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The Origin And Development Of Arab-Israeli Conflict

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Throughout history there have always been battles to conquer and control land. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the concepts of colonialism and imperialism which motivated the drive to take over and control more land have died down significantly, but one conflict that still continues is the territorial battle between Israel and Palestine. The ethical values of both parties are not too dissimilar. Both hold a non-consequentialist, and anthropocentric view when it comes to control of THEIR Holy Land. If both parties would take the time to acknowledge and fully understand the other side’s claims, maybe they can realize that they are not so different after all.

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Thousands of years ago, the Hebrew people occupied this land known as the ancient kingdom of Israel. Even though some think that this dispute is centuries old, the current situation dates back nearly 100 years. Prior to World War II, Jewish nationalist (Zionists) were convinced that they need to leave Europe in order to settle in a state of their own. This belief was underscored by the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which is the first official government document supporting the creation of a Jewish nation. As a result there was an influx of Jewish people to Palestine, which at the time was already occupied by nearly 3/4th of a million Palestinians. In effect, the Balfour declaration, was a promise made by the British government to give Palestinian territory to the Jewish people without consideration of the current residents. The promise was eventually fulfilled when after World War II the United Nations with support from the USA adopted resolution 181 which divided Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state.

Tensions between the Arab residents and the newly arriving Jewish people rose rapidly after the state of Israel was officially created in May of 1948. Nearly 700,000 escaped or were forcefully relocated due to Israeli actions, while the Israeli government claimed the exodus was voluntary.. As to be expected, the Palestinians did not take to the partition, which led to yet another war over land. The Israeli’s won again, but this time Israel had taken control of even more land than originally partitioned by the United Nations. This forced Palestinian’s to become refugees and was what the Palestinian’s refer to as “Nakba”. A consistent battle between the two has been taking place ever since but the Israeli State has remained in control with the help of significant foreign military and financial aid. The conflict reached another boiling point in 1967, in what is called the Six Day War between Israel and Egypt, Syria And Jordan. Both sides blamed the other for an attack and claimed defense. At the conclusion of the war, Israel had taken over the West Bank & Gaza strip territories forcing relocation of more Arab residents. There has been some efforts made in order to solve some of these conflicts, however, “disputes over borders and other issues have stalled the progress of peace and negotiations for decades”. As the Israeli’s remain victorious, they continue to push the borders further into Palestinian territories. The Palestinians continue to resist and rebel by attacking Israeli forces in these newly conquered areas, which leads to yet more Israeli reprisals. This cyclical response to one another is the core reason of this never-ending mistrust and military conflict. In order for harmony between the two to exist, both parties must work harder to understand and recognize the legitimacy of each other’s narrative.

The Palestinian people must realize that the world is aware of the on-going fight that has persisted since the United Nations decision back in 1947. The consequences of the UN decision to partition Israel as a Jewish state, were not foreseen as a provocation for military action. There have been many Arab victims of the war between the Arab and Hebrew people, but the United Nations has decided that it is in the best interest of everyone involved to understand the situation at hand from a mutual perspective. After the atrocities of holocaust, the Jewish people were looking for a place where they could be accepted and free from devastating trauma of the war. As a result, the Hebrew people migrated to their Holy Land for comfort and safety. The intent was to separate the two states and have them live in harmony with each other as the Jewish minority and Arab majority had already done. Had the UN realized that this land served as a moral patient to the people of Palestine, more thought and consideration would have been taken into securing free access to this land for all religions. The purpose of partitioning Israel as a Jewish state was to help preserve Hebrew values and support them in a time of need. There was no intent of sparking a feud between the Arab and Jewish people.

There is a misconception that the UN partition is a plan in to push Palestinians out of their rightful land. Much like the Palestinians, the Israeli people hold a anthropocentric view of this land. Both parties have a tremendous religious value associate with this land and it serves to both faiths as more than merely land. The willingness of both parties to sacrifice in order to preserve the sanctity of THEIR Holy Land go well beyond the politics of both the Israeli and Palestinian states. However, each party is guilty of failure acknowledge and understand that this is more than just land to BOTH sides. Because of the shared non-consequentialist view, wars have broken out resulting in numerous deaths over the years. This ongoing battle for land has developed a numbness for the life of both Palestinians and Israelis. The United Nations has no agenda for territorial claims, the only agenda is to provide a safe environment for the two populations to live in harmony with one another.

The Israeli people must accept that as conflict persists between the Arab and Hebrew population, the United Nations believes it is important to reestablish our relationship and discuss the current issues at hand. It is important for Israel to acknowledge and understand the values of the Palestinian people from a mutual perspective to facilitate respect and understanding of the opposing view. Over the decades, with the help of foreign aid, Israel has been able to withstand the Arab attacks on its territory. From the Palestinian perspective the desire to defend the state of Israel by relocating populations and building walls and creating buffer zones seem more like acts of aggression. The Palestinian people have felt attacked and pushed out of their sacred land and have reacted in the only they see fit. The non-consequentialist views prompt them to do whatever is necessary, as long as the intent is well-mannered (to their people). This has led to the destruction of buildings, resources, and the lives of thousands of people, both Palestinians and Israelis. Describing these acts as terrorism against Israel only leads to more aggression and ignores the motivation of the perpetrators. Both parties have developed a numbness to each other, and more importantly life itself. Each side defends its violence towards each other by claiming it’s for the overall good of THEIR people. Through the eyes of the United Nations, no good is caused by the killing of innocent people. Acts of defense can no longer be the excuse for the lives taken from this on-going conflict. Building borders and failure to recognize Palestine as a state has them feeling pushed back and forced to respond. The source to the conflict is that fact that both parties believe that their actions have moral worth. And both parties actions may have some moral worth to their own people, but Kant states that “for an act to have moral worth, it must be done out of duty or obligation to the moral law. In other words, an act with moral worth must be done solely because it is the right thing to do, not from some other motivation such as self-interest or out of happenstance”. In order to justify these acts through Emanuel Kant’s eyes, one must be doing it because it is the right thing to do, not for the self-interest of their own people. This goes to say that the actions of both sides are not justifiable.

Bibliography

  • ‘Issue Overview: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.’ Issues & Controversies, Infobase, https://icof.infobaselearning.com/recordurl.aspx?ID=15499&sv=1. Accessed 12 Dec. 2019.
  • Beauchamp, Zack. “What Is the Nakba?” Vox, Vox, 14 May 2018, www.vox.com/2018/11/20/18080030/israel-palestine-nakba.
  • Weir, Alison. “The History of US-Israel Relations.” If Americans Knew, 28 Feb. 2014, ifamericansknew.org/us_ints/history.html.
  • Green, John, director. Conflict in Israel and Palestine: Crash Course World History 223. YouTube, Crash Course, 28 Jan. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wo2TLlMhiw.
10 Jun 2021

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