Israel and Palestine are the two countries whose issue is suffering from a long drawn issue of land. Recently, the issue of human rights violations by Israel was also raised in the UN. Amidst the G20 presidency, India has to be very conscious about its decisions.
History of Israel-Palestine Issue
Jerusalem is the sacred place of three Abrahamic religions i.e. Christianity, Judaism and Islam. This reason makes this city crucially important. This region has the connection with the birth of these Abrahamic religions and their sentiments. History traces itself back to 1000 BCE when the region was the realm of King David. Later in 931 BCE, this region was bifurcated into two regions when its North part was called and South was known as Judah. Later Assyrians, Babylonians and Romans attacked the region. Roman king Hadrian tried utterly ousting out the whole Jewish culture from this region. After this, invaders from Persia, Arab and Egypt came here. The last empire here was the Ottoman Empire. Ottomans reigned much of West Asia for over four centuries from 1517 to 1917. During the second World War, Britain derived a secret deal with France to divide Arab regions and give Palestine to Britain. Similarly, Britain made another deal with Mecca to support Britain against the Ottomans and if Britain wins, the kind of Mecca Sharif Hussain would reign over the whole region of Arab including Palestine. So, Britain tried controlling the region of Palestine anyhow.
After the first world war, 'League of Nations was formed in 1920 to maintain peace and tranquility in the world. As per its rules, Britain possessed Palestine until Palestinians learned to run the government on their own.
In 1917 on 2nd November, Arthur Balfour who was the Foreign Secretary of Britain at that time did something spectacular. He penned down a letter to Rothschild who was an eminent personality in Britain and also was a leading figure of Jewish rights. So, the letter of Mr. Balfour to Walter Rothschild in which Balfour expressed that the British Government wishes to establish Palestine as a national home for Jewish people. This letter is known as the 'Balfour Declaration'. Respecting this letter by Britain, many Jews started reaching and residing in Israel with the dream of making it their only homeland. Jews were facing discrimination and oppression in various countries, so they were longing for their own 'homeland'. Huge influx of Jews between 1920-1930s began clashes between Palestinian Arabs and Jews. A regular was planned and executed by Palestinian Arabs but curbed successfully by the British Government. But after this, Britain had put a limit on rivals of Jews from all over the world to avoid further clashes. The sentiments of 'anti-semantism' was quite disheartening for Jews. But the issue escalated badly as Jews faced the infamous and terrifying holocaust in Germany by Nazis during the second World War. This heinous act of Germany forced Jews to run away from Europe and take shelter in Israel. Britain passed the issue to the United Nations to solve the problem.
As per resolution 181 (ll) of 1947, the UN decided to divide the region into 2 parts, one as Israel and another as Palestine. Looking at its significance, Jerusalem was recommended as an 'international city'. Following the UN proposal, Britain removed its soldiers in 1948 from the whole region. After this, Israel declared itself independent on 14th May, 1948. Israel was recognised by the UN and then USSR immediately.
But soon after Israel gained International recognition, it was attacked by 5 neighboring countries including Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Israeli forces retaliated back in an efficient manner and their morals were high. In this war, Israel took the western part of Jerusalem and Jordan captured the Western bank, Eastern part and Haram al- Sharif of Jerusalem. The Gaza strip was in possession of Egypt. This war is called 'Nakba' by Palestinians as it proved to be catastrophic for them and resulted in the statelessness of 700,000 Palestinians.
6-day war which changed Israeli map
This 1948 war was just a trailer which stopped after the UN ceasefire. PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) was founded in 1964. Another war broke out in 1967 known as the '6-day war'. This war was fought between Israel and the Arab coalition of Syria, Egypt and Jordan. It gave huge advantage to Israel as they conquered Golan Heights which was earlier in possession of Syria, Gaza strip and Sinai Peninsula which was in control of Egypt. And also Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
After this, PLO was granted observer status by the UN in 1975. The UN acknowledges the rights of Palestinians in the region and wants a peaceful resolution for the same.
In 1987, a group called 'Hamas' came into existence in Egypt which wants Palestine back for Muslims through violent Jihad. The US has tagged it as a terrorist organization.
Clashes between Israel and the PLO keep taking place from time to time. Around 83% of nations recognise Israel and maintain diplomatic relations with it but also almost every nation sympathizes with Palestinian refugees. Israel has rendered the Al-Aqsa Mosque in control of Islamic Waqf Trust with Israeli forces having power to control and search in the area.
Countries have raised issues of grave human rights violations from Israel to Plaestinians. Recently, voting was conducted over a resolution on the matter of 'seeking advice of ICJ(International Court of Justice) in the matter of legal outcomes of prolonged occupation and annexation of Palestinians' region by Israel'. India abstained from voting to help Israel. Total vote count was - 87 in favor, 26 against and in 53 abstention. Now, the UN will be seeking the judgment of ICJ in this regard.