Long history behind Middle East conflict


By Adanya Day

A barrage of missiles and the cries of the unfortunate have taken over parts of Israel and the Gaza Strip in the latest chapter of what seems to be a never ending conflict.This ceaseless battle has been occurring in what many religious texts dub the “Holy Land” for approximately 76 years. 

In early October, the Palestinian terrorist group known as Hamas launched an attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip from land, sea, and sky. 

To understand why this is happening we must first understand why the conflict is occurring in the first place and address the solutions that have been posed over the years.

History of Israel and Palestine

The start of this conflict runs all the way back to 1948, some 70 years prior to the current events. The area we now know as Israel was once known as Palestine following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire and British occupation according to the BBC.  Back then the land consisted of mainly Arabs with Jews as a minority. 

Tensions were quick to grow between the two groups. 

Palestine was the Jewish people’s ancestral lands.

Arabs claimed the land as their own, refusing to move. 

An increase in the Jewish population during the Holocaust would only cause violence to grow. 

Not long after Britain would withdraw from the area, Jewish leaders would declare the creation of the State of Israel. 

The main intention of the creation of Israel was to be a safe haven for Jews fleeing persecution while also being a national homeland for many Jews says the BBC

Not long after the creation of state Israel, attacks would be made against Palestininans forcing them from their homes.

According to the BBC, Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt occupied Gaza. Meanwhile Jerusalem would be divided by Israeli forces in the West and Jordanian in the East. 

By the 1960s Israel came to occupy East Jerusalem, West Bank, Syrian Golan Heights, Gaza, and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula. 

As for the Palestininans their descendants would live in Gaza, West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. 

During this time not a single Palestinian would be allowed by Israel to return to their homes according to the BBC in fear they would threaten Israel’s existence as a Jewish State. In recent years Israel still occupies most of the West Bank and claims all of Jerusalem as its capital city. Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as its capital in the hopes of becoming its own state. 

In 1967 Israel would occupy the area until 2005. However, during their occupation of Gaza, Israel would build many Jewish settlements. Even as their occupation would end in 2005, Israel retained much control of the airspace and even shared border and shoreline according to the BBC. To this day the UN still considers the territory to be occupied by Israel. 

As the current conflict continues to develop in the Gaza strip it is vastly important that we remember why there is tension in the first place as the reason for these tensions will be the key to unlocking peace between the two. 

What are the main problems between Israel and Palestine?

Many of the problems stem from issues that occurred shortly after Israel was declared a state in 1948. Issues include controversy over whether the two should share Jerusalem, if Palestine should be created alongside Israel, and what should happen to Palestinian refugees. 

Throughout the 1990s-2010s Israel and Palestine have had peace talks on and off with bouts of violence from both sides. 

In 1993 a historic talk took place. According to the BBC, Palestinians recognized the State of Israel and Israel recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. 

This peace talk quickly fell apart as the people feared a mortal threat to Israel. The fear of the people only accelerated efforts to settle Jews in the Palestinian territory. The Palestininan militant group known as Hamas sent suicide bombers to kill people in Israel. 

In the 2000s, more peace talks considered a two-state solution, but this idea never made it to fruition. By 2014, peace talks completely stalled. 

Current Conflict

Today Gaza is almost completely controlled by Hamas, the Islamist group committed to the destruction of Israel. During Palestines last election, Hamas won and quickly seized control of Gaza in 2007, says the BBC

Since gaining this control Hamas have fought numerous battles with Israel. 

On Oct.7 Hamas launched some 2,200 rockets toward southern and central Israel, says ABC news. Hamas militants broke through the barricades on the Gaza Strip and killed Jewish settlers in the area. Following the initial attack by Hamas, Israel has continued to bomb and air strike Gaza, which is home to 2.3 million people, half of them children. Many have had to flee their homes and take shelter because of the constant bombing. 

On Oct. 12, Israel’s government reported to have dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza in the past 6 days, killing 1,400 people. 

On Oct. 17 the Pentagon put 2,000+ U.S troops on “heightened state of readiness for possible deployment to the Middle East” as American and Israeli casualties surged. 

By Nov.7 according to ABC News 1,400+ Israelis have died, 10,022 have died in Gaza with 25,000+ injured, 35 Americans killed in Israel, and almost 1.5 million Gaza residents killed in this never ending war. 

“It’s an obnoxiously stupid conflict with both sides acting like victims,” says Connor Bryant, a student at William Peace. 

Young Opinions

America’s facing the most exposure to the Palestine-Israel conflict they’ve seen in years. Pew Research Center reported in July a majority of Americans 18-29 don’t look upon Israel favorably. In comparison, older Americans express warmer views toward the Israeli people.

On college campuses across the country, students have demonstrated sit-ins, walk-outs, rallies, and protests all in solidarity with the Palestinian people. There have even been high schools that decided to take a stand with Palestinians and march in the halls waving the country’s flags. 

Roblox, a popular online game held a virtual pro-Palestine protest, the area within the game has been visited more than 275,000 times. Videos on social media are circulating of at least one event. 60% of Roblox users are 16 years or younger. 

Students from North Carolina A&T University had a school wide walk out in protest of the war on Oct. 25. Students of all varying types chanted the words “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free.”

“Palestinians have been under attack for more than 70 years. It may feel distant, but it’s not,” says Leila Nofaul, a Palestinian and junior at A&T. 

The criticism over the conflict doesn’t just stop there. Many Americans are divided on where America should stand on the delicate conflict. In a poll done by Reuters, 40% of Americans under the age of 40 believe that America should be a neutral party in the conflict. 

“Israel is looking for sympathy despite being the bigger power, enforcing apartheid on Palestinians, and basically trying to genocide whoever is left in Gaza. Hamas wants to openly abolish Israel, is using guerrilla warfare tactics that get civilians killed, and doesn’t want peace until they win…cease fire is needed. Civilians being killed needs to stop, diplomacy is the solution,” says Bryant.

Contributor: Elizabeth Condall