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Comprehensive And Detailed History Of Isreal Vs Palestine Conflict - Foreign Affairs - Nairaland

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Comprehensive And Detailed History Of Isreal Vs Palestine Conflict by rita25(f): 11:30am On Oct 13, 2023
In early October 2023, war broke out between Israel and Hamas, the militant Islamist group that has controlled Gaza since 2006. Hamas fighters fired rockets into Israel and stormed southern Israeli cities and towns across the border of the Gaza strip, killing and injuring hundreds of soldiers and civilians and taking dozens of hostages. The attack took Israel by surprise, though the state quickly mounted a deadly retaliatory operation. One day after the October 7 attack, the Israeli cabinet formally declared war against Hamas, followed by a directive from the defense minister to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to carry out a “complete siege” of Gaza.

Background
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dates back to the end of the nineteenth century. In 1947, the United Nations adopted Resolution 181, known as the Partition Plan, which sought to divide the British Mandate of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was created, sparking the first Arab-Israeli War. The war ended in 1949 with Israel’s victory, but 750,000 Palestinians were displaced, and the territory was divided into 3 parts: the State of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River), and the Gaza Strip.

Over the following years, tensions rose in the region, particularly between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. Following the 1956 Suez Crisis and Israel’s invasion of the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria signed mutual defense pacts in anticipation of a possible mobilization of Israeli troops. In June 1967, following a series of maneuvers by Egyptian President Abdel Gamal Nasser, Israel preemptively attacked Egyptian and Syrian air forces, starting the Six-Day War. After the war, Israel gained territorial control over the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt; the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan; and the Golan Heights from Syria. Six years later, in what is referred to as the Yom Kippur War or the October War, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise two-front attack on Israel to regain their lost territory; the conflict did not result in significant gains for Egypt, Israel, or Syria, but Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat declared the war a victory for Egypt as it allowed Egypt and Syria to negotiate over previously ceded territory. Finally, in 1979, following a series of cease-fires and peace negotiations, representatives from Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David Accords, a peace treaty that ended the thirty-year conflict between Egypt and Israel.

Even though the Camp David Accords improved relations between Israel and its neighbors, the question of Palestinian self-determination and self-governance remained unresolved. In 1987, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip rose up against the Israeli government in what is known as the first intifada. The 1993 Oslo I Accords mediated the conflict, setting up a framework for the Palestinians to govern themselves in the West Bank and Gaza, and enabled mutual recognition between the newly established Palestinian Authority and Israel’s government. In 1995, the Oslo II Accords expanded on the first agreement, adding provisions that mandated the complete withdrawal of Israel from 6 cities and 450 towns in the West Bank.

In 2000, sparked in part by Palestinian grievances over Israel’s control over the West Bank, a stagnating peace process, and former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the al-Aqsa mosque—the third holiest site in Islam—in September 2000, Palestinians launched the second intifada, which would last until 2005. In response, the Israeli government approved the construction of a barrier wall around the West Bank in 2002, despite opposition from the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. 

Factionalism among the Palestinians flared up when Hamas won the Palestinian Authority’s parliamentary elections in 2006, deposing longtime majority party Fatah. This gave Hamas, a political and militant movement inspired by the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, control of the Gaza Strip. Gaza is a small piece of land on the Mediterranean Sea that borders Egypt to the south and has been under the rule of the semi-autonomous Palestinian Authority since 1993. The United States and European Union, among others, did not acknowledge Hamas’ electoral victory, as the group has been considered a terrorist organization by western governments since the late 1990s. Following Hamas’ seizure of control, violence broke out between Hamas and Fatah. Between 2006 and 2011, a series of failed peace talks and deadly confrontations culminated in an agreement to reconcile. Fatah entered into a unity government with Hamas in 2014.

