This article is part of a series that will be released before the end of 2015, drawing from The Contour‘s annual print issue titled Upheaval, Revolution & Tragedy: The World of 2015 which can be found online at The Contour: Print Edition
The conflict between Israel and Palestine, unlike others, has been unresolved for over fifty years. However, it is a conflict that calls most for a world response, especially with recent indications of a third Intifada, or uprising, that could have an unprecedented death toll.
On the Eve of Sukkot, Muslim worshipers and Israeli peace forces clashed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple of Mount. At least 23 Israelis and 80 Palestinians had been killed that month. The event was a culmination of growing resentment between Israelis and Palestinians in response to illegal Israeli encroachment on dwindling Palestinian soil. Many fear that it points to the arisal of a third Intifada, in which Palestinians vow to “shake off the shackles of Israeli rule,” the first and second having occurred in 1987 and 2000 respectively.
In 1948 when Zionists established Israel in then-Palestine, Arabs living in the region were pushed to the outer limits of Palestinian territory of Gaza and the West Bank. In 1967, Israeli forces began a forty-year occupation of Gaza and West Bank after their victory in the Six-Day War of 1967. Israeli forces officially left the territories in 2005 in order to decrease Israel’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks. Almost simultaneously, Hamas, which is seen as a terrorist organization by many, was elected to power in Palestine. With a radical agenda that includes the reclamation of Palestinian territory taken from them in 1947, Hamas militants have exchanged fire with Israeli Defense Forces. IDF — an organization with military technology vastly superior to that of Hamas — has responded offensively in 2008, 2012, and 2014. With a death toll of over four thousand, including 82% of them Palestinian civilians, the back-and-forth points to the deadliness of a third full-blown Intifada.
Protests have run rampant and spread across the world calling for the mediation of conflict and for the rights of both Jews and Palestinians. But the world has failed to respond in diplomacy. Many Palestinians in 2008 interviews explicitly called on Obama and other international leaders to lead the dialogue between Israel and Hamas, between which there is bitter distrust. The Israel-Palestine conflict is unique because each nation lays equal claim to the same land with no ulterior motives but to give its people a homeland. With so many hoping for peace, the Israel-Palestine conflict has the potential to be one of the greatest conflict resolutions in history.
by Hadley Copeland ’18