The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Mateus Moitinho de Almeida Scripture 19: Religions of the Book: Judaism Christianity, Islam Professor Felix Just S.J. June 1, 2007
Introduction to the Conflict • The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an ongoing dispute between two peoples, the Jewish Israelis and the Arab Palestinians. • The reason behind the continuous fighting of the Israelis and Palestinians is that both peoples claim the right to sovereignty of Israel. • The origin of this current conflict stems from post-World War 2 Zionism and the declaration of the State of Israel
Geography of Israel • At present, Israel has 10,000 square miles of land and is located at the Eastern end of the Mediterranean sea. • The present state of Israel occupies all the land from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean ocean, bounded by Egypt in the south, Lebanon in the north, and Jordan in the East. • The Gaza Strip is located just south of Israel and is under the control of the Palestinian authorities.
Map of Israel and Surrounding Countries Lebanon and Syria in the North Jordan in the Right Egypt in the South Mediterranean sea on the Left • Completely surrounded by Muslim Countries
History of Israel 1800-1500 B.C. - Semitic people called Hebrews leave Mesopotamia(now Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran) and settle in Canaan (now Israel, Gaza Strip, West Bank, and parts of Lebanon and Syria). 1000 B.C.- King David conquers Jerusalem and establishes an Israelite Kingdom. 721 B.C.- Israel is conquered by the Assyrians. 605 B.C.- Judah is controlled by the Babylonians. 539-332 B.C.- Israel is under Persian rule.
History cont. 332-141 B.C.- Alexander the Great Defeats Persia and conquers Israel. 63-650 C.E.- Israel is under Roman rule. 630s C.E.- Muslim invasions take place. 1095-1240- The Crusades. Christians from the west fight for Jerusalem because of its significance as the place where Jesus lived. 1300-1917- The Ottoman Turkish empire controls Palestine.
History cont. 1939-1945- World War 2. The Holocaust kills 6 million Jews and 3-5 million others. 1948- The 1948 war (the “Nakba”) for independence. Israelis and Arabs are at war. May 14, 1948- The declaration of the independence of the State of Israel. First time of independence since the Persian invasion of 539 B.C.
Zionism Zionism is a political movement that supports a homeland for the Jewish people in Israel. Zionism began organizing itself in the early 19th century. This movement was successful in establishing the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. The state of Israel is now the world’s first and only modern Jewish state. Zionism is partly based on the Jewish religion which directly links Israel with the Jewish people. However, the modern movement was mainly secular. It was a response of European Jews to the widespread anti-Semitism present in Europe at the time.
The Gaza Strip The Gaza strip is a narrow strip of land along the Mediterranean sea. It is currently governed by the Palestinian Authority but Israel controls the strip’s airspace and maritime access. There are no Israeli settlements or military bases because of the Palestinian control over the strip and border crossings. The Gaza strip is also used by the Hamas Palestinian group to attack Israeli territory.
The Hamas The Hamas or Islamic Resistance Movement is a Palestinian Islamist organization. The Hamas is seen by many countries including Australia, the United States, Canada, and Japan as a terrorist group. It was created in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin of the Gaza wing of the Muslim brotherhood. It is best known for its suicide bombings directed mainly at Israeli civilians as well as the Israeli military. It’s charter states : "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.”
The Haganah The Haganah was a Jewish self-defense organization that was created as a response to the Arab riots of 1920. The Haganah’s role was to protect Jewish villages and farms from Arab attacks.After the Hebron massacre of 1929, the Haganah grew much larger and recruited nearly every member of Jewish settlements as well as thousands from the major cities. It also acquired foreign weapons and was able to produce its own bombs. The Haganah evolved from a simple militia into a skilled army according to what was needed of them.
Conflicting Ideals Jewish point of view: After the holocaust and World War 2, Zionists wanted to reclaim Israel as a Jewish state. They also wanted to make Israel, then populated by Arabs, a state mostly, if not completely, populated by Jews. The National Jewish fund, which bought and developed Israeli land, refused to sell or even lease back property bought from Arabs in order to strengthen and expand the territorial grasp of Israel as well as force Arabs out of the country.
Conflicting Ideals Arab point of view: As Arabs grew aware of the Zionist intentions, they opposed further Jewish immigration into Israel. The Arabs realized that this was a direct threat to the existence of Arabs and Arab society in Palestine. Since 700 C.E., Palestine’s population was mostly Arab. This meant a threat to 1200 years of history.
