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  • Mayuri Chaudhuri

The Tale of Palestine and Israel: Timeline and How To Help

What exactly could have caused these nationalities to differentiate from one another to the extent that their humanity faded in the shadow of bloodlust?


A Palestinian woman holding her national flag looks at clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel on May 14, 2018.
A Palestinian woman holding her national flag near the border between Gaza and Israel. (Via Dawn / AFP)

When did it all commence?


Canaan or modern-day Israel saw considerable demographic changes as Hebrew (Semitic) immigrations were beginning in the 1800s. With Romans ushering them out later, a minimal number of Jews found their national homeland in Palestine.


Arabs started arriving on the continent in the 7th century AD, which eventually led to culture intermixing with Jews as they collectively had monotheistic beliefs.


Muslims and Christians were known to live harmoniously under one umbrella of the Ottoman Empire. The sparks of enmity triggered by nationalism became evident with anti-Semitic sentiments, withholding Jewish fractions as foreigners.


Retaliation was immediate, with political journalist Theodor Herzl reviving the ancient Haskalah Movement with a refined coinage of Zionism.


What furthered the revelations?


The Zionist movement gathered momentum, and Jewish started flocking Palestine in search of employment, majorly agriculture, causing displacement and deprivation for the inhabitants. What followed was way more twisted :


1. Intervention by Britishers :


The onset of World War I depreciated the circumstances. British authorities complicated the scenario in 1915 by promising an independent state after the war.


The vague outlook of the agreement never settled the boundaries, but Arab leaders assumed it to be the conflicted land of Palestine.


The situation was however well played, and Britishers secretly signed a pact, entitling the area to French and British mandates.


This is the point where we wonder if it couldn’t get any worse when again the former quoted Balfour Declaration for the national home of Jewish to be none other than Palestine.

2. Partition Of Palestine :


Herzl convened the Zionist Congress to meet yearly in Switzerland, mandating the goal of acquiring Palestine. With his death, the Austrians and Germans adopted the movement, who furthered it with the propaganda of the “Jewish Renaissance“.


Thus began the colossal Jewish immigration to Palestine with raging Holocaust atrocities and Zionist consolidation.


British faced huge impediments in suppressing the Arab revolts that followed, and to muster the latter’s support in the war, they put up frail restrictions on immigration, but all in vain.


The matter ended up in the hands of the United Nations who placed the strategy of partitioning Arab and Israeli states. Jerusalem was pushed under international authority.


The land categorization further inflicted misery, with Jewish getting 55% and Palestinians 45%. The latter refused to take this as a defeat and went on to fight for their birthright.



3. War of Independence (quoted by Israelis) / The Nakba i.e. The Catastrophe (by Palestinians)


The war was termed as the costliest one fought in terms of manpower lost. The opposing sides were no longer heeding to the international forum for decision making, rather they took the matter into their own hands.


The Palestinians were pushed out of their ancestral land as Israelis consolidated 70% of it, and the former receded to refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan.


The Arab Legions declared Jihad (holy war) on Jews, and as demanded, the revolt covered all niches from Syria in the north to Sudan in the south.


The former rushed to the north of Palestine and attacked thousands of the Jewish population, making the British hand over the bases to them.


Until 1947, Israelis mustered support from near-lying nations and started disrupting major roadways, causing huge casualties.


The Haganah (Jewish defense organization) retaliated by taking back several towns and by temporarily opening the road to Jerusalem.


As it became more intriguing and ungovernable, Britishers vacated the land, but before departing, they pre-planned an armistice for what they term as “an impossible peace occurrence.”


They pre-stimulated the Israelis for their acquisition goals, given to their men and weapon arms, they would succeed, and the counterforce by Haganah would be nullified.



UN partition plan for Palestine in 1947 compared with Israel's boundaries today.
UN partition plan for Palestine in 1947 compared with Israel's boundaries today. (Via BBC)

4. The Six-Day War

The British left and Israel's defense forces took Egypt by surprise when they flooded their land with 200 aircraft and destroyed 90% of their airforce.


With utter zeal to take it all, they advanced their demolition towards Syrian, Jordanian, and Iraqi ones too.


