The conflict between Israel and Palestine started some twothousand years ago because they both claimed to have ownership of the land thatthey both now claim for themselves. This conflict heated up tremendously nearlya century ago and that is what has led to the debates between the two today.
The recent conflict started when Jews were fleeing form Europedue to persecution in the region during the early twentieth century. This persecutionleft many Jewish people looking for a place to settle. Inherently, they left Europeand went to their religious homeland that was then an Arab-majority territoryin the Ottoman Empire which then turned into the British Empire. Since the Arab’shad held this land, which they call Palestine, for thousands of years, theyresisted the settlements of Jewish people and the United Nations tried to stepin to help split the land peacefully.
This ruling from the UN failed and onlyspurred on conflict. Soon wars arose. One in 1948 and the other in 1967. Israel won the war in 1948 and it displaced 700,000 Palestinianpeople making them refugees in the land they used to call their own. The Jewishsettlers, that call their nation Israel, now gained control of the Gaza Stripand the West Bank during the war in 1967, also known as The Six-Day War. Bothof these pieces of land were, and still are, home to large Palestinian populations.
Since then, Israeli settlements have popped up all over the West Bank which is,to some extent, forcing Palestinian people out of the land which Palestine refuseto recognize as Israel’s. Another piece of land that is controversial is Jerusalem. Jerusalemis home to Palestine’s recognized capitol. The issue is that Israel claims thatit as their capitol as well, but no other country has recognized that untilrecently. Out of fear of sparking more controversy and undermining the UnitedStates’ middle-man status between Israel and Palestine, the United States hasn’trecognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol until this past year.
Trump officiallydecided to move our embassy to Jerusalem in December of 2017, which served asthe United States formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol. Israel isnow recognized by roughly eighty-five percent of the worlds countries (IsraelInternational Relations). The remaining fifteen percent is predominately Araband Islamic nations. The United States government did not support Israel until 1973when the United States realized that Israel could serve as a cushion against theSoviet Union’s involvement in the Middle East. The reason as to why the UnitedStates and Israel are so friendly up until today is quite controversial. Thereare many different theories ranging from the United States’ population andtheir ability to relate to Israel rather than Palestine, to the lobbying powerof Pro-Israel groups, like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Regardless of why the United States and Israel have a special relationship, theUnited States is giving approximately a third of their foreign policy budget eachyear to Israel. The two strategies that the United States has employed that haveled to the current situation are the American Mediation Policy and the Oslopeace process and they mutually have been strict support of the Israel. The American Mediation policy “was designedto protect and accommodate first and foremost Israeli interests above anycommitment to political settlement and just peace” (Alashqar). Aaron David Miller, who used to be the officialadvisor and negotiator at the state department for all things dealing with theMiddle East, was quoted saying “for far too long many American officials involvedin Arab-Israeli peacemaking, myself included, have acted as Israel’s attorney,catering and coordinating with the Israelis at the expense of successful peacenegotiations.” Leading the United States to essentially function as “Israel’s Lawyer”which hindered the ability to negotiate a decision ending in peace between Israeland Palestine. The Oslo peace process, also known as the Israeli-PalestinePeace process, was put into effect during the Clinton Administration.
The Oslopeace process is essentially an “ongoing American-mediated effort to broker apeace treaty between Israelis and Palestinians” (Beauchamp).The United States functions as the mainmediator between Israel and Palestine. The United States hasn’t allowed nay otherinstitutions, such as the United Nations or the European Union, to function atany capacity as an influencer of the negotiation. The four main issues that any peace deal between Israel andPalestine would need to address are Israeli Security, West Bankboarders/settlements, Jerusalem, and Palestinian Refugees. The issues mostlylie within that Israel continues to increase settlements in the West Bank,Israel’s right-wing government isn’t keen on the idea of giving up any land to Palestine,and with division between Fatah and Hamas, the Palestinian government can’tnegotiate jointly (Alashqar). Which leads to the question, how do the conversationsthat could potentially lead to peace negotiations even come to fruition? This conflict has recently been going on for almost a centuryand so many solutions have been proposed and negated time and time again.
