The Balfour declaration in 1917 during World War I identified Palestine as the permanent home for the minority Jewish community. During that time Palestine was under Ottomon empire. During that time, the Indian soldiers under British Flag destroyed the Ottomon empire, which led to the liberation of Jerusalem from the control of Ottomon empire. The British Mandate for Palestine became the basis of the current state of Israel. Palestinian Territories included Jordan, Levant and also parts of Syria. The muslim population of Palestine were not accepted by any other Muslim majority states nearby even though the Palestinian Territories during the Ottomon empire extended right until today’s modern state of Turkey. Israeli nationalism or Zionism grew due to the pressures of European nationalism and anti-semitism promoted by the church as well as Ottomon empire. In 1896, Theodore Herzl, was the first journalist to write a book that would become the first such public document that necessitated the foundation of a secure & separate state of Israel. By Dec 9, 1917, most Palestinian Territories including Jerusalem were militarily conquered by British Military from Ottomon empire. The Ottomons declared Islamic Jihad against British Army, which quickly gave independence to Arab states gain loyalty of their Indian soldiers who were mostly muslim. Both local Christian & Muslim groups opposed Balfour declaration. The Vatican also opposed this declaration until the early 1990s. This declaration sowed the seeds of the new Jewish state and also sowed the seeds of ongoing Arab-Jewish conflict since the time of this declaration. I have quite summarized it for readers to understand the backdrop of this dispute.
The British had all good intentions for Jews but did not quite understand the religious animosity (anti Semitic views) of local Christians, Catholics and Muslims against the Jews even though all three competing religions originated in that same region. The current region of Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Levant was a Jewish majority area until the sixth century. In the seventh century the Muslim invaders converted the whole area to Muslims. That’s why the Israeli claim of being the sons of soil is relevant there.
League of Nations formally produced a mandate for Palestine, in which two separate homes for Jews and Palestinian Arabs were established. Most of the Jews around the world fought for the allied powers in world war – II. After the Holocaust, majority of Jews wanted to come to their newfound home of ‘British Mandate of Palestine’. British ruled these territories for more than three decades until the UN special session voted in favor of creation of an independent Jewish State, an independent Arab State and an international trusteeship of the City of Jerusalem. The UN plan asked Britain to allow unrestricted entry of Jews by 1 Feb, 1948. Arabs set up Arab Liberation Army was set up to oppose this partition plan of the UN. British allowed Jordan to annexe part of the Palestinian Arab Territories to manage Arab uprising. Golda Meir from USA & Stalin from Russia helped arm the Jews for self Defence. On 14 May, 1948, Jewish People’s Council declared an independent state of Israel. Following which the Arab League members Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq not only opposed the motion of independence of Israel but also marched inside the territory of British Mandate of Palestine. British imposed an arms embargo on the region through the UN but Arabs already had heavy British military equipment. Czechoslovakia supplied heavy arms & planes to the new state of Israel to fight with Arabs. There was a ceasefire after Israel had gained most of these territories back from the Arabs. The 120 seat Knesset met for the first time and planned for elections. In 1950, Israel passed a law of return for Jews all over the world. The population of the new state of Israel went up to 2m in a short time. In 1956, Nasser of Egypt nationalized the Anglo-French suez canal and also blocked Israel’s access to the Red Sea through blocking the Gulf of Aqaba. Arabs wanted to deny Israel of water coming from the Jordan river basin, to which Israel responded by building a national water reservoir. In 1960, French withhold delivery for fifty warplanes due to which the USA stepped in by supplying the military hardware for Israel. Nasser of Egypt had a plan of killing everyone in Israel through the use of Chemical weapons through missiles built by Nazi scientists. Israel had no other option but to preemptively attack Egyptian Air Force, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon to save their state. The 1967 six day war saw Israel cementing control of West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan heights. Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was set up to wage an armed struggle against Israeli forces but soon began engaging in terror activities killing Israeli athletes in Munich Olympics. Since then there have been numerous attacks on Israel by Palestinians, Hamas, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. Most hatred against Israel is due to religious differences. That is very similar to most other conflicts across the world where Islamic faith followers do not want others’ faith to survive.
