The Israel- Palestinian war started in 1948, it is also known as war of independence by Palestinians. Also it is calledArab-Israelwar. It all sparked of with the establishment of the state ofIsraelafter hundred thousands of Palestinians were displaced. Since then, the conflict has continued up to date. There have been many deaths, suicidal bombers and heavy loss of properties on both sides. These conflicts are not consistent but keep escalating. One may wonder whether there will ever be peace. What is the peace brokers doing to bring an end to this long protracted conflict? What are the prospects of peace? This paper will specifically focus on these two questions. The paper will give you a brief history of how things have been, the measures were taken to end the conflict, how currently the situation is and finally on the future prospects of peace.
After Israelachieved independence (Ross D., 2004) it was invaded by Egypt, Syria, Iraqand Lebanon. At this time Israelwas a small state with a very small population. The Arab nations were against United Nations decision to partition Palestineinto two states. The decision did not amuse the Palestineand Arab states. So, Israelwas attacked by Arab states after it declared its independence on 14th may 1948 though it managed to defend itself. The war came to an end in 1949 after an armistice was signed. This led to the enlargement of the state ofIsrael more than what was agreed on by the United Nations partition plan.
The Israel-Palestinian conflict is a contest between these two countries over the claim of the same land area. After 1948 war,Israelextended its borders by taking a portion ofJerusalem.
In 1956, (Carter J., 2006) Egyptinvaded Israelby closing the traits of Tiran to the shipping bases of Israeland took control over the Gulf of Aqaba. This was against the Constantinople agreement of 1888; it was also a violation of the 1949 armistice which was signed by Arab nations and Israel. In 1956, 26th of JulyEgypt owned the Suez Canal Company and denied its access toIsrael ships.Israel retaliated by invading theSinai Peninsula. It also capturedGaza strip. It was supported byBritain andFrance but U.S and UN stopped this war and an armistice was signed.Israel withdrew fromEgypt’s territory and it was allowed to access the region. After the war, the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) was created. It was supposed to see the demilitization of Sinai.
In 1967 may, Egypt chased the UNEF observes and recruited about hundred thousand soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula thus reverting to the 1956 status quo. In 1967 May Jordan,EgyptandSyriaentered in to a mutual defense pact that promptedIsraelto embark on a pre-emptive attack inEgypt. It released almost all of its planes to those ofEgyptand weakened them, then turned to Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi air forces. The war took six days whereIsraelemerged the winner. In 1967, the Arab leaders met inSudan,Khartoumto discuss about Arab nations andPalestine. Their conclusion was that the state ofIsraelwas not to be recognized as a legal state, there was to be no peace in There was to be no compromise or negotiations to be held betweenIsraeland Arabs.
Egyptin 1969 started to revenge from what had happened in 1967. It wantedIsraelto surrender theSinai Peninsula. This war continued untilEgypt’s president Abdul Nasser died in 1970. In 1973, war broke out betweenIsrael,SyriaandEgypt. This war had a lot of cold war influence for it involved the superpowers-USA andUSSR.Israelhad already shown signs of winning the war whenUSSRthreatened to take military action againstIsrael. When US saw this they quickly secured a ceasefire so that nuclear war could be avoided.
Since 1974 to the present, the war has continued between Arabs states andIsrael. There are so peace agreements that have been signed. For example, in 1970sCamp Davidaccords were signed. Here Sinai Peninsula was to be returned and theGazastrip would remain in the hands ofIsrael. In 1994,IsraelandJordansigned a peace treaty to resolve all their differences. In 1981,Iraqwas attacked byIsraeland destroyed all their newlyIraqnuclear machineries. Later during the gulf war,Iraqfired many missiles butIsraelrefused to respond so as to prevent a war outbreak.
In 1957, the PLO in conjunction withSyriathrown missiles toIsraeland later were invaded byLebanon. In 1983,IsraelandLebanonsigned a ceasefire. Two years later, all theIsraelforces had moved out and left an open space whereSyriaand Hezbollah filled. In 2002 in response toAqsa Intifada,Israelforce ravaged some properties in the West bank. In 2005, Ariel Sharon the prime minister withdrew his army fromGazastrip (Rubin B., 2007)
In 2006, July some Hezbollah troops approached Israelfrom Lebanon. They attacked kidnapped and killed people. A UN cease fire was signed in 2006 that officially ended the conflict. On September 6th,Israel attacked and bombed Syrian complex in the North that was said to hold nuclear weapons fromNorth Korea.
There have been various attempts to bring peace betweenIsraelandPalestine(Ami B.S., 2006) For example, in 1993 leaders fromPalestineliberation organization (PLO) met to resolve this conflict under what was calledOslopeace process. This time Arafat recognized that the state of.Israelexisted. It was agreed thatIsraelshould vacate the Palestinian territories in exchange of peace from Palestinians. This progressed slowly but finally it became a closed chapter when Yasser Arafat and Barak disagreed over the status ofJerusalem. If this agreement succeeded, it would have put a full stop to that long peace struggle. I thinkIsraelwas responsible for this continued conflict because if it returned the territories it had grabbed fromPalestineduring the 1948 Arab Israel war, the tug of war could have come to an end.
