Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Source: Counter Currents
Justice demands that Israel and the United Nations address the enormous inequities that exist in Palestine. There is no justice if the division of the land remains 86 percent to 14 percent when both populations are of approximately equal size, especially if the right of return is acted upon according to international law. There is no justice if Israel remains the controlling power over a faux state that cannot manage its own affairs and control its own destiny. By William A. Cook. April 2010. [see more]
The recent history of the Palestinian people, particularly from the 1940s onward, has been marked by confrontations, segregation, overcrowded living conditions and massive geographic displacements throughout the Middle East.

According to international law, Palestine is a 27,000 square-kilometre region situated west of the Jordan River, which the League of Nations gave to Great Britain to administer under "Mandate" in 1918. The British Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, had promised the Zionist movement that a "Jewish national homeland" would be established in Palestine. But his proposal for partitioning the territory –into two separate Jewish and Arab states- was rejected by the Arabs. After the end of World War II, Great Britain turned the problem over to the newly formed United Nations (UN).

The occupation

In 1947, the UN General Assembly approved a new Partition Plan. At that time there were 749,000 Arabs and 9,250 Jews in the territory proposed for the Arab state, while 497,000 Arabs and 498,000 Jews were living in the area assigned to the future Jewish state.

To force Palestinians to leave their lands, some Zionist groups resorted to terrorism. On 9 April 1948, forces of the organization Irgun, under the command of Menahem Begin, penetrated the village of Deir Yassin, killing 254 civilians. Terror spread over the population and led to the exodus of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

On 14 May 1948, Israel unilaterally declared itself an independent nation, and came out of the war with the neighboring Arab countries with a larger territory than the one proposed by the United Nations. More than half of the Palestinian population had fled their homes. Most of them lived as refugees on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which came under Egyptian government, but also in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, while few of them went to Iraq and Egypt.

For the United Nations and, therefore, for international law, Palestinians were not a people. Instead they were seen merely as refugees, a "problem" that needed to be solved.

Any political decisions concerning the Palestinian cause were adopted by the Arab governments, at least until 1964, when the Palestine National Council, gathering for the first time in Jerusalem, founded the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Palestinian groups that were already operating underground, such as Al Fatah, were wary of this organization because it was backed by Arab governments and focused on diplomatic actions. These groups were convinced that the territory would only be recovered through military operations. On 1 January 1965 the first armed operation took place in Israel. Fighting intensified over the following months, leading up to the Seven Day War, which erupted in 1967. Israel forces occupied all of Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt and the Palestine territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The defeat of regular Arab forces strengthened the conviction that guerrilla warfare was the only effective means for liberation. In March 1968, following the retreat of Israeli forces in the town of Al Karameh, armed groups joined the PLO, obtaining the support of the Arab governments. In February 1969, Yasser Arafat was elected chairman of the Organization.

The program of the PLO called for "the establishment of a secular and independent state in the whole of the Palestinian territory, where Muslims, Christians and Jews can live in peace, enjoying the same rights and duties." This necessarily implied the end of the present state of Israel. Without giving up this ultimate goal, however, the PLO gradually came to accept the “temporary solution” of setting up an independent Palestinian state “in any part of the territory that might be liberated by armed force, or from which Israel might withdraw."

The resistance

Thirty years later, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is still a problem awaiting solution. Several peace agreements have failed since then, including the Camp David (1980), Madrid (1991) and Oslo (1993) agreements, while the number of Jewish settlements in the West Bank has multiplied, more and more Palestinian lands have been taken over, and tension has increased in the occupied territories. Repeated votes against such measures at the United Nations proved totally ineffective in practice, as the US veto in the Security Council has made it impossible to this day to adopt any type of sanctions against Israel.

Isaac Rabin, the prime minister from the Labour Party and the main peace interlocutor of Arafat in the Oslo agreement, was assassinated by an Israeli fundamentalist in 1995. His assassination lead to the election of the Likud prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu, who interrupted the peace process and made a radical deviation in the Israeli position vis-à-vis the Palestinian state.

