to today. Wars, peace attempts, and twists in a historical rollercoaster.
Peace Puzzles: Decoding 100 Years of Israel-Palestine Tensions
Peace Puzzles: Decoding 100 Years of Israel-Palestine TensionsImage Credit: Since Independence

You all must have heard about how Hitler behaved toward Jews but do you know that the dreadfulness against Jews began thousands of years ago? It is known that Jesus Christ was born into a Jewish family and some Christians acknowledge that Jews wanted to crucify Jesus Christ.

When the crusade came to pass around a thousand years ago Christians killed Jews in large numbers. Because of rumors that Jews used to drink the blood of Christian children or that they used their blood for illegitimate reasons the hatred against Jews was unbridled.

The hatred Jews had to bear hardly any religion had to go through in the last thousand years. Because of all this hate Jews were being seen as an unlike nationality as well.

Due to all these reasons till the late 1800s, Jews living around the world started to feel that no country would accept them as their own. If they wanted to live peacefully, they would need to build their own country.

Rise of Zionism

There was an Austro-Hungarian journalist named Theodor Herzl. He began a new political campaign in his 1896 pamphlet, Zionism. He said Jews should get their independent country and since this idea was already propagated by several organizations and because of this the first large-scale migration of Jews was seen in 1881 in the Palestine area.

A man standing with an Israeli flag and another person holding up a Palestinian flag in the city of East Jerusalem.
A man standing with an Israeli flag and another person holding up a Palestinian flag in the city of East Jerusalem.Image credit: AFP

They migrated to the Palestine area because this was a very holy area for them. Jerusalem is the holiest place for the Jews. Do remember at that time there was no Israel, Gaza, or the West Bank.

The entire area was Palestine which fell under the Ottoman Empire. Under this empire, more or less all three religions  Christianity, Muslims, and Jews lived together peacefully.

British fooled Jews and Arabs

As we fast forward to the year 1915, World War 1 began. The British, French, and Arab revolutionaries were fighting against the Ottoman Empire and The British played a clever hand here. They suggested to the Arab revolutionaries that in return for their support in winning against the Ottoman Empire, they would give them the land of Palestine.

On the other hand, the Britishers locked the same deal with Jews as well. They promised Jews that they would support them to create their own Jewish country near Palestine.

There were some under-the-table politics deals going on as well. The British made a confidential agreement with the French. As soon as the Britishers won the war they divided the Middle East area between the British and France. And that's how between 1918-1948 the entire Palestine was under the control of the British Government. At this time Hitler  the political power in Germany and the Jews genocide began.

Since both the parties were demanding their own country the Israeli Nationalist movement and Palestine Nationalist Movement started. By 1948 Britishers stepped back from all the unrest they created and left the Jews and Palestinians to form their own country. The Britishers delegated their power to the UN and they came up with a partition plan. In the plan

The UN saves 57% of the area for the Jews and the remaining 48% for Palestine. The UN keeps Jerusalem under international control as this land is important for all three religions.

Birth of Israel

The Jews accepted the plan and named their country Israel in 1948. But as the other neighboring countries were not happy with the plan they started a war against Israel. This war was very historic as it was the first Arab-Israeli war.

More than five countries were fighting against Israel and surprisingly, the Jews surpassed them with all they had and won the war solely. After the war ended the land that was initially saved for Palestine as per the UN partition Plan was occupied by Israel.

More than 700,000 Palestinians had to move out from their homes and became refugees to other Arab countries and this was the Exodus movement of Palestinian in 1948.

End of Palestinians

Gaza has been hit by Israeli strikes.
Gaza has been hit by Israeli strikes. Image credit: AP

In 1967 Israel won the second Arab-Israeli war. This war is also known as the historic six day war in which Israel occupied the West Bank area with the Gaza strip and the Egyptian Peninsula.

Synopsis of Arab-Israeli Conflict 

As the world once more witnesses the Hamas Israel Conflict in the Gaza Strip we bring you the legacy of the Israel-Palestine issue which began 100 years ago.

Timeline for Israel- Palestine Conflict

  • 1915

It all started in 1915 Herbert Samuel, a member of the British Cabinet, advocated for the British annexation of Palestine.

  • 1917

In the year 1917, the Balfour Declaration pledged to designate a national home for the Jewish Population in Palestine. 

  • 1922

After the First World War was finished in 1922 the League Of Nations consented to the Mandate over the Ottoman Empire territory of Palestine to the United Kingdom.

  • 1933

In 1933, Palestinian riots erupt due to an impulsive increase in Jewish immigration from Nazi persecution in Germany.

  • 1936

Between 1936 to 1939 Palestinians revolted against the British mandate and Jewish immigration directing the British to suppress the uprising.