In the summer of 2014, clashes in the Palestinian territories precipitated a military confrontation between the Israeli military and Hamas in which Hamas fired nearly three thousand rockets at Israel, and Israel retaliated with a major offensive in Gaza. The skirmish ended in late August 2014 with a cease-fire deal brokered by Egypt, but only after 73 Israelis and 2,251 Palestinians were killed. After a wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in 2015, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah announced that Palestinians would no longer be bound by the territorial divisions created by the Oslo Accords. In March and May of 2018, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip conducted weekly demonstrations at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The final protest coincided with the seventieth anniversary of the Nakba, the Palestinian exodus that accompanied Israeli independence. While most of the protesters were peaceful, some stormed the perimeter fence and threw rocks and other objects. According to the United Nations, 183 demonstrators were killed and more than 6,000 were wounded by live ammunition. The tense political atmosphere resulted in a return to disunity between Fatah and Hamas, with Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party controlling the Palestinian Authority from the West Bank and Hamas de facto ruling the Gaza Strip. This remained largely true throughout the late 2010s and early 2020s, despite Abbas’ efforts to bring the Palestinian people together under the Palestinian Authority.

In May of 2018, fighting once again broke out between Hamas and the IDF in what became the worst period of violence since 2014. Before reaching a cease-fire, militants in Gaza fired over one hundred rockets into Israel; Israel responded with strikes on more than fifty targets in Gaza during the twenty-four-hour flare-up.

The Donald J. Trump administration set achieving an Israeli-Palestinian deal as a foreign policy priority. In 2018, the Trump administration canceled funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency, which provides aid to Palestinian refugees, and relocated the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a reversal of a longstanding U.S. policy. The decision to move the U.S. embassy was met with applause from the Israeli leadership but was condemned by Palestinian leaders and others in the Middle East and Europe. Israel considers the “complete and united Jerusalem” its capital, while Palestinians claim [PDF] East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. In January 2020, the Trump administration released its long-awaited “Peace to Prosperity” plan, which was rejected by Palestinians due to its support for future Israeli annexation of settlements in the West Bank and control over an “undivided” Jerusalem.

In August and September 2020, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and then Bahrain agreed to normalize relations with Israel, making them only the third and fourth countries in the region—following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994—to do so. The agreements, named the Abraham Accords, came more than eighteen months after the United States hosted Israel and several Arab states for ministerial talks in Warsaw, Poland, about the future of peace in the Middle East. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah rejected the accords, as did Hamas.

In October 2020, an Israeli court ruled that several Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah—a neighborhood in East Jerusalem—were to be evicted by May 2021 with their land handed over to Jewish families. In February 2021, several Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah filed an appeal to the court ruling, prompting protests around the appeal hearings, the ongoing legal battle around property ownership, and the forcible displacement of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem.

In late April 2021, Palestinians began demonstrating in the streets of Jerusalem to protest the pending evictions, and residents of Sheikh Jarrah—along with other activists—began to host nightly sit-ins. In early May, after a court ruled in favor of the evictions, the protests expanded, with Israeli police deploying force against demonstrators. On May 7, following weeks of daily demonstrations and rising tensions between protesters, Israeli settlers, and police during the month of Ramadan, violence broke out at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, with Israeli police using stun grenades, rubber bullets, and water cannons in a clash with protestors that left hundreds of Palestinians wounded.

After the clashes in Jerusalem’s Old City, tensions increased throughout East Jerusalem, compounded by the celebration of Jerusalem Day. On May 10, after several consecutive days of violence throughout Jerusalem and the use of lethal and nonlethal force by Israeli police, Hamas, the militant group which governs Gaza, and other Palestinian militant groups launched hundreds of rockets into Israeli territory.

Israel responded with artillery bombardments and airstrikes, several of which killed more than twenty Palestinians, against targets in Gaza. While claiming to target Hamas, other militants (such as those from Palestinian Islamic Jihad), and their infrastructure—including tunnels and rocket launchers—Israel expanded its aerial campaign and struck non-military infrastructure including residential buildings, media headquarters, and refugee and healthcare facilities.

On May 21, 2021, Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire, brokered by Egypt, with both sides claiming victory. More than 250 Palestinians were killed and nearly 2,000 others wounded, and at least 13 Israelis were killed over the eleven days of fighting. Authorities in Gaza estimate that tens of millions of dollars of damage was done, and the United Nations estimates that more than 72,000 Palestinians were displaced by the fighting.  

