On 11th May, 2021, Israel and Hamas exchanged heavy fire. This conflict has resulted into several deaths by both sides. The escalation was sparked by unrest at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa-Mosque compound.
- The Israel-Palestine conflict often referred as ‘World’s most controversial conflict’ is rooted in a dispute over land claimed by Jews and their biblical birthright and by the Palestinian who seek for selfdetermination.
- Jews have been persecuted throughout history due to their religious beliefs and foreign culture.
- The origin of the conflict can be traced back to Jewish immigration and sectarian conflict in Mandatory Palestine between Jews and Arabs.
- Several movements like Zionist movement and Belfour declaration advocated for establishment of Jewish homeland in Palestine. Thus, British expressed official support for ‘Jewish national home’ under Belfour Declaration.
- In 1947 the UN gave a partition plan for independent Jewish and Arab states in Palestine. This was accepted by Jews but not by Arabs and never implemented.
- In continuum, Jewish people declared the independence of ‘Israel’ (they named their homeland country).
- In1967 Israel captured Golan Heights from Syria, West Bank including East Jerusalem from Jordan and Senai Peninsula and Gaza strip from Egypt.
- In 1974, United Nations grants the PLO (The Palestine Liberation Organisation) an observer status and recognizes Palestinians’ right to self-determination.
SITUATION AT PRESENT
- Things are being escalated due to the consequences of the 1967 war. The West Bank appears to tbe controlled by the Palestinian Authority although it is largely under Israeli occupation.
- Gaza strip is governed/controlled by Palestinian militant group Hamas (Islamist fundamentalist party)which has fought Israel many times.
- Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank say they are suffering because of Israeli actions and recations. But Israel say it is only acting to protect itself from Palestinian violence.
- Things got escalated since the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in Mid-April 2021 with clashes between police and Palestinians.
- The attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine of Muslims, has also alienated Arab Muslims & sympathized with the Palestinian cause (nearly 20% of Israel population consists of Arab Muslims).
- The attack on the mosque has also given Islamic militants (Hamas) an opportunity to call for attacks across other parts of the world. Therefore Hamas started to fire a barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Israel hit back with air strikes in Gaza. The aerial bombardments continued by both sides and mounted several death toll in both sides.
WHAT DOES PALESTINE WANT?
- Palestine want Israel border to withdraw to pre-1967 border and establish an independent state in West Bank and Gaza.
- Israel should stop her expansionist policy.
- Palestine wants East Jerusalem as the capital of the independent Palestine state.
WHAT DOES ISRAEL WANT?
- Israel wants sovereignty over Jerusalem.
- It wants international recognition of Israel as a nation state of Jewish people. However it recognize itself a sovereign country.
- Palestine refugees should return only to Palestine not to Israel while Palestinians insist on their right to return to their former homes.
SPECIALITY OF JERUSALEM
- Jerusalem is a sacred city to a number of religious traditions including the Abrahamic religions Judaism Christianity and Islam.
- Both Israel and Palestine have declared Jerusalem their capital.
- UNESCO has classified as a world heritage site means it has got the importance & special protection.
- It shares border between Israel and West Bank. Therefore it keeps strategic importance for both states.
- Officially, USSR was the first country to recognize Israel as a country.
- USA is bound to guarantee Israel access to advance US weapons by US Israel strategic partnership act 2014.
- USA sympathises more for Israel because of Jews population.
- Recently the new elected President of USA, Joe Biden has stated that Israel has the right to defend itself & called for ending the conflict as soon as possible.
- India has been consistently supportive of the Palestinian cause and full diplomatic relations were established in 1992 with Israel, adopting de-hyphenation policy.
- India adopts pro Palestine policy due to the Arab nation.
- India’s de-hyphenation policy is clearly visible as India’s Ministry of External Affairs defended its absentation in a vote on UNHRC resolution (An inquiry into right violation against Israel-Hamas conflict).
The need of the hour is to treat this conflict as an Israel-Arab conflict rather than Israel-Palestine. All member of UN could recognize both country in UN General Assembly & Security Council United States of America (USA) could Ban Israel from using US aid to detain/occupy Palestine land and Hamas should also be banned for the regional stability.