Last Updated 17 Feb 2021

Middle East Conflict from a Palestinian Perspective

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The Middle East conflict that exists between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews began comparatively not so long ago, in particular at the beginning of the 20th century. This is true that these two nations have different religions; however, their religious differences are not the main cause of the conflict. For the most part their conflict is a struggle over land. To understand the origin of the struggle one should recall in what way Jewish people established their state.

By 1929, 156,000 Jewish settlers resided in Palestine. About 4 percent of Palestine land was in the ownership of these settlers but this small amount of land comprised near 14 percent of all agricultural land. The way these lands were acquired by Jews brought about much controversy and dispute. Absentee landlords owned the land of many villages where Palestinians had lived, worked, and died. Zionists then purchased the villages from the absentee landlords and evicted the inhabitants. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli)

The violence and military actions that increased more and more together with the failure to conciliate Arab and Jewish peoples urged the world community to pull apart these belligerent powers. Thus in 1947 the UN General Assembly ratified the 1947 UN Partition Plan according to which the territory was divided into two states, Jewish and Arab. However, it did not bring expected peace to the area. Immediately following the adoption of the Partition Plan the Arab leadership rejected the plan. The basic reason for rejection was that two parts of the divided territory were equal. On this background almost a year later only one state was proclaimed and it was Israel.

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After the war of 1948-49, the territory known before as Palestine was split into three parts, the proclaimed state of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River) and the Gaza Strip.

The establishment of Jewish state on the Palestinian territory was historically and religiously grounded. Jewish people asserted that this land belonged to them by the biblical promise to Abraham and his descendants, and also they pointed to the fact that this was the historical site of the Jewish kingdom of Israel.

Palestinian Arabs' in their turn maintain that land belonged to them as they lived there for centuries and they represented the demographic majority. What concerns the biblical explanation for Jewish land claim Arabs also state that while Ishmael, who was Abraham’s son, is the forefather of the Arabs, then the land promised by God to the children of Abraham must belong to Arabs as well. Thus, from the point of view of religion and history the position of Palestinian and Jews in regard to the land may be considered as equitable. However, as it was mentioned above the core of the conflict is the land possession and Palestinians rejected the equal land division.

The surrounding Arab states supported the Palestinian Arabs in rejecting both the Partition Plan and the establishment of Israel, and the armies of six Arab nations attacked the newly formed State of Israel. The world has divided into the states that support Israel in its war with Palestine and the states which supported Palestine. Thus the local conflict turned into the global problem.

This confrontation lasts up till now and influences the variety of fields in international relations. However, we observe here this conflict only in two aspects. That is its consequences in the context of struggle for energy carriers and in the context of dividing the world into two “camps”.

As it is known the majority of world energy carriers, in particular oil, are controlled by Arab countries. These countries tried to use this factor as the impact factor on the countries that supported Israel in the military confrontation. Thus, in October, 1973, the Arab oil-producing states imposed production restraints and an embargo--their second such attempt. They did so allegedly as a punishment for those countries that supported Israel in the Middle East war earlier that month. Their first effort at embargo occurred in 1967, following the lightning Israeli victory in the June Six-Day War. That episode is not well-known because it was a total failure. However, global oil market conditions would change substantially in subsequent years. (USA Today, 16+)

The second consequence of this conflict was the division of the world into two camps. So, as it is known, Muslims of the world supported Palestine, the USA and some of European countries supported Israel. The implications of this conflict are also burdened by the fact that this division was not simply between different views this was the division of cultures and religions. Some extremists are trying hard to present this conflict as a conflict between Muslim and Christian worlds. We cannot of course assert that the opposition between Jews and Palestinians is the cause of world confrontation; nevertheless, it remains the constant irritant and booster for new conflicts.

To conclude with, I suppose that the development of confrontation between Israel and Palestine could have been avoided. Since the reason of the conflict was the land division when the state of Israel was proclaimed, I think that one could not have established the state of Israel having been governed only by the simple principle of equal land division. This principle satisfied Israel but it was unsatisfactory for the Palestinians. In the given situation the world community chose the easier way without showing willingness to find out the essence of disagreement. The principle 50/50 proved to be fallacious. This confrontation should be a lesson for the world community that only through considering the interests of all parties we may reach the peace.

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