The Israeli Palestinian Conflict Part II
Israeli homeland created
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.
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.