Israel-Palestine Conflict

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    Recently Israel bombarded Gaza with artillery and air strikes in response to a new barrage of rocket fire from the Hamas-run enclave

    Background

    Inception of Conflict

    • The United Nations (UN) proposed an Arab-Jewish partition of Palestine between Palestine and the new state of Israel. 
    • This partition plan mandated 53 per cent of the land to the Jewish-majority state (Israel) and 47 per cent to the Palestinian-majority state (Palestine).
    • This idea didn’t receive well by the Arab countries in the Middle East.

    First Arab-Israeli war

    • Jewish paramilitary groups, however, formed the state of Israel by force in 1948. This prompted a deadly war with its Arab neighbours – Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan in 1948. This was the first Arab-Israeli war.
    • Israel won this war and ended up occupying more land than previously envisaged in the 1947 UN partition plan.
    • The Palestinians were forced out of their homes when the State of Israel was created in historical Palestine in 1948 (the Palestinians call the events ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe). 
    • Twenty-eight of those Palestinian families moved to Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem to settle there.

    Six-Day War of 1967

    • In 1967, the Arab countries again refused to recognise Israel as a state, which led to another war, known as the Six-Day War.
    • Israel won this war too and occupied even more parts of Palestine. 
    • The West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, which houses the holy Old City, came under Israel’s control. 
    • It also occupied Syrian Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
    • By the early 1970s, Jewish agencies started demanding the families leave the land.

    Oslo Accords

    • It was backed by the United