Violence In Palestine: A recent rundown on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict


By Aiden Cook, Reporter


In the past two weeks, the world has stood and watched in both horror and protest as once again violence clashes between Israel and Palestine. Two different nations and different people fueled by nationalist goals, attacking one another once again. This act of outrage and violence, however, isn’t the first. 

The history of Israel and Palestine’s conflict is both long and complex. And while many may think it is a conflict purely composed of opposing religious ideologies, it is more simply a conflict created from nationalist pride and sharing of land. 

Since its inception in 1947, Israel has constantly been at war with its neighboring Arab states and the Palestinians who live side by side with the Israelis. Many of these wars, like the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 and the Six-Day War of 1967, have allowed Israel to consistently gain more and more control of the land surrounding it, including areas in the West Bank, Golan Heights and increased control over the borders of the Gaza Strip.

Many argue that what once began as a fight to be recognized as a legitimate state from its neighbors has quickly devolved into persecution and systematic oppression against the people of Palestine in order to gain and control more land.

According to the Human Rights Watch Organization, Israel has continuously been guilty of apartheid and persecution towards Palestinains. By supporting illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, expropriating Palestinian land and imposing burdens on Palestinians but not on settlers and restricting their access to basic services, Israel has made it nearly impossible for Palestinians to build in much of the West Bank without risking demolition.

In order to learn more about the conditions the Palestinians are currently living with, The Easterner sat down with Dr. Majid Sharifi, director and associate professor of international affairs. 

Riot police officers stand in front of demonstrators during a protest in support of Palestine on Jaarbeursplein in Utrecht, on May 14, 2021. – Israel faced a widening conflict, as deadly violence erupted across the West Bank amid a massive aerial bombardment in Gaza and unprecedented unrest among Arabs and Jews inside the country. The West Bank clashes, described as among the most intense since the second intifada that began in 2000, left 10 people dead from Israeli fire, the Palestinian health ministry said, as overall fatalities from strikes on Gaza rose to 122.
– Netherlands OUT (Photo by Remko de Waal / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo by REMKO DE WAAL/ANP/AFP via Getty Images) (ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

“There are more than 600,000 Jews living in the heart of the West Bank,” said Sharifi. “They have the roads, the highways, access to water, electricity, they can build and repair. At the same time, the Palestinians have very little access to their own land. They can’t get a building permit, they can’t repair their own house, they can’t go from one neighbor to another. It’s an open prison, a new modern ghetto.”

While Palestinians would continue to fight for statehood both peacefully and non-peacefully, Israel would continue to push for settlements in Palestinian territory including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. While these settlements are illegal according to international laws, Israel continues to violate said laws and expand its territory, arguing that it can do so since Palestine isn’t really a state.

Many groups would continously fight for the Palestinians including the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas. Hamas has been very central in the issue lately as they’ve taken center stage in fighting for Palestine. 

Hamas originated in 1987 after the first uprising against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Under its charter, it has been committed to both creating a state for the Palestinians and destroying the state of Israel. While Hamas has been violent, they’ve also been responsible for social programs benefitting the Palestinian population in Gaza.

Despite Hamas having support among the Palestinians, many western countries such as the U.S. classify the group as a terrorist organization. Once again, Sharifi was able to provide some insight concerning the group.

“While some refer to Hamas militants as freedom fighters, others call them terrorists. I personally think that Hamas fighters are neither freedom fighters nor terrorists,” said Sharifi. “They are militants stuck in an existential war with the Israeli state over establishing who they are as Palestinians in relation to their occupiers—the Israelis. In this war, they can neither be or become Israeli citizens since Israel is a Jewish state, nor can they be or become free Palestinian citizens because Israel, again, does not allow them to be or become citizens of an independent state.”  

As of May 21, Israel and Hamas are once again in a ceasefire. While many tend to the wounded and attempt to repair their homes, it’s clear that the issue is far from being fixed. Israel continues to illegally settle in Palestinian territory and persecute their people, while Palestinians suffer with little government, infrastructure or economy.