History Of Israel And Palestine Conflict：One hundred years ago began a regional conflict that would quickly become one of the world’s most complex and controversial.
A conflict between two very different people for the same territory.
To better understand its reasons and underlying issues,let’s retrace the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a map.
We are in 1917, during WWI.
The Central Powers were opposed to the so-called Triple Entente and its allies.
Both sides suffer heavy losses and desperately seek additional support.
The then-British foreign affairs minister Arthur Balfour wrote an open letter, promising a Jewish homeland in Palestine in return for support from the growing Zionist movement.
Meanwhile the British tried to weaken the Ottoman Empire by supporting the Arab rebellion and promising them independence in liberated territories.
At the end of the war, the Ottoman Empire was defeated and its land carved up by European powers.
The British give more independence to Iraq and Transjordan.
It is in what remains of Palestine that Britain wants to create a Jewish homeland where the Jewish community was a small minority.
But immigration grows rapidly due to the tense situation in Europe.
Especially in Germany where the anti-semitic Nazi Party came to power.
In September 1939, Germany invades Poland.
Britain and France respond by declaring war, sparking the beginning of WWII.
In five years, the conflict claims more than 60 million lives including almost 6 million Jews targeted by the Holocaust.
Following the war, Jewish immigration to Palestine grows, increasing tensions with Arabs.
Overwhelmed by the situation, the British begin their withdrawal from the area.
The UN takes over and proposes to divide the region into two states with Jerusalem being given a special status of an International zone.
The proposal was accepted by Zionists but rejected by Palestinian Arabs,followed by a civil war between the two communities.
The Arab League puts together a liberation army of several thousand volunteers who fight against the Zionists.
For their part, the Jews organized an army by giving military training to its population and sending agents to Europe to retrieve WWII military stocks and sign arms contracts.
On May 14th, 1948, Britain completes its withdrawal from Palestine, while the Jews proclaimed the independence of the State of Israel.
In response, the Arab League declares war.
During the conflict, 2 truces would allow the Israeli army to strengthen its position and gradually take over.
Finally, the Armistice Agreements were signed.
Israel cedes new territory including Western Jerusalem.
Egypt receives the Gaza Strip,and the West Bank was annexed from Transjordan to form Jordan.
This conflict causes large-scale displacement.
On the one hand, more than 700,000 Arabs were expelled or fled Israeli territory to refugee camps.
On the other, Jewish communities in Arab countries, sometimes with a history of over two thousand years, are forced to take refuge in Israel or elsewhere in Europe.
Eventually, many European Jews were reassured by the victory of Israel and choose to settle there.
In 1967, following tensions with its neighbors, Israel declares war on Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
In six days, Israel dominates the war and triples its territory by seizing the Egyptian Sinai, the Syrian Golan Heights and the West Bank.
Israeli settlers begin to move into Palestinian territories.
The UN reacts and adopts resolution 242 condemning the Israeli occupation.
Six years later, Egypt and Syria launch a surprise attack to try a recover land.
Initially, the Israeli army is routed and fails to repel the attack.
Under the influence of the Cold War, the Soviet Union and Arab countries support the offensive, while the United States sends emergency supplies of 22,000 tons of weaponry to Israel.
With this boost, the Israeli army further continues to push its borders.
After a ceasefire, oil-exporting Arab countries decide to punish the US and Israel’s allies by increasing the price of oil by 70% and decreasing production by 5%.
This causes the first oil crisis of 1973.
Israel under international pressure ceded Sinai back to Egypt and a part of the Golan to Syria, but retains control over the Palestinian territories where colonization accelerates especially in East Jerusalem.
In 1980, Israel proclaims Jerusalem as its indivisible capital but this decision was condemned by the UN Security Council.
In the West Bank, tension mounts over water supply as Israel has the upper hand on resources
which are unevenly distributed between Israeli settlements and Palestinian areas.
In 1987, the Palestinian population rebels and takes to the streets, mostly armed with stones.
This was the beginning of the first Intifada, an Arab term meaning uprising.
In this context arises Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist movement fighting Israel.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, set up in 1964 by the Arab League and in exile in Algiers, proclaims an independent state of Palestine on November 15th, 1988.
Jerusalem would be its capital and Palestine would progressively be recognized by 136 states.
After six years of conflict, a fragile peace is signed with the Oslo agreements which provide for mutual recognition.
It also lays the foundation of introducing autonomy in the Gaza Strip and the city of Jericho.
In 1995, a West Bank partition plan was signed, providing for Palestine-controlled areas, mixed areas and the rest under Israeli control.
But the two parties are unable to agree on thorny issues,such as a status of Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees.
Negotiations fail and violence reignites.
In Jerusalem, a visit by the head of the Israeli opposition to the holy site of the Temple Mount triggers the second Intifada, marked by numerous suicide bombings.
Israel begins construction of a wall in the West Bank to protect the country, but in doing so encroaches upon Palestinian territories.
The wall is declared illegal by the International Court of Justice.
To try to calm the situation, the Israeli government, in 2005, decided to remove Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip.
But retains control over its borders.
In the years that followed, tensions focus around the Gaza Strip, mainly against Hamas which came into power.
Israel imposes a blockade in the region, while Hamas regularly fires rockets into Israeli territories.
Several clashes take place and violence by both sides builds up under 2014, when Israeli warplanes pound the area and destroy 50,000 houses, a hundred schools,
dozens of hospitals and the region’s only power plant.
The population stuck in Gaza faced a humanitarian disaster.
Today the situation remains complicated and lasting peace is nowhere on the horizon.
On one hand, the West Bank is divided up between Palestinian towns and villages and more than 150 Israeli colonies.
So striking a deal to carve out a Palestinian homeland seems more complicated than ever.
Then there is the status of Jerusalem, which both sides view as their capital.
In 2018, the United States announced it would move its embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing the city as the capital of Israel.
This decision was condemned by the UN by a large majority, while the Palestinians announced that the United States no longer has a mediator role in the peace process which at present seems indefinitely stalled.
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