Israel vs. Palestine:
The Conflict
• Two conflicting sides over land, resources,
sovereignty, religion, and culture.
– Jerusalem/Temple Mount
– Jordan River
• Israelis – Judaism, claim rights to ‘Israel’ a
recognized state of the UN
• Palestinians – Islam, claim the same land as
‘Palestine’, are not recognized by the UN, but
have a central ‘PNA’
• Both sides have contributed considerably to
The Issues
• Palestinian Refugees and the Right of
• Status of Jerusalem
• Borders and the Occupied Territories
• Israeli Security Concerns in relation to
• Settlements in the West Bank
Ancient History
• Cultural Conflict goes back several
thousand years – mainly religious
– Old Canaan conquered by Israeli tribes out of
Egypt (according to Torah) [1200 BCE]
– Hebrew settlements/conquests of present-day
Jerusalem under Solomon
• First Temple Built in Jerusalem on “Temple Mount”
• Later split into two kingdoms: Israel and Judea (both
later fall to Assyrians) after Solomon’s death
– Land referred to as ‘Palestine’ by ancient
Egyptians and ‘Israel’ by the Jewish tribes
• Same place, different language
Ancient History cont…
– Control continuously changes from app. 530 BCE –
61 BCE ending with control from Roman Empire
• Christianity is founded around 4 BCE – 35 CE,
followed by Islam in 622 CE
– Non Jewish inhabitants of Israel/Palestine convert
begin to practice Islam/Christianity
– Roman Empire Collapses after schism,
Israel/Palestine is conquered by Persians in 614 CE
– Then, conquered by Arab Islamic armies – Al-Aqsa
Mosque is built in 715 CE on Temple Mount
(considered Third Holiest site in Islam)
Ancient History cont…
• European Christian crusaders begin their
attacks on ‘The Holy Land’ occupied by
Saladin and his Kurds
– Crusaders briefly occupy Jerusalem in 1229
CE, retaken by Mameluke Muslims, later
defeated at acre and evicted from ‘Palestine’
– Ottoman/Turk conquest of area in 1517, part
of official Ottoman Empire until 1917
• Demographics in Jerusalem under Ottoman Rule:
7120 Jews, 5760 Muslims, 3390 Christians
Modern History
• World War I breaks out; Turkey (Ottoman
Empire) fights against Allies
– Balfour Declaration by the UK in Nov 1917
• “His Majesty's government view with favour the
establishment in Palestine of a national home for
the Jewish people, and will use their best
endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this
object…” - British Foreign Policy during wartime
– British control of Egypt extends itself to the
Israel/Palestine area under pressure from the
‘Zionist Movement’ Dec 1917
Modern History cont…
• Faisal-Weizmann Agreement – Jan 3, 1919; part
of the Paris Peace Conference
– Leader of the Zionist Commission (Chaim Weizmann)
met with Emir Faisal (Kingdom of Hedjaz)
– Encourage mass Zionist/Jewish settlements in
Palestine, in exchange for an Arab nation
encompassing present-day Iraq, Syria, and the Fertile
– Became irrelevant – Kingdom of Hedjaz was
conquered in 1923 and incorporated under the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Modern History cont…
• European Zionists continue to settle in Palestine
– Britain begins to decolonize – grants
independence to nearby Egypt and Transjordan
• League of Nations – France and Britain divide
the Middle East into ‘Mandates’
– Churchill White Paper (June 3, 1922) – clarifies
Balfour Declaration in response to anti-semetic riots
in Palestine
– Main Point: Europe dividing new nations for ‘selfdetermination’ – deconstruction of imperialism
Modern History cont…
• Britain caught in the middle of appealing to
Palestine and Israel – violence escalates
– Racial profiling, religious desecration, segregation,
power struggle within Palestine
– Zionist immigration continues
– British policy continually changes with pressure from
both sides
• Progress in Middle East halts somewhat as
WWII begins in Europe
– Britain is distracted, situation becomes even more
unclear, violence continues to escalate
Modern History cont…
• WWII – large portion of Jewish population flees
Nazism for Palestine, many join Zionist
movement, seek new life
– Wounded Britain pulls out of Palestine completely by
– Organized fighting with armies and weapons begins,
bombings, massacres, spontaneous fighting from
both sides
– State of Israel declares independence May 14, 1948
• Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia all
declare war on Israel
• United States immediately recognizes new state, followed by
• Israeli War of Independence 1948 - 1949
Modern History cont…
– Result: app. 800,000 Palestinians are displaced
– Yasser Arafat founds the Palestinian Liberation
Organization (PLO) 1964
• Six-Day War (Jun 5–11, 1967)
