Unravelling the 75-Year struggle: from Balfour to blockades - understanding the Israel-Palestine conflict

The United Nations (UN) called for the partition of Palestine into an Arab and Jewish state, calling it Resolution 181, which was shot down by Palestine as this agreement would see around 56 percent of Palestinian land being allotted to the Jewish state.

As of late, whether you open Instagram or Facebook there is one news that everyone is talking about with utmost importance - the ‘conflict’ between Israel and Palestine. To call this ongoing injustice a conflict would be an injustice to the context and history of what has been taking place for over 75 years in Palestine, and it appears that following the recent attacks by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) on the Gaza Strip of Palestine, people all around the globe have yet again started voicing out their concerns regarding these attacks by Israel against around 2.2 million defenceless Palestinians who are trapped in Gaza.

The reason it is so difficult to call this situation a conflict is simply due to the mere fact that it is not a conflict, it falls under genocide and ethnic cleansing as Palestine is without an army, leaving them defenceless against the attacks being conducted by the IDF. While many are aware of the ongoing situation, what many fail to understand, especially due to the one-sided narrative by the Western media is how this all came about.

The history

Though many might think that the crisis in Palestine started in recent times, what many fail to understand is that this situation dates back to more than a century ago. Prior to 1917, Palestine was a majority Arab nation, this all changed with the exchange of a short letter which is now known as the Belfour Declaration. This letter, dated November 2, 1917, was written by the Foreign Secretary of Britain at the time Arthur Balfour addressed to a figurehead of the British Jewish community Lionel Water Rothschild promising that the British Government was committed to establishing a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. With this, a British Mandate was created in 1923 which lasted until 1948, during which the British facilitated a mass Jewish immigration, a large majority of whom were fleeing the Nazis in Europe.

This brought sudden changes that eventually led to the Arab Revolt which lasted from 1936 to 1939. By April of 1939, matters had escalated leading to the Arab National Committee launching a general strike in order to boycott Jewish products in order to protest British colonialism in the nation as well as the increasing Jewish immigration. As we know now, 75 years later, this strike was not taken well by the British who launched a mass arrest campaign and home demolitions in Palestine. This arrest campaign only got worse as the year 1939 went on, in the second half of the year Britain massed 30,000 troops in Palestine which started the start of a war that is still ongoing with villages being bombed by air, curfews being imposed and administrative detentions as well as summary killings becoming widespread.

This revolt went on for three years which saw 5,000 Palestinians being killed, 15-20,000 being wounded and 5,600 being imprisoned.

The two-state agreements that followed

Following the revolt, by the year 1947 the Jewish population amounted to 33 percent of Palestine, however, they only owned 6 percent of the land. This led to the United Nations (UN) calling for the partition of Palestine into an Arab and Jewish state, calling it Resolution 181, which was shot down by Palestine as this agreement would see around 56 percent of Palestinian land being allotted to the Jewish state.

The Nakba

Things really took a turn in 1948, a period of time which we now know as The Nakba or the start of the ethnic cleansing period in Palestine. While many call this period The Nakba, with the crisis getting worse by the year in Palestine, many would agree that The Nakba never ended. Nakba meaning catastrophe was a time period where more than 100 Palestinians were killed in the village of Deir Yassin followed by more than 500 Palestinian villages, towns and cities being destroyed. By 1949 the zionist movement had already taken over 79 percent of the Palestinian land, forcing an estimated 750,000 Palestinians out of their homes, and this number continues to increase by the day as the practice of taking over and destroying homes in Palestine by the Israeli Government continues to this day.

While settlement is illegal under international law, over the years Israelis have been settling in stolen land and homes of Palestinians, and the 75-year-long ethnic cleansing continues in Palestine as Israel has put blockades all over the Gaza Strip, confining Palestinians into what people call an ‘open-air prison’, continuing to bomb them in the name of retaliating ‘Hamas’. This blockade was implemented in Gaza in 2007, trapping over 2 million Palestinians into one tiny strip of land, controlling every aspect of their day-to-day life. And while the Western media fails to call it what it is, settling for the word conflict, it has been evident for 75 years and more than this is not a conflict, it is an ethnic cleansing that is taking place in real-time while world leaders fail to put an end to it.

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