Jerusalem through barbed wire (Photo credit: George via Adobe Stock)

How the infamous Israel-Palestine conflict started, a potential solution, and what the world thinks.

Who is involved?

The conflict consists of the Jewish people of Israel, the majority Muslim population in Palestine, British imperialists, and measures taken by international organizations such as the UN. Currently, the people of Hamas on the Gaza strip in Palestine are fighting in the battle with Israel.

What is the conflict regarding?

Land. The conflict is regarding the region of Jerusalem, and whether it is the homeland of the Jews or Muslims. 

Where is this conflict occurring?

The violent aspect of the conflict occurs in the region of Israel/Palestine. However, it is a worldwide issue. Many countries and international organizations have stated with whom they side with, and many are heavily involved with the conflict, such as the US and UK. 

When did this conflict occur?

The Israel-Palestine conflict has been occurring for almost 100 years. It started after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and following World War I. It is an ongoing conflict.

Why is it important? 

This conflict is significant because it affects the civilians of both sides. People are dying because the governments of the two states and global powers cannot solve this century-long debate. 

How Did it Start?

In light of recent events and developments in the Israel and Palestine conflict, many more people have become aware of the ongoing tensions and violence within the communities. So what is exactly happening? This issue is not a recent one; despite what many people think, this conflict has been occurring for almost 100 years. How did it start? It was the British imperialists who initiated the reason for this conflict. Following World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the British government colonized Palestine, home to Arab Muslims. It offered their land to the Jewish people as a homeland. The Arab community, which was already settled and dispersed among the region, retaliated and rebelled against the new group of people settling in and attempting to inhabit their advanced and stable society. 

More and more Jews inhabited the land to flea the Holocaust or reunite with their families already living in the area. In 1947, the UN voted that the region would be split – Jerusalem would be an international city and be home to the dense populations of Muslims and Jews. The Jewish people accepted this resolution, but the Palestinians still thought it was unfair to give up half of their settled land. So, the ongoing conflict between the Palestinians and Jews arose, resulting in a century of violence, death, injuries, and international measures to control the two communities. One hundred years later, there is still no solution to the problem the imperialists created. It remains one of the most controversial and prevalent topics in international relations today – for Jews, Muslims, and people all over the world.

The Abraham Accords Signing Ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, on the South Lawn of the White House (Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

What is Happening Now?

Many wars, battles, and conflicts have occurred over this long period between the governments and civilians of Israel and Palestine. The most recent form of violence happened in May 2021, when tensions between the two people rose to an extreme. In May, an 11-day attack initiated by Israel on the people of Hamas on the Gaza strip occurred and sparked international debate. Israel has been targeting densely populated areas with their drones and bombs, resulting in almost two weeks of fighting, which led to 228 Palestinians dead, 66 of them children. The violence has ignited something within activists and civilians around the world. The people of Hamas fired back, resulting in 12 Israeli deaths. After 11 days of fighting, Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire monitored by Egypt, supported by many global powers such as the United States. President Biden said this agreement brough “genuine opportunity” for progress to resolve the conflict. However, this is not a permanent solution, and the tensions are still present. There is no telling how long the agreement to withhold violence will last, but, certainly, it will not be for long. 

Recent developments show that the world is recognizing the heinous crimes committed by Israel. The United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has stated the recent attacks by Israel can constitute “war crimes,” and the UN is exploring the idea that Israel’s actions in their 11-day attacks are considered a war crime. With a 24-9 vote, many believe that it is time to acknowledge the violence that Israel is committing and punish them for their role in the murders of many Palestinian civilians, including women and children. What this means for the future is hard to say, but it is a step in the right direction. 

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem on May 25, 2021. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain]

Who Supports Who?

This issue is a highly complex one for all people. While most Muslims side with Palestine because there are many holy places and important artifacts located on this land and there is a large Muslim population who have resided there for over a century, American Jewish people are more diverse. According to Pew Research Center, only 33% of Jews believe God gave the land that is now Israel to the Jewish people.  While many American Jews consider themselves Zionists and advocate for the right of Israel to defend itself, the majority side with the Palestinians and their efforts to preserve their sacred land.