Israeland Palestine are at somewhat of a stand still. As the main mediator betweenIsrael and Palestine, the United States needs to fight to remain neutral andinclusive in order to appropriately negotiate and end the conflict over theland Israel and Palestine both claim(Alashqar). It is clear that both sides would love to obtain the land forthemselves and not have to share the land with the opposing side, but theoption preferred by the majority of the rest of the world is the two-statesolution. One of the most recent moves toward a two-state solution wasResolution 2334 placed by the UN on December 23, 2016. The resolution wasapproved by fourteen out of fifteen votes from the Security Council with theUnited States being the single country to disapprove.
Resolution 2334 almostserved as a last-ditch effort mandating that Israel stop expanding settlementsand that Israel and Palestine should begin working on a peace deal fixed on theterritory boundaries occupied in 1967. One of the positives in this situation is that both sides wouldleave with possession of land for their people, but the big question is if itcan remain peaceful for the foreseeable future. Some of the negatives in a two-state solution would be that manyIsraelis would have to move out of land that would be returned back toPalestine and Israel would have to officially move their capitol out ofJerusalem For the past fewdecades, the likely outcome of the peace process has been a two-state solution.Both sides had been open to the idea but haven’t been able to agree on thespecific terms of the two-state solution. In result of President Trump’s recentactions toward and speeches about Israel, he has effectively revived hope and reignitedthe push for a one-state solution (Liel). A one-state solution would be a win-win for Israel and theUnited States. Israel would occupy and govern all of the land and the US wouldbe able to send funding elsewhere and simultaneously strike down a middle eastpower. Some negatives that arise with this solution is that Israelfunctions as a democratic government.
Without kicking all of the Palestinianpeople out of the land, which could turn hostile, Palestinians are alleged toaccount for over half of the occupants of the land Israel hopes to govern whichwould force Israel into different governing practices if they were to allow forPalestinian people to remain in their borders. Other problems arise if you dokick them out because then questions start to be asked if there would be any severancepayment, or would Palestinians become second class citizens if they somehowstayed.Another intriguing factor that might come into effect dependingon how long this peace process takes, is that it might be easier for the UnitedStates to act sooner rather than later.
This is the case because studies showthat young American Jews, ages 18-35, are less likely to unconditionallysupport Israel than the older generations in America who maintain influence inthe United States relation with Israel. This is stemming mostly from the waythey see Israel handling this conflict with Palestine. As the older generationcontinues to age and eventually pass, and the younger generation fills theirrole, it will be interesting to see if the new generation of elders’ views willchange, or continue, and how that will affect the United States support of Israel(Waxman). A one-state solution under Palestinian rule would result inIsrael losing all of the land they rightfully fought to occupy. Just like everyother country has done, in one way or another, to gain the land they nowoccupy.
Jews would have no land to occupy as a nation if Palestine came intogoverning all of the land. The positives would be that Palestine has the land back thatthey occupied for thousands of years until Jews started migrating from Europeabout a century ago. Although it is highly questionable to think that this solutioncould remain a peaceful option.There are major issues that come with having a one-statesolution under Palestine. Fatah and Hamas, two governing groups, cannot agreeon how the state’s government should be run. This is a major reason why peacenegotiations have been so difficult with Israel because the two groups can’tagree on how to move forward with the negotiations.
There is a question thateven if the result of negotiations was to be one-state under Palestinian rulethat unrest would continue between Fatah and Hamas which would continue theunrest in the region. The best policy option would be some sort of two-state deal.Israel has come to occupy a much of the land and has won the wars to show for amajority of the land they now occupy. The major questions now are, will Israelior Palestinian people have to move from their homes, who will occupy Jerusalem,and where are the boundaries going to be drawn? Throughout the history of these negotiations between Israel andPalestine, not much progress has been made. This is due to the divided state ofPalestine, the United States biased involvement, and the two countries lack ofability to agree upon a two-state solution. If Palestine is going to leave thenegotiation with any land, then they need to start by finding consensus withinthemselves to be able to start negotiating, or else Israel is going to continueto expand their settlements inherently shoving Palestine out of the land they nowgovern.