Israel is the only Jewish state in the world with over two hundred countries and have been involved in a conflict named the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict for seventy years, after the creation of Israel between 1947 and 1948 (Black). Israel has had the support of the United States, thus fastly being recognized as an official country by most countries in the world. At the same time, the land once known as Palestine, inhabited by Arabs, was now only a region next to Israel that had since then wanted independence and was never granted it. The conflict created by the creation of Israel started the Israeli-Palestinian War (1948- ) with the objective of conquering land (Baumgart-Ochse). Twenty years into the war, Israelian superior army forces, supported by the U.S., were able to double their land in less than a week. That period became known as the “Six-Day War” and affected basically any chances that the war always had to come to an agreement (Berger). Over the course of this seventy years the war has developed in many different ways, but realistic numbers of casualties have not yet been discovered. Therefore, to tell how war can be avoided, it is important to know the roots of the war, how it is still a lasting conflict, and how it has an important effect on people’s lives.
The war started in 1947, the Jewish people, post Holocaust had gained support for their idea of a land where they could live peacefully (Nadim). After WWII, many countries supported that idea and decided in 1948 in the creation of Israel in the Middle East in a region known as Palestine, where Arabs had been living for the past two thousand years after Romans had first expelled Jews in the pre-christian era (Berger). Therefore, Jews started moving into the area of Palestine whereas Arabs felt that they were being displaced from their land (Berger). Jews were gaining land from the United Nations council who were not considering the fact that the Arabs were already there. That created tension between Jews and Arabs (Black). Meanwhile Jews wanted that land because it is said to be given to them in the Torah. The Arabs believe they were being kicked out of a place they had been living for over two thousand years (Nadim). With all the tension, the war broke out in 1967 (Black). The first years of the conflict hadn’t been so active (Black). Both Israel and Palestine were not able to advance into each other’s territory; however, that changed when other Arab countries, such as Egypt and Syria, supported Palestine (Berger).
A potential agreement failed to be signed in 1967, and therefore the Arab troops decided to attack in what became known as the Six-Day War (Black). Egyptian forces decided that if they could not reach an agreement of division of land equally, it was time to attack, and so they did. Egypt attacked Israel in the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza strip, the Israeli forces were superior because they had support of the American government, so they easily won the war by counter attacking and conquering in hours the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt (Berger). As the war was over quickly, “On June 5, Israel’s prime minister, Levi Eshkol, launched a first strike. At 7:45am Israeli jets attacked Egypt’s air bases in Sinai and Suez: by mid-morning the Egyptian air force was all but wiped out” (Black). At the same time, in the other side of Israel, Syria sent tanks with Palestinian forces to attack Israel, but the superior Israeli force once again won the battle in less than a week conquering the strategic Golan Heights and the West Bank, including the Old City (part of the city of Jerusalem) (Black). The war that started on June 5, had a ceasefire on June 10, and Israel had won the war over the Arab forces (Black). By the end of the war Israel had doubled its land and more than 2 million Palestinians had been displaced and were living illegally in Israel’s new territory (Indyk).
Knowing the history of the conflict and how it affects people still today, it can finally be discussed how to avoid more of it. There have been multiple attempts of ending the conflict; however, as mentioned before, it is almost utopic to say that it will happen. Therefore, the question that arises is, “How can we mitigate the conflict, so that less innocent people are affected by it”. Hence, Braun-Lewenson and Kitain have concluded that, “several studies have shown that peace education program had a positive effect and resulted in the acceptance of the ‘other’.” (182). In their journal, they come to an agreement that education has changed the lives of million of people in the Israeli-Palestinian region, and have effectively mitigated the hatred between each population (Lewenson & Kitain). However, something else they noticed is how education may fail towards people who are more religious and often practice their beliefs. As they wrote, “Very few studies have examined subgroups in Israeli society regarding their attitudes toward the others’ narratives (e.g., Ben-Ami-Shapski 2005; Yaar and Herman 2010). These concluded that the more religious the person, the more negative the attitudes toward the Palestinian narrative and the more positive attitudes toward the Israeli narrative (Tsemach 2010).” – (Braun-Lewenson & Kitain, 183).
What they meant by that was the more religious the group that harder it was to convince them that there was another side they could look at. Knowing that, one could say that right now we still have a majority of religious people living in the region; however, with the growing secularism in the world, the same person could say that there is a “light at the end of tunnel” that could indicate a possible end of the conflict towards education in a far future.
Micro solutions are one of the way the conflict can be solved. However, many people believe that to change, you need a huge effort by the government. In the macro scheme, many potential agreements have been made, but they all fail. The closest one to conclude its goal was the Oslo peace agreement in 1993. Baumgart-Ochse states, “Rabin (Leader of Israel at the time), at first reluctant, eventually agreed to the terms of the negotiations and accepted the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the representative of the Palestinian people. Arafat, in turn, accepted the legitimacy of the State of Israel.” (417). After the Oslo agreement, the conflict saw some peace that it hadn’t experienced since the start of the conflict back in 1950. That created the idea that the government has tried to end the conflict; however, I believe that maybe instead of trying to form an agreement, the governments should make long lasting programs that can mitigate and end the conflict. As, Nadim Khoury wrote, “History, in other words, had to be negotiated with the aim of making it coterminous with the borders of the future Israeli and Palestinian states.” (469).
With that, Khoury was trying to say that governments were from the start only trying to divide both regions without thinking of the differences between them. The problem of dividing without understanding the importance of each place to both groups is that holy regions like Jerusalem, would be heavily contested (Black). In other words, it meant that it tension would be created, leading to war and the death of thousands. So, instead of trying to only divide people and expect them to be in peace, the governments of Israel and Palestine should create ties that will slowly get families back together, and that will at the same time, slowly end the hatred between each population.
At last, it is important to know how huge the Israeli-Palestinian conflict really is. It has been going for over 70 years and it has an uncounted number of deaths because is so hard to estimate. At the same time, we see multiple international governments have influence over the conflict, the main one being the United States. Therefore, that causes this conflict to be a world conflict that has affected millions of people worldwide. Multiple people end up involved in trying to find a solution to the problem. After studying multiple ways to mitigate the death tolls of the war, the two best solution were to educate the population, and for the government to create long lasting peace programs. Hopefully, in the future, we can see both countries growing, and not being at war anymore.
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