Involvement of Religion in Conflicts in the Middle East

Notes on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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Timeline Of Important Events

  • 1917 - Balfour Declaration - British mandate to take over Palestine - this leads to a growth in the Zionist movement
  • 1922 - Israel split into Jordan and Palestine
  • 1948 - Israel declares its independence
  • 1967 - The Six Day War (Israel victorious)
  • 1973 - Arab nations attacked Israel (again); Israel victorious
  • 1993 - The Oslo Declaration - Palestinians can control West Bank (Jerusalem) and Gaza ***** - this recognises Palestinians right to exist
  • 2000 - Intifadah - Palestinian uprising
  • 2006 - Palestinians vote Hamas into power (currently run Gaza *****)
  • Post 2006 - Israelis build 'Apartheid Wall'

During the period of 1948-93, this was the birth of Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO)

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Background Information

  • Israel is the Biblical homeland of the Jews - From 11-6th centuries BCE, the Jews (then known as Israelites) occupied the land, until it was conquered by the Romans and renamed Palestine
  • In the centuries that followed, for reasons of war, conquest, economics and social migration, many Jews left Israel
  • This is known as the Diaspora - the global dispersal of Jews
  • The land then became populated by Muslim (+ Christian) Arabs, who became known as Palestinians
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1917 - 1947

1917

  • British took charge of Palestine under a mandate to build a homeland again for the Jewish people - Balfour Declaration
  • Conflict arose from this as the Palestinians resented this encroachment on their land. 
  • This encouraged the Zionist Movement/ Zionism - which was originally to establish a home for the Jewish people, but now more refers to the development ad protection of a Jewish nation with Israel. Theodore Herzl  is most commonly associated with this
  • The movement grew and many Jews living in Europe moved to Israel where they established major settlements
  • After the WW1, (1914-18), the British promised both the Jews + Arabs their own land

1922

  • Israel is split into two - Jordan and Palestine. This led to conflict between Jews + Arabs of who should have control within Palestine
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1947 - 1993

1947

  • The UN passed Resolution 181, calling Palestine to be split into separate Jewish and Arab states

1948

  • May 14th - Jewish state is renamed Israel. This then declares its independence. 

1967

  • Six Day War - Israel victorious and seized more land resulting in more Palestinians becoming refugees

1973 

  • Arab states called for destruction of Israel, a campaign of violence followed, led by PLO. They attacked Israel again (Arab-Israeli War), yet once more were defeated
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1993 - 2006

1993

  • Oslo Declaration - Israel agreed to give Palestinians autonomous control over West Bank and Gaza ***** (fertile land, coast), in return for promise of peace, but violence continued

2000

  • Intifadah - major Palestinian uprising
  • Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon made a tour of the al-Asqa, Jerusalem which enraged Palestinians

2002

  • Israeli military forces engaged in operation 'Defensive Wall' and re-took the land it had returned to the Palestinians

2006

  • Following the death of Yasser Arafat, (the Palestinian leader), the Palestinians voted Hamas into power (the modern PLO) - a group who had publicly vowed to never make peace with Israel
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2006 Onwards

  • Under Yasser Arafat, there was some resemblance of peace between the nations. There were negotiations and promises of peace from both sides.
  • In response to Hamas being voted in, Israel built a massive security barrier called the 'Apartheid Wall', providing a huge concrete barrier between the West Bank and Israel.
  • This has had a very significant detrimental effect on the Palestinian economy, making it very difficult for supplies to get through to the Palestinians and making it hard for people to find work or to travel without passing through many security checkpoints. 
  • Since then violence has continued with a cycle of Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli military reprisals. Today there are about 4 million Palestinians, mostly very poor, living in the West Bank + Gaza *****.
  • Meanwhile Israel has continued to illegally build settlements and towns on land formerly controlled by Palestinians, causing still greater resentment
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Key Issues of Conflict

  • Mutual Recognition
  • Borders
  • Security
  • Water Rights - Due to the apartheid wall, water is restricted and Israel has most control
  • Control of Jerusalem
  • Israeli settlements and towns
  • Palestinian freedom of movement - check points
  • Refugees
  • Human Rights
  • Both sides continue to claim that the land of Israel of theirs and that the holy city of Jerusalem belongs to them
  • There is a lack of recognition on both sides that the other should, and has a right to exist
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Zionist Point of View

  • The land of Israel, according to the Bible, was given by God to the Jews
  • From 11-6th centuries BCE, the Jews (then called Israelites), occupied the land
  • It is called 'The Promised Land' because it was promised by God to the descendants of Abraham, the father of the Jewish race and his legitimate son, Isaac
  • Jerusalem is God's 'Chosen City for the Jewish People
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Arab View

  • Israel is a holy land for Muslims as well
  • Muslims are descended from Abraham too, through his illegitimate son, Ismail
  • Jerusalem is a sacred city for Muslins because Muhammed passed through on his first journey to Heaven
  • Many sacred Islamic sites are located in Jerusalem: the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Asqa Mosque
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