A Student’s Guide to Understanding Middle Eastern Conflicts: Israel/Palestine

While it’s important to keep up to date on current affairs and world politics, sometimes it’s almost impossible to understand exactly what’s happened in the past and what’s going on now – especially when it comes to conflicts in the Middle East. In these articles, Impact Features writer Natalie will try to explain the Israel/Palestine, Syrian and other Middle-Eastern conflicts. Of course, this topic involves the finer points of political/religious arguments and the lives of millions of people who are effected daily by these conflicts and for someone living in Britain it’s almost impossible to comprehend. As such it’s extremely difficult to cover the topic completely, however, this article will hopefully explain exactly what caused the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Israel was founded in 1948 after the atrocities committed against Jewish peoples in Europe, in which 6 million people were killed. Wanting a country to call their own and feel safe in, many Jewish people campaigned for land. They were given a large part of Palestine, which became known as Israel, and which many of the Jewish faith considered to be their original homeland from biblical times.

However, many Arab natives in the surrounding areas felt that it was unfair to give away their land, and many felt forced to move to make way for the new arrivals. Because of this thousands of Palestinians became refugees and the Arab people did not recognise Israel to be a separate country. So in 1948 Israel and Palestine went to war.

At the end of the war Gaza was controlled by Egypt, and West Bank by Jordan. These two areas housed many Palestinians, most of whom had fled their homes in Israel.

“In 1948 Israel and Palestine went to war”

In 1967, after another war, Israel had captured Gaza and posted soldiers, who would stay there for many years. The Israelis had wished to exchange that captured area in return for the Arab people to recognise their country as legitimate.

However, with both sides unable to come to an agreement Israel left Gaza in 2005 and Hamas took control. Hamas is widely seen as a terrorist group as it vows to use violence as a means to force the Israelis out of their homes and allow the Palestinians to return. Since then Israel has had a blockade around Gaza, controlling its borders and dictating who can and cannot leave.

Because of this, many are living in poverty in Gaza as they cannot export goods and make money. And although they do not have an army, Gaza regularly fire rockets out of the city into Israeli border towns. This happens so regularly that those living in the border towns are used to taking shelter on a regular basis.

“Many are living in poverty in Gaza as they cannot export goods and make money”

Ever since 2005 tensions have been high between the Israelis and Palestinians, Israel sending soldiers into Gaza on several occasions but most notably in 2008 when 1,300 people were killed before a ceasefire was announced.

Most recently there has been a spate of killings, in which Palestinian and Israeli individuals have been murdered. On 26th November two Palestinian men were killed in West Bank. The Palestinian ministry says a 21-year-old was shot in head during the West Bank protest, while Israeli police say a Palestinian with a knife was killed at checkpoint.

In summary, this conflict has raged on since 1948 and has affected the lives of millions of people. However, with each passing year and every military act, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a solution and end the violence committed on both sides. Although many of the people alive during 1948 have passed away, their families still fight on resolutely, with each side having compelling and emotional reasons to claim the area known as Israel as their own.

Natalie Mallory

Photo: edward musiak via Flickr

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3 Comments on this post.
  • William Bilek
    5 December 2015 at 00:46
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    If this totally erroneous, superficial piece is the product of Ms. Mallory’s “education”, the future of our world is indeed in great jeopardy. What a bunch of horsefeathers!!

  • What does it matter
    9 December 2015 at 22:56
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    Anybody who starts with the year 1948 in an attempt to explain the Israeli Palestinian conflict is obviously being disingenuous (regardless of which side they’re on). Not to mention students should be leaving this stuff on their own, not from a source who wants to educate them on it. That source, by definition, is already biased. There is a difference between wanting people to be educated on a matter and wanting to educate people on a matter.

  • m goldmeier
    29 March 2016 at 04:02
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    Wow! thats all I can say to this piece of poor journalism. For the record there have been jews living continuously in Israel for over 3 thousand years. One historical census in 1874 had Jews at 10,000 muslims at 5,000 and christians at 5,50 (British consul in Jerusalem report to the House of Commons). What happened in Hevron in 1929? … really and this all started in 1948 and who started that war? If you are ignorant enough to believe one persons biased perspective then you will get what you deserve in life. Just investigate both sides on your own. As often the case the truth lies in the middle. Now lets move forward and try to solve this. Is their anyone in the Palastinine side ready to sit down and truly compromise?

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