In January 1996, Arafat was elected President of the Palestinian Authority with 87% of the votes. The tension in the region never died down, although there were some periods of relative calm, interrupted by outbreaks of violence. But towards the year 2000, the issue of Jerusalem, a holy city for both Muslims and Jews, became the greatest obstacle to negotiations, as both sides intended to establish their capital in this city. In September of that year, the second Intifada (or Palestinian uprising) was launched. A few months later, former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon’s victory in the Israeli elections of February 2001 was seen as yet another blow to the injured peace process.

Palestine resistance to the occupation was met with selective killing of alleged terrorists by the Israeli army, who expanded its military offensive by attacking Palestinian villages and townships. This resulted in more suicide attacks against Israeli targets.

Recent scenario

In December 2001, Sharon severed all ties with Arafat. The new Israeli strategy was based on the non-acknowledgment of the Palestine leader as a valid interlocutor, and the breakup truncated any attempts at negotiation. Arafat was pressured into creating the office of prime minister, to whom he also entrusted the appointment of a new cabinet.

In late 2002, the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations presented a new peace plan known as the ‘Road Map’, which included the establishment of a Palestine state by the year 2005. The plan was accepted by both sides, although the Israeli government raised 14 objections on the proposed text. Israel did not diminish its aggressions on the Palestinian population and proceeded to build a security fence with the aim of stopping any Palestinian extremists from attempting to enter Israel. The international community condemned the construction of this wall, but Sharon’s government went ahead with its plans.

The same condemnation –with the explicit exception of United States- received the assassination of Ahmed Yassin, spiritual leader of the radical group Hamas. The action, held on 22 March 2004 in Gaza, was the 327th extrajudicial execution of a Palestinian by Israel, including 160 “collateral victims”.

The death of historical leader Yasser Arafat on 11 November 2004 and the triumph of Hamas in January 2006 parliamentary elections, radically changed the Palestinian political scenario.

In March of the same year, Israel’s elections confirmed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – successor of seriously ill Ariel Sharon – in his post. His government has announced it will continue withdrawals of Jewish settlements from Gaza and has expressed its willingness to hold peace talks with Palestinians. However, it would act unilaterally if necessary, with the aim of establishing permanent borders for Israel by the year 2010.

Based on information by the World Guide.
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      Versión en español
Tuesday, April 06 2010
Israel/Palestine: rule by law or defiance
(Source: Counter Currents)
Tuesday, February 23 2010
Getting away with murder
(Source: The Palestine Chronicle)
Monday, January 04 2010
Cairo Declaration To End Israeli Apartheid
(Source: Counter Currents)
more on this issue

About Palestine

Israel/Palestine: rule by law or defiance (Counter Currents)

The economic, social and political disaster produced by the Zionist project - Part One (World Socialist Web Site)

The State of Israel's bloody foundations (Third World Network)

The Palestinian struggle for self-determination, the massacre of Lebanon and Israel's expansionist ideology (International Gender and Trade Network)

Settlements: a State policy (International Women's Peace Service-Palestine)

Ruling Palestine: a history of the legally sanctioned Jewish-Israeli seizure of land and housing in Palestine (Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE))

Defusing Israel's "demographic bomb" (Electronic Intifada)

Highlights from the report on Status of the Palestinian Family 2003 (New Family)

Palestine, the people and the land

Introduction (The World Guide)

History (The World Guide)

Palestine maps (Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA))

Social Watch

Human Rights Watch

United Nations

United Nations: Root cause of Palestinian violence is Israeli occupation (South-North Development Monitor - SUNS)

UN Rapporteur compares Israel to Apartheid South Africa (Electronic Intifada)

OCHA report on the agreement on movement and access - one year on (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)

