The centuries-old conflict between Israel and Palestine garnered international attention early this year, overwhelming multiple social media platforms with several posts about the issue. Many differing opinions on the conflict came to light, illustrating the divisiveness of the topic. But despite the virality of the conflict in early April of this year, this conflict goes deeper than just some passing attention from social media.
(May 8th, 2013. Israelis and Palestinains wave flags as Israelis march to celebrate Jerusalem Day outside of Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s old city. Sebastian Shcheiner.)
1917 was the year where the conflict was first initiated, with Britain taking control of Palestine. The Balfour Declaration made Palestine a, “...national home for the Jewish people” (Britannica). Britain was then given the responsibility to prepare Palestine for independence as mandated by San Remo Allied Powers (BBC). With this power, Britain separated Transjordan, a region where Jews were forbidden to live, from Palestine. The Holocaust in the 1940s lead to overwhelming numbers of Jewish migrants into Palestine as a safe nation (BBC), this large shift creating two distinct cultural identities. In 1947, Palestine was separated into two nations as suggested by the UN, with Israel as a Jewish nation and Palestine as an Arab nation (UN.)
This partition initiated a string of Israeli-Palestinian wars beginning in 1948, a string of violence largely encouraged by Israel’s wish for more land-- a wish that left both countries bitter. By 1967, Israel had taken control of Gaza, the Golan Heights, Sinai, and the entire West Bank (BBC). To this day, there remains violence and contention between the two parties that leads to further fighting.
So why did this conflict gain so much attention after years of quiet? In April of 2021, many Palestinians were forced out of East Jerusalem. This unwilling push was incredibly provocative, as a court decision which could force even more Arabs out of Israel was still pending (GCT). Conflict and death tolls increased, and it wasn’t until 2 weeks later that the two nations agreed to a cease fire. Later in May of this year, the UN Human Rights council decided to monitor rights violations in Israeli territory (UN).
The possibility of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict slowing down or coming to an end is now wearing thin. There seems to be no compromise on the horizon, and the UN is now questioning if they could be much help going forward. As Tor Wennesland, the special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, has said on the matter, “We can no longer lurch from crisis to crisis.” There does not seem to be a visible solution, and the UN doesn’t seem to be able to continue intervening.
“'We Can No Longer Lurch from Crisis to Crisis' in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Special Coordinator Warns Security Council, Urges Parallel Steps by All Parties | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases.” United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/press/en/2021/sc14668.doc.htm.
“Arab-Israeli Wars.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/event/Arab-Israeli-wars.
“Israel-Gaza Violence: The Conflict Explained.” BBC News, BBC, 16 June 2021, www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-44124396.
“Israeli-Palestinian Conflict | Global Conflict Tracker.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, www.cfr.org/global-conflict-tracker/conflict/israeli-palestinian-conflict.
“Peace, Dignity and Equality on a Healthy Planet.” United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/en/.