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Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

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Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, there has been constant fighting between Israelis and Arabs. The Israelis have the right to live peacefully in Israel, but there is a conflict because the Palestinians feel that Israel is their land. During recent years the conflict in the Middle East had been exploded on to our television screens. Day after day images of violence and suffering have dominated the news. Scenes of heavily armed Israeli soldiers facing young Palestinian children hurling stones with slingshots- like Goliath facing David- have evoked dismay and confusion. The vehemence of the Palestinian reaction is a result of years of pent-up anger and frustration. The Israeli response has been swift and determined: Palestinian towns have been besieged, territories sealed off and negotiations suspended between the Israeli government and Palestinian representatives (Cohn-Sherbok 9).

The Palestinians who use dirty tactics such as terrorism and suicide bombings to promote their government are only degrading their cause and worsening the situation in the Middle East. The people of Israel do not deserve the treatment that they are receiving from the Arab people who live in the Middle East region of the world. Israel should not grant the Palestinian people with their own Palestinian land because they are undeserving of it, as they have committed many shameful, despicable acts of violence. The Palestinians are Arabs, and there are other countries where the Palestinians can establish a land in which they can call their own. The country of Jordan could easily harbor a land or home for the Palestinian people, as many of its citizens are Palestinian already.

Israel was established in 1948, and the Jews have continuously lived in the region for the past 3,700 years. Israel is also the only democratic government that exists in the Middle East. Palestinians demand land that is not rightfully theirs from Israel. Committing disturbing acts of violence, killing many innocent Israeli’s, and celebrating these deaths has shown how the Palestinians truly behave. Their attempt to spread terror, and force Israel to give-in to their outrageous demands will never be successful.

Israeli’s are peace seeking, and wish for a resolution to the conflict, however, they’re going to cooperate with Palestinians. As long as there
continue to be cowardly suicide bombings throughout Israel, there will continue to be a problem. The problem will not be solved until the Palestinians realize killing innocent people will never help their cause. Israel has a right to defend itself, and it has one of the strongest armies in the world to do so. The Israeli army is able to keep high moral, despite the desperate measures being taken by Palestinians. Israel has existed for a long fifty years, fifty years of persecution, hatred, fighting, and ignorance.

Despite only being established in 1948, Israel has a deep history. Israel is a republic in the Middle East. When it was established as a national state for the Jewish people, the Arab people were immediately irritated by the idea of the Jews finally having their own state. Israel is located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, and it shares borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt (Bregman 47).

At the end of the nineteenth century, the Zionist movement developed as an attempt to free the Jews from religious persecution in Europe. The Zionist founders began returning to Israel, then a part of the Ottoman Empire, during the last decade of the nineteenth century. The British government aided the Balfour Declaration of 1917, as it would help create a national home for the Jews. Yishuv was the Jewish settlement before statehood, and Yishuv grew into about half a million people until the arrival of World War II caused the British to put severe restrictions on Jewish immigration in 1939 (Smith 39).

The conflict that ensued between the Yishuv and the British authorities eventually led the British government to submit the issue to the United Nations. In November of 1947, the United Nations called for the partition of Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states. This was a strategic link in the chain of events that brought about the proclamation of the State of Israel in May of 1948. Still, the Jews had to wage an impassioned struggle against the invasion by the neighboring Arab states before they could finally secure the life of their new state (Israel 2).

On May 14, 1948, on the day in which the British Mandate over a Palestine expired, the Jewish people’s council gathered at the Tel Aviv museum and approved the following proclamation, declaring the establishment of the State of Israel. The new state was recognized that night by the United States and three days later by the USSR (Declaration 1).

The state of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants, it will be based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel, it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex, it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture, it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions, and it will be faithful to the principle of the Charter of the United Nations (Declaration 3).

