June 9, 2023

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination



THE CONTEXT: Jordan recently hosted a meeting between top Israeli and Palestinian officials in a bid to halt a surge in deadly violence in the occupied West Bank that has stoked fears of a wider escalation. The planned talks come days after Israeli forces carried out a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus that killed 11 Palestinians. Such incidents certainly have the potential to put the Middle-East peace process in jeopardy. The following article attempts to explain the evolution of the Israel-Palestine issue and its geopolitical implications within and beyond the Middle East region.



  • Zion is the name of the hill on which the Temple of Jerusalem was located.
  • Zionism is the term used to describe the Jewish political movement of the late 19th century.
  • Their objective is to unite the Jewish diaspora all over the world and settle them in Palestine.
  • They started taking donations from wealthy Jews, helped the Holocaust survivors to migrate to Palestine and surrounding regions.
  • This movement led to the establishment of Israel in 1948


  • After First World War, the Palestine region was under British Administration.
  • The official policy of the British was to prevent Jews from settling in the Palestine region because it was leading to riots between Jews and native Arabs.
  • But during the course of World War II, the US army discovered Nazi extermination camps. This created deep sympathy for Jewish people in the USA. The Senators and Congressmen of the USA, started lobbying for the Zionist cause.
  • Therefore U.S. President Truman requested British Government to immediately admit 1 lakh Jewish Holocaust survivors into Palestine, and unrestricted Jewish immigration in Palestine in future.
  • The neighbouring Arab nations did not favour this inward migration in Palestine.


  • The Jews that survived the holocaust and extermination camps, had no home of their own- everything was destroyed in the war. The Zionists helped them immigrate and settle in Palestine.
  • But the Palestinian Arabs decided that no more Jews should arrive and that Palestine should achieve independence as an Arab state. (In 1946 there were 12 lakh Arabs and 7 lakh Jews in Palestine). There was rioting and violence everywhere, from both sides.
  • The area was still under British administration. But during this time, Britain lacked the money, political will and military force to maintain hard control over its colonies.
  • In Feb 1947, Britishers were busy negotiating the independence of India. They were also eager to decrease costly military presence in Palestine.
  • So British Government decided to hand over the Palestine question to United Nations.


  • In late 1947, The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution: This Palestine region be partitioned into an Arab State and a Jewish state, and Jerusalem will become an international centre.
  • Arab nations opposed this resolution.
  • The Zionists welcomed the partition proposal because it recognized a Jewish state and because it allotted more than half of (west-of-Jordan) Palestine to them.
  • Soon after the UN resolution, rioting and civil war broke out in Palestine, between the native Arab and Jews.


  • As the civil war, rioting, murder, loot, plunder, assassinations spread, on 14th May 1948, the Last British high commissioner left Palestine.
  • Immediately, the Zionist leaders declared Israel a free Nation. Within a few hours, USA also recognized Israel as a nation.
  • In the upcoming days, the Arab nations: Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt sent their armies but were defeated by Israeli forces. (This is known as First Israel-Arab War)
  • UN General Assembly had favored the partition of Palestine region into an Arab State and a Jewish state.
  • While Jewish State (Israel) came into existence, but there was no Palestine Arab State because Palestinian Arabs were not organized, unlike Zionists, they lacked the money and gun power of their own. They relied on the armies sent by Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt, to fight for their cause.


  • After The First Israel-Arab war, the Jerusalem city and surrounding were divided between Israel (West) and Jordan (East).
  • West Bank is the region on the west side of the Jordan River. From 1950 to 1967 it was ruled by Jordan.
  • But Israel captured it in 1967’s war (also known as 6 Days war, or Third Israel-Arab war).
  • Under the UN resolution, the Gaza strip will be given to Arab State.
  • After Israel became an independent nation (1948), the Arabs from Tel-Aviv and other parts of Israel/Palestine region, had started migrating to this Gaza strip, to save themselves from riots and looting. These are called Palestinian (Arab) refugees.
  • During the first Israel-Arab war, the Egyptian army had captured Gaza strip. But In 1967’s war, Israel re-captured Gaza Strip.
  • But The Egyptian government did not consider Gaza Strip as a part of Egypt and did not allow those refugees to become Egyptian citizens or to migrate to Egypt or to other Arab countries.
  • On the other side, Israel did not allow these refugees to return to their former homes. So, these refugees are stuck from both the sides, live in poverty and food aid from United Nations.
  • Ever since, there is rioting and violent street clashes between Gaza’s Palestinians (refugees/Hamas) and occupying Israeli troops.


