And the importance of the Jewish state Israel…
By: Hayden Cunningham
Most Americans think of foreign affairs with little importance. Many activists will protest the minor flaws and failures of our country, while ignoring the daily terror those in unstable countries face.
The question that continually arises in American politics is whether or not we should involve ourselves in foreign conflict. Trump republicans will say no and seek isolationism. Liberals will say yes but only in certain circumstance (while reducing the size of our military). Neo-conservatives will do whatever they can to have a strong American presence in all parts of the world.
The Middle East problem is complex and confusing to some. In this article, we explain the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where it is now, and what can be done to ensure freedom, safety, and prosperity in the region. This article will attempt to describe over 1000 years of conflict with great simplicity, so feel free to search (from credible sources) more information.
The History of The Land
Early settlers of the land of Israel (before the modern day dispute) were the Egyptians as long ago as 1200 B.C. The land’s ownership varied from country-to-country for the next two-thousand years, as was common during the time. It has been controlled by Assyria, Babylon, Achaemenid, Macedonia, and then the first Jewish state of the region: The Hasmonean Kingdom. This kingdom was a Jewish state that controlled the area until around 63 B.C. when the Romans conquered the region.
(The Hasmonean Kingdom that ruled president day Israel was a Jewish state that existed over 600 years before Islam and before Muhammad was even born.)
With the conquest of the Romans came the Jewish-Roman Wars. After the Bar Kokhba revolt, a failed rebellion of the Jews for the land of Judea, the Romans denied the Jews access from Jerusalem. They also gave the land of Judea a new name: Palestina. This name was based after the Philistines, the historical enemies of the Jews. The renaming, along with the destruction of the Jewish temple, was a way of punishing them for their beliefs.
After the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, there was large Islamic expansion and the Rashidun Caliphate was established. The caliphate began a conquest of the Arabian peninsula. They took land from the Sassanid and Byzantine empires, spreading their control from modern-day Egypt to modern-day Turkey. They forced many non-Muslims into slavery and rapidly expanded Islamic-ruled territory.
The Islamic caliphate in the region transformed into the Umayyad Caliphate. This civilization continued their Islamic conquest of the region, controlling the entire Middle East, parts of Africa, Asia, and even parts of Europe (parts of Spain and France). The caliphate later transitioned into the Abbasid Caliphate.
The longstanding control of Islamic caliphates descending from Muhammad came to an end. The region became divide and torn. By this time, the Seljuk Empire conquered much of the Middle East.
In response to Muslim aggression in the region, the Crusades began. Carried out by the Byzantine Empire, the Christians took back Jerusalem to prevent the Seljuks from continuing their invasion of the region. During this time, another Jewish state controlled parts of modern-day Israel including the West Bank but also the Gaza Strip. The kingdom faced many attempted sieges of the land during the Christian Crusades and Islamic conquests.
The second Jewish state of the region fell to the Mameluk Sultanate which controlled Israel, Egypt, and part of the Arabian Peninsula.
The Ottoman Empire, having been a small state, began to conqueror the Arabian Peninsula. They would continue their large Empire by taking much of North Africa. This country was one of the most stable civilizations in the region throughout history, lasting until after World War I.
By the end of World War I, The Ottoman Empire’s alliance with the Germans resulted in the British taking control of most of their land in the Middle East, including the land of modern Israel.
The Palestine mandate by the United Kingdom following World War I began in the land. This was referred to as “British Mandate Palestine” (remember that historically, the term Palestine meant Jew). The Arabs in the region rebelled against the British and the neighboring Jews. Following this, the UK established the Peel Commission, which investigated the cause of the rebellion. The commission concluded the violence occurred due to the Jews and the Arabs desiring to control the same land. Great Britain put a restriction on the number of Jewish immigrants to Palestine, as the Arabs were not pleased with the large number of Jewish immigration from Europe. The Peel Commission then concluded that the solution to this problem would be for the land to be divided into both a Jewish State and a Arab State. The Arabs would receive 80% of the region, while the Jews would receive 20%. Following this offer, the Jews accepted. The Arabs of the region, however, did not.
The British sought the counsel of the United Nations to solve the dispute of the region. The U.N. created a partition plan for Palestine, giving both the Jews and the Arabs a state. While the Jewish Agency for Palestine accepted it, the Arabs rejected the plan.
