Israel / Palestine 101
The history of the relationship between Israel and Palestine is a very complex and emotionally charged subject – an issue that we have no intention of disrespecting by glossing over or oversimplifying. But, we have noticed that this issue can come across as overly convoluted and subsequently perceived as a lost cause.
Our goal in providing this brief overview is to not only show the error in this thinking, but also to show that this “far-away issue” is something that we all can and should help solve.
You may have heard that this conflict has gone on for HUNDREDS OF YEARS. In reality, the conflict that we hear about today is relatively young. Below, you can find our abbreviated timeline (which does start with the Roman Empire) and you can see the present day issues actually begin around 1947. This is when Britain ceded control of Palestine to the UN, who then partitioned it into two parts: one for the Jews (who had been immigrating over since World War I) and one for the Arabs. The Arabs rejected the plan while David Ben-Gurion declared the foundation of the state of Israel on May 15, 1948.
Following 1948 (and into present day) have been several attempts to gain control of the land with aggressions from both sides – Israel’s capturing and release of the Suez Canal, the Six Day war, the Yom Kippur war, Israeli invasion of Lebanon, establishment of Jewish settlements, Palestinian suicide bombings, erection of a separation wall, Israeli occupation of the West Bank and a blockade of Gaza.
The main issues lingering through these struggles (called the Final Status Issues) still need to be addressed and reconciled, and are recognized as central to any successful Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement. These issues are: mutual recognition, borders, security, water rights, control of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements, Palestinian freedom of movement and legalities concerning refugees (all of these issues are elaborated on in our Glossary).
Today the struggle for right to the land in its entirety continues, with little to no understanding or empathy from either political side to find solutions for the “other people” in the region who are not willing to leave “their land.”
For more information, we recommend going over our Timeline, Glossary of Terms and Maps (links below). Everything we have included has been carefully selected and vetted to convey as much information and background as possible without running the risk of overload. We hope this small start is helpful in your journey to learn more about a very complex (and very human) issue that truly affects us all. Thank you for taking this step with us.