Extensive discussions and debates have taken place regarding the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, yet no tangible progress has been achieved. Given the current circumstances, it appears highly challenging to make any meaningful headway, considering the human cost involved.
The potential solution lies beyond the scope of human capabilities, particularly when the conflict revolves around issues of power and control. True strength is not found in destruction and loss of life, but rather in one’s capacity for altruism, displaying compassion towards the vulnerable, and granting them the freedom to lead their lives.
Passing the blame on who started it first is only a means to continue the struggle and doesn’t reflect the will to find a solution.
Awaiting the Messiah
Ironically, Jerusalem is the Holy Land for Jews because their religious belief is that the Messiah will return to earth one day and establish God’s kingdom in the sacred land. Only the Messiah knows if there is any iota of sanctity left in that land.
A faction of the Jews believed that it is not entirely up to the Messiah to reclaim the land and establish the Holy Kingdom and humans should play their role by preparing to migrate en masse to the Holy land. Another secular faction of the Zionist movement wanted a Jewish State because Jews were facing persecution across Europe and anti-Semitism was prevalent everywhere. They decided Jews need a national identity and their Holy land is where their right to settle belongs.
Another extremist faction that had Zionist leaders like Abraham Isaac Cook believed that the existence of Jews outside the Holy Land is unauthentic. Life of a Jew is complete spiritually only if they live in the Holy land.
Before the Jewish migration began full-fledgedly, Palestine was a peaceful land where Muslims, Jews and Christians co-existed. When the Jewish settlements started increasing it was the Christians, not Muslims, who notified the Ottoman empire about the influx of Jewish immigrants and requested action to restrict the inflow. Not sure if they recommended building a wall.
The Balfour Declaration
The impoverished Ottoman empire was in a decline at that time. One of the secular and most significant proponents of the Zionist movement Theodor Herzl wanted to exploit this situation and convince the Sultan of establishing a Jewish State in Palestine. But his efforts were not successful.
When reaching out to the Sultan “Herzl and other Zionists believed they could hide their ultimate objective – the establishment of a Jewish State – by focusing on the formation of a chartered company” quotes Cohn-Sherbok, Dan, co-author of The Palestine-Israeli Conflict: A Beginner’s Guide.
Herzl kept trying and approached the German Kaiser, the British, to achieve the goal.
The then British Foreign Secretary Lord Lansdowne even suggested that if they could find a land in eastern Africa he could readily accept the proposal, but the Zionist leaders opposed it, despite Herzl had some inclination toward the idea.
After multiple negotiations between the Zionist leaders and British government, the Balfour Declaration was made in 1917, however, Herzl the father of modern political Zionism didn’t live long enough to see the declaration.
The Balfour Declaration didn’t promise the Jews the Holy land but is only a magnanimous gesture by the British government on recognizing the right of the Jewish Population to have a homeland said the David Ben-Gurion, the future Prime Minister of Israel, in the US, quotes Cohn-Sherbok. Which means, only the Jewish people can make it into a reality by migrating to the Holy Land.
The White Paper of 1939
As Ben-Gurion predicted, the Holy Land was not an immediate reality. There were multiple armed conflicts between the Arabs and the Jews. A White Paper issued by the British in 1939 restricted further migration of Jews into Palestine and also sale of land to them. This was seen by the Zionists as betrayals of the earlier promises of British support for Jewish settlement and self-determination in Palestine.
The British government issued the White Paper of 1939 for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, it responded to vehement Arab opposition to Jewish immigration and land acquisition in Palestine, which had been permitted under the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine. Arab protests and riots against the growing Jewish population in the region raised concerns about maintaining stability.
Secondly, the outbreak of World War II in 1939 heightened British concerns regarding the Middle East’s stability. To secure the support and cooperation of Arab states in the region, crucial for safeguarding their interests in the Middle East, the British government shifted its policy.
Thirdly, the British administration faced substantial pressure from Arab leaders and nations, including threats to limit cooperation during the war if their demands regarding Jewish immigration and land purchases were not met. The White Paper was seen as a response to these Arab concerns.
Finally, the White Paper represented a significant policy shift. It substantially curtailed Jewish immigration to Palestine, falling far short of the number of Jewish refugees seeking asylum during the Holocaust.
The Jewish State
The main change that resulted in the creation of a Jewish state in 1948 after the White Paper in 1939 was the Second World War and the Holocaust.
The Holocaust, in which the Nazis murdered six million Jews, made it clear to many people that the Jews needed a safe haven of their own.
In addition, the war weakened the British Empire and made it less able to maintain control of Palestine. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Jewish community accepted the partition plan, but the Arab community rejected it.
On May 14, 1948, the British Mandate over Palestine ended and the State of Israel was declared. The surrounding Arab countries immediately invaded Israel, but the Israelis were able to defeat them in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
The Peel Commission, also known as the Palestine Royal Commission, was a British Royal Commission of Inquiry established in 1936 to investigate the causes of the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine.
The Commission called the solution to the Palestine problem insoluble. But it suggested a two state solution setting the stage for later partition plans and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
Finding out who bombed the Al-Ahli hospital will not find a path to peace. Dropping the weapons right now may.
The Palestinians feel even to this day they are betrayed by international law when they saw their land being robbed off. They have every right to protect their land.
After all these bloodshed and destruction, they will be realizing that there is no Messiah who can stop the war. It’s the law of this jungle that the powerful decide how much worth is the lives of the powerless.
Because the Mighty ones have no regard for any Messiah. It’s the law of the jungle.