What are Israel and Palestine?

What are Israel and Palestine?

Israel is an officially Jewish country.

Palestine is a set of 2 separate (but not independent), ethnically Arab and mostly Muslim territories: the West Bank & Gaza.

Both countries are located in the Middle East.

There is no internationally recognized line between Israel and Palestine. The borders are considered to be disputed, and have been for decades.

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Why are the Israelis and Palestinians fighting?

The conflict is NOT primarily about religion.

It is over:

  1. Land ownership and control.
  • (The unpleasant) Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, in which Israel has put the Palestinians under suffocating military occupation & Palestinian militant groups terrorize Israelis.
How did the conflict start? (Israel's military occupation)

In 1967, Israel won another war with its Arab neighbours and put the remaining 2 Palestinian territories (West Bank & Gaza) under military occupation.

Reasoning behind the occupation:

  • protect Israelis from Palestinian attacks
  • provide security against foreign invasions.

However these excuses do not explain the settlers who move into Palestinian territories for cheaper housing & expansion of borders in a bid for ethnic cleansing.

How is this going to end?

One-state solution: By erasing the borders and putting the Israelis & Palestinians together into one equal, pluralistic state. However the unequal demographics makes this a bad idea.

Destruction of one side: The extremist idea of letting one side outright vanquish the other, in what would certainly be a catastrophic abuse of human rights.

Two-state solution: Independent states for both Israelis & Palestinians. However, this option is starting to look less viable as the conflict stretches on.

Why can't they try for peace?

Violence has become so commonplace that leaders on both ends seem to believe that managing the violence is preferable.

Israel's blockade on Gaza strangles economic life there and punishes civilians, which produce a climate that is hospitable to extremism.

Palestinian's distrust of Israel, due to their military occupation even after trying for peace, has also been a major factor in the increasing violence.

Who is to blame?

Both sides have squandered peace and perpetuated conflict, but Palestinians today bear most of the suffering.

Why is the conflict still going on now?

Hamas, a Palestinian militant group that formed in 1987, seeks Israel's destruction.

It is internationally recognized as a terrorist organization for its attacks targeting civilians and has ruled Gaza since 2006.

Israeli forces periodically attack Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, typically with air strikes or ground invasions.

The Zionist movement

Thousands of (mostly European) Jews were moving into the mostly-Arab, mostly-Muslim region of the Ottoman Empire, as part of a movement called Zionism to:

  • escape persecution
  • establish their own state in their ancestral homeland.

The conflict between Jews & Arabs in British Palestine began in the early 1900s, so in 1947, the UN approved a plan to to divide the country into:

  • Israel (for Jews)
  • Palestine (for Arabs)

Jerusalem, holy city for Jews & Muslims, was to be a special international zone.

Why Is Israel the oppresors?

Palestinian civilians endure the brunt of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While Israel targets militants and Hamas targets civilians, Israel's disproportionate military strength and its willingness to target militants based in dense urban communities means that Palestinians civilians are far more likely to be killed than any other group.

The 1948 Arab-Israeli war

Arab leaders in the region saw this plan as European colonial theft and, in 1948, invaded to keep Palestine unified.

However, the Israeli forces won & pushed well beyond the UN-designated borders to claim land that was to have been part of Palestine.

They also uprooted and expelled entire Palestinian communities, creating about 700,000 refugees, whose descendants now number 7 million & are still considered refugees.

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