Israel and Palestine form two opposing sides of an armed conflict whose beginning reaches back to the 19th century when Jews who were suffering constant persecution first considered creating a separate state. The end of the First World War raised the question of people whose ancestors once lived in Palestine returning, an idea referred to as Zionism (“Everything You Need to Know About Israel-Palestine”). However, the Palestinian Arabs who lived there did not want to recognize the rights of Jews in these lands.
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Both Palestine and Israel consider Jerusalem their capital and make their own demands concerning it. The problem is the coexistence of the Jewish and Arab states in Palestine, which has been the center of a long-lasting Arab-Israeli confrontation. The European Union, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and some other Muslim countries are against making Jerusalem the capital of the country (Sheikh et al. 15). In East Jerusalem, there are shrines and places of pilgrimage for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the city holds religious, economic, and financial significance for both Israel and Palestine.
From the beginning, the Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine reflected not only a struggle over territory, but also over history, traditions, and religion. With regard to the legitimacy of the Jewish national claim to these lands, it is important to note that their intention to return there is justifiable (Tov 44). A relatively small territory has become a marker of national identity among both Jews and Palestinian Arabs. Neither one people nor the other thinks of themselves as a historical phenomenon primarily outside of Palestine, a land that formed both their national identities over many centuries. In this regard, the arguments of the Arab side also seem to be legitimate.
Both sides are actively involved in hostilities: radical Zionists refused to accept the independence of the Arab part of Palestine, while many Muslim countries did not admit that the state of Israel should exist. Currently, most of the territory is occupied by Israel, while many Arabs moved to other Muslim countries.
In 2017, after the escalation of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas renewed its armed confrontation, the third Intifada. Recently, the US President, Donald Trump, declared that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and emphasized his decision by transferring the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv (Landler). Thus, it seems that Trump intends to show his conviction that this step will put an end to the two-state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Trump took such a risky step due to his campaign promises and Israeli-American interests (Landler). From the perspective of other nationalisms, the world community responded ambiguously to Trump’s decision. In particular, President Erdogan of Turkey argued that announcing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a meaningless step from Turkey’s point of view. Speaking as a representative of the leaders of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Erdogan emphasized that the Israeli decision will be difficult to implement.
The resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a global task since it affects the relationships between many countries. Such international mediators as the US, the European Union, and the United Nations are involved in the peace process (Melamed). All the proposed solutions have not been implemented due to the fact that both the Palestinians and the Israelis have put forward conditions that are unacceptable to the other side. A new series of negotiations was interrupted by terrorist attacks, explosions, and provocations.
It should be stressed that Jerusalem must remain open to representatives of the three religions. Unilateral action to revise the agreements that were enshrined in the decisions of the international community will not be able to achieve a lasting and fair peace (Tov 135). To respect the rights of Jews and Palestinians, it is critical to come to a common decision that will satisfy both sides.
When it comes to the conflicting claims of Palestinians and Jews, countries should target seemingly unsolvable problems and recognize that each of the parties has a historically determined position (Melamed). In recent Israeli legislative initiatives, laws have prohibited Palestinians from celebrating Nakba, which has a meaning similar to the Holocaust for Jews. Two million Palestinians now live in Israel, and without allowing them to celebrate important dates, they cannot become loyal members of society (“Everything You Need to Know About Israel-Palestine”). By adopting such laws, Jews are attempting delegitimize the point of view of the other side (Sheikh et al. 19).
The same can be said about the Palestinian leaders. When the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, declared that there had been no Holocaust, that was also an example of treating historical memory destructively. In order to make progress in ending the conflict, the first step should be a step back— accepting the fact that the other side has another point of view.
Thus a critical review of the Arab-Israeli conflict shows that the claims of both sides have religious and historical importance. Indeed, the claim of the Jewish nation to occupy Palestine is justified, yet its way of confronting Arab demands has been quite violent. In turn, the Arab world considers the actions of Jews illegal and does not recognize the state of Israel. To resolve this complicated conflict, it is important to discuss it in cooperation with both sides and with other countries that are involved in the confrontation and emphasize the rights of both parties.
“Everything You Need to Know About Israel-Palestine.” Vox, 2018. Web.
Landler, Mark. “Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital and Orders U.S. Embassy to Move.” The New York Times. 2017. Web.
Melamed, Avi. “A Realistic Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” Forbes. 2016. Web.
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Sheikh, Hammad, et al. “Sacred Values in the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict: Resistance to Social Influence, Temporal Discounting, and Exit Strategies.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 1299, no. 1, 2013, pp. 11-24.
Tov, Yaacov Bar Siman. Justice and Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Routledge, 2014.