Effects of European involvement in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict


Unknown photographer via Wikimedia Commons

Ramya Kumar, Co-Arts and Entertainment Editor

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is regarded as one of the most controversial disputes in the world. The root of the conflict originated in the early 1900s; however, the modern day warfare between the Israelis and Palestinians was incited by the surge of European colonialism in the 1920s. In 1920, the League of Nations, composed of several major European powers, divided the former Ottoman empire into mandates controlled mostly by France and Britain. Britain gained influence over Palestine, the western area of which was riddled by conflict between the natives of Palestine and Zionist Jews. Zionism is a movement dedicated to establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in the historic land of Israel, located in the Palestinian area. Followers of Zionism believe that Judaism is not only a religion but an ethnicity as well, therefore insisting that Jewish people deserve their own nation.

The flawed policies of the European countries and their rampant colonialism in the area of the former Ottoman empire transformed what used to be a minor conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and Zionist Jews into full-fledged war, resulting in the loss of the homes, lands and millions of lives of the Palestinian Arabs. White colonialism inspired the Zionists to more aggressively pursue the state of Israel as a state recognized by the West. Zionism had a more passionate surge after the division of the Ottoman Empire, as Zionist forces were inspired by Britain and more violently pursued their causes. The Western method of recklessly seizing land without consideration for the lives of the people who already inhabit it serves as a model for how the Zionists have structured the state of Israel and seized land from the Palestinians. For example, after the United Nations separated the Palestinian territory into Israel and Palestine in 1947, Israelis would go into Palestinian territory and buy land or even forcibly take land from the Palestinian Arabs. These actions of the Israelis are a horrible disgrace to the sanctity of establishing a Jewish nation. This blatant disrespect for the lives of the native inhabitants was instilled in the Palestinians by Europeans who displayed similar behavior to the rest of the world.

Zionism, in theory, is a concept worth supporting. The Jewish people deserve a land wherein they can feel safe from persecution, and having their own country would allow them to do so. The horrors of the Holocaust and the persecution Jews have faced since the beginning of Judaism corroborate the core ideals of Zionism. The execution of Zionist ideals, however, became muddled with bigoted attitudes and pure racism against the non-Jewish Palestinians in the Palestinian area. The Israeli agenda to drive out the non-Jewish Palestinians (who have inhabited the land for as long as the Israeli Jews) has transformed into nothing but a modernized version of white colonialism aimed to oppress and marginalize natives. The effects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are paralleled in the history of the land Americans currently occupy. White colonialism led to the extreme persecution and extermination of hundreds of Native tribes and their rich cultures; white people who landed in America justified their racism against natives through the concept of “manifest destiny”: the idea that American expansion from the east coast to the west coast was justified by God. The same way white people provided Manifest destiny as reason for the manifestation of their racism, Zionists are providing the decrees of God as the reason for forcibly seizing the land designated for Palestinians and claiming control over the city of Jerusalem, a site sacred to both Muslims and Jews. Granted, manifest destiny was used to justify taking control of land that was never theirs but white Americans still believed they had a right. Israel is the homeland of Judaism so Zionists claim that they are simply reclaiming their ancestral land; however, the Palestinian Arabs have always lived in that land alongside the Jewish people. The recent Trump Administration move declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and planning to move the U.S. Embassy to this city is yet another example of Western civilizations enabling Zionism and worsening the state of non-Jewish Palestinians.

In 1975, The United Nations declared Zionism as a racist movement; however, this ruling was repealed 16 years later.  In order to resolve the conflict, the U.N. decided to pursue a two-state solution which establishes Palestine and Israel as two independent entities, with the city of Jerusalem being under the control of the United Nations. The recent actions of the Trump Administration are taking steps towards the universally rejected one-state solution: making the area riddled by conflict into one entity, a solution which is accepted by very few countries. Every administration prior to the current one rejected the one-state solution, as it is a malicious attempt at forcing acculturation upon the Palestinian Arabs, absolutely in no way a peaceful solution to the conflict at hand.

NPR reports that Mike Pence, on his tour of the Middle East, announced that the United States Embassy will be moving from Tel Aviv, the current capital of Israel, to Jerusalem, the city which the United States now considers the new capital of Israel. This is ignorant and reckless; it completely disregards the wishes of the United Nations, similar to the behaviors of the Zionists as they blatantly ignoring the borders of the Israeli and Palestinian territories. Declaring Jerusalem as the capital of a solely Jewish Nation wholly neglects the sanctity of the city in the other faiths who hold Jerusalem sacred, especially the Islamic faith, an unsurprising move by Americans, the history of whom has demonstrated a consistent pattern of Islamophobia and bigoted attitudes towards Arabs. The New York Times reports that the United States has also cut off aid to the Palestinians, perpetuating the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory. The Trump administration is blackmailing the Palestinians, a starved and dying group of people, into conceding the very little land they have left. According to the Washington Post, when speaking with the Israeli Prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on January 25, 2018, Trump said that money for aid to the Palestinians “is on the table…not going to them [Palestinians] unless they sit down and negotiate peace.” The heinousness of coercing an already vanishing people into giving up their homeland by withholding needed aid for survival cannot be overstated. The Trump Administration has solidified, once again, its stance as a perpetuator of human rights violations.

According to the United Nations Reliefs and Work Agency, currently, 7.2 million Palestinian refugees do not have a home; they have been forced to the flee the land they have always called home and seek refuge in unkempt, often dangerous refugee camps wherein there are rarely enough supplies for survival.  The future of non-Jewish Palestinians is in extreme peril due to the irresponsible and foolish actions of this troublesome current presidential administration.