Perhaps you’ve noticed. Violence is escalating in the Middle East.
True, there is a current truce, but the hostility is still glaring. Even amidst a so-called “truce,” the animosity is obvious.
“Help us! …This thing is getting worse! The Arabic – Islamic nations see [the U.S.] as weak and further more they know our country is vulnerable and the attacks are intensifying as a result! … Several large bombs and packs of explosives have been found in the past few days… Islamic Jihad is declaring responsibility for these attacks. Hamas is blaming Israel for them. What’s new about that?”
The reality, friends, is that thousands of miles away, it’s easy for us to pay little attention to what’s occuring in the Middle East. We’ve got arguably tougher issues — at least things more pressing on our plates — items we’re currently more passionate about, and colloquially speaking, we’ve got seemingly bigger fish to fry. Yet the truth remains; violence continues to escalate in the Middle East.
The Israelis and Palestinians are fighting one another. The Jewish nation and the Arab nation. Truth is, they’ve been fighting for a long, long time. Hence, we must ask why… why do they fight?
This is an ongoing struggle.
Is it about territory? Yes. Is it about religion? Yes. Do people disagree as to what the struggle is all about? Also yes.
The reality is that after more than 50 years of war, terrorism, peace negotiation and human suffering, Israel and Palestine remain as far from a peaceful settlement as ever. It’s not an easy fix. Hence, as best as possible, allow me to attempt to explain. This explanation is not full proof, but it’s an explanation given to children, as sometimes they ‘get it best’… getting it better than adults…
The area which Israelis and Palestinians are in conflict about is within the original British Mandate of Palestine of the 1922 League of Nations Palestine Mandate, which today is defined by the borders of the State of Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and the Kingdom of Jordan also called Transjordan…
In 1917, during World War I, Britain’s army took control of Palestine. The British government issued the Balfour Declaration, “viewing with favor” the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, but also stating that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”…
In 1948 the British departed, the State of Israel was declared, and a number of Arab nations invaded Palestine. As the pro-Israelis won the subsequent war, Israel became a reality. Civilian unrest and military conflict has intensified in recent years in two Palestinian uprisings… culminating in the Oslo accords.
The Oslo accords was seen as groundbreaking and a first step to a firm and lasting peace. But after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin (former Israeli Prime Minister) the peace process slowed down to a grinding halt. The Palestinians living on the occupied territories didn’t see their living conditions improve. Additionally the Israeli settlements, from Palestinian view seen as one of the largest obstacles for peace, weren’t beginning to be withdrawn. Instead their population almost doubled on the West Bank even if few new were constructed. This along with sporadic attacks from Palestinian militant groups and the retribution from the Israelis made the situation unholdable.
After the failure of the summit between USA President Bill Clinton, PLO Chairman Yassir Arafat, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000, dubbed Camp David II, and in the wake of the controversial visit of Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount, violence erupted resulting in over 2,000 deaths to date. Certain [Muslim] Palestinian groups started a new wave of suicide bombers, people who load themselves up with explosives and detonate themselves near Israelis, often civilians, but sometimes also soldiers. In response, the Israeli army has reoccupied the West Bank enforcing strict military law, and sealed off the Gaza strip, imposing economic restrictions on the Palestinians. The Israeli security forces instituted targeted assassinations of Palestinian militants, and destroyed the homes of suicide bombers’ families. These things have lead to numerous casualties among civilians (mostly bystanders) as well as massive damages to property.
Massive damages. Massive. People blaming one another. Friends, it is always easier to blame someone else than to take responsibility for oneself. To claim one side to be completely pure would be nothing less than naive. We have more to discuss here.
So can these nations stop the fighting?
Great question. It’s not an easy answer. Too much is getting in the way. At least for now…
[Intramuralist Note: Special thanks to www.encyclopedia.kids.net.au for significant content in this posting.]