The United Nations granted Israel statehood in 1948. It was accused of being an illegal state, despite it’s lawful establishment and the multiple statehood plans established in the previous decades. Scholars will also point out that Israel can more accurately refer to itself as a “rebirth” instead of a birth, given that a Jewish state in the area had already existed twice throughout history. The United States officially recognized the Jewish state of Israel, however it determined that it would not engage in any conflict without first consulting with both the Jews and the Arabs of the region.
Following the establishment of Israel, surrounding Arab countries immediately declared war. These countries included Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen (for perspective, Israel is roughly the size of New Jersey). The result of the War was mass Israeli casualties. Israel lost land that was assigned to them by the United Nations, but gained land that was previously offered to the Arabs. At the time, Jordan conquered the Old City of Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, and expelled every Jew in those areas.
The war ended with an armistice line between Israel and the region’s Arabs. Even though there was an armistice, Palestinian Arabs launched terror attacks continually at Israel, and the attacks were official policies of surrounding Arab groups. These attacks were clear violations of international law.
Over 700,000 Arabs fled Israel to surrounding countries, believing the country would collapse. At the same time about 850,000 Jews were forced to leave surrounding Arab countries (which is illegal to international law), and they fled to Israel. The Arab countries that received these Arab refugees from Israel placed them in refugee camps while Israel integrated their refugees from neighbor countries.
Egypt’s leader Gamal Abdel Nassar announced that the country had a plan to “destroy Israel.” Both Egypt and the surrounding countries mobilized troop along Israel’s border to prepare for an invasion. Israel, in response, pre-emptively attacked Syria and Egypt. They sought to have peace with neighboring Jordan, and Jordan declared War. This would be known as the “Six-Day War,” where Israel had to fight against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria
In a shocking outcome, Israel won the war. The Jewish state took control of Jerusalem and the West Bank (the area for the Palestinian Arabs that was controlled by Jordan) and the Sinai Peninsula (belonging to Egypt).
The Israelis debated what to do with the gained land following the war. Some wanted to give the West Bank back to Jordan, and the Gaza Strip to Egypt, in exchange for peace. Others wanted to give the land to the region’s Arabs, who at the time started referring to themselves as “Palestinian,” with the intention of having them creating their own state.
The Arab League Summit occurred in Sudan to discuss how they would deal with Israel. Their conclusion were the infamous “three no’s”: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiation of Israel.
Israel reached an agreement with Egypt who was under new leadership. In exchange for peace, Israel would give the Sinai Peninsula (an area larger than Israel itself and filled with oil) back to Egypt. They were also willing to give land to the Palestinians for them to create their own state in exchange for recognition and peace, but the Palestinians declined once again.
Jordan renounced claim of the West Bank as the Palestinian Liberation Organization claimed Independence of an Arab Palestinian state. The Palestinians claimed ownership of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Neither Palestine nor Israel recognize each other. Palestine continues to not be recognized by the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Sweden, and other major countries.
Jordan signed a peace agreement with Israel.
The Israeli prime minister and the Palestine Liberation Organization chairman met at Camp David in the United States with President Bill Clinton. It was there that Israel offered 95% of the West Bank and the entire Gaza Strip to the Palestinians for an official sovereign state with East Jerusalem as it’s capital, but the Palestinians rejected the offer. Following the rejection, the Palestinians launched waves of suicide bombers into Israel.
Israel withdrew from the region of Gaza, giving the Palestinian the opportunity to settle in that area. Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, to run the Gaza Strip. (Since this time, the Palestinians have fired thousands of rockets from Gaza into Israel.)
The new Israeli Prime Minister offered Palestine the same deal from 2000, as well as additional land. The Palestinians rejected the agreement. The first Gaza war started from rocket fire into Israel from the Gaza Strip.
President Trump negotiated a peace agreement in the Middle East with Israel and several surrounding Arab countries. This was known as the “Abraham Accords.” The deal detailed a peace agreement where United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia would have more open relations with Israel. The willingness of these countries to be more cooperative is the result of Iran’s growing instability in the region. Iran supports Palestine and has funded their terrorist groups. Saudi Arabia has more of an interest in fighting against Iran (they are currently fighting a proxy war in Yemen), which has led to it’s desire to improve relations with Israel.
The History of the Two Religions: Islam and Judaism
Much of the clash between the two people of Israel and Palestine has to do with their religious beliefs. Jews believe that the debated land was given to them by God. Citing the Torah, Jews believe that they have a God-given right over the land. In Genesis 15:18-21, God makes a covenant with Abraham promising that he will “assign this land to [his] offspring.”
