Atfal Matters: What is going on in Israel and Palestine – Post 1900s history

As you may have been seeing recently in the media, the Palestine and Israel conflict is a decades long conflict that has led to thousands upon thousands of deaths. This article will be about post 1900s history (After 1900). If you have not read my previous article on pre 1900s History on this important conflict, I highly suggest you do. However, to give a short summary, in the previous article, I talked about how both Jews and Muslims had strong connections to the land dating all the way back to around 4000 years ago with Hazrat Ibrahim [a.s]. Jews believe that they deserve the entire land however, in the Holy Quran, Surah Bani Isra’il (17:105) states that Jews were not meant to live in the holy land and will be “brought out”. We finished that article with when the Jews began returning to the “promised land” in Palestine under Ottoman rule in the 1800s.

By 1944, more than 75,000 Jews lived in the region. Following World War One, Great Britain seized control of what is now Jordan, Palestine, and Israel from the Ottoman Empire. The League of Nations approved a British declaration in 1922 that promised the Jewish people a national home in Palestine, but it would be more than 20 years before that promise was realised. In 1939, World War 2 broke out. In the Holocaust, more than 6 million Jews were killed and millions more were displaced. In 1947 (after WW2) the UN (United Nations) decided to partition Palestine into 2 countries: the Jewish state of Israel and the Arab state of Palestine.

Although Israel agreed to the division and the boundaries for the two states were established, many Arab residents believed that the Jewish population had been unfairly favoured. Quickly, violence broke out. The State of Israel was founded on May 14, 1948, with David Ben-Gurion as its first Prime Minister. Almost immediately, the Arab league (a group of surrounding Arab countries), rejected the partition and attacked. Israel fought back and after 9 months of conflict, its armed forces occupied much of the land designated to become the Arab state of Palestine. Egypt took control of the Gaza strip. Jordan, then called Transjordan, took control of the West Bank. The original plan for a palestinian state was scrapped. Many Jews saw this historic event as a victory, but about 720,000 Arabs were forced to flee or leave their homes, with many seeking refuge in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This would be remembered in Hebrew as the war of Independence and in Arabic the Catastrophe.

Tension between Jews and Arab Muslims in the region would continue for decades. Fighting between Israel and its Arab neighbours continued on and off for the next 60 years. In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) formed to consolidate the power of many small Palestinian groups. In the 1967 six day war, Israel defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, and gained control of significant territory. A violent uprising known as the first Intifada, which was led by Palestinian militia and left hundreds of people dead, began in 1987 after an encounter with Israeli defence forces that claimed the lives of four Palestinian refugees.

The Oslo Accords, which Israel and the PLO established after the first Intifada, created a timetable for peace. Further peace talks in 2000 proved unsuccessful when agreements could not be reached on issues like the status of Jerusalem, the rights of refugees and increased Jewish settlements in Palestinian lands. Later that year, Ariel Sharon, who later became Israel’s Prime Minister, visited Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque’s location on the temple mount. an act that offended a lot of Palestinians. There were violent demonstrations, riots, assaults, and suicide bombings. The Second Intifada, a nearly five-year period of violence, put an end to any peace that the Oslo Accords had brought about.

The violence ended in 2005 when Israel withdrew from Gaza. In 2006, a militant Sunni Islamic group, Hamas, won the Palestinian legislative elections. Many countries consider Hamas as a terrorist group because of their methods, such as carrying out suicide bombings and calling for the destruction of Israel. Hamas and Israel continued to clash violently. In 2017, Hamas called for the formation of a Palestinian state using the 1967 borders, but it did not formally recognise Israel as a state. Therefore, Israel did not accept.

By Yasir Khan, 15.

31st January 2024