Since the 1940’s, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has been at the center of American international affairs. Each decade since the conflict’s start, leaders from around the world have come together to help the two sides negotiate a peace treaty. Regardless of the outside parties involved, the terms of negotiation or the willingness of Israel and Palestine to come together, so far each deal has failed.
As far as conflicts go, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most complex of our time.To help, here is the necessary information needed to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Following the end of World War II, the newly formed United Nations declared the need for an independent Jewish state where Holocaust refuges and other Jews could live. On May 14, 1948 Israel was established along the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. Immediately after, Jewish refugees started moving to Israel and by 1970 more than 1 million people had immigrated to the country.
Today, Israel has a population more than 8 million people, 80 percent Jews and 20 percent Arabic. Israel is recognized by the United Nations as a sovereign state which operates under a form of parliamentary democracy.
Palestine is a geographic region within Israel that is not recognized as a sovereign state by the United Nations. Palestine is comprised of the West Bank, located on the east side of Israel, and the Gaza Strip, located on the Mediterranean Sea.
Palestine declared itself an independent state in 1988 . In 2012 the United Nations granted it observer status meaning Palestinians can attend UN meetings but have no vote.
Origins of the Conflict
Violence between Jews and Muslims around modern-day Israel is not new. The two religions have been in conflict has since Jerusalem was founded thousands of years ago. However, the modern conflict quickly escalated as soon as Israel was founded in 1948.
The first war between Israel and Palestine was from 1947-1949 and resulted in Israel obtaining control of the majority of the region. Israel gained control of the rest of the region in 1967 leaving only the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in control of the Palestinians.
Following an uprising by Palestinians in 2000, the tension between Israel and Palestine escalated into a war like conflict with constant violence from both sides.
- From 2000-2012 6,663 Palestinians and 1,097 Israelis were killed because of the conflict
- Almost 50 percent of all Palestinians living in in the Gaza Strip or West Bank are refugees
- The conflict has caused highly unsteady employment rates in Palestine: In 2000, the Palestinian unemployment rate reached 22 percent
- Israel’s economy has also been damaged by the conflict: the country has had a lower credit rating and slower economic growth than many other Middle Eastern and Asian countries
These wars and their resulting land acquisitions are at the heart of the modern Israeli-Palestinian conflict: both believe they have a right to control the same land. This notion along with arguments concerning refugees, security and the inevitable hatred associated with years of fighting has made current negotiations all but impossible
Despite the overwhelming strength of Israel and Palestine’s disagreements, UN delegates and U.S. politicians have optimistically sent representatives into the region countless times in order to help Israel and Palestine reach an agreement to no avail.
Most recently in early November, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry went to Israel in hopes of brokering a peace deal between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. After a week of negotiations, arguments and threats, the deal once again fell through.
Peace between Israel and Palestine may not be completely impossible. Even though peace negotiations have failed thus far, a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians favor the solution to creation of two independent states.
Because the foundation is there, peace could occur if the two sides simply come together and agree upon the specifics of a treaty like how to address refugees and where to set country borders. Without this discussion and compromise, the violence between Israel and Palestine will inevitably continue.