  • 1939

In 1939 the United Kingdom handed out a White Paper restricting Jewish immigration and emphasizing the need for immigration to be in line with the economic capacity of the country and not to burden the existing population.

  • 1942

In 1942 the Zionists were summoned to New York and adopted the Biltmore program. They call for the establishment of Palestine as a Jewish commonwealth with unlimited immigration.

  • 1947

Cut to 1947 in February the UK relinquished its role and gave the Palestinian question to the UN. In November, the UN General Assembly adopted solution 181 (2) which suggests the division of Palestine into an unnamed Jewish state and an unnamed Arab state with Jerusalem under UN trusteeship.

  • 1948

Great Britain terminated its mandate over Palestine and Israel announced independence on May 15. Territorial expansion through force led to the first significant departure of Palestinian refugees. Simultaneously Arab countries invaded Israel.

  • 1949

In the year 1949, the first Arab-Israeli War came to an end with the victory of Israel. With this the 750,000 Palestinians were allegedly displaced, which they termed as Al Nakba, or "The Catastrophe".

  • 1950

Now in 1950, Israel resettled its capital from Tel Aviv to the western part of Jerusalem. In defiance of the UN resolutions, the West Bank came under Jordanian control.

  • 1964

In 1964 Palestine Liberation Organization PLO was founded in Cairo.

  • 1967

In 1967 the six-day war was behind Israel launching a preemptive strike against Egypt and Syria. Israel occupies the West Bank, Arab East Jerusalem, and Syria's Golan Heights which it retains to this day.

  • 1973

Cut to 1973 the Yom Kippur war erupts as Egypt and Syria onslaught Israeli positions along the Suez Canal and Golan Heights. Israel shoved both armies back within three weeks. Following the war, the UN Security Council enacted Resolution 338 calling for a ceasefire, and the enactment of Resolution 242 leading to negotiations.

  • 1974

The UN and Arab League acknowledge the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The unstable rights of the Palestinian people to independence, self-determination, sovereignty, and refugee return through resolution 3236 also get recognized at the UN.

  • 1978

After secret negotiations at Camp David former Egyptian President Muhammad Anwar Al Sadad and former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin agreed on a framework for peace in the Middle East leading to the withdrawal of the Israeli Armed Forces from the Sinai Peninsula.

  • 1980

Israel's parliament enacts the basic law on Jerusalem declaring Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel despite censure from the Security Council and General Assembly.

  • 1981

The United Nations Security adopted resolution 497 calling on Israel to resend its annexation of the Golan Heights.

  • 1982

Israel descended upon, leading to the evacuation of thousands of Palestinian fighters under Yasser Arafat after a ten-week siege.

  • 1987

Hamas also known as Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya was founded by a Palestinian cleric Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in the year 1987. It was communicated as a transnational Sunni  Islamist organization.

Hamas had to do with two Palestinian insurgencies, also known as 'intifadas', which took place from 1987 to 1993 and 2000 to 2005, and topped off the peace process between the two countries, as they passed into a new phase of the dispute.

  • 1993

On September 13 1993 Israel and PLO signed the declaration of principles on an interim self-government agreement known as the Oslo Accords. It outlined the responsibilities of each party.

  • 1995

Israel and the PLO signed the Palestinian-Israeli agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza State, this is also known as Oslo 2.

  • 1996

Palestinian general elections were held.

  • 2002

Cut to June of 2002, Israel began the formation of the separation wall to prevent suicide bombings.

  • 2004

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) issues an advisory opinion on the rightfulness of the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory.

  • 2006

In January, Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections originating from a Palestinian Authority government. Now here starts the Gaza issue.

  • 2008

Israel tightens its grip, boycotts, and seals the Gaza Strip leading to Operation Cast.

  • 2012

Israel launched the pillar of defense and an 8-day military operation against the Gaza Strip. Palestine also acquired the status of a UN non member observer state.

  • 2014

Israel launched Protective Edge, a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip. This was the third military operation.

  • 2016

The UN Security Council took on resolution 2334 stating that Israel's activity oversteps international law and has no legal validity.

  • 2017

US President, Donald Trump declares recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

  • 2018

The US relocates its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

  • 2020

President Trump helped mediate the Abraham Accords normalizing Israel's relations with some Arab States including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. They also put forth a realistic peace plan.

Closing Remarks

So far this is the history of conflict between Palestine and Israel from the last 100 years. Now we have seen how on October 7, 2023, Hamas attacked Israel and what we have in the news is right before.

As we conclude, it's evident that history's ink is still wet, and the story isn't over. The struggles and triumphs shape our present, urging us to reflect on the intricate dance between nations.

The ink may still be wet, but the hope is that one day, it will dry on a page marked by lasting peace.

By: Manika Sharma

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