By: Stephanie Musso
January 21-27, 2001: The Taba Summit
The Taba Summit was initiated by Bill Clinton. These talks between Israelis and Palestinians had the aim of bringing peace and an end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
January 28, 2004: Palestinian-Israeli Gaza conflict
Palestinian militants were said to have set off explosives near Gaza City which lead to an operation by the Israeli army. This fight resulted in the death of Palestinians.
January 29, 2004: Suicide Bombing in Jerusalem
Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Hamas claimed responsibility for an attack by Ali Yusuf Jaara, who killed 11 people in a suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem.
January 29, 2007: Suicide Bombing in Eilat
Three people were killed after a suicide bombing in a bakery that was claimed by the Islamic Jihad and Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. The bomber was from the Gaza Strip and entered Israel through the Sinai border with Egypt.
This past week is an interesting week to look back at the history of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but these are only a few examples of the tensions between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. This conflict has a long history of both violence and attempts at peace. Suicide bombings and altercations between Palestinians and Israeli troops are an all too common occurrence throughout the territory. Although outside governments and organizations have tried to bring peace, there have been many failed negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians such as the Taba Summit and the Olso Agreement.
The conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians goes back to the creation of the state of Israel as a Jewish homeland. In 1917, the Balfour Declaration named Palestine as a Jewish homeland, which started a migration of Jewish people to what was then referred to as Palestine. This migration was met by some opposition by Palestinians which intensified after a mass migration of Jewish peoples to Palestine during World War II. This mass migration and consequential displacement of Palestinians led to a Palestinian revolt from 1936 to 1939. Some Palestinians opposed the large number of Jewish people migrating to their land because they saw it as a threat to Palestinian culture. Although this was not the reason for the Jewish migration to the land, this sentiment still exists.
The conflict is much more complex than Palestinians seeing the Jewish people as a threat. There is a history of tension that worsened when the British left the territory and declared Israel a state. Up until 1948, Palestine was a British mandate. In 1947, the British began to decolonize the Middle East and during this time the UN Partition Plan created a land divide that was to be followed. The plan created an approximately 55/45 divide of the land between the Israelis and Palestinians once the British left. The division of land created an even deeper conflict leading to multiple wars between the Israelis and Palestinians as the land divide was made without Palestinian consent. During these wars, other Arab states often sided with and assisted the Palestinians because they did not recognize Israel as a state. Although the Palestinians had help, throughout a series of wars the Israelis were able to occupy even more territory.
The Palestinians now only control areas in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This is where terrorist groups such as Hamas formed (although Hamas now denounces terrorism). Terrorism continues to be a problem in Israel by terrorist organizations and individual jihadists which operate off the sentiments that started decades ago.
Today Israel illegally occupies more territory than UN Partition Plan originally called for and Palestinians have been displaced both internally and as refugees. However this is a two-sided conflict; even though the conflict has multiple facets and a long history, it is perpetuated further by the suicide bombers and daily fights that occur by both Israelis and Palestinians.
Stephanie Musso is currently an intern at the EastWest Institute.