Concerns
Following the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas on October 7, 2023, President Joe Biden made a strong statement of support for Israel. On the same day that Israel declared war against the terrorist group, the United States announced that it would send renewed shipments of arms and move its Mediterranean Sea warships closer to Israel. While the UN Security Council called an emergency meeting to discuss the renewed violence, the members failed to come to a consensus statement. Given the history of brutality when Israel and Palestinian extremist groups have fought in the past, international groups quickly expressed concern for the safety of civilians in Israel and the Palestinian territories as well as those being held hostage by militants in Gaza. In the first two days of fighting, approximately 800 Israelis and 500 Palestinians were killed. Increasing loss of life is of primary concern in the conflict.

While the United States did not immediately confirm reports that Iranian intelligence and security forces directly helped Hamas plan its October 7 attack, Iran has a well-established patronage relationship with Hamas and other extremist groups across the Middle East. In addition to worries that the attacks were a signal from Iran that it is prepared to escalate its malign influence in various Middle Eastern conflicts, experts have expressed concern that another extremist group with Iranian backing, Hezbollah, will be drawn into the war, thereby expanding the conflict beyond Israeli and Palestinian borders. On October 9, reports surfaced that the IDF was firing at targets within Lebanon, where Hezbollah is based. An Israeli statement on the matter did not clarify the purpose of the cross-boundary operation.

A 2023 effort by the United States to help broker a normalization accord between Israel and Saudi Arabia was thrown into chaos by the October conflict. Saudi Arabia has long advocated for the rights and safety of Palestinian Arab populations in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Especially in Gaza, those populations are now in the path of IDF operations, jeopardizing the progress the Israelis and Saudis made toward common understanding.

Recent Developments
The most far-right and religious government in Israel’s history was inaugurated in late December 2022. The coalition government is led by Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu and his Likud party and comprises two ultra-Orthodox parties and three far-right parties, including the Religious Zionism party, an ultranationalist faction affiliated with the West Bank settler movement. To reach a governing majority, Netanyahu made a variety of concessions to his far-right partners. Opponents have criticized the government’s stated prioritization of the expansion and development of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The governing coalition has also endorsed discrimination against LGBTQ+ people on religious grounds, and it voted to limit judicial oversight of the government in May 2023 after a delay due to nationwide protests in March.

2022 marked a renewed level of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. The first nine months of 2023 were characterized by a steady trend of clashes in the West Bank, including nearly daily Israeli incursions. Israel approved five thousand new settler homes in June 2023 which, along with other settlements in Palestinian territory, are considered by experts and intergovernmental institutions to be illegal under international law. The Israeli military also escalated its operations, including raiding the al-Aqsa mosque twice in one day, wounding thirty-five in a Ramallah operation, and firing missiles from a helicopter at the Jenin refugee camp. In May, Israel battled Gazan militants for five days, with nearly two thousand combined missile launches by Hamas and Israeli forces. Then, in July, Israel deployed nearly two thousand troops and conducted drone strikes in a large-scale raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, killing twelve Palestinians and wounding fifty. Israel, which lost one soldier in the operation, claimed all those killed were militants. While withdrawing, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the incursion was “not a one-off” incident; Israel intends to prevent the camp from serving as a safe haven for Jenin Brigades and other militant groups. Hamas responded to the raid by carrying out an attack in Tel Aviv and launching missiles at Israel.

The October 2023 conflict between Israel and Hamas marks the most significant escalation of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict in several decades.

2 Likes

Re: Comprehensive And Detailed History Of Isreal Vs Palestine Conflict by Anguldi(m): 11:26am On Jun 13
Blood blood blood 🎵🎶🎵🎶🔊🔊🔉
Re: Comprehensive And Detailed History Of Isreal Vs Palestine Conflict by NothingDoMe: 8:08pm On Jun 13
Whoever fired 5,000 rockets is prepared for war. No one should cry.

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