The overwhelming majority of American Jews siding with Palestine is not an accurate representation of how the American government feels, however. For years, American-Israeli relations have been solid. The U.S. Department of State says “Israel is a great partner to the United States, and Israel has no greater friend than the United States” on their website. 

President Donald J. Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talk during a bilateral meeting Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. ( Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The US was also the first country to recognize Israel as a country in 1948. In the past four years, with Trump in office, our relationship with Israel has never been more solid. However, President Biden is vowing to change this. While he still claimed Israel has the “right to defend itself,” he is apt on solving tensions between the US and Palestine and Israel. He spoke with both governments and is attempting to create a solution that will keep the ancient ties between Israel and the US but still help Palestine, such as giving them $40 million in aid

Despite the lasting relationship between the US and Israel, it is clear that this notion is changing. In 2020, Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders could have been the first president who supported Palestine, forming their state in correlation with the Israelis. While he did not win the presidency, many members of the Democratic party took after his solution and are currently promoting it within the US government. Members of “The Squad,” AOC, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and others condemned US support for Israel. In a speech on the House flood, Representative Tlaib, the first and only Palestinian congress member, criticized President Biden and other top officials for offering statements that she did not acknowledge “Palestinian humanity.”

In a tweet, AOC recognized the violence of Israel and stated her support for Palestine. In addition, she wrote, “It is inhumane, and the US must show leadership in safeguarding the human rights of Palestinians.” These politicians condemning the violence and attacks by Israel is a very new phenomenon. While the anti-Israel agenda has been pushed before in the US, it has never been to this extent. This could mean a significant change in the US-Israel relationship could be in the near future.

However, not every Democratic politician in the US is on the side of Palestine. New York City Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang published a tweet about New York’s everlasting support for Israel. The tweet was not taken well among his supporters and the people of Twitter. He received backlash and was forced to apologize. In his apology, he said his volunteers “felt that my tweet was overly simplistic in my treatment of a conflict that has a long and complex history full of tragedies. And they felt it failed to acknowledge the pain and suffering on both sides.” He agreed with these sentiments and stated his sadness for the people of Palestine. However, this was after extreme retaliation on the internet as well as in real life. Walking the streets of New York, Yang was met with many young people who questioned his tweet and sentiments towards the conflict. It was after this that he decided to apologize for his pro-Israel stance. 

 Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, in Ramallah, the West Bank, on May 25, 2021. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain]

What is the Solution?

In 2018, former President Trump moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In his opening speech, he stated this move was “Our greatest hope is for peace.” This move was prompted and supported by many of his right-wing supporters, including the Jewish Americans who voted for him. While under the guise to promote peace between the two communities and make Jerusalem an “international city,” many believe the reason for this move was not peace at all. It was to promote the fighting between Israel and Palestine and also grant Israel the capital city of Jerusalem. 

Other solutions have also been promoted, but there is no concrete or easy solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. While many radical Palestinian supports suggest the state be eradicated from the Israeli-Jews and become entirely Palestinian, most politicians and officials are against this solution – even progressive Democrats such as Sanders and AOC. Their goal is a difficult one, to create a two-state solution in the region. It would establish two neighboring states known as Israel and Palestine, which would coexist in peace and harmony with their respective populations and land. This solution has been being pushed since the British imperialists gifted the Jews the land but has never been enacted. Global powers such as the US and UK, as well as international organizations such as the UN all agree with this solution.

However, many things are standing in the way. Some divisive questions and elements of this solution are: where would the border be? Who would dictate how much land each state receives? Who gains control of the capital of Jerusalem? Where would the Palestinian refugees go? These questions have many answers but have not settled on an agreement in the multiple years since they have been posed. This is why many consider this solution to be obsolete. The governments of the two communities are opposed to this solution unless it is under their terms. The people do not wish to share their land with the other side. In conclusion, there is no solution to this century-long problem without the approval of everyone, and this is not likely to be achieved in the near future. 

Anoosha Murtaza

Anoosha Murtaza is a Gen Z Voice at the Pavlovic Today and a rising third-year student at the University of Virginia. Anoosha has a passion for good journalism, strong political views, and social justice.