Since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, more than 1,400 Israelis and over 4,500 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in the conflict. The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas is now in its seventeenth day. Israel has announced its intention to intensify its attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip, signaling the second phase of a three-phase plan to seize control of the Palestinian region. This ongoing conflict has once again put the Israel-Palestine issue under the spotlight on the global stage. In this backdrop, let’s understand the historical timeline of this decades long conflict.
Historical Timeline of Israel-Palestine Conflict:
The conflict between Israel and Palestine has been going on for a number of decades. It began in 1917 when the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour, expressed support for a Jewish “national home” in Palestine through the Balfour Declaration. This declaration laid the seeds for the conflict.
In 1948, Britain withdrew its forces from Palestine, leaving the United Nations responsible for finding a solution. The UN proposed a plan to create independent Jewish and Arab states in Palestine, but this plan was not accepted by most Arab nations. As a result, the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 erupted, leading to Israel controlling more territory than initially envisioned by the UN partition plan.
Following these events, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1964, with the goal of liberating Palestine from Israeli control and establishing Muslim Brotherhood dominance in the Arab world. The United Nations granted the PLO observer status in 1975 and recognized the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.
In 1967, the Six-Day War took place, during which Israeli forces seized the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt.
Efforts for peace were made, including the Camp David Accords in 1978, which aimed to resolve the Palestinian problem but remained unfulfilled.
Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, emerged in 1987 as a violent offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. In 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian Authority’s legislative elections and took control of Gaza in 2007, leading to a geographical split in the Palestinian movement.
The First Intifada, a Palestinian uprising, occurred in 1987, leading to tensions and conflicts between Palestinian militants and the Israeli army.
The Oslo Accords in 1993 saw Israel and the PLO officially recognizing each other and renouncing violence. The Palestinian Authority was established, gaining limited autonomy in the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank.
In 2005, Israel initiated a unilateral withdrawal of Jews from Gaza but maintained control over border crossings through a blockade. In 2012, the UN upgraded Palestinian representation to that of a “non-member observer state.”
India’s Stand on Israel-Palestine Conflict:
There has been some shift in India’s position on the Israel-Palestine issue. In 1947, India opposed the UN’s partition plan, partly due to its own experience with independence just months earlier. In 1950, India recognized Israel, becoming one of the first non-Arab countries to do so. It also recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole representative of the Palestinian people and acknowledged the statehood of Palestine in 1988.
In recent times, India’s policy has shifted toward a “Dehyphenation of Policy.” This means that India has moved from being unequivocally pro-Palestine for several decades to a more balanced approach, considering its friendly ties with Israel.
India now supports a Two-State Solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict, advocating the right to self-determination for both countries in a peaceful manner. This shift in India’s stance reflects its evolving relationship with both Israel and Palestine.
The international community must unite for a peaceful resolution, but the Israeli government and other involved parties’ reluctance has exacerbated the situation. Thus, a balanced approach would aid in maintaining positive relations with both Arab nations and Israel.