“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict: a look at the roots of the conflict and potential solutions”

Author: Vlastimil Vilímek | Prague on 17.10.2023

 

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has its roots in the early 20th century when the area known as Palestine became a place of heightened interest for Jewish and Arab nationalists.

Jewish nationalism, known as Zionism, sought to create a Jewish state in the territory where the biblical kingdom of Israel historically existed.

Arab nationalism, on the other hand, sought recognition and independence for Arab states in the region, including Palestine.

 

The Balfour Declaration of 1917, in which Britain declared its support for the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine, increased tensions between the two sides.

After the end of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust, the idea of a Jewish state gained strong international support.

 

In 1948, the state of Israel was officially declared.

The creation of Israel immediately sparked the first Arab-Israeli war, during which most of the Arab Palestinians living in what is now Israel were displaced or fled.

This event, known as the Nakba, continues to influence the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

Key sticking points in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict include the issues of recognition of Israel and Palestine as independent states, Israeli settlement policy, and the status of Jerusalem.

 

Many countries and international organizations recognize Palestine as an independent state.

Israel and some other countries, including the United States, reject it. On the other hand, many Palestinians and their supporters do not recognize Israel as a legitimate state. This mutual unwillingness to recognize the other side as an independent state is a serious problem that is hampering progress in the negotiations.

 

Israel’s settlement policy is another key issue in the conflict. Since 1967, Israel has been building settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territory that is considered occupied under international law and that the Palestinians consider part of their future state. This policy is contrary to international law and has been widely criticized by the international community.

 

The status of Jerusalem is also a key point of conflict. Both nations claim Jerusalem as their capital. Israel controls the entire city and regards it as its undivided capital, a position that is not generally recognized by the international community.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, regard East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War, as the capital of their future state. This dispute over the status of Jerusalem represents one of the most polarising points in the conflict.

 

Residents in Israel are subject to frequent rocket attacks by Palestinian militant groups. These attacks have a significant impact on the security and well-being of residents, who often have to take refuge in safe houses. Rocket attacks also destroy infrastructure, including houses, schools, and hospitals.

 

On the Palestinian side, there are many civilian casualties, particularly in the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas. Israeli military operations in Gaza often cause severe damage to infrastructure and disrupt access to basic services. Palestinian civilians, especially children, are also often traumatized by prolonged violence and insecurity.

 

 

There are several possible solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that are often discussed.

Among the most frequently mentioned is a two-state solution.

This solution would involve the creation of an independent and sovereign state for the Palestinians alongside the state of Israel. The borders between the two states would be agreed upon based on a territorial division that would be mutually acceptable. Jerusalem would become the shared capital of both states.

 

A one-state solution.

This solution would entail the creation of a single state that would include Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In this scenario, the principle of equal rights for all inhabitants, regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliation, would apply. However, this solution raises questions about demography, political organization, and security.

 

Federative solution.

In this scenario, a federation would be created between Israel and Palestine, with each side enjoying a degree of autonomy while sharing common institutions and governance. This solution could provide space for mutual coexistence and cooperation but would require mutual trust and cooperation between the two sides.

 

The role of the international community and key players such as the United States, the European Union, and the Arab League is also very important. These actors can play the role of mediator and supporter of the peace process.

 

It is important to realize that none of these solutions is easy and that they require mutual agreement and compromise on the part of both sides of the conflict.

 

The resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most complex political problems of our time.

 

Thank you for reading and commenting Vlastimil Vilímek

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