Report on UNCTAD's assistance to the Palestinian people (UNCTAD)

Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations

Question of Palestine resources in the United Nations system

Security Council

Question of the violation of human rights in the Occupied Arab Territories, including Palestine (United Nations)

UN: gross violations by Israel of housing rights in Palestine (Third World Network)

The right to food - Report by the Special Rapporteur, Jean Ziegler (UNHCHR)

Humanitarian aid

Political economy of aid to Palestinians under occupation (Alternative Information Center)

Poverty in Palestine: the human cost of the financial boycott (Oxfam)

Statement on Gaza by United Nations Humanitarian Agencies working in the occupied Palestinian territory (UNICEF)

Assessment of the future humanitarian risks in the occupied Palestinian territory (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)

Palestine Red Crescent Society

Supplementary appeal for Rafah (UNRWA)

The second Intifada

A third Palestinian Intifada in the making (Palestine Chronicle)

Palestinian women and the Intifada (MIFTAH)

Conflict, occupation and patriarchy: women carry the burden (Amnesty International)

Grandmothers on guard (Mother Jones)

Palestinian Intifada: fourth anniversary (The Palestine Monitor)

"Israel must be treated as South Africa was" (Third World Network Features)

Statistics for the Palestinian Intifada (Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute)

Intifada on line

Violence fatigue among Palestinians, Israelis alike (IPS - Inter Press Services)

The Road Map

Five years to the Quartet (Bitterlemons)

Towards a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict (International Crisis Group)

Road Map to nowhere (Counter Currents)

Road Map to where? (End the Occupation Campaign)

Full text (United Nations)

The Jerusalem Road Map (Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information)

UN Security Council endorses Road Map leading towards two-State resolution of Israeli-Palestinian conflict (MIFTAH)

Yesterday, today and tomorrow: the life and times of the Road Map (Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information)

A broken peace process

Lessons from South Africa for the peace process (Electronic Intifada)

Separate but unequal in Palestine: the road to apartheid (CounterCurrents)

Bush launches a new Middle East initiative. Middle East peace is at hand. Again. (Institute for Policy Studies)

Countdown to Apartheid (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions)

"Don't worry - it's just another Palestinian child's death" (Electronic Intifada)

Destroying the two-state solution (Bitterlemons)

'Slicing off gaza is just a diplomatic nose job' (Electronic Intifada)

Open letter to President George W. Bush by Amnesty International (The Palestine Monitor)

Where is President Bush's vision? (Bitterlemons)

Yassin and the camp of death (Bitterlemons)

A new kind of killing (MERIP)

Israel's unilateral disengagement plan from Gaza

The Gaza Strip: Disengagement two years on (The Electronic Intifada)

One year after Israel's disengagement: situation in the Gaza Strip (Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights)

To Palestinians, Sharon was a man of war, not peace (Electronic Intifada)

The Gaza settlements may go, but the occupation remains (Third World Network)

Sharon's minimum solution (Electronic Intifada)

Ariel Sharon and the Jordan option (Middle East Report)

Trapped like mice: Palestinians under the new Israeli "Disengagement Plan" (Electronic Intifada)

Sharon's "Gaza Disengagement Plan" (Electronic Intifada)

Disengagement and escalation (Bitterlemons)

Despite Gaza pullout plan, home demolitions expand (Human Rights Watch)

Sharon's insane plan (Transnational Institute)

Sharon's sights on strategic objective (Middle East Report)

The Egyptian initiative (Bitterlemons)

'Slow-motion genocide' and war crimes in Gaza

Cairo Declaration To End Israeli Apartheid (Counter Currents)

Gaza's shrinking borders: 16 years of the Oslo process (Counter Currents)

The humanitarian impact of two years of blockade on the Gaza Strip (United Nations)

Civil Society position paper on Israel's barbaric aggression on the Gaza Strip (The Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO))

How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe (The Guardian)