  • So far, the Palestinian Arabs were relying on outside support (Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon), but later realized they had to get themselves organized to fight for their own cause. Thus came Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Yasser Arafat became the leader of PLO.
  • PLO launched a guerrilla war against Israel during the 1960s to 1980s from its camps in Jordan.
  • But later on, PLO got into power-struggle with Jordanian King, and were expelled from there. So, PLO shifted their base to Lebanon.
  • 1982, Israel launched a military attack on Lebanon to destroy the PLO camps.
  • Ultimately Yasser Arafat concluded that military fight with Israel without any substantial developments.
  • Finally, PLO decided to accept the earlier UN resolution (recall: UN wanted Palestine region to be divided between a Jewish State and an Arab State).

HAMAS, 1987

  • They’re political-militant organization stationed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They run their own schools, charities, clinics, and schools in these areas.
  • They get money and weapons from tunnels through the Egypt-Gaza border. They want to destroy Israel and create an Islamic state in Palestine.
  • The Difference between Hamas and PLO is that both started as militant movements for Palestinian Arabs but PLO has (almost) ceased violence while Hamas continues to remain armed and dangerous.


  • After many rounds of talks, Israeli Government and Yasser Arafat’s PLO entered into a peace agreement, according to which
  • Israel and PLO will formally recognize each other’s right to exist.
  • A new Palestine authority (PA) will be formed, it’ll have elected Arab representatives.
  • Israel will gradually hand over the administration of the Gaza strip and West Bank, to the Palestine Authority (PA).
  • But Hamas was opposed to Oslo accords.


  • It was formed under the Oslo Accord.
  • Elections were held, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah party won majority seats and he became the first President of Palestine Authority (PA).
  • Israel withdrew its military from Gaza strip, and handed over the civil functions (police, municipality etc) to this Palestine Authority in 1994.
  • After Yasser Arafat, the Hamas Party defeated his Fatah Party in 2006’s election for Palestine Authority. Hamas and Fatah eventually formed a coalition government, but there was violence and power struggle between these two camps.
  • Ultimately, Hamas got control of the Gaza Strip, while Fatah took control of the West Bank.


  • In 2007, Gaza strip was under Hamas rule. The acts of terrorism continued.
  • Israel declared them as a hostile entity and approved sanctions against Gaza strip- including electricity cuts, heavily restricted imports, and border closures. Hamas retaliated by launching rockets at Israeli cities.
  • So, Israel started a military invasion on the Gaza, mainly to destroy those tunnels through which Hamas gets rockets and other weapons.
  • In this clash, more than 1,000 were killed. Finally, Israel and Hamas declared a unilateral cease-fire.
  • Since then, Gaza strip is in control of Hamas but Israel has blocked the whole area with a huge wall.


  • Tensions are often high between Israel and Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.
  • Gaza is ruled by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has fought Israel many times. Israel and Egypt tightly control Gaza’s borders to stop weapons getting to Hamas
  • Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank say they are suffering because of Israeli actions and restrictions. Israel says it is only acting to protect itself from Palestinian violence.


The Middle East region, particularly the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, has been a major issue in international politics for several decades. Over the years, various peace efforts and agreements have been made to establish peace between the two nations. Here are some of the key peace efforts and agreements that have taken place:

  • Oslo Accords (1993): The Oslo Accords were a set of agreements signed between Israel and Palestine in 1993, with the aim of establishing peace between the two nations. The accords recognized Israel’s right to exist and established a Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, the Oslo Accords did not lead to a final resolution of the conflict and have been criticized for failing to address key issues such as the status of Jerusalem, the borders of a future Palestinian state, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
  • Camp David Accords (1978): The Camp David Accords were signed between Israel and Egypt in 1978, with the United States acting as a mediator. The accords led to the establishment of peace between Israel and Egypt and the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. However, the Camp David Accords did not address the Palestinian issue and have been criticized for excluding the Palestinians from the negotiations.
  • Madrid Conference (1991): The Madrid Conference was an international conference held in Madrid, Spain, in 1991, aimed at resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. The conference brought together Israel and its Arab neighbors, including Palestine, to discuss peace. Although the conference did not result in a formal agreement, it laid the foundation for the subsequent Oslo Accords.
  • Arab Peace Initiative (2002): The Arab Peace Initiative was a proposal put forward by the Arab League in 2002, offering Israel full diplomatic recognition and normalization of relations with all Arab states in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories and the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Although Israel initially rejected the proposal, it has since been acknowledged as a key component of any future peace settlement.
  • Annapolis Conference (2007): The Annapolis Conference was a conference held in Annapolis, Maryland, in 2007, aimed at advancing the peace process between Israel and Palestine. The conference resulted in the establishment of a negotiating framework, with the goal of reaching a final peace settlement by the end of 2008. However, the negotiations ultimately stalled and did not lead to a final agreement.
  • Abraham Accords (2020): The Abraham Accords were a series of agreements signed between Israel and several Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan, in 2020. The agreements established diplomatic relations and cooperation in areas such as trade, tourism, and security. While the Abraham Accords did not directly address the Palestinian issue, they were seen as a significant step towards regional peace and stability.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine remains unresolved despite the various peace efforts and agreements. For instance, recently Israeli armed forces have penetrated Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Haram esh-Sharif in Jerusalem. Hamas retaliated by firing rockets on Israel. In retaliation, Israeli airstrikes targeted the Gaza Strip. The key issues of the status of Jerusalem, the borders of a future Palestinian state, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees continue to be contentious and unresolved.


