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The Story Behind the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

There has been fighting in the Middle East since Israel declared its independence – but why?

By:  |  May 24, 2021  |    478 Words

The fighting between Israel and Palestine has been going on since World War II, though the origins can be traced a little farther back. In 1917, the British took Palestine from the Ottoman Empire and declared a “national home for the Jewish people.”

European Jewish migration to the area increased. After World War II, the United Nations wanted Palestine to be separated into Jewish and Arab states. But in 1948, Israel declared its independence.

The battle between both sides is based on who gets what land. The Palestinians, the Arab population in the area claimed by Israel, want to set up their own nation and refer to the land as Palestine. But Israeli Jews say the land is theirs.

When Israel declared its independence, the new nation took over more territory. Since then, the Israelis and the Palestinians have been engaged in a constant armed struggle over land.

Major Events Since 1956

Suez Crisis (1956 to 1957): Israel partnered with Britain and France to invade Egypt during the Suez Crisis to reopen the canal for Israeli shipping and dismantle armed infiltrations by Palestinians.

israel palestine map

Israel (green) and Palestinian regions the West Bank and Gaza (orange)

Six-Day War (1967): The Six-Day War was a bloody conflict that took place from June 5 to June 10, 1967, between Israel and the Arab states of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

Oslo Declaration (1993): Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Oslo Declaration that officially established the Palestinian Authority. It resulted in Israel giving up most of Gaza and the West Bank in exchange for peace.

Gaza Conflict (2008 to 2014): Israeli forces launched a full-scale attack on Gaza to prevent Hamas and other terrorist groups from launching rockets into Israel. The fighting went on for several years.

Trump Era (2017 to 2020): President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and declared that the U.S. no longer believes Israeli settlements on the West Bank to be illegal. The White House brokered long-term peace treaties and ceasefires between Israel and other countries in the region to stop the violence and facilitate peace.

Violence Returns (2021): In May 2021, a protest over a court case led to  a conflict between Palestinians and the Israeli police. The police stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. When the police didn’t leave, Hamas, the ruling group in Gaza, launched of rockets into Israel. In response, Israel sent bombing airstrikes and soldiers into Gaza. After many civilian deaths and injuries, as well as destroyed property, a ceasefire was brokered with the help of Egypt.

Can this conflict be resolved? Various solutions have been suggested: the One-State Solution would unite the Jews and the Palestinians into one country; the Two-State Solution would divide up the land into two nations, one each for Israelis and Palestinians. Despite many attempts at peace, the region continues to face violence and strife.

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