Newspapers and channels today serialize news of Israel bombing the Gaza strip which is currently governed by HAMAS. Over the last two decades, the Israel-Palestine conflict has always made it to the front page and every news that is published is either about death or devastation. The Western region of the Jordan River hasn’t seen a day of peace since almost 60 years. The brutality and importance of this conflict isn’t something that has escalated in quick succession of time. The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of history and origin and right to that origin.
The history of Jerusalem predates Islam. Jerusalem, Levant, Canaan or the Land of Israel are names to the region where modern day Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are situated. All the mentioned names indicate that this is region where the Jews or Israelites originated from. After the death of Prophet Mohammed, the flag of Islam saw a tremendous rise and its empire spread in all corners of the world. Many Jews from Levant fled from their land due to famine before the Islamic era. Once Islam started to spread and conquered the land of Jerusalem, more Jews fled to distant lands to escape persecution.
Islam then spread across the Gulf peninsula to Central Asia. The Muslim population dominated in no time and many Islamic kings ruled over Jerusalem. Jerusalem was sacred to Muslims as it was for Jews because it is believed that Prophet Mohammed ascended to the heaven when he visited this holy place.
Palestine and Islamic stronghold
Greek and Babylonian Kingdoms that explored the peninsula named the region between the Mediterranean Sea and the West bank of the Jordan River as Philistine, which roughly meant fisherman’s area. Arabs called it Fillisteen. That’s where the name Palestine was derived from.
For centuries Islamic rulers enjoyed the stronghold of Israel. It was obvious that with such dominance and prolonged stronghold, the religion and culture of majority population became Islamic in nature. The entire Gulf peninsula was under the Islamic flag and so were the regions above Jerusalem. The entire region was ruled for centuries under the Islamic flag. Israel and adjoining areas became completely Muslim regions.
The Ottoman Empire occupied the entire gulf and ruled over it for 5 centuries before losing to the Allied forces in 1917. The Ottoman Empire was kicked off its imperialism and their entire Kingdom was overthrown. Lord James Balfour, the then Foreign Minister of Great Britain suggested that the massive empire must be divided for efficient administration. He also allotted a chunk of land (Present day Israel and Jordan) to the Jewish people who were scattered all across the world. His idea was to provide a Jewish homeland at the original birthplace of Jews. This decision changed history as we see it.
After getting global notice that finally they have a place to call home, Jews across continents immigrated in large number and landed at Israel- their new homeland. All regions in the Gulf then, were controlled by Allied forces so there was no reaction from the Arab world. After the 2nd World War, Britain declared Independence to Israel in 1948 and some other nations in the peninsula. The Arab nations immediately attacked Israel which was not even one day old. Israel won that war.
By 1948, Israel had accepted major compromises. The entire region of present day Jordan and Israel was supposed to be Lord Balfour’s suggested Israel. But, only 26% of the land was eventually received by the newly founded country. Only the West bank of the Jordan River went to Israel. In that 26%, there was the West Bank Palestine settlement and the Gaza strip which occupied more land. Israel, right from its independence has been open to negotiation. Peace processes have failed till today. Israel at one point agreed to give away the entire Gaza strip and West bank for peace. But, even that failed.
Peace processes failed because of fanatic leaders in the Gulf. Arab leaders were not keen on negotiation and wanted the complete elimination of Israel and the founding of a new state of Palestine. Mahmoud Abbas, Yasser Arafat, Ahmed Shukeiri and Yahya Hammuda were the notable Arab fanatics who expressed desire to ‘destroy Israel’. The founding of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) made that intent clear.
These fanatics are majorly responsible for all the brutality that exists in the conflict. Their unwillingness to conclude the issue with talks paved way for suffering for both Israelis and Palestinians. After being beaten in the 6 day war in 1967, Israel entered West Bank and Gaza and installed military bases. This was done because the PLO constantly bombarded Israel using the West bank and Gaza strip as launching pads.
Never ending war
Israel was aggressed most of the times but, now it has decided to beat fire with fire. Israeli operations in Gaza are inhuman in nature, but so are the suicide bombings and wars that organizations like PLO and PLA execute. Palestine leaders and supporters keep arguing that Israel belongs to them and a state of Palestine must be created as they have been living here for centuries. Israelites argue that this is where they originated from and lived for ages. Moreover, they have no home. History is evidence that Israelites (Jews) have faced severe persecution wherever they have been to.
The war is never ending but, it can be resolved. A more peaceful and compromising approach on side of the Palestine leaders will open gates to a historic agreement that can cultivate peace in both worlds. Violence recently has killed thousands of Palestinians and like before, PLO or other organizations will execute terror operations and kill Israelis as revenge. It’s high time to keep ego’s aside and concentrate on the greater good of both peoples.