  • The revival of Israel-Palestine conflicts does undermine the various peace efforts for establishing peace in the Middle East region. Each time violence erupts between Israel and Palestine, it erodes the trust and goodwill that may have been built up during previous peace efforts and agreements. It also increases the level of animosity between the two sides, making it more difficult to reach a lasting peace settlement.
  • The recent violence in May 2021, for example, saw a significant escalation in hostilities between Israel and Palestine, resulting in numerous casualties and extensive damage. This violence undermined the relative calm that had existed since the 2014 Gaza conflict and created new obstacles to peace. It also led to the postponement of several planned peace talks and other diplomatic efforts.
  • Furthermore, the continued occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel, the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and the lack of progress in negotiations over key issues such as Jerusalem, borders, and refugees, all contribute to the erosion of peace efforts. These factors, combined with the lack of political will and leadership on both sides, make it increasingly challenging to reach a final peace settlement.


  • The Israel-Palestine conflict has had significant implications for the region and the world. The conflict has caused immense human suffering, with both Israelis and Palestinians experiencing violence, displacement, and loss.
  • It has also contributed to instability in the region, as well as international tensions and geopolitical rivalries. The conflict has created a sense of bitterness and mistrust between Israelis and Palestinians, making the prospect of a peaceful resolution seem increasingly remote.
  • Additionally, the conflict has led to the growth of extremist groups and terrorist activities, with both Israelis and Palestinians resorting to violence as a means of achieving their goals.
  • The conflict has also had implications for international relations, with various countries taking sides and seeking to exert influence over the region.


India supports a united, independent, viable, sovereign state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secured and recognized borders side by side at peace with Israel.


Congress working committee sent greetings to Palestine and on 27th September first observed Palestine day.


Session of INC adopted a resolution on Palestine and looked forward to the emergence of an Independent democratic state in Palestine in which Jews rights would be protected. India was the member of UN special committee on Palestine.


India became the first non-Arab country to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestine people.


GOI announced in Parliament India’s decision to accord full diplomatic recognition to the PLO office in New Delhi. It was after this that Yasser Arafat paid a three-day visit to India, during which he described India as an ‘eternal friend’.


India recognized Palestine as a state. Indian Government has constructed the Palestine embassy building in New Delhi, as a gift of the people and GOI to the Palestine people.


  • Negotiation and Dialogue: The most viable solution to the conflict is through peaceful negotiation and dialogue. Both sides need to come to the table with an open mind, ready to compromise and find a solution that benefits everyone. A neutral mediator, such as the United Nations, could facilitate the negotiation process.
  • Two-State Solution: The two-state solution has been widely accepted as the most practical and realistic solution to the conflict. This would involve the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, with defined borders and recognition of both states by each other.
  • End Violence and Terrorism: Both sides need to end all forms of violence and terrorism, which only further escalate the conflict and lead to more suffering for Palestinians and Israelis. International support and pressure could be applied to both sides to ensure that they abide by their commitments to peace and security.
  • Address the Root Causes: The conflict is rooted in a number of complex historical, political, and religious factors. Addressing the underlying causes, such as land ownership, refugee resettlement, and religious and cultural differences, is essential to resolving the conflict.
  • International Community Involvement: The international community, including neighboring Arab countries, must play a more active role in resolving the conflict. This could involve diplomatic and economic pressure on both sides to come to a negotiated settlement.
  • Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction: The conflict has caused significant damage to infrastructure and resulted in the displacement of millions of people. Providing humanitarian aid and supporting the reconstruction of the Palestinian territories would help alleviate the suffering of those affected by the conflict.

THE CONCLUSION: The revival of conflicts between Israel and Palestine undermines the various peace efforts and agreements for establishing peace in the Middle East region. To achieve lasting peace, there needs to be a renewed commitment to dialogue, negotiation, and compromise, as well as the implementation of agreed-upon measures to improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians. Resolving the Israel-Palestine issue will require a concerted effort from both sides, with the international community’s support. A negotiated settlement based on the two-state solution, an end to violence and terrorism, addressing the root causes of the conflict, and providing humanitarian aid and reconstruction support are all crucial steps towards lasting peace in the region.


  • India’s policy on the Israel-Palestine issue has gone from being unequivocally pro-Palestine for the first four decades to a tense balancing act with its growing friendly ties with Israel in contemporary times. Do you agree? Explain your viewpoints with suitable arguments.
  • Even after numerous efforts, the Israel-Palestine conflict stands still against the possibility of an outcome-oriented Middle East Peace Process. Examine.
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April 2023