Monday, August 27, 2012

Arab-Israeli conflict: the conquest of Palestine

The Arab-Israeli conflict is the main axis around which all the conflicts in the Middle East turn. It started in the 19th century when Zionism came into being. Zionism as defined by Goldschmidt as a nationalist and political movement aiming at forming a Jewish state in Palestine. Many Jewish people joined the movement and started immigrating mainly from Eastern Europe with the help of Lovers of Zion and Beit Ya’cov ichu vnelcha, two organizations that sent young Jews to Palestine. This first immigration process from Russia to Palestine was called the “first aliya”.

The choice of Palestine wasn’t made randomly as many people might think, but the land of Palestine that is today Israel is believed by Jewish people to be the Promised Land. They believe that they should form Israel as a Jewish state in Palestine and await the Messiah.

Britain, on the other hand, has played an important role in the establishment of Israel in Palestine. In The Balfour Declaration, Britain had promised The Zionists to support their cause. However this declaration didn’t give The Zionists as much material support, however, it did give them hope and more determination to accomplish their goal. Zionists proceeded first by an immigration plan and then land purchases, which were faced by an increasing resistance from the Palestinians and Arabs in general who became more aware of the colonial intentions behind those purchases. Soon after World War II, a great number of Jewish people immigrating from Europe settled in Palestine and established organizations for self-defence, political parties mushroomed. They set up factories, food processing plants, and even a construction company (Goldschmidt 281). The next steps were to have the United States’ support for their cause and declare the creation of Israel as a Jewish state on 14th May 1948. And since then, Israel tried to conquer more land. In 1967 the Israeli forces conquered the Gaza strip and also Sinai in Egypt, parts of Syria and Jordan during what is called the six days war. The colonisation of Palestine caused the frustration of Muslims around the world because of Jerusalem’s mosque, which is as important to them as Mecca in Saudi Arabia. That explains the support of Muslims to the Palestinian cause and their refusal of approving the creation of Israel even though most of the Arab and Muslim states recognize Israel as a Jewish State.

Peace in the region is quasi-impossible because it is home to two strong nationalist movements Arab nationalism and Zionism that both claim their right to establish and maintain their state in Palestine or what is now called Israel. And today both parts are victims of terrorism taking lives of innocent civilians among Palestinians and Israelis.

The fairest proposed solution for peace is the establishment of a state where the three Abrahamic religions’ followers can live in peace because this particular land is of equal importance to Muslims, Christians and Jews. For that to happen, a Jewish state or Muslim state cannot be officially declared. There is need for a secular state where politics is free from religious bonds.