Why is it in the news?
- Recently, Israel has faced a significant attack by Hamas fighters, resulting in a high death toll. In retaliation, Israeli airstrikes targeted Gaza, hitting housing blocks, tunnels, a mosque, and the homes of Hamas officials.
About Israel-Palestine Conflict
- In 1917, during World War I, the British captured Palestine from the Ottoman Empire after the Sykes-Picot Agreement with France.
- Later in the Balfour Declaration, Britain pledged establishment of Palestine as national home for Jews.
- During World War II, over 3 lakh Jews migrated & resettled in Palestine and demanded a new country. This led to fight to fight between Arabs and Jews i.e., Israel Palestine conflict.
- In 1947 the United Nations voted to split the Palestine between Arabs and Jews. The Jewish residents accepted the agreement and declared independence of Israel in 1948 while Arabs rejected the agreement. Consequently, the Arab states of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria declared war on Israel.
- Israel won the war and expanded its territory reducing Palestine to just Gaza strip and West bank & forcing lakhs of Palestinians to flee from Israel.
- It was the beginning of this Palestine refugee crisis which ultimately led to the creation of PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) in 1964.
- In June, 1967 Six-day war was fought between Israel and neighboring Arab countries. During this, Israel captured Gaza strip, Sinai-peninsula from Egypt, West bank from Jordan and Golan heights from Syria.
- UN Security Council then adopted a resolution for ‘Land for peace’ and it mandated that Israel should return the captured areas back to the defeated nations.
- In the light of Israel’s reluctance to return the captured territories, another Arab-Israeli war erupted in 1973 (Yom Kippur war) in which Israel suffered some setbacks. This started the way for the subsequent peace process.
- In 1978, Israel and Egypt signed Camp David Accord to establish peace in the region and accordingly, Israel returned Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1982. This however failed to bring about peace and stability in the region.
- In 1987, Hamas (Islamic Militant group) for the liberation of Palestine through Jihad came into existence. It refused to recognize Israel as a country.
- In 1993, with the mediation of US and Russia, PLO signs OSLO Accord with Israel that provides for Palestinian interim self govt to rule over West bank and Gaza strip however Israel backtrack and refused to consider Palestine a free country.
- In 2011 Palestine launched a diplomatic campaign to gain membership in the UN for the state of Palestine. Same year, it was admitted in UNESCO as a full member, however the Palestinian struggle for independent nation is still going on.
Current violence being compared with the Yom Kippur war
- The Yom Kippur War, also known as the October War or Ramadan War, occurred from October 6 to 25, 1973.
- The Yom Kippur War marked the Fourth Arab-Israeli conflict, following previous wars in 1949, 1956, and 1967.
- It was fought between Israel and a coalition of Arab states, primarily Egypt and Syria.
- Both Egypt and Syria coordinated a surprise attack on Israel during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan.
- Israel, initially caught off guard, struggled to mobilize its troops, many of whom were on leave for Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism.
- Despite initial gains by Egypt and Syria, Israel eventually managed to halt their advances and launched counterstrikes.
- The superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union, intervened in support of Israel and Egypt-Syria, escalating tensions.
- Multiple ceasefires were attempted, with the final lasting ceasefire agreed upon by October 25.
- After the ceasefire, the peace process began, resulting in the 1978 Camp David Accords, which led to Israel returning the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in exchange for a peace treaty in 1979.
- The Yom Kippur War was significant because it revealed that Israel, once seen as invincible, could be challenged and suffered heavy casualties. It led to the resignation of Prime Minister Golda Meir and her cabinet six months after the war.
- However, the war had no positive outcomes for Syria, as it did not gain territory, and Israel continued to occupy the Golan Heights.