The day that the state of Israel was founded, Winston Churchill said, “The coming into being of a Jewish state….is an event in world history to be viewed in the perspective not of a generation or a century, but in the perspective of a thousand, two thousand, or even three thousand years.” A smart man, Winston Churchill could not have been anymore right, Israel is a strong nation, a peace-seeking state in an unfortunate conflict (Harris 4).

Ever since Israel was established in 1948, it has been a nation on high alert. Although, the Arabs failed in their first try to destroy the Israeli state, they never stopped talking about another attempt. Arabs in the Middle East have taken pride in murdering innocent Israeli civilians and military officials. The Palestinian government often pays people or their families to carry out suicide bombings in Israel. The glorification of such disasters should not occur, and the Palestinian government is completely responsible for this (Slater 2).

The Arabs count on their enormous advantages over Israel in area, population, oil, and other resources, and their international political bargaining power. Not only does Israel spend a great amount of its national money on defense, but it has also adapted many of its normal economic and social programs to military considerations.

The term “Palestine” is believed to be derived from the Philistines, an Aegean people who, in the twelfth century BC, settled along the Mediterranean costal plain of what is now Israel and the Gaza Strip. In the second century AD, after crushing the last Jewish revolt, the Romans first applied the name Palaestina to Judea, which was the southern portion of what is now called the West Bank, in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. The Arabic word Filastin is derived from Latin. There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture, as Palestinians are merely just Arabs. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians, Muslims, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc (Carroll 13).

Only one group of people has continuously lived in Israel for the past 3,700 years- the Jews. Jerusalem in particular, has had a Jewish majority since the 1840’s, forty years prior to the beginning of Zionism. Seventy-Five percent of the land in east Jerusalem, which the press calls “historically Arab east Jerusalem,” has been owned by Jews since 1947. The nations that inhabited the land prior to the Jews are no longer in existence, for they have been absorbed into various other peoples throughout the millennia. The Arabs of Israel came to the land in 632 with the Muslim invasion (Carroll 16).

The Palestinians have inflicted, or started the current Arab-Israeli conflict, and Israel is not the problem. The Palestinians are the aggressors, they started the conflict, and they purposely drive it forward with fresh killing on an almost-daily basis. As a tactic in this strategy, the Palestinians will not fight Israeli forces directly but instead have concentrated their efforts on murdering Israeli civilians, the greater the number the more vulnerable the victims- disco-goers, women and children in a pizza restaurant- the better. Israel has acted defensively in this conflict, and while Israel forces accidentally killed Palestinian civilians, their planned lethal attacks have all been aimed only at Palestinian military and terror-group leaders (Carroll 34).

Many people are affected everyday by the use of terror by Palestinians. Today, Israel is a scary place to live because of the fear being imposed on Israelis by Palestinian suicide bombers. These terrorists are accomplishing their goals, to stop life in Israel and place fear within everyone living there. Old people are affected by terror, and so are the young people of Israel. A young Israeli girl had this to say in her diary after an attack occurred in her neighborhood one afternoon:

I always thought that it was kind of odd that it’s our state and the Arabs are allowed to hurt us. Today I know things aren’t simple. The Arabs claim the state is theirs because when the Jews were in exile from the land of Israel, the Moslems were in control for a few hundred years. They are commanded to do “jihad”- holy war- against nonbelievers like Jews and Christians. On the other hand, it says ninety-seven times in the Bible that God gave the Holy Land to the Jews and later King David made Jerusalem Israel’s capitol. That’s what all the fighting is about, and that’s one of the reasons everything happened last summer….The Arabs broke into the synagogue. There was a gas-powered generator there, which they smashed and took the gasoline. They doused the prayer books, holy texts, and the torah scrolls with the gasoline and burnt them. Then they burnt the generator and the Israeli flag….(Holliday 319).

