The Most Interesting Situation in the World

Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Isreali Palestinian Conflicts

 The basic foundations of the modern Arab-Israeli conflict can be traced to different Jewish and Muslim territorial and religious claims in Israel.  The conflict intensified when Britain took control of the region after WWI. In 1948, Britain, with help from the UN, divided the region into two separate and about equally sized states; one state for Jews, and one state for Arabs (Palestinians). On the day Israel became independent, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, and Transjordan attacked, sparking the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The first major conflict (of many) ended about a year later, and Israel had taken over some of the land set aside for Palestine.

 The aftermath of the war created a political mess. The original Palestinian state was split into two halves (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip), and both of these halves were separated by Israel. In 1967, the Six-Day war broke out between Israel and its neighbors, which resulted in Israel winning a decisive victory. Israel had managed to gain control of the entire Sinai Peninsula, which belonged to Egypt, and Golan Heights (which belonged to Syria). Israel also took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel would lose control of the Sinai Peninsula two years later.

 The Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting frequently ever since Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel has only occupied the Palestinian regions, and they have never put their own government in direct control of neither the West Bank nor the Gaza Strip. Simply, the Palestinians wish to have their own separate state, one that is not under Israeli control. For decades, there has been frequent fighting between the two regions. In 2006, Hamas, a radical Islamic political party, won control of the Palestinian government, sparking tensions between Israel and Palestine. In late 2008, the Gaza War broke out, and ended in an uneventful ceasefire three weeks later.

 The most recent conflict started when Israel launched an airstrike on Gaza, and killed a Hamas military official. The Palestinians retaliated and launched hundreds of rockets into Israel. For the first time since the Gulf War, rockets were launched at Tel Aviv, a major Israeli city. Israeli shelled Gaza by land and by sea. On November 21, a bomb exploded on a bus in Tel Aviv. A ceasefire came into effect only a few hours later. The most interesting result of the war came a few days later. On November 29, the UN recognized Palestine as a “non member observer state,” which is one step away from official recognition as a country. While the world hopes that this ceasefire lasts, it is probably very unlikely.

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