Another peace initiative took place in 2002; here a proposal was made by the European Union, the UN, US, andRussia. The group was referred to as the quartet.Israelgave 14 conditions that were to be met before it accepted the proposal. The proposal never touched the fate ofJerusalembut was set to be discussed later. The changesIsraelwanted effected were not welcomed byPalestine. The peace process did not even pass through the phase one of its proposal which called forIsraelto stop violence and to stop making constructions it was making. It seemsIsraelwas not interested in peace process. If it was, then it could not have given those unachievable conditions. It could have let the negotiations to proceed. This conflict is fueled by the western politics. It is like US is supportingIsraelwhileRussiasupports the Arab nations. These western nations if anything, they should be facilitators of peace but not parties to the conflict (Oren M., 2002)
Also there was another peace initiative which was proposed by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia- Abdullah. It was made in theBeirutsummit. The proposal was Okayed by all Arab states including those of the Hamas and Fatah factions. Unlike the Road Map for peace, it proposed the final solutions to the problem. It clearly laid the strategies to be followed in the peace building process.
The proposal arguedIsraelto remove its force from all the illegally occupied territories that included Golan Heights, to recognize the independent state ofPalestinewith its capital city at East Jerusalem, to vacate West Bank as well asGazastrip. They also provided a lasting solution for the Palestinians in Diaspora.Israelrejected this proposal at first but Arabs continued to offer it as the best of the solutions that so far had been raised. In my view, this proposal was excellent. There is nowhere that it compromised the state ofIsrael. This proposal requiredIsraelto vacate from the soils ofPalestine. The proposal did recognize the state ofIsraelunlike those that were signed by Egypt Syria and Jordan which never recognizedIsraelas a legal state.
In 2003, Arial Sharon announced that he would vacate theGazastrip with all the civilians and military weapon but to continue to supervise and guard the external borders except that crossing withEgyptwhich is jointly manned by the Palestinian national authority together with European Union. They wanted theGazastrip to be free but to continue building the wall. That is the Israel-West Bank barrier and to maintain theWest Bankas it is (Mark P., 1994.)
Israeleffected their disengagement plan in 2005 between August and September. This process was popular amongst Israelis and helped Olmert Ellud the prime minister to win the forth coming election whenSharongot incapacitated by strike. As preparations forIsraelto vacateGazastrip, cease fire was signed in 2005 between Fatah and Hamas but other factions rejected this plea and continued to level attacks againstIsrael.
When this failed Israelresumed to its military actions and targeted militants who operated from Gazastrip and organized attacks against it. Later full violence broke out again when Hamas officials were killed by Israelmissile on 5th 2006. The following day rockets were fired by Popular Resistance Group though no deaths were reported.Israel retaliated by directing its air strikes to its attackers. Five Palestinians were killed and 20 wounded when shots were fired by theIsrael’s navy boats. By this time the conflict was in its full swing and Hamas called off the 16 old day cease fire (Lughod A., and Toynbee J A., 1987)
Since then, there have been a lot of military activities going on inGazaand Palestinian where both sides were revenging on each other. In June 2006 Hamas captured a 19 years old Israel IDF soldier an action that madeIsraelto execute a military operation against the said attackers. The peace process was further compromised by the fact that they won in the 2006 Palestinian legislative council and its new leader Ismael Haniyer ascended to the post of the prime minister. He complicated the situation when he declared that he did not recognize the existence ofIsraelas a state. This to me was a very big threat to the peace process building. Haniyah reverted to the situation that was there before. This time around,Israelwas more understanding than before. By removing its forces fromGazawas something they haven’t done before which could be termed as positive.
In 2007 (Maxine R., 1973) Hamas and Fatah met to discuss how they can form a new unity government. Immediately after Haniyer resigned, Hamas and Fatah assumed leadership in March 2007. After some time, this coalition government collapsed and both started disagreeing. They even started engaging in a physical struggle. Hamas defeated Fatah and took control of theGazastrip while Fatah took control over west Bank. Gazadid not recognize the existence ofIsrael. Economic sanctions were placed onGazadue to its renewed fighting’s betweenIsraeland Hamas inGazastrip
Since then, Hamas has been trying to secure cease fires butIsraelhas turned down their pleas. U.S has been trying to speed up the peace process by clearing the obstacles that impeded the withdrawal of Israel from Gaza strip and some and some west bank regions (Morris B., 1993) This was being done by secretary of state Condoleezza Rice who appointed Wolfensohn James the former World Bank president. This was a step in the right direction to help these two warning nations to come to peace terms. Other countries should also fell free to help these countries to stop their conflict. Even when president Bush of U.S metSharonin Crawford, he openly stated that he was totally opposed to the idea ofIsraelexpanding its territory. He asked him support theUSbacked peace processes and avoid conflicts.
Judging from what we have seen we now do understand why there are a lot suicidal bombers inPalestinewho are ready to sacrifice themselves for their country. The whole war is about illegal occupation byIsraelso if onlyIsraelcould vacate all these territories, the struggle would soon come to an end and both states would be peaceful. If this is not solved, then there are no future prospects of peace betweenIsraelandPalestine.
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