Abraham had two sons: Issac and Ishmael. Abraham was married to his wife, Sarah, and was unable to have a child with her. Sarah offered Abraham her maid, Hagar, as a second wife for Abraham so that he could have sons. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. Years later, Sarah gave birth to Abraham’s second son, Issac.
After seeing Ishmael mock Issac, Sarah was fearful that Ishmael would be the heir of Abraham. She asked Abraham to cast away Hagar and Ishmael. God told Abraham to do what Sarah asks, claimimg that his promise to Abraham regarding the land will be granted to the descendants of Issac. Genesis 17:19 reads
“And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Issac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”
Verse 20-21 goes on to describe Ishmael’s fate:
“And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly: twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation… but my covenant will I establish which Issac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.”
When Ishmael was cast out, he began his own tribe of people. The descendants of Issac would be the Jews, and the descendants of Ishmael would be the Arabs. Islam recognizes both Abraham and Ishmael as prophets of God.
Islam, the youngest of the major religions, believes that it was not Issac that Abraham almost scarified on the mountain but rather Ishmael. While the Bible states that it was Issac, the Qur’an does not mention the name of the son. Muslims believe that the texts after Abraham have been corrupted, and were written in a way to favor Jews. Muslims believe that the prophet Muhammad was a descendant of Ishmael.
Muhammad believed that he was commanded by God to kill non-Muslims. He also killed those who insulted him, and taught to not display his image in pictures. Muhammad had many wives, his favorite being a 6 year old named Aisha. He routinely beat his wives, killed and stoned certain women, and said that a majority of people in hell were women.
The prophet Muhammad preached many beliefs that are incorporated in Islamic law today. Like Muhammad’s practices, Sharia Law condones stoning and plural marriage. It includes punishment for insults of Muhammad. It can be argued that those who favor these strict laws may not just be Islamic extremists, but rather Islamic fundamentalists.
Muhammad’s famous last words can be found in Bukhari 8:427 and read:
“May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of their prophets”
Many of Islam’s teachings are legitimate factors in anti-Semitism among Islamic culture. With Muhammad’s statements toward Judaism and the belief that scripture was corrupted by Jews, it is not a surprise that many Muslim individuals see the Jewish religion in a negative light.
Another major contention between the two religions is Jerusalem. This city has over one thousand years of Jewish history and was once the site of the Holy Temple. The Western Wall in the middle of Jerusalem is the holiest place for Jews to pray.
To Islam, Jerusalem is the third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina. Islam believes that Muhammad flew on a winged horse with an angle from Mecca to Jerusalem, prayed with prophets, and visited Heaven. The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is sacred to Muslims.
Today, there are roughly 1.9 billion (24.9%) people in the world who practice Islam. For Judaism, there are 14.7 million (0.18%).
Islamic Rule in the Middle East
Sharia Law is an Islamic law system that is put in place by many Muslim countries. This is a totalitarian system where the government imposes strict Islamic laws on the citizens. These laws include many rules western society would call a violation of human rights. These include:
- Anyone born Muslim must not convert religions. The penalty is execution
- Adulterers must be stoned to death
- An individual who insults Islam or Muhammad but be tortured or executed
- Thieves should have a limb cut off
Countries that follow strict Sharia Law include Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Many other countries follow various forms of Sharia Law. Islam is also very expansionary, as its followers continually seek border growth and conversions of other countries.
Is Islam a violent religion? Both Islam and and Judaism (and Christianity) have sacred texts promoting violence. The question instead should be why the followers of the religion in today’s world carry out violent acts in the name of their religion.
2013 Polling by Pew Research Center shows just how many Muslims hold violent and/or extreme views. I highly recommend going through the study and others from Pew Research Center, but here are some of the most intriguing statistics. Only middle-eastern countries polled are mentioned:
When you add the total number of people who are agreeing with these views, there are millions of individuals who are radicalized. These beliefs are all founded by the same community: Islam. A frightening percentage of Muslims favor honor killings, executions for free exercise of religion, and other tenants of Sharia Law.
This is why many immigrant Muslims are not as willing to assimilate. When Germany agreed to accept a wave of Muslim refugees, it saw an increase in crime. In 2016, New Year’s Eve in Cologne saw a coordinated attack of 1,000 Muslim men assault over 100 women. This has been true for various places in Europe. As Muslim immigration (usually refugees) move into European countries, there have been increases in rape, murder, and terrorism.
In regards to the Judeo-Islamic conflict, much of the hatred stems from the way Jews are are portrayed in Arab education. They teach that Jews killed Muhammad, that Jews are evil, and that Jews commit genocide against Palestine.