– Israel aquires West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the Golan
• Fighting causes many Palestinians to flee into neighboring
Arab countries, especially from the Golan Heights
• OC’s under martial law – not represented by MP’s
• First Intifada – 1987-1993 : Violence moves from
organized to massive civil warfare
– Triggered by Palestinian students : boycotting Israeli
goods, strikes, graffiti, barricades, planned terrorism,
resistance of authorities
Modern History cont…
• Oslo Accords (Declaration of Principles on Interim SelfGovernment Arrangements)
– GOI and PLO meet, sign accords on September 13, 1993)
– Sets up the Palestinian National Authority
• Mutual recognition between PNA/State of Israel
• Government over the ‘Occupied Territories’ gradually phased over in
a period of 5 years to PNA
– IDF (Israeli Defense Force) to withdraw from the areas, eventual
sovereignty given to PNA
– Failed
Only addressed borders – no status of Jerusalem, refugees
No provisions for a permanent Palestinian state
OCT still under Israeli military control
Cultural violence continues (Israeli anger at Palestinians/vice versa)
Yasser Arafat
Yitzhak Rabin
Modern History cont…
• Second Intifada (Al-aqsa Intifada) – response to failed
Oslo Accords : suspended all-out civil war returns
– Triggered by a MP visiting temple mount with over a thousand
police guards, leading to violence
– Response: International inquiry
• Mitchell Report of 2001 by UN, EU, US, Egypt, and Jordan
– Camp David Negotiations – US President Clinton facilitates talks
with Israeli PM Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat
Tried to negotiate final status of Israel and Palestine
Israel agreed to a partial two-state solution, rejected by Palestinians
Ultimately failed – neither side reached an agreement
Israel uses the complete Palestinian rejection of this plan as an
example of unwillingness to seek peace on the part of the
• Palestine uses the unfair ‘compromises’ presented by Israel as an
example of Israeli greed; especially disliked the ‘Israeli Security
Modern History cont…
(final I promise!)
– League of Arab States conference in Beruit –
Saudi Arabia pushes movement to normalize
Arab-Israeli relations
• Arab Peace Initiative – March 28, 2002
• Israel would withdraw from the Golan Heights,
Gaza Strip, and West Bank completely
• Israel would finance the return of the Palestinian
refugees to Palestine, or give them compensation
– Israel basically ignores the Initiative’s
existence, no formal mention of it or
Right Now
• Palestinians live in OCT’s under Israeli
military occupation
– Human Rights Violations
– Access to education, healthcare, even basic
necessities is sporadic
– Some representation under PNA - Parliament
• App. 4.5 million Palestinian refugees today
– Original number: 800,000 in 1947
UN Involvement
Israel and the UN
• Israel is a nation with ‘special status’ in the UN
– They are active members in the Western European
and Others Group (WEOG) in NY
– Are not part of UN operations in Geneva – barred
from standing in elections, participating in Geneva
committee debates, etc.
• Many accusations of Anti-Semitism in the UN by
Israel and US
– Israel tends not to trust the UN resolutions, does not
always comply with peacekeeping forces based in
Israel/Palestine Territories
• Government of Israel says that it must have equal rights to
equally honor the wishes of the General Assembly
Palestine and the UN
• ‘Palestine’ is not a recognized state of the
UN, but representatives from the PNA
speak as guests
– ‘Observer’ status in the UN – Palestinian
National Authority is responsible for providing
representation for the ‘Palestinian’ peoples
– Given because there is no legitimate national
government for Palestine
Previous UN Action
• Britain refers issue to the UN May,
– UNSCOP (UN Special Committee on
Palestine) : Resolution GA 181
• Two State: Arab and Israeli
• Establishes ’47 Borders
• Jerusalem would be internationally
administered – part of neither state,
temporarily run by UN
– Never fully implemented
• Geographic puzzle made navigation difficult
for the still-fighting populations
• Neither side would accept compromise,
Israelis wanted all of it, Palestinians wanted
all of it
• Furious at Jerusalem plan
Previous UN Action cont…
• General Assembly Resolutions – calls for
violence to end, continued relief to aid
Palestinian refugees
– 1949 - UNRWA: provides food, education, aid, and
temporary shelter – continues
• Security Council Resolutions
– 1967 – UNSC242 - Israeli withdrawal from OC’s,
– 1973 – UNSC338 – Demand for peace, continuted
conflict negotiation
– All bark, no bite.

Israel vs. Palestine: The Conflict