Israel vs. Palestine: The Never-Ending Conflict

Molly Morabito '13 and Kendal Nasiadka '15, News Editor, Staff Writer

 

In November 2012, Hamas decided to retaliate against the Israeli army’s bombardment by firing hundreds of rockets over Gaza. The eight-day conflict was launched by the Israeli government, allegedly to reduce Hamas’ military capacity, and led to the destruction of rockets and weapons and the assassination of the operational commander, Ahmed al-Jaabari.

But who are Hamas?

Hamas is a militant group that came in power in 2007 and has ruled over a mini-state in the Gaza Strip. Although they have been named as a terrorist organization by the U.S., Europe and Israel, the militant group defeated the longer-established party, Fatah, and won a majority of the seats during the parliamentary elections held by the PA (Palestinian Authority) in 2006.

Since 2007, Hamas has been in control of the Gaza Strip. Even while being harsh rulers, they have gained popularity in Gaza and the West bank for confronting Israel. From late 2008 to 2009, Israel and Hamas entered into a 23-day battle (where Israel invaded the Gaza Strip, killing 1,300 Palestinians) and withstood the attack. What is this about and why is this even important?

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dates back to the time of the Exodus, when the Jewish people fled from Egypt in order to escape persecution from the Egyptians. It says that the Promised Land (Palestine) was “entitled” to the Jewish people. The feud over whether it belongs to the Palestinians or Israelis has continued throughout history for several reasons—Zionism, Jewish Land Acquisition, the Balfour Declaration, the Holocaust, and the Palestinian Exodus. The Palestinian Exodus was one of the most crucial issues for Israel and Palestine.

From 1948-1949, many Palestinians were displaced due to the creation of the Israeli state after WWII. A large number of Palestinians ended up in refugee camps and there is still Palestinian Diaspora. Many Palestinians have yet to forgive Israel for not allowing the Palestinian people to return after the war.

There have been steps towards compromise. There have been attempts to propose a two-state resolution (an independent Palestinian state alongside an independent Israeli state) and Palestine achieved recognition from the U.N. for the first time in November 2012 (although it did not apply to the Palestinian people who lived in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem).

However, the Israeli government is still occupying in the West Bank and Gaza, despite the fact that it is still ruled by the Hamas militant group. Endorsement from the U.N. does not fill the gap for the Palestinian leadership that has enabled the dueling governing bodies. Still, Palestinians hope that Israel will negotiate the borders of a future Palestine away from global pressure.

Will Israel negotiate with Palestine? Can these nations move past their religious and political differences? Will the war ever end?