From Time Immemorial the hostilities between Israel and Palestine are increasing. There are historical, religious, and political differences leading to huge amounts of unrest.
How did it all start?
In the First World War, Western Countries including England attacked Ottoman Empire and captured Palestine from the Ottomans in 1917.
In 1917, the Balfour Declaration was made by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour which supported the idea and facilitated the establishment of a national home of Jewish people. In 1919, Palestinians started objecting when a large number of Jewish people started to settle there and they themselves became the minority.
The Second World War made the situation much much worse when hundreds of Jewish refugees came in after the sufferings of the Holocaust. Britain handed over the matter to the United Nations whereby the United Nations Resolution 181, Palestine was partitioned into Jewish and Arab States. Jerusalem is put under international control.
The state of Israel was created on May 14, 1948, and then started the war with the Arab States. In the series of three wars, the Suez War of 1956, Six days War of 1967, and the Yom Kippur War of 1973, more than 400 Palestinian villages were razed and 760,000 Palestinian refugees had to flee to West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring Arab countries.
What’s happening now?
On April 25, after days of protests, Israeli security services removed metal barriers around the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem — the main thoroughfare for Palestinians in East Jerusalem entering the Old City to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan. In the weeks that followed, Palestinians continued to protest Israeli police practices limiting access to the Old City’s holy sites, leading to several clashes with police.
Further worsening the situation, the uprising came when the Israeli Supreme Court ordered (now delayed) the planned expulsion of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, an East Jerusalem neighborhood that connects the old city to the West Bank.
Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim the property they had lost in the 1948 war but the same right is denied to Palestinians in the same scenario accounting to further tussles.
Local Palestinians organized protests and sit-ins in Sheikh Jarrah. Israeli troops on 10 May entered to disrupt the protests and assaulted peaceful gathering and started firing bullets, grenades, skunk water causing havoc and injuries. Palestinians are subsequently beaten by police and tensions and protests are continuing to date.
On 7th May, Israeli police in clashes with young Palestinians used force against the worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque injuring many. On 10th May, clashes occurred again in Jerusalem. Hamas, the military wing, fired a series of rockets towards Jerusalem when Israeli troops didn’t withdraw their forces from Sheikh Jarrah. Israeli forces retaliated by launching airstrikes on Gaza, killing 28 people, and threatened expansion.
Earlier all the wars were focused on Gaza which reaffirmed the centrality of Jerusalem but now various areas like Sheikh Jarrah have come into the picture. Many call it the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israeli’s and their attempt to capture all the territories.
Israeli PM Benjamin declared on May 10 “Hamas Islamic jihad have paid and I tell you here will pay a very heavy price for their aggression”.
The Defence Minister of Israel warned on May 12 “Israel is not preparing for a ceasefire. There is currently no end date for the operation. Only when we achieve complete quiet we can talk about calm”.
While the US is Israel’s primary backer, India’s stance on the Palestinian issue is diplomatic. India made clear that they still support a separate state for Palestine but at the same time isn’t taking any strong stance because of its growing strategic ties with Israel.
Some factions believe that Palestine and Israel are not in conflict. They believe that what is happening in Palestine is settler colonialism, theft, ethnic cleansing and they are an oppressed and colonized class whereas the Israeli’s are the oppressed ones. The rocket attacks by Hamas are seen as resistance to the oppressor.
Nevertheless, it is believed that this could be the third intifada. The matter needs to be resolved urgently or else it will lead to a catastrophic killing. Removing the ethnic incitement, killings, hate speech and making sure that the Palestinians are not devoid of their rights should be the concern of Israel otherwise a third Intifada ( Rebellion) is already on the horizon.