Why is there a war between Israel and Palestine, and how did it begin?

Reuters, October 11 – The latest in seven decades of war and struggle between Israelis and Palestinians that has drew in international forces and destabilized the larger Middle East is the battle between Israel and Hamas, which launched a surprise offensive on Saturday.

WHAT BEGAN THE CONFLICT, AND WHY?

Israeli desires for security in what it has traditionally considered as a hostile territory are pitted against Palestinian wishes for their own state in this conflict.

On May 14, 1948, Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion declared the creation of the modern State of Israel, creating a shelter for Jews fleeing persecution and seeking a national home on a piece of territory to which they claim strong ties dating back generations.

The creation of Israel is mourned by Palestinians as the Nakba, or catastrophe, which led to their eviction and prevented them from realizing their aspirations for statehood.

Approximately 700,000 Palestinians, or almost half the Arab population of what was then British-ruled Palestine, were forced from their homes during the ensuing war and ended up in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem in addition to Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

Israel, a strong friend of the United States, disputes the claim that it forcibly removed Palestinians from their homes and notes that it was under attack from five Arab nations the day after it was founded. The fighting was stopped in 1949 by armistice agreements, but there was no official peace. Palestinians who stayed put in the war today form the Arab Israeli community, making up about 20% of Israel’s population.

WHAT LARGE-SCALE ARMIES HAVE FOUGHT WARS SINCE THEN?

Israel started the Six-Day War in 1967 by attacking Egypt and Syria as a preventative measure. Since then, Israel has held the Golan Heights in Syria, the West Bank, and Arab East Jerusalem, which it took from Jordan.

The Yom Kippur War was started in 1973 when Egypt and Syria assaulted Israeli positions near the Suez Canal and the Golan Heights. Within three weeks, Israel forced both armies to retreat.

Following a 10-week blockade, Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon resulted in the sea-based evacuation of thousands of Yasser Arafat-led Palestinian fighters. When Hezbollah militants kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in 2006, Israel replied by starting a war in Lebanon.

Israel left Gaza, which it had taken from Egypt in 1967, in 2005. However, Gaza experienced significant flare-ups in 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2021 that included Israeli airstrikes, Palestinian rocket fire, and occasionally both sides crossing the border.

Two Palestinian intifadas, or uprisings, occurred between 1987 and 1993 and again from 2000 to 2005, in addition to conflicts. The second was marked by waves of suicide bombings by Hamas targeting Israelis.

WHAT Efforts Have Been Made to Promote Peace?

After 30 years of antagonism, Egypt and Israel struck a peace agreement in 1979. Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin joined hands on the Oslo Accords, which set forth a limited degree of Palestinian sovereignty, in 1993. Israel and Jordan agreed to a peace agreement in 1994.

President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Arafat failed to strike a comprehensive peace agreement during the Camp David summit in 2000.

In exchange for a complete retreat from the territories it seized in the Middle East war of 1967, the establishment of a Palestinian state, and a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees, an Arab plan offered Israel regular relations with all Arab nations in 2002.

Since 2014, when negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians in Washington ended in failure, peace efforts have halted.

After the Trump administration changed decades of U.S. policy by refusing to support the two-state solution, which calls for a Palestinian state to be founded in land that Israel conquered in 1967, Palestinians subsequently stopped doing business with the U.S.

WHERE DO PEACE EFFORTS STAND NOW?

The government of American President Joe Biden has concentrated on attempting to reach a “grand bargain” in the Middle East that includes normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the country in charge of the two holiest places in Islam.

The most recent conflict is problematic from a diplomatic standpoint for Saudi Arabia as well as other Arab nations, including the Gulf Arab nations neighboring to Saudi Arabia who have peace treaties with Israel.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN ISSUES?

A two-state solution, Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, and refugees are at the core of the dispute.

Two-state solution – an agreement that would create a state for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip alongside Israel. Hamas rejects the two-state solution and is sworn to Israel’s destruction. Israel has said a Palestinian state must be demilitarised so as not to threaten Israel.

Settlements – Most countries deem Jewish settlements built on land Israel occupied in 1967 as illegal. Israel disputes this and cites historical and Biblical ties to the land. Their continued expansion is among the most contentious issues between Israel, the Palestinians and the international community.

Jerusalem – Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which includes sites sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians, to be the capital of their state. Israel says Jerusalem should remain its “indivisible and eternal” capital. Israel’s claim to the eastern part of Jerusalem is not recognised internationally. Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – without specifying the extent of its jurisdiction in the disputed city – and moved the U.S. embassy there in 2018.

Refugees – Today about 5.6 million Palestinian refugees – mainly descendants of those who fled in 1948 – live in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza. About half of registered refugees remain stateless, according to the Palestinian foreign ministry, many living in crowded camps.

Palestinians have long demanded that refugees should be allowed to return, along with millions of their descendants. Israel says any resettlement of Palestinian refugees must occur outside of its borders.

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