Maddy Little, Brittany Miller, Katie Carmichael, Kate Reiss, Delaney Whitt
The current conflict between Israel and Palestine has been going on since the mid-20th century, although the issue can be related back to the 1800’s. In the late 1800’s, a group in Europe decided to colonize the land of Palestine. This group, known as the Zionists, represented an extremist minority of the Jewish population whose goal was to create a Jewish homeland. They found this homeland in Palestine, which at the time was made up of a multicultural population living peacefully amongst one another. Over time, the number of Zionists in Palestine grew and became overwhelming and tensions between the Jewish extremist group and the indigenous Palestinians grew as well. Eventually, the tension became too much to bear and fighting broke out between the two populations. Due to this “civil war” taking place in Palestine, the United Nations intervened in 1947. The issue was “resolved” by the UN giving 55% of Palestine to the Zionists, even though the group only represented 30% of the population living in that area. This action was titled the United Nations Partition Plan and was backed heavily by the US.
In 1947-49, war broke out between the Zionist army and the Arab/Palestinian armies. With the Zionist army being larger that all five Arab armies combined, Israel had conquered 78% of Palestine. Three-quarters of a million Palestinians had become refugees and over 500 towns and villages had been obliterated. A new map was drawn up and every city, river, and hillock was given a new, Hebrew name, as all vestiges of the Palestinian culture were to be erased. For decades, Israel denied the existence of this population. Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said, “There is no such thing as a Palestinian.”
In 1967, Israel conquered more land. Following the Six Day War, in which Israeli forces launched a highly successful surprise attach on Egypt, Israel occupied the final 22% of Palestine that had eluded the Jewish group in 1948-the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But due to the international law, these lands were not actually in possession of Israel. During the Six Day War, Israel attacked a US Navy ship, the USS Liberty, killing and injuring over 200 American servicemen.
After years of the intifada, a peace process between Israel and Palestine began in the 1990’s, such as Israel’s handover of Gaza and parts of the West Bank to Palestine control, yet a final agreement has yet to be reached. There is the inevitable destabilizing effect of trying to maintain an ethnically preferential state, particularly when it is largely of a foreign origin. As of today, Palestinians have minimal control over their lives, seeing Israeli forces control who may or may not enter and leave these territories and controls movement within these territories themselves. Israeli forces often place entire towns under military curfews. Other major effects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict include the building of the Apartheid Wall to keep Palestinians trapped in, detrimental effects on health care and transportation for both groups, and the growing number of refugees with nowhere to go. There is also a large portion of mental effects including breeding hate and the major impact of the moral and ethical dimensions.
The conflict has mostly been affected by economic globalization. The Palestinian economy can not develop independently. Palestine blindly followed free-market economic policies resulting in many problems, such as the serious reflux of the Palestine social funds, the improper investment direction, abnormal structure, subject to the Israeli economy and increasingly sharp polarization and corruption. Different from other developing countries, the Palestinian economy was controlled by international financial organizations from the beginning. The World Bank drafted the “emergency Assistance Programs” after the Oslo Agreement.
In solving this problem, the Arab nations must begin “to recognize Israel’s legitimacy and to choose progress over a self-defeating purpose of the past.”