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Palestinian Conflict

All conflicts worldwide need to be curbed in order for progression of humanity to live peacefully in a socially correct society that embraces one another. If only nonviolent solutions could be found then the world would be a better place to raise our kids and families while making bliss.

Certainly, in a world swarming in disagreements it looks like any other, alas the IsraeliPalestinian conflict has existed since the mid-20th century. Various attempts have been made to resolve the conflict as part of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, alongside other efforts to resolve the broader Arab–Israeli conflict. Early tensions were caused in the region in 1897 at the First Zionist Congress, and then later at the Balfour Declaration in 1917 which came near the end of World War I as displaced Jews needed a place to settle.

After Ottoman rule and subsequent French mandate in 1918, the British had their mandate for Palestine on 25 April 1920 at the San Remo Conference, and, on 24 July 1922, this mandate was approved by the League of Nations. Arab nationalists opposed the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine even though some 75,000 Jews emigrated to Palestine between 1922 and 1926.

Unfortunately, this attitude created hostility which led to bloodshed, as in a massacre killing of sixty-seven or sixty-nine Jews on 24 August 1929 in Hebron, then part of Mandatory Palestine. Those taking the law into their own hands have suffered the consequences ever since. The current Israeli-Palestinian status quo began following Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories in the 1967 Six-Day War.

The return of several hardline Palestinian Arab nationalists, under the emerging leadership of Haj Amin al-Husseini, from Damascus to Mandatory Palestine marked the beginning of Palestinian Arab nationalist struggle towards establishment of a national home for Arabs of Palestine. Amin al-Husseini, the architect of the Palestinian Arab national movement, immediately marked Jewish national movement and Jewish immigration to Palestine (Zionist movement - reestablishment) as the sole enemy to his cause, initiating large-scale riots against the Jews as early as 1920 in Jerusalem and in 1921 in Jaffa.

Among the results of the violence was the establishment of the Jewish paramilitary force Hagenah. In 1929, a series of violent anti-Jewish riots were initiated by the Arab leadership. The riots resulted in massive Jewish casualties in Hebron and Safed, and the evacuation of Jews from Hebron and Gaza. In other words, ever since the beginning there has been hostility towards the Jews by Arab sympathizers which has caused widespread turmoil for law abiding Palestinians.

The squabbling has been going on for a very long time while during the unfolding saga many have been drawn into the brutalities and suffered family harshness which has taken its toll. Most Arabs and Jews in Israel seem to get along, or at least it seemed that way on the occasions that I personally visited the country; first Tel Aviv in 1985 when I noticed Arabs and Jews fine dining in the same establishments.

Al-Aqsa Mosque Jerusalem

Whilst travelling with my girlfriend around the country I was told to keep an eye out in case of any unusual situations. Israeli people are encouraged to be vigilant to avoid any kind of trouble. Terrorism is an issue, but the armed forces do their utmost to minimize tragic incidences. They occur from time to time and catch innocent victims out, but generally speaking when tourist stick to safe areas then Israel is a safe and secure country.

Israel is in a continuous state of conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Every once in a while, after the conflict starts brewing, there is a small “war” or operation. During these small wars, rockets are fired at Israel. The rockets are generally fired at the south or north of Israel, depending on who the conflict is with.

Rockets are occasionally aimed at more central parts of Israel. Fortunately, Israel has a very effective defense system called the Iron Dome which intercepts rockets. As an extra caution, there are sirens in specific areas to warn citizens to take cover in a bomb shelter, or a miklat. In usual times, these operations occur no more than once or twice a year for a couple of days.

The majority of Israel is safe to visit. Aside from highly concentrated areas of armed conflict and terrorism, Israel experiences relatively low rates of property crime and criminal assaults on residents and tourists compared to other countries. Israel’s low crime rates are partially attributable to the 70-plus-year conflict with Palestine; all of the armed conflicts over contested territory have led to a militarized state with state-of-the-art public surveillance technologies.

The current population is approaching nine million people and the majority work together, respect each other, and live in peace. Of those, 6.982 million (74 percent) are Jewish, 1.99 million (21%) are Arab and 472,000 (5%) are neither.

In my opinion, Israel is an excellent location to visit. Having been several times since, and travelled to many areas like Masada the ancient fortress, the Dead Sea, and Jerusalem’s old city; made me appreciate the start of Biblical times when Israel was called Judaea. The people are nice, the history dates back thousands of years, and there is an air of mystery about the country.

Have a terrific day!

Prof. Carl Boniface

Vocabulary builder:

Bliss (n) = ecstasy, heaven, paradise, enjoyment, happiness, harmony

Swarming (adj) = teeming, crowded, overrun, swamped, flooded, packed

Zionist movement (zionism) = a movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. It was established as a political organization in 1897 under Theodor Herzl, and was later led by Chaim Weizmann.

Squabbling (n) = backbiting, bickering, power struggle, internal strife, arguing, quarreling, disagreeing

Harshness (n) = severity, austerity, ruggedness, roughness, cruelty (ant) gentleness

Taken its toll (idiom) = have an adverse effect, especially so as to cause damage, suffering, or death. "Years of pumping iron have taken their toll on his body."

Miklat = protected space, also popularly known as a mammad, is a reinforced security room required in all new buildings by Israeli law. A Merkhav Mugan is deemed preferable to a bomb shelter when the warning time is too short for residents to reach a shelter, which may be located some distance away.

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