|The Israeli Palestinian conflict
Author: MeredithAncret PM
Discussion of the causes behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from both a history and religious perspective. Written for an advance English course in college.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama - Words: 1,432 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 07-09-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3040191
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The Cause of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict
If there is one thing that you can almost guarantee will be in the newspapers or on the news on any given day, it's the conflict between Palestine and Israel. Either they are negotiating peace, breaking a peace treaty, or petitioning for statehood at the UN, but they are always in the news.
But what caused this conflict between these countries? Like most major conflicts and wars, it wasn't caused by one single event, but a combination of problems and events that stretch back decades. Back before the 6 day war in 1967, back to before the UN created the nation of Israel in the Middle East, back to the events of World War II, and even, according to some religious scholars, back into the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael. The current hostilities are caused by a combination of religious incompatibility between the Jews and the Muslims, a decades long racial dislike for the Jews by Arab peoples, and issues of land rights in the Middle East.
So how did these events come together to create the current hostility between these two groups? I think it's best to start in the past and work our way to the present.
While I would rarely use religious texts to make a historical argument such as this, the words and stories of holy books like the Torah, for the Jewish Israelis, and the Q'ran, for the Muslim Palestinians, do hold a great power over both groups and the stories within them have had an effect on the current conflict in the Middle East.
To discuss this we need to go all the way back to the book of Genesis, a book that even Muslims consider to be divinely inspired. The origins of the Islamic faith can be found there, at least as far as Islamic and Jewish faith are concerned. Abraham, widely considered by Christians, Muslims, and Jews to be the "father" of these three religions had two sons. The first was by his wife's handmaiden, Hagar, that son was named Ishmael. Genesis chapter 16, verses 10 through 12 say. "10 The angel added, "I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count." The angel of the LORD also said to her: "You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.'"
The current view of Islamic tradition is that Arab people are the descendants of Ishmael and this may explain some of the current hostilities between the Jewish and Muslim faiths because in Genesis chapter 21 Ishmael, at the age of 14, is disinherited by his father, Abraham, and both Ishmael and his mother are sent away from Abraham's home. God saves both Hagar and Ishmael's lives and tells Hagar "'Lift the boy [Ishmael] up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.'" This is generally considered the justification behind the Muslim tradition that he is the ancestor of their people. Genesis 25 mentions the names of 12 sons that Ishmael had who become the tribal leaders of 12 tribes, the same number that Jewish history claims as well.
Of course the land that Israel now occupies is supposed to be the same land that was given to them before the Diaspora that began in the 6th century, but there is no conclusive historical proof of that. What historians do know is that the area that Israel now occupies was under Arabic control prior to World War II, but there was a significant Jewish population growing in that area. The sad truth is that the anger that Palestinian leaders now show for Jewish people did not begin in 1948 when the United Nations created the nation of Israel. The Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, a Muslim leader in Palestine, met with Hitler in 1941. He requested that Germany and Italy declare the Jewish home in Palestine was illegal and "they accord to Palestine and to other Arab countries the right to solve the problem of the Jewish elements in Palestine and other Arab countries, in accordance with the interest of the Arabs and, by the same method, that the question is now being settled in the Axis countries." The Mufti also recruited 20,000 Muslim volunteers for the SS, for which he nearly met trial for war crimes, however he escaped from the French before he could be tried.
Through the influence of the United Kingdom, which was in control of the administration in Palestine at the time, and the United Nations the country of Israel was formed on May 15th, 1948. The United Kingdom had asked the United Nations to decide what the future of the Palestinian state would be and because the mandate by which the United Kingdom controlled the Palestinian state would end on May 14th, 1948. In March of that year a United Nations Committee decided that "present indications point to the inescapable conclusion that when the [British] mandate is terminated, Palestine is likely to suffer severely from administrative chaos and widespread strife and bloodshed." Therefore the United Nations decided that the best possible situation would be to create the nation of Israel, with a new constitution and government.
The same day that the state of Israel was created, the first war between Arab countries and Israel began when Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraqi armies launched an attack on Israel, which did not end until the signing of armistice agreements in 1949; though those armistice agreements did not last long, as evidenced by history and the current hostilities in the Middle East.
Of course a great deal of the current hostilities are caused by an argument about land that Israel took in 1967 after the 6 day war, in which Egyptian, Syrian, and Jordanian forces were devastated by Israeli forces in a 6 day period because the aforementioned countries were beginning to make hostile movements toward Israel, including a blockade preventing Israeli shipping into the gulf of Aqaba and a higher concentration of Egyptian forces in the Suez zone. Through this victory Israel gained control of several strategic areas of land, including the West Bank, which is the land that the Palestinians and Hamas are fighting with Israel over to this very day. In fact it is this land that Palestine wishes to be granted in its United Nations bid for State-hood, which calls for a return to pre-1967 borders for Israel. Unfortunately those pre-1967 borders are widely considered to be indefensible and that land that they claimed during the six-day war made the Israeli borders much more defensible. Returning to those borders would open Israel up to the possibility of more attacks, which, considering the history, would happen because it seems from previous attacks that land is not truly the biggest issue causing disputes between Israel and Palestine.
The issues that cause these disputes are difficult ones related to religion, race, and land. In fact, the issues dealing with land would be easy to rectify if it were not for the other two issues. The beliefs that are held most strongly by Israel and Palestine (and organizations like Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Organization) seem to be far too diametrically opposed for true peace to be reached between the two countries, but after looking at the history it should be easy to see that more UN resolutions are not what will solve the problem, especially as it was United Nations involvement that created the nation of Israel in the first place. Despite all the past hostility Palestine and Israel need to find a way to come to a peaceful resolution of their problems, for the sake of their own people.
Genesis 16:10-12 (NIV) passage/?search=Genesis%2016:%2010-12&version=NIV
Myths and Facts (Jewish Virtual library)
The Mufti and The Fuhrer (Jewish Virtual Library) Mitchell Bard
The United States and the Recognition of Israel: A Chronology
The Recognition of the State of Israel
The 1967 Six-day war (Jewish Virtual Library) Mitchell Bard
The Six Day War (History Learning Site)
Debate: Return of Israel to pre-1967 borders (Debatepedia)