The struggle between Israel and Palestine dates back to the late 1800s. Resolution 181, also known as the Partition Plan, was enacted by the United Nations in 1947 to divide the British Mandate of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. Israel was established on May 14 in the year of 1948, igniting the first Arab-Israeli War. The war concluded with Israel’s victory in 1949. However, 750,000 Palestinians were displaced, and the land was divided into three parts: Israel, the West Bank (across the Jordan River), and the Gaza Strip.
Tensions in the region grew in the years after that, notably in the Middle East. Following the 1956 Suez Crisis and Israel’s aggression of the Sinai Peninsula, Jordan, Egypt, and Syria signed mutual defense treaties in an Israeli army mobilization. Following several maneuvers by Egyptian President Abdel Gamal Nasser, Israel launched a preemptive strike on Egyptian and Syrian air forces in June 1967, kicking off the Six-Day War.
Israel took control of the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. Six years later, in what is known as the Yom Kippur War or the October War, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise two-front attack on Israel to reclaim territory they had lost; the battle did not result in significant gains for Israel, Egypt, or Syria, but Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat announced the war a victory for Egypt because it allowed Egypt and Syria to negotiate over previously ceded territory. Representatives from Israel and Egypt and signed the Camp David Accords. This peace accord ended the thirty-year struggle between Egypt and Israel, in 1979, after a series of cease-fires and peace negotiations.
Although the Camp David Accords improved Israel’s relations with its neighbors, the issue of Palestinian self-determination and self-governance remained unsolved. In what is known, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians residing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip rose against the Israeli government in 1987. The Oslo I Accords, signed in 1993, mediated the conflict by establishing a framework for Palestinian self-governance in the West Bank and Gaza and mutual recognition between the Palestinian Authority and Israel’s government. The Oslo II Accords, signed in 1995, added to the first accord by mandating Israel’s complete withdrawal from six cities and 450 communities in the West Bank.
Palestinians initiated the second intifada in 2000, motivated in part by Palestinian complaints about Israel’s rule of the West Bank, a stalled peace process, and former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the al-Aqsa mosque Islam’s third holiest site, in September 2000. Despite resistance from the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, the Israeli government authorized constructing a barrier wall around the West Bank in 2002.
In 2013, the US attempted to resurrect the West Bank peace process between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities. Peace talks were stymied in 2014 when Fatah, the Palestinian Authority’s main party, established a unity government with Hamas, a competing faction. Hamas is one of two major Palestinian political parties and was classified a foreign terrorist organization by the United States in 1997. It is a spin-off of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and was created in 1987 following the first intifada.
Clashes in the Palestinian territories sparked a military conflict between Israel and Hamas in the summer of 2014. Hamas fired approximately 3,000 rockets at Israel, and Israel responded with a major offensive in Gaza. The conflict came to an end in late August 2014 when Egypt brokered a cease-fire agreement, but only after 73 Israelis and 2,251 Palestinians were murdered. Following a spate of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in 2015, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the Oslo Accords’ geographic boundaries would no longer bind Palestinians. In the month of March and May of 2018, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip staged weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel border. The final demonstration took place on the seventieth anniversary of the Nakba, the Palestinian exodus that occurred in the aftermath of Israel’s independence. While most demonstrators were peaceful, a few breached the perimeter fence, throwing rocks and other objects. According to the United Nations, live ammunition killed 183 demonstrators and injured over 6,000 others.
Also, in May of 2018, Hamas and the Israeli military engaged in combat, resulting in the deadliest stretch of conflict since 2014. During the twenty-four-hour flare-up, terrorists in Gaza fired over a hundred rockets into Israel, prompting Israel to retaliate with strikes on more than fifty sites in Gaza.
The administration of Donald J. Trump has made establishing an Israeli-Palestinian agreement a top foreign policy objective. The Trump administration stopped financing for the UN Relief and Works Agency, which aids Palestinian refugees. It transferred the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018, reversing a long-standing US policy. Israeli authorities applauded the decision to relocate the US embassy, but Palestinian officials and others in the Middle East and Europe opposed it. Israel claims Jerusalem to be its capital because it is “complete and united,” but Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. The Trump administration presented its long-awaited “Peace to Prosperity” plan in January 2020, which Palestinians rejected because it supported potential Israeli annexation of West Bank settlements and authority over an “undivided” Jerusalem.
Israel Warned That Palestinians Regard The Gaza Ceasefire as a Victory. Hamas is a Palestinian Militant Group
Thousands of Palestinians rallied in Gaza on Friday after a truce was declared in the latest conflict. Many saw it as a costly but obvious victory for Hamas, the Islamic militant group. Any future hostilities will be met with a “new level of force” by Israel.
The 11-day battle claimed the lives of over 200 people, the vast majority of Palestinians, and wreaked havoc on Hamas’s already poor Gaza Strip. However, many Palestinians saw the rocket barrages that ground most of Israel to a halt as a brave response to alleged Israeli excesses in Jerusalem, the conflict’s emotional core.
“If Hamas believes we will tolerate a shower of rockets, it is wrong,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautioned against more assaults. He promised to respond to any aggression in Israel with “a new degree of force.” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been chastised by his conservative constituency for calling off the operation too soon, claimed Israel had done “daring and novel things” without being “dragged into pointless excursions.” He went on to say that Israeli forces had inflicted “maximum damage on Hamas with the fewest Israeli losses possible.” According to Netanyahu, Israeli attacks killed more than 200 militants and destroyed more than 100 enemy tunnels.