The Modern Israel-Palestine Conflict
When Israel left Gaza in 2005, Jews were expelled and the land and Palestinians had full control of the land. In 2006, the Palestinian Authority held an election in Gaza. The two major parties were Hamas and Fatah. Hamas won the election with 44% of the vote (41% for Fatah).
Since Hamas was elected, the Gaza strip has been a launchpad for terrorism. There are essentially zero Jews in Gaza due to the fear of death. Hamas has built tunnels underground to kidnap Israeli citizens, they use the Strip as a base for rocket fire into civilian areas of Israel, and they have no regard for the rockets they fire that accidently hit their own citizens.
It is so dangerous to enter Gaza as a Jew that Israel is forced to put signs on the roads leading to Palestinian-occupied territories to alarm civilians they are approaching an unsafe area. Despite all this, Israel has tried to send humanitarian aid into the area but has been met multiple times at the border with gunfire.
The West Bank varies from the Gaza Strip in many ways. It is controlled by the Palestinian authority, but Israel has military occupation over much of the area. Israeli citizens have continually settled further into the West Bank as well. Israel does not want to give up the West Bank and have the same problem that happened in Gaza.
Palestinians argue that the military occupation in the West Bank is oppressive and a form of imperialism. Israel argues that it ensures their safety. When the West Bank was owned by Jordan, it was a constant threat to Israel and Jerusalem specifically. Military occupation is permitted under international law after an attack from a neighboring state. When Jordan attacked Israel in 1967, Israel captured the West Bank. They choose to remain in control of the area until there is a peaceful resolution. They have no legal obligation to leave the area and if they did, it would expose Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to attacks.
Jerusalem is right on the border between the West Bank and Israel. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians claim the city as their true capital.
The City is divided by many different areas populated by Jews and Muslims. This had lead to many physical confrontations.
In his 2016 campaign, Donald Trump promised to move the U.S. embassy of Israel to Jerusalem (something promised by many Presidents but had not been done). By moving the embassy, it was a way for the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
About 20% of Israel’s population is Muslim and have voting rights like all other citizens. There are no Jews living in the Gaza Strip (because they would be killed by Hamas). In the West Bank, 80%-85% of the population is Muslim and 12%-14% is Jewish.
What is happening in 2021?
The recent violence between Israel and Palestine started with a housing dispute. A district in the West Bank next to Jerusalem called “Sheikh Jarrah” has had a long property dispute since 1948. The area is majority Arab but historically had mostly Jewish individuals living there. In the 1948 war when Jordan conquered the area, every Jew was forced out of the land. Following the 1967 war, Israel won the area back. A lawsuit was filed by Israelis who had previously lived in the land, wanting ownership back of the homes they owned. The lawsuit was settled in 1970, stating that if an Israeli shows a land record of the home they previously owned, then it belonged to them.
Jewish groups began to file ownership and register the property with Israeli authorities under various organizations. In 1973 many of these building were deemed Jewish homes.
Residents living on the land had to pay rent to the organization that owned the property. Arab tenants acknowledged Jewish ownership but refused to pay rent. Now, Israel has decided to evict those individuals who have not been paying rent. Four families were evicted from homes in this area where they had not been paying rent for decades.
After this dispute, riots began on the temple mount at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The headlines stated that Israeli police stormed the Mosque and attacked worshipping Muslims. In reality, the Palestinian Authority and terrorist groups had ordered Muslim men in Israel to stockpile rocks in the Mosque. This was done to throw rocks down on the heads of Jews worshipping at the West Wall for Jerusalem Day. Because these men were protesting and using rocks with an intent to kill, the Israeli police came in to stop the conflict.
Hamas leaders used this recent conflict as an excuse to resume fire on Israel. Over the last two weeks, Hamas has fired over 4,000 rockets at Israel. The worst time saw a rocket being fired every three minutes for over 18 hours straight. They also fired over 200 rockets in a short time-span to overwhelm the Iron Dome.
The Iron Dome is Israel’s defense system. When a rocket is fired into Israel, the Iron Dome launches a counter-missile that intercepts the rocket in the air. The Iron Dome can have a success rate of up to 90%.
In response, Israel has launched several missiles of their own into Gaza to kill terrorists and rocket launch sites. These strikes into Gaza have had large causalities.