The Bible links the Jewish people and Israel to the Holy Land numerous times through out the text. Genesis 15:18 states, “On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: ‘To your descendants I have given this land…'” This passage implies that God had already given the land to the Jews at an earlier time. In other words, the Jewish rights to the land were always part of the very fabric of Creation. To denigrate the centrality of Israel for God’s people is to distort God’s Word. Numbers 14:7 says, “It is a very, very good land.” Deuteronomy 33:13 states, “a blessed land.” Ezekiel 20:6 in the Bible also adds, “the beauty of all lands.” The land will, it is said, stubbornly “refuse” to bear fruit unless the Jews, its natural caretakers and the inhabitants for whom it was created, dwell on and cultivate it (Eckstein 2).

Many Christians who support Israel do so based on biblical verses such as Genesis 12:3, in which God tells Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.” The people who support Israel are not all Jewish or white. Fundamentalist Christians believe that every word of the Bible is true. Their support for Israel comes directly from the Bible. Most importantly for them, it comes from the Book of Revelation. These chapters state that in order for the Second Coming of Christ to occur, several things must happen, such as the Jews returning to Jerusalem (Eckstein 3).

Sadly, the Palestinians are not wishing or preaching for peace. The education for peace that is necessary to laying the groundwork for a new era in the region, regrettably, is absent in the Palestinian authority, instead, schools, the media, and the mosques preach hatred of Jews, vilification of Judaism, Holocaust denial, demonization of Israel, and violence (Harris 10). Perhaps the tragic events of September 11 will help the world grasp the kind of threat Israel has been facing and the rationale for Israel’s unflinching response. Unflinching yes, but also measured. The truth is that Israel could deliver a much more devastating blow to the Palestinians, but has chosen not to for a host of diplomatic, political, strategic, and humanitarian reasons. Even though Israel enjoys military superiority, Jerusalem understands that this is not a conflict that can be won exclusively on the battlefield, simply put, neither side is going to disappear. This conflict can only be resolved at the peace table if and when the Palestinians finally realize they have squandered more than fifty years and numerous chances to build a state and realize their national aspirations- alongside Israel, that is, not in its place (Harris 11).

In the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, this is offered about the peace-seeking views of Israel, “We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The state of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East,” (Declaration 4).

Israel has demonstrated its sincere desire for peace and its readiness to make the difficult decisions required for peace. Israel is fully committed to pursuing negotiated agreements with its Arab neighbors so that it may finally live in peace and security. Israel reached historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan in which both sides made serious compromises for the sake of normalized relations through its democratic system, the Israeli electorate has voted out governments they believe have not done enough to pursue peace, just as they have voted out governments they believe have not done enough to promote their security. The Palestinian campaign of terrorism and violence has caused even those Israelis most supportive of the peace process to question the Palestinian authority’s suitability as a negotiating partner and its commitment to peaceful reconciliation with Israel (Advocating 1).

There is no excuse for Palestinian terrorism. Palestinian demands and grievances can only be resolved at the negotiating table, not through violence and terrorism. Had the Palestinians shown a commitment to negotiations, Israel’s ambitious plan to create a Palestinian state in the entire Gaza Strip and up to ninety-five percent of the West Bank would have already been a reality. Indeed, the Palestinian campaign of terrorism and violence has caused even those Israelis most supportive of the peace process to question the Palestinian authority’s commitment to peaceful reconciliation. Israel has a right to exist in peace within secure borders. Faced with attacks on its city streets, Israel has a fundamental right and an obligation to its citizens to defend itself (Advocating 1).

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle Eastern region, a big reason why they should receive support from everyone in the current Arab-Israeli conflict, especially the United States. Israel is fighting for everything that the United States builds and prides itself on, such as freedom. The Palestinians are Arabs, like everyone else who lives around Israel. The country of Jordan harbors a large majority of Palestinian people, and it would be very possible to make a small Palestinian state within the borders of the present-day Jordan. This would make a lot more sense and it would solve a lot of problems that occurring between Palestinians and Israelis today in the Middle East. Israel is not infallible, but then again no society is perfect. United States president John F. Kennedy offered his perspective on the meaning of Israel, “Israel was not created in order to disappear- Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom,” (Harris 4).

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