The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been one of the oldest in the world's history as it has endured for about two centuries. The two areas, Israel and Palestine previously existed as one, which was recognized internationally as Palestine. The conflict commences after the 1948-49 war, where this region was divided into three; the state of Israel, the west bank and the Gaza strip. The regions are composed of different religions, mainly the Muslims, Christians, and the Druze, but this does not form the basis of the conflict. The Gaza strip is the one focus for both sides of this conflict, and with each holding strong defenses over the other, there can never be reconciliation if one group exercises complete political control over the entire territory. The Israel Jews' claims for the land dates back to the biblical era where God had promised Israel land for them and their descendants to dwell in. This has been controversial since even the Palestinian Arabs claim to fall within the promise to Abraham through his bastard son Ishmael. The conflict is characterized by conquest, revenge, and destruction as each side of the war holding to the fight due to the identity, honor, and propriety to cultural claims that the region of conflict evokes. The disputants employ sophisticated armaments and arguments, and they hold the victory of this conflict dearly, that they are willing to combat everything that comes in their way, including the rival voices amidst them (Kapitan, 2015). With years of international diplomatic interventions, the issue has proved unsolvable, and this makes it one of the most crucial and difficult political problems the world has been forced to witness. The blood, mortality, economic impacts, humanitarian violations and the failures and successes of the interventions fashioned to get these two regions out of their constant blows towards each other are therefore crucial in figuring out why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has lasted for so long, and the future expectations and predictions of its relationship.
The nineteenth century saw a desperate move for many populations, religions, and cultures to form a substantial identity of themselves via the establishment of nations, states and regions. This was a move that was primarily caused by the self-determination and sovereignty of a people to attain self-rule and acquire national rights that would protect them as a group. It is this very concept that led to Zionism, a movement by the Jews who were then randomly spread around the world, to immigrate and settle in a region that would guarantee their identity and safety. It is in this spirit that they demanded to own the land in question, as they claimed it was the historical site of the Jewish kingdom of Israel. The Jewish were also constantly object to discrimination for the Europeans, through the anti-Semitic prejudice, and they, therefore, needed a place where they could be shielded from this (Pressman, 2005). The Arabs, on the other hand, were not ready to compensate for the inhumanity of Europe, and they, therefore, could not forfeit their land for this reason. They also claimed legitimacy to the land by virtue that their ancestral parents had settled in the land for more than a hundred years. Each side of this conflict, therefore, held unshakable positions towards their zeal to expand their territories and acquire the land, and this is one of the many factors that made the conflict unsolvable.
The Arabs had a natural affiliation to the Ottoman Empire, and after the defeat of this empire by British during World War I, the empire was declared a mandatory Palestinian state. Zionists, therefore, changed their focus from the Ottoman Empire to the holy land, Israel. This was the very land that was headed by the Ottoman Empire and was called Palestine as well. While the Zionists in Europe and other capitals sought statehood through diplomacy, those on ground bought more land, built communities, welcomed new immigrants from the rest of the world and encouraged the Jews to work hard and grow their crops and rear their livestock. The 1917 Balfour's declaration then hit the last nail on the matter, and the Jewish people were incorporated in Israel. These two groups were now united to fight against the British rule that had established in their midst. British, on seeing that their political influence over Palestine was under threat, proposed a report through the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) that favored the division of Palestine into the Arab and Jewish states, with the former taking about 42% of Palestine while the latter took 52% (Pressman, 2005). The remaining part was supposed to be an international zone, including Jerusalem. The Jewish were in favor of this proposal while the Arabs were against it, and this was the primary cause for the conflict. What followed was constant fighting in Palestine between the Jewish and Arab forces. Israel, through the Zionist advantage, declared its independence in 1948, and by the time the war ended in 1949, it had acquired 78% of the Palestinian territory in the UNSCOP plan. Israel controlled the west of Jerusalem, the previously declared international zone, while Jordan controlled the east. The Arab Palestinians were hence faced with a landlessness issue and most of them, between 650 to 700,000were considered refugees. The Israel government through its military soon after ordered the expulsion of 50,000 Palestinians. Israel had however not issued an official report on this, and Ben Gurion of Palestine thought it wise to use war to alter the demographic disadvantage. Ten episodes of war saw about fifty Palestinians killed.
