Israel vs. Palestine: The Conflict Introduction • 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 violence. The Issues • Palestinian Refugees and the Right of Return • Status of Jerusalem • Borders and the Occupied Territories • Israeli Security Concerns in relation to sovereignty • 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 Crescent – 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 1948 – 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 USSR • Israeli War of Independence 1948 - 1949 Modern History cont… – Result: app. 800,000 Palestinians are displaced (PALESTINIAN REFUGEES) – 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 Heights – OCCUPIED TERRITORIES • 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 Palestinians • Palestine uses the unfair ‘compromises’ presented by Israel as an example of Israeli greed; especially disliked the ‘Israeli Security provision’ 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 response. 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, 1947 – 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, peace – 1973 – UNSC338 – Demand for peace, continuted conflict negotiation – All bark, no bite.