Here’s the difference: Hamas targets innocent civilian areas to bomb, while Israel strikes known terrorist areas. The problem in Gaza is that the terrorists use civilians as human shields by hiding in residential areas. Hamas even had one of their headquarters based in a hospital. The reason for this is to deter Israel from counter-attacking, because bombing these areas would be considered war crimes. Israel does whatever it can to mitigate civilian casualties. For example, they give warnings before bombing a building and they use a weapon that shakes a building before it is destroyed. Hamas, on the other hand, has a clear goal to kill as many Israeli citizens as possible.
Hamas is unapologetic about this. A senior Hamas official stated on Palestinian television for his people to buy knifes and “cut off the heads of Jews.” The leader of Hamas celebrates on Twitter these rocket fires into Israel. These people have also failed in more ways than one with their attacks: hundreds of rockets from Gaza have misfired and killed Palestinians.
Fatah is the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority. While Hamas has control of the Gaza Strip, Fatah has some domestic rule in Palestinian areas in the West Bank. Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority and a member of the Fatah party, is in his fifteenth year of a four year term since they have not held another election since 2006. Another election was going to be held but was cancelled because Abbas saw that Fatah would face defeat. The Palestinian Authority blamed Israel for the postponement of this election, because they wanted Jerusalem to be able to participate. They then orchestrated the riot at Al-Aqsa. Fatah is also a terrorist group, but is not known for carrying out as many terrorist events as Hamas.
Essentially, this rise in violence starting with the violent riots in Jerusalem was an effort by Fatah to show Palestinian voters they are willing to promote terror like Hamas. Hamas, in response, began their rocket strikes to prove that they are the more aggressive party than Fatah.
In the past, many Palestinian citizens have applaud the efforts to kill Israeli citizens. A 2013 poll showed that 40% of Muslims in Palestine believe that suicide bombings are justified. Various videos of rocket fire to and from Gaza show citizens yelling ‘God is great’ in Arabic.
The United States’ Response
Unlike his predecessor, President Biden has not done enough to ease tension. In fact, our President is funding both sides of this war. In April, Biden restored aid to Palestinians that was halted by former President Trump. In May, Biden approved over $700 million worth of weapons sales to Israel. The aid given to Palestinians from the Biden administration was a direct violation of the Taylor Force Act. Under this Act, the United States is not permitted to give Palestine aid until they cease giving stipends to the families of individuals who commit terrorism. Biden also wants the U.S. to re-enter the Iran Deal. The money we will give to Iran will eventually be used to fund the terrorism in Palestine (and will most-likely fund Iran’s nuclear research).
Democrats in the House of Representatives blocked a bill that would Sanction Hamas financial supporters. There has been strong anti-semisitism from U.S. politicians. Both Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, congresswomen who have proven to be blatantly anti-Semitic, had much to say about the current conflict including anti-Israel comments and misinformation:
The media routinely ignores the attacks on Israel. They only feel inclined to report attacks in the region when Israel fires BACK at the place that attacked them. The #FreePalestine movement in the U.S. has increased tremendously, particularly among young liberals. But “Free Palestine” inevitably means the ending of Israel. It does not mean a one-state solution. And while this trend continues, politicians like Tlaib, Omar, and Ocasio-Cortez continue to spread misinformation.
With an increase in misinformation comes more violence. New York City has seen clashes between Palestinian protestors and Jews. In one instance, Palestinian protestors came to a Jewish restaurant and began spitting on customers. Interesting that Biden had this to say about President Trump but has not done enough to stop the violence under his administration:
The violence between Israel and Palestine has stopped for now with the agreement of a ceasefire. Yet, “Palestine wins” was the trend on Twitter. If you tweet this, how is that different from supporting Hamas?
At some point, Democrats have to acknowledge the peace we had under Trump. Love him or hate him, President Trump’s aggressive tweets and strong comments about terrorism deterred Palestine from escalating violence. With President Biden proving to the region he is soft on Palestine, terrorists are more willing to re-engage in conflict.
Possible Future Solutions and Outcomes
The Two-State Solution:
This solution would involve a sovereign, recognized state for both Israel and Palestine. The West Bank and Gaza has been offered to Palestine, but the offer has been rejected several times. However, this solution seems the most plausible. The Jews and Muslims in the area are very divided, and creating two separate nations would lead to less conflict then combining them.
Discouragingly, There are many problems a two-state solution could have for both parties. Palestinians and their descendants who lost homes after the 1948 war would demand they be given the right to return to those homes which are now inside present-day Israel. Likewise, if Israel were to give up their settlements in the West Bank, Israeli citizens would be forced to evacuate from their homes. Giving up the entire West Bank would also leave Israel vulnerable to attacks, due to its proximity to major Israeli cities. When Israel withdrew from Gaza, and the Palestinian organization Hamas took over the land, it allowed them to fire rockets into Israeli cities. A similar fate could result in the evacuation of the West Bank.