The conflicts saw a majority of the Palestinians refugees in various states and nations, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, an agency formed by the United States to come to the aid of these refugees, in 2004, reported of about 4.2 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants, with 42% living in Jordan and 29% in refugee camps (Pressman, 2005). Through international interventions, Israel and Palestine signed many treaties, like the armistice agreement among others, which were often broken and dismantled by successive war. The war gradually brought other parties, as with the case of Egypt, Britain, and France. The United States constantly intervened these wars, but after every agreement or treaty, these countries had a way of reinventing the attack strategies through ambushed, military battles, sabotage, and others.
While the 20th century experienced the on and off conflicts between Israel and Palestine, the 21st century is no different. A recent event was the 2016 conflict whereby Israel was constantly discriminating against the rights of the Palestinians, in an attempt to transfer Israel civilians to the occupied Gaza Strip. Palestinians retaliated by stabbing Israel passersby who had no evidence of affiliation to either side of the conflict. On over 150 cases, Israel was reported to have used excessive force and extrajudicial executions against Palestinians. According to the united states Between January 1 and October 31, 2016, at least 11 Israelis were killed and 131 injured by Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel. Within the same period, at least 94 Palestine's were killed and 3,203 wounded in the same region (World Report, 2017). The continued violations and violence led to the destruction of property and the displacement of about 1,283 Palestinians in the west bank.
The cost of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been paid dearly by the international community as well as the national governments of these two states. Most of the damage is quantified by the loss of lives, property and the displacement of people, but yet another dimension of the conflict brings forward the financial cost of the war. Billions of dollars have been lost in financing for military forces, the accommodation and provision of refugees, compensations form both governments and the loss of trade partners due to the unfavorable economic climate. This has therefore necessitated for an alternative trajectory that brings forth a suggestion on the course of action and the cost of these actions to the nations and the world at large. First is the two-state solution that assumes the agreement between the two states based on the Clintons parameters. This solution suggests the retrieving of Israel to the 1967 borders on mutually agreed-upon swaps, an act that will see the relocation of 100,000 settlers back to the west bank and the Gaza strip, the WBG region. The projected outcome for this would be an increase in GDP by $23 billion in Israel by 2024, and the WBG region realizes $9.7 billion GDP increases (Anthony et al., 2015). The coordinated unilateral withdrawal strategy assumes the organized withdrawal of Israel from the WBG with the cooperation of the Palestinians, a move that will gradually see the recovery of the region by Palestine through the removal of about 60,000 settlers within the area. Another alternative is the nonviolent resistance of Palestine towards Israel's economic development through boycotts and the efforts of the international criminal courts towards Israel products in the WBG. This would result in the drop of Israel's GDP by $15 billion and hence necessitate a truce.
Conflicts, wars, and conquests often drag with them effects that directly or indirectly affect the normalcy of the human lives. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has endured for about two centuries, and each side of the blow has felt the social, economic, religious and political impacts of the war. Lives have been lost, properties destroyed, empires defeated, and relationships ruined as each side of the conflict strived to prove stronger and hence acquire maximum advantage from the war. The war resulted in the displacement of about 700,000 Palestinians before the wake of the 21st century, and thus forced them to seek refuge in other states and capitals, and within their former homes. The economic cost of the war has gradually seen the financial abilities and independence of the two countries down the drains through the continuous destruction of valuable property and military bases, the cost of hosting and financing refugees, as well as the loss of trade partners and allies-by due to the unpredicted economic climates within the region. Among the few trajectories formulated to foresee the seizure of the conflict are the nonviolent resistance, coordinate withdrawal from the territory of conflict by Israel and two-state resolution.References
Anthony C. R., Egel D., Ries C. P, Bond C. A., Liepman A. M., Martini J., Simon S..., &Vaiana M. E. (2015). The costs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. RAND Corporation, Santa Monica. Pp. 1-292.
Kapitan T. (2015). The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Its History, and Some Philosophical Questions it Raises. Pp. 1-59
Pressman J. (2005). A brief history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. P. 1-15
World report (2017). Israel-Palestine events of 2016. https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/israel/palestine
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