Written by: Liliana Chow
Although conflict in Palestine isn’t a new issue, most recent developments between these two factions have made global headlines.
In order to properly understand what is happening as of today, a basic background knowledge of the history of Palestine is necessary. Palestine is located along the Mediterranean Sea, between Africa and Asia. Because of its important location, aptly nicknamed “the Gateway”, its history has been marred by over a century of fighting between the Arabic and Jewish community.
Moreover, contributing to the unrest, the government in Palestine has changed hands many times. For example, the Ottoman empire controlled Palestine until the end of WWI and then the League of Nations put Palestine under the administration of the United Kingdom, in 1922. More recently, in 1947, the UK shoved the “Palestine Problem” onto the United Nations. These frequent changes in administration most certainly contributed to the unrest.
Palestine is also home to a large population of Jewish immigrants. During and after the Holocaust, many Jewish citizens moved from Europe to Palestine. Palestine was still controlled by the United Kingdom, which promised the Arabs that Palestine would fall under their jurisdiction while proclaiming a goal for a national home for the displaced European Jewish population. After WWII and the Holocaust, the Jewish people were seeking a country, so they were given a portion of Palestine. The influx of Jewish immigrants to Palestine caused bitter feelings from the Arab population. The two factions fought frequently and the UK couldn’t control the fighting.
The UN suggested splitting Palestine into 2 parts – a section governed by the Arabic community and a section governed by the Jewish community. The state governed by the Jewish community claimed its independence, renaming itself as Israel. In the war that occurred in 1948 between the Arabic and Jewish populations, Israel ended up claiming 77% of the former land known as Palestine, leaving little for the Arabic population. In fact, Jordan and Egypt claimed the rest of Palestine. In the subsequent war, in 1967, Isaeli troops occupied the Arabic areas. The Isreali troops remained in Gaza for years, until 2005. The Gaza strip is a 25-mile long piece of land bordering both Egypt and Israel. It has been a site of fighting and clashes between protestors and Israeli troops for years.
Once Israel stopped its occupation of Gaza, Hamas, one of the largest militant groups in Palestine, took control. Although Hamas is in charge, Israel still controls many aspects of Gaza, including its borders and ports. Hamas was furious with these restrictions and demanded that Israel stop its occupation fully. The militant group claims that Israel is on Palestinian land, and as a result, Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel as a country. Moreover, Hamas is currently sending rocket attacks into Israel since they are occupying Palestinian land. In response, Israel feels justified in attacking back with greater force.
Decades-long conflicts like this one inevitably bring back thoughts of doubt of world peace. However, I believe that with hope and hard work we will be able to make this dream a reality.
About the Author:
Liliana Chow is a high school student from Canada. As a volunteer for Lives for Literacy, Liliana hopes to play a part in eradicating illiteracy globally. Liliana aspires to inspire youth into taking initiative to help solve problems that are close to their hearts.