A two-state solution would also call for the division of Jerusalem. Arabs in the area argue that Jerusalem is their third-holiest city, and that East Jerusalem should be given to them. Israel claims that all of Jerusalem is their capital and does not wish to see the city divided.
The One-State Solution:
This solution would combine the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel into one single state in the region. Both parties show obvious resentment to this solution. Should this happen, Israel would no longer be a Jewish state, as the population between the two religions would be roughly equal. Additionally, if Israel does not allow Palestinians to vote, it would no longer be a democratic state.
The other obvious issue is that the two groups show strong resentment towards each other. Placing these two groups together would most likely result in the same level of violence (or more). There are clear benefits of a one-state solution, should it be possible. Jerusalem would not have to be divided and no confusing borders would need to be drawn. Opponents of the one-state solution will simply dismiss it as being a utopian dream of peace in a violent and disputed region.
Which is better?
The solution to Israel and Palestine’s conflict is not clear. Multiple reconciliations have been attempted, but conflict between the two has continued. Since the creation of Israel, Palestine has been offered land in Gaza and the West Bank numerous times. Each time, they have declined. Palestinian authorities are heavily tied to terrorist groups, and actively seek to attack Israel.
It seems as though a two-state solution is not possible, even though Israel has showed its willingness to allow Palestinians to live near them. Israel would never support a one-state solution, however. Israel cherishes its ability to call itself a Jewish state, a characteristic it would lose by allowing millions of citizens who have a contradictory faith to them. With both sides advocating for different solutions, the conflict seems to be broadly defined as this: Israel wants peace with Palestine, while Palestine wants Israel to no longer exist.
These contradictory objectives make it hard for a solution both sides can agree on. The best solution would be a two-state solution where Palestine is given the Gaza Strip and some of the West Bank, but Israel would keep all of Jerusalem. Not only would Israel be unwilling to give up East Jerusalem, dividing the city into two separate nations would be very difficult to do in the first place.
This solution would also require Hamas to be dissolved, and the Palestinians to remove ties from terrorism. This necessary contingency was included In the Trump-Peace Plan. The plan, which was a positive direction towards diffusing conflict, included a requirement that Hamas “must be removed from power and replaced with Palestinian authority” Palestine has already rejected the plan, refusing to adhere to that contingency. Obviously a two-state solution similar to this is unlikely to happen, but it is hard to see a solution that is more just than this one.
Why does all this history, over one thousand years worth, matter in today’s politics? Because we are talking about the most unstable, radical region in the world and the one democratic nation in the center of it. Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that advocates for western values and democracy. And because of this, every citizen lives under the constant threat of death. Tension continues to grow, and we may see an all-out war in the Middle East soon.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that there is mutual agreement the land rightfully belongs to the Palestinians. Why should we stop supporting Israel? Why would Americans stop fighting for Israel, the only country in the area that is democratic. A country that allows all people to be there, a country that lets women drive, a country that does not promote terror, a country that grants freedom and liberty. Why should people apologize for supporting Israel?
Israel has a history in that land before the Islamic religion even existed. Israel has won wars for the land, and has continually extended peace deals to avoid conflict. Palestine has leaders who call for the genocide of Jews. They have rejected peace deals and land offers. Their goal is the destruction of Israel and a singular Palestinian state.
This is not colonialism, imperialism, nor apartheid of Israel. Claiming that Israel is a tyrant over Palestine because of how large their military is proves how they are not practicing imperialism. Israel has the power to wipe out Palestine and chooses not to. If the amount of power between the two were reversed, do you think that Palestine would also choose to not take over Israel? Like all countries, Israel is not perfect. And like all evil leaders, not all civilians of a country are bad. But too often in this conflict we ignore the wrong-doings of the bad people, then point at the good and call them bad.
There is an uncomfortable truth about the culture of the Middle East. The region thrived the most in history when it adopted western culture. They hate the U.S. because we are a country of freethinking people and have a willingness to discuss multiple views of life. Israel is the only country in the region that believes in these values too. These core value that we view as natural God-given human rights are a threat to their culture.
There is a clear irony in this long conflict: 1000 years of religious conflict yet Muslims and Jews believe in the same God. Both believe in the God of Abraham. Perhaps one day they respect each other’s differences. One side will definitely have to change its behavior more than the other.