How are the Israel-Palestine relations amidst the Pandemic?

International Dec 24, 2020

Background of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict :-

  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be traced back to Jewish immigration and sectarian conflict in Mandatory Palestine between Jews and Arabs. It has been referred to as the world's "most intractable conflict," with the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip reaching 53 years.
  • Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, located just east of the Mediterranean Sea. Palestinians, the Arab population that hails from the land Israel now controls, refer to the territory as Palestine, and want to establish a state by that name on all or part of the same land. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is over who gets what land and how it’s controlled.
  • Both the Israeli and Palestinian people date their claims to the land back a couple thousand years, but this  political conflict began in the early 20th century. Jews fleeing persecution in Europe wanted to establish a national homeland in what was then an Arab and Muslim majority territory in the Ottoman and later British Empire. The Arabs resisted, seeing the land as rightfully theirs. An early United Nations plan to give each group part of the land failed, and Israel and the surrounding Arab nations fought several wars over the territory. Today’s lines largely reflect the outcomes of two of these wars, one waged in 1948 and another in 1967.
  • The 1967 war is particularly important for today’s conflict, as it left Israel in control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, two territories home to large Palestinian populations.
  • Today, the West Bank is nominally controlled by the Palestinian Authority and is under Israeli occupation. This comes in the form of Israeli troops, who enforce Israeli security restrictions on Palestinian movement and activities, and Israeli “settlers,” Jews who build ever-expanding communities in the West Bank that effectively deny the land to Palestinians. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, an Islamist fundamentalist party, and is under Israeli blockade but not ground troop occupation.

What is two-state and one-state solution ?

  • The primary approach to solving the conflict today is a so-called “two-state solution” that would establish Palestine as an independent state in Gaza and most of the West Bank, leaving the rest of the land to Israel. Though the two-state plan is clear in theory, the two sides are still deeply divided over how to make it work in practice.
  • The alternative to a two-state solution is a “one-state solution,” wherein all of the land becomes either one big Israel or one big Palestine. Most observers think this would cause more problems than it would solve, but this outcome is becoming more likely over time for political and demographic reasons.

Israeli-Palestine situation in this Pandemic :-

  • The coronavirus found its way into the impoverished Palestinian territory, just as Israel was tightening its blockade in a standoff with Gaza's militant Hamas rulers, and a strict lockdown has confined everyone to their homes.
  • restrictions imposed by Hamas are aimed at averting what many fear would be an even bigger catastrophe: a wide-scale outbreak in a population of 2 million people confined to a territory where the health care system has been devastated by years of war and isolation.
  • lockdown was triggered by the discovery earlier this week of the first locally spread cases, after months in which infections were confined to quarantine facilities where all returning travelers were forced to isolate for three weeks.
  • In a message for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which falls on November 29, the Secretary-General noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has decimated the Palestinian economy and undermined the already fragile humanitarian, economic and political situation in Gaza, further entrenched by crippling restrictions on movement and access.

This article has been written by Atharva Budrukkar for The Paradigm

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