Why Palestine is burning: Apartheid by another name (Transnational Institute)

The horrors of Gaza (The Palestine Monitor)

Gaza's wars of perception (Middle East Report)

Massacres in Gaza (Electronic Intifada)

The Gaza-Lebanon crises (Transnational Institute - TNI)

Gaza: the children killed in a war the world doesn't want to know about (CRIN / The Independent)

Gaza: the Auschwitz of our time (Global Research)

How the EU helps Israel to strangle Gaza (The Electronic Intifada)

The Gaza Strip: a humanitarian implosion (Oxfam)

Slow-motion genocide in occupied Palestine (The Palestine Chronicle)

The Gaza crisis: Israeli airstrikes & U.S. complicity (Institute for Policy Studies)

Holocaust In Gaza (

Palestinian, Middle East and international media

Gaza story: to publish, or not to publish? (The Palestine Chronicle)

Telling it like it isn't (Palestine Media Watch (PMW))

Comprehensive list (Choike)

Official web sites

Palestinian refugees

Al-Nakba denial: concealing catastrophe (The Palestine Chronicle)

Sixty years of Nakba: Israel’s continued policy of forcible displacement (Al-Haq)

There is no alternative to the right of return (The Electronic Intifada)

Unprotected citizens (Arab Association for Human Rights)

The Initiative of Return and Coexistence (Return and Coexistence Initiative)

Palestinian refugees and exiles must have a say-so (Electronic Intifada)

Nowhere to flee: the perilous situation of Palestinians in Iraq (Human Rights Watch)

Democracy and rights are also for Palestinian refugees (Electronic Intifada)

Rights of return and self determination asserted in all international law (BADIL)

Without the right of return there can be no solution (Bitterlemons)

The right of return of Palestinian refugees (Global Policy Forum)

Al-Awda - Palestine Right to Return Coalition

Palestine Remembered

Palestinians: still on the move (The World Guide)

The Palestinian refugee problem revisited (Right to Education Campaign - Bizreit University)

Palestinian refugees and the politics of peacemaking (International Crisis Group)

The right of return (Al Jazeera)

Conflict management or conflict resolution

Getting away with murder (The Palestine Chronicle)

The harsh reality of the Middle East conflict (CounterCurrents)

Ground to a halt: denial of Palestinians' freedom of movement in the West Bank (B'Tselem)

The Gaza wall comes tumbling down (Transnational Institute - Institute for Policy Studies)

Settlements have to go (MIFTAH)

Politics of fear (The Electronic Intifada)

Let's be realists, let's demand the impossible! Why pragmatic politics are doomed to fail in the Middle East (In These Times)

Everything is possible (The Electronic Intifada)

World Bank exposes the blatantly obvious (Electronic Intifada)

From rejection to acceptance: Israeli national security thinking and Palestinian statehood (United States Institute of Peace)

'Israel's right to exist': is it a real issue? (Electronic Intifada)

The Arab peace initiative and the changing Middle East (Counter Currents)

The Arab-Israeli conflict: to reach a lasting peace (International Crisis Group)

The right to live without fear (Electronic Intifada)

Conflict management or conflict resolution (BADIL)

European NGOs defy EU secrecy on Jerusalem (Electronic Intifada)

Promoting impunity: The israeli military’s failure to investigate wrongdoing (Human Rights Watch)

Where does Bush get his (bad) information? (Electronic Intifada)

What "peace" really means to Israelis (Electronic Intifada)

Resolution 181: A state for some, occupation for others (BADIL)

Four more years of Bush (Bitterlemons)

The challenge to the two-state solution (Middle East Report)

In Rafah, history hangs heavy in the air (Middle East Report)

Israel emptying Jerusalem of Palestinians by bulldozing their homes (The Palestine Monitor)

Identity crisis: Israel and its Arab citizens (International Crisis Group)

'Hello, I'm Israeli-Palestinian' (IPS - Inter Press Services)