The oncoming days were marked with Israeli forces ruling over the skies of the Middle East. They rooted out Egyptians from the Sinai peninsula and Gaza strips.


When the Jordan strike back occurred in Jerusalem, the formerly inflicted mass murders to teach lessons. The forces went on to capture Golan heights when the United Nations finally brokered in ending the cessation with the resultant death of 20,000 Arabs and 800 Israelis.


The Israeli immigrants went on to seize the land, and by July 1987, 40% of them were inhabiting Gaza.


5. The Resistance


The Intifada (shaking off in 1993) was characterized as the Palestinian uprisings after Israeli’s caused some deliberate activities of murders such as crashing trucks into workers.


The protestors including women and youngsters took to the streets plummeted the latter with whatever lethal they could get their hands on be it Molotov cocktails or stones.


The resistance found its leadership tied to the roots of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The consequences of the Oslo Accords initiated peace between the two factions as their leader Yasser Arafat denounced terrorism.


The second one termed Al-Aqsa began in September of 2000. Both of the sides kept piling up arms and refining their forces with the fear of getting attacked at any time by either.


Ariel Sharon, leading the Israeli opposition made a provocative visit to Jerusalem while Arafat and other leaders never checked in the violence spurred by the first Intifada coupled with the failure of Camp David (where Jewish self-determination was left unresolved) was enough to initiate the second occurrence.


Unlike the first one, it grew more remorse with suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and sniper assaults.


What is the current scenario?


Palestinians in Gaza continue to struggle for basic necessities with inequitable economic and social laws enforced by the Israeli government, which has pushed their existence totally dependent on humanitarian aid.


In 2019, 500 housing settlements were put to rubble with a lack of construction permits excuse. The authorities never forget to flare up airstrikes which end up in hundreds of civil casualties.


They are denied medical aid from WHO (World Health Organization), but their acquainted business personalities and officials can obtain the same under the head of “exceptional humanitarian aids”.


Inequality didn't just end there but made its way into getting only 12 hours a day of electricity, restricting waters for fishermen, stopping the transport of construction materials leading to failed rehabilitation of housing, and whatnot.


Israel armed forces kept mutilating protestors as they tried to disrupt the fence of Gaza and Israel or pose any kind of resistance.



A doctor treating children with water to help them after a tear gas attack.
A doctor treating children with water to help them after a tear gas attack. (Via Dawn / AP)

Currently, tensions have been rising between both cliques over the restrictions posed by Israelies on holy Ramadan festivities.


The Palestinians continued to protest for their denied access into the Old City of East Jerusalem where Al-Aqsa mosque resides which was further met with a clash of Hamas and Israeli airstrikes onsetting on the 12th of May, 2021.


Furthermore, thoroughfare arrived when the authority ordered for Palestinians to make way for Jewish immigrants in their majority neighborhood of Sheikh-Jarrah as it was Jewish’s birthright to thrive there.


What followed was the Jewish youth throwing rocks at vehicles while chanting “death to Arabs.” Drive-in shootouts and stone-throwing attacks tend to become a casual phenomenon.


How long till we foresee the third Intifada or the more virulent case of Israeli suppression?


This all props to us with millions of questions.


  1. Where is the say of millions of civilians who are prey to this unwanted violence?

  2. How is the existence of an international forum not even inhibiting some extent of it?

  3. Are we really existing in an era that pays devotion to humanitarianism?


How to Help Them?



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References


https://cmes.arizona.edu/sites/cmes.arizona.edu/files/Overview%20of%20the%20Palestinian-Israeli%20Conflict.pdf


https://www.britannica.com/event/Six-Day-War

https://mfa.gov.il/mfa/aboutisrael/history/pages/israels%20war%20of%20independence%20-%201947%20-%201949.aspx


https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/background-and-overview-israel-war-of- independence


https://www.history.com/topics/middle-east/six-day-war


https://www.britannica.com/topic/intifadah


https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/intifada-begins-on-gaza-strip


https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/israel/palestine#




Mayuri Chaudhuri is an Indian-based History Honors Graduate and a Content Writer at the International Youths Organization for Peace and Sustainability, who is seeking cognizance to varied issues in the world through the power of a pen.


Inputs and Edits by Aswin Raghav R.