The Is­raeli Pales­tinian Con­flict Part II

Is­raeli home­land cre­ated

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Paul H. Wil­liams Gleaner Writer

IN THE late 19th cen­tury, the Jews who had fled to Rus­sia and other places in Europe be­gan to re­turn to Pales­tine. They bought lands and es­tab­lished com­mu­ni­ties. Some of them, known as Zion­ites. dreamed of es­tab­lish­ing a mod­ern Jewish state in the land of King David.

At the end of the first decade of the 20th cen­tury, World War I ex­ploded, cre­at­ing much dis­place­ment of peo­ple. At the end of the war, the Ot­toman Em­pire, which had in­cluded Pales­tine, was dis­man­tled. Bri­tain took con­trol of the re­gion un­der a League of Na­tions man­date. The League of Na­tions was an in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion, head­quar­ters in Geneva, Switzer­land, cre­ated af­ter the First World War to pro­vide a plat­form for re­solv­ing in­ter­na­tional dis­putes.

SUP­PORT

Bri­tain sup­ported the de­sire for a home­land for the Jews, and, as such, the ex­o­dus of the Jews back into the re­gion steadily in­creased. But, this did not sit well with the Arabs. The stage was then set for one of the long­est po­lit­i­cal con­flicts ever. And just as peo­ple were be­gin­ning to get past the atroc­i­ties of the first world war, the sec­onded one boomed all over Europe.

When the un­told, un­prece­dented mass de­struc­tion of lives and prop­erty ended in 1945, Bri­tain turned to the United Na­tions (UN) for help to deal with the Is­raeli Palesti­nan sit­u­a­tion. The UN was the body that re­placed the League of Na­tions. And in 1947, Bri­tain de­cided to pull out of Pales­tine. The UN took con­trol and planned to di­vide Pales­tine into two sep­a­rate states, a Pales­tinian one and the other Jewish. But the his­toric city of Jerusalem would re­main un­der UN con­trol.

The Arabs would have none of it. They to­tally op­posed the UN plan, while the Jews were ec­static. Ten­sion and vi­o­lence sim­mered be­tween the two groups. And when Bri­tain fi­nally pulled out in May 1948, Israel pro­claimed it­self an in­de­pen­dent na­tion. The West Bank of the Jor­dan River, the Gaza Strip and an area bor­der­ing Egypt, and an­other area bor­der­ing Le­banon were the ar­eas left for the Pales­tini­ans.

The Arab gov­ern­ments of Jor­dan, Egypt, Syria, and Le­banon cranked up their war ma­chin­ery and at­tempted to stop the es­tab­lish­ment of an Israel state in Pales­tine. The Arabs might have had the num­bers, but the Is­raelis out­lasted them and oc­cu­pied more lands. It is said that more than 750,000 Pales­tini­ans were dis­placed. Jor­dan took over the old sec­tion of Jerusalem and the West Bank, while Egypt oc­cu­pied the Gaza Strip. The sit­u­a­tion re­mained like that for a while, but there was much re­sis­tance from the Arabs and counter-attacks by the Is­raeli.

The ten­sion rose in early 1967 when it seemed that Egypt in the south and Syria in the north were pre­par­ing to at­tack Israel. The Is­raelis pre-empted them and at­tacked on June 5. In what is known as the Six-Day War, Israel seized Egypt’s Si­nai Penin­sula and the Pales­tinian’s Gaza Strip.

Jor­dan blasted into the fray by bomb­ing Israel’s Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem. Israel re­sponded by cap­tur­ing all of the Arab ar­eas of Jerusalem and the West Bank and Syria’s Golan heights in the north. This did not sit well with the UN, which passed a res­o­lu­tion de­mand­ing that Israel with­draw from the cap­tured ar­eas in re­turn for peace.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Mid­dle East

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