Israel, officially known as the state of Israel is a country located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. It shares its border with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian territories of the west bank and the Gaza Strip to the east and west. The country with its capital Jerusalem also known as ‘Holy Land’ is the birthplace of two major religions namely Judaism and Christianity.
Israel has been a commonplace of savage and brutal violence due to disagreement between the two religious communities. The world’s ‘most Intractable conflict’ has created a situation of havoc and distress amid coronavirus pandemic. Recently, previous year Israeli court legislated that Palestinian families living in East Jerusalem neighbourhood – Sheikh Jarrah were to be evicted by May 2021 with their land ownership being transferred to Jewish Families. These families filed an appeal in court and elicited protests demanding an end to forced displacement of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. In April 2021 Palestinians started street protests, Israeli police deployed forces against demonstrators after the court ruled in favor of evictors. On 7 May, there was a violent upsurge at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem by Israel police, which left hundreds of Palestinians wounded. The reason cited for this violence was extreme emotional reaction against the rumor of an Al-Aqsa siege. Attack by police forces on Mosque created a situation of panic in east Jerusalem. Gaza’s militant group Hamas and other Palestinian militants counterattacked Israel by launching numerous rockets into its territory. It fired more than 3000 rockets towards Israeli cities and towns killing at least 12 people. The Israel in return fired Gaza strip and destroyed at most 132 buildings, killed several citizens and has stated that it will continue to do so till it destroys Hamas’s ability to make missiles and underground tunnels.
Historical Background- Abraham is considered as the father of Judaism and Christianity both. He is spiritual progenitor of all believers Jewish or Gentile (Non- Jewish). Around 2000 B.C.E – 1700 B.C.E Abraham settled in Canaan. The region of Canaan covered parts of Israel, the Gaza strip and the west bank majorly. In 6th century Greeks named this region Palestine which became home to many sites considered sacred by Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. Jerusalem has places of religious importance for all the three communities. ‘Dome of the rock’ and ‘AL-Aqsa Mosque’ considered sacred for Arab Palestinians and the remaining wall of the Jewish temple considered vital to Jews. Christians consider Jerusalem as the place where Christ was crucified. Jews who considered Israel as their holy land were victims of oppression in due course of history. Over the time period they were evicted out of their lands. In early 19th century they started ‘The Zionist Movement’ and started returning back to their homeland in Palestine which was ruled by Ottoman empire at that time. In 1897 this movement turned into political insurgence aiming at establishing a nation state for Jews where they would have their rights of self-determination. The world Zionist organization and the Jewish National Fund encouraged immigration of Jews and funded their purchase of land. This led to increase in Jewish population to 75000 Jews. After the Great Britain took control of Palestine Jewish settlement continued to grow but this time by non- lethal means that is by replacing Arab Palestinians. Arabs opposed this immigration when Jews refused to lease or sell their land to them or hire them for work. In 1920, the grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Amin al-Husayni accused Jewish community of modifying and rebuilding the Dome of the rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the religiously important places of Muslims. This led to the beginning of riots between the two communities. The 1921 Jaffa riots and 1929 Palestine riots escalated the already grieved relations between these communities over land. Supreme Muslim council leader Amin al-Husayni instigated revolt which lasted till 1939.
One State Solution-
In its policy paper released in May 1939 British Government established restrictions on entry of Jewish Immigrants and their right to buy land in Palestine. In 1939, 6 million Jews were murdered in , but when they tried to escape from Europe to Palestine illegally it aggravated the situation even more. In 1947 after its independence from Britain, Arab militants attacked British Palestine states which led to civil war. On 29 November 1947 they adopted United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine which planned to divide Palestine into an Arab state, a Jewish state and the Special International Regime of Jerusalem. In 1956 following the nationalization of Suez Canal, Israel attacked Egypt on Britain and French order and occupied territories of Gaza strip and east Peninsula. In 1967 Arab and Israeli forces clashed for the third time which was termed as the followed by Yom Kippur war in 1973. Last two recent conflict between them were Lebanon wars of 1982 and 2006.
- Gaza which is ruled by Palestinian militant group Hamas has fought Israel many times, due to which Israel has imposed restrictions to protect itself from Gaza.
- The Palestinian families of East Jerusalem are been threatened of eviction.
- Disagreements between these two groups over Jewish settlement in West Bank, creation of Palestine state and sharing of Jerusalem continue to dominate this crisis and ongoing conflict.
For more than 25 years there have been several attempts for peace but nothing has sorted out so far.