Important Events after the declaration of the Independence of the State of Israel The Balfour Declaration (1917) - Before Great Britain Conquers Jerusalem and Palestine, Britain issues the Balfour Declaration. The declaration states British support of the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. This is a step forward for the Zionist movement but for the Arabs, this only makes their problem worse.
Important Events cont. The Arab Riots (1920-1921, 1929)- Arabs against the Balfour declaration start riots and pogroms against Jews in Jerusalem, Hebron, Haffa and Haifa. The violence that resulted from these riotss and pogroms led to the creation of the Haganah. The riots were done to show the British the Arab discontent with the Jewish immigration into Israel.
Important Events cont. The White Paper (1936)- As a response to the Arab revolt, the British started limiting Jewish immigration. The White Paper stated that 15,000 Jews would be allowed to enter Palestine every 5 years. Illegal Immigration (1945-1948)- After World War 2 and the Holocaust, Jews from Europe began immigrating to Palestine with the help of the Institution for Illegal Immigration. For the most part, old boats were used to cross the Mediterranean sea to reach Israel.
Important Events cont. The War for Independence “The Nakba” (1948)- After the U.N. decided thatPalestine would be split into a Jewish and an Arab state and after occupying countries such as Britain left, the Jews and Arabs began a war for the territory of Israel. While the surrounding Arab countries did not invade, the fighting was done mostly by Arab Palestinians and Israeli underground groups such as the Haganah.
Important Events cont. Israeli Independence (May 14, 1948)- The Jewish Israelis win the war against the Arabs and declare independence. As a result of the new Jewish state, many displaced Arabs are turned into refugees.
Biblical Readings • Genesis 17: 1-8 • Genesis 22: 9-14 • Exodus 1: 1-12 • Exodus 3: 4-10 • Exodus 11: 1-10 • Exodus 12: 37-42 • Second Samuel 5: 1-5 • Second Samuel 6: 1-10 These verses illustrate the deep roots that Judaism has in Israel and Palestine. These may give some insight as to why post-World War 2 Jews wanted an independent state so badly.
Qur’anic Readings Surah 2: 144-158 Surah 5: 97-100 Surah 6: 91-94 Surah 22: 29-33 Surah 27: 83-93 Surah 42: 1-9 These verses of the Qur’an show how Arabs also have understandable claim to Israel and Palestine. They also see themselves as sons of Abraham, the inheritors of the Holy land.
Significant Religious Sites • The City of Jerusalem • The Temple of Jerusalem • The Western Wall
Islamic Religious Sites • Dome of the Rock • Al-Aqsa Mosque
Demographics Israel: As of now, there are roughly 7,000,000 people living in Israel. About 5.3 million people are Jewish, 1.3 million are Israeli Arabs, and 300 thousand are neither of the two. • Jews: 5,000,000 (76%) • Muslims: 1,000,000 (16%) • Christians: 150,000 (2%) • Druze: 100,000 (1.5%) • Unclassified: 300,000 (4%)
Demographics Palestine (The Gaza Strip and the West Bank): There are about 2,500,000 people currently in Palestine. 99.4 are Arab Palestinians while 0.6% are Jewish. Muslims: 2,467,500 (98.7%) Christians: 175,000 (.07%) Jews: 150,000 (.06%)
Recent Events Israel Rejects Arab Peace Plan (2002) The peace plan, put forward after an Arab league summit summit in Saudi Arabia, offered peace if Israel withdrew from land captured in the 1967 war, allowed a Palestinian State and allowed the release of Palestinian refugees. This was rejected by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres.
Recent Events Cont. Fledgling Palestinian Government Faces Internal, External Challenges (May 3, 2007) Six weeks after the Palestinian Government’s creation, it was still struggling with the same problems it had faced in the beginning. Among some of the problems were a crippling economic condition and the same tensions between leaders of opposing parties and states.
Recent Events cont. Fighting Among Palestinians Reignites in Gaza Fighting in Palestine between to parties, the Hamas and the Fatah, led to at least 17 deaths. The fighting was because of some attacks by the Hamas party on the Palestinian President’s guards. The Fatah accused the Hamas of the attacks but the Hamas denied this and blamed the attacks on Israeli forces.
Bibliography • http://www.mideastweb.org/nutshell.htm • http://www.mideastweb.org/briefhistory.htm • http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/middle_east/jan-june07/unitygov_05-03.html • http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/middle_east/jan-june07/mideast_05-15.html • http://english.aljazeera.net/Israeli-Paletinianconflict.html • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel • http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000588.htm