New internationalism can bring peace and justice and an end to occupation (Transnational Institute)

Redividing Palestine? (New Left Review)

Peace in the Middle East: a global challenge and a human imperative (MIFTAH)

Israel’s separation wall

Photostory: the apartheid wall (The Electronic Intifada)

Open letter to Quartet members: Israel's recent land confiscations (Al-Haq)

Walking in Palestinian shoes (MIFTAH)

Cementing Israeli Apartheid: the role of World Bank (Left Turn)

In the shadow of Israel's security fence (Mother Jones)

Book: The wall in Palestine - Facts, Testimonies, Analysis and Call to Action (Stop the Wall Campaign)

The Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Construction of a Wall in the OPT (Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizen's Rights)

Behind the walls: separation walls between Arabs and Jews in mixed cities in Israel (Electronic Intifada)

Water wall (Global Policy Forum - Bitterlemons)

Fighting Israel's wall (The Nation)

Map of the segregation wall - West Bank (The Palestine Monitor)

World Court's ruling on wall speaks with utmost clarity (Middle East Report)

Legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (International Court of Justice)

A wall as a weapon (The Palestine Monitor)

Impact of the Jerusalem Barrier (UNRWA)

Condemnation of Israel's fence 'empty' (IPS - Inter Press Services)

The reality and legality of Israel's wall (Electronic Intifada)

The Geneva Accord

Geneva Accord (Transnational Institute)

A flawed plan, but it could pave the way for peace (Common Dreams)

Former top US Officials back Geneva Accord (IPS - Inter Press Services)

The Geneva Accord: war against memory and denial of reality (The Palestine Monitor)

The Geneva accord (Bitterlemons)

The Geneva Accord: full text (PLO Negotiations Affairs Department)

The Israeli text and context of the Geneva Accord (MERIP)

Switzerland and the Geneva Accord: undermining the rule of law (Arabic Media Internet Network)

Initiative of Geneva: idiots' diner (Arabic Media Internet Network)

The human rights impact

Peace and human rights: Palestine as a case study (Al-Haq)

Policies of denial: lack of access to water in the West Bank (COHRE)

Israel's IDF plays the ignorance card once again (MIFTAH)

Holding health to ransom: GSS interrogation and extortion of Palestinian patients at Erez Crossing (Physicians for Human Rights - Israel)

Truth and consequences under the Israeli occupation (The Electronic Intifada)

Israeli policies target Palestinian families (The Electronic Intifada)

Enduring occupation: Palestinians under siege in the West Bank (Amnesty International)

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories (CRIN)

The impact of the economic strangulation on human rights within the Occupied Palestinian Territory (International Federation for Human Rights)

Collective punishment on the Palestinians (Third World Network)

Blowing against many winds: Palestinian Human Rights NGOs in the al-Aqsa Intifada (South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre)

Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign: Overdrive of war crimes won’t stop the resistance (Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign)

After Arafat

The light at the end of the Gaza-Ramallah tunnel (The Electronic Intifada)

Do America and Israel want the Middle East engulfed by civil war? (Electronic Intifada)

The "either-or" disaster (MIFTAH)

The full text of the National Conciliation Document of the Prisoners (MIFTAH)

The Third Intifada (Electronic Intifada)

Palestinian legislative elections: what next? (Electronic Intifada)

Palestinians' time of choice (Electronic Intifada)

From Aqaba to Sharm: fake peace festivals (Electronic Intifada)

Palestinian elections: exercising democracy under occupation (Electronic Intifada)

After Arafat? Challenges and prospects (International Crisis Group)

After Arafat, what next? (Third World Network Features)

The end of the Arafat era (Transnational Institute)

Yasser Arafat, 1929-2004 (Electronic Intifada)

Palestinian NGOs and civil society

The International Solidarity Movement

Palestinian NGOs (Choike)

Israel-based NGOs (Choike)

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