Why UN has failed?:
The philosophy of exclusivity of faith is detrimental to the long term peace in the region. That’s why the UN has failed in its attempts to bring peace in between Palestine and Israel. The UN has to work with Arab states at the deeper level to remove this indoctrination of hate before it can bring peace in this conflict.
The Palestinian Issue
Hamas, a global terrorist organization, has self-proclaimed itself as the protector of Palestine with support from local Palestinians and also their Arabic & Iranian funders.
The local Palestinian government receives more than $200m as aid to run basic government and provide civil services to their population. That aid is often misused due to rampant corruption in the local Palestinian civic body. The education system has been so heavily indoctrinated to hate Israel that most of the future generations of Palestinians will not be able to accept Israel as their defacto neighbor. This is in my view the root cause of conflict. Peaceful coexistence is not possible in such an environment. ‘Hate is like a dry ice that burns the very hand that holds it.’ Ever since Hamas won the election through intimidation, the violent hostilities against Israel have increased. Majority of times, Hamas has been found to initiate the aggression. Ramadan has been found to be the favorite season for picking up the fight with Israel.
Americans have always supported Israel’s right to exist and a homeland for Jews. After British abandoned the Israel in 1946, Americans have stepped in and have never looked back. The goodwill for Israel amongst the American citizens across the party lines is very high.
However, some democratic congress representatives have expressed open support for Hamas which has not been the general view of the House of Representatives or US senate. Those congress reps opinions have been openly rejected by the majority.
India used to play a very balancing act between Palestinians and Israel in the past. But this time around, it has openly criticized Hamas aggression against Israeli civilians in the UN. Indians in general think that Palestinian hate against Israel is religious in nature. Israel is a country of law while Palestine’s only reason for existence is the elimination of Israel. India also marvels the technological and innovative success of Israel on many fronts, especially agriculture.
Indians also face a similar religious hatred from Pakistan.
The communist party of China is wary of Israel due to its closeness to western powers. Also, Israel is in its way to control the Middle East. They are collaborating with Iran, Pakistan and also Russia to control the middle eastern oil reserves. For them Israel is an enemy because it is the closest and strongest military ally of the US.
China’s role is to use its veto power in the United Nations to oppose or deny any international political advantage to Israel.
It is the only multi faith democracy in the Middle East which has a rule of law that treats Jews & Non-Jews fairly. It has also emerged as a leader in Agriculture, Education, Science & Technology. In contrast to its neighbors it is considered as the only developed country in that region. Israel has also judiciously employed its vast military advantage to protect itself from the aggression shown by its neighbors. In 2000, Israel did offer Palestinians full statehood but the Palestinians did not accept. The Oslo accord also failed due to Palestinians backtracking from their commitments. Again that peace opportunity was squandered because for Palestinians, peace would have put expectations on them to work and produce.
Is peace really possible in current circumstances?
Peace is not possible in this conflict because Palestinians cannot govern themselves. They need to make an enemy out of Israel to blame someone for their lack of purpose.
The origin of the current conflict is also in the elections because the current President Mahmoud Abbas was expected to lose elections. The Al Aqsa mosque incident was used as a strategy to begin pelting stones at Israeli police to start the current fight on a Friday of Ramadan season. When the police came to the rescue of others, the Palestinian rioters started live transmission to their foreign supporters. Hamas, an affiliate of Muslim Brotherhood is also the de facto ruler of Palestine. Mahmoud Abbas is the head of UN-democratic PLO And Palestinian National Authority. Hamas calls for one state solution (eliminating Israel), which is the root cause of the current crisis which has been created by them to gain additional funding from their support base. The only real solution for the benefit of this region where everyone will be economically happy will be the Israeli controlled Gaza, Palestinian Authority and Westbank. Some tough decisions like disbanding of Hamas will have to be made which must stand the test of time.
Palestinians have to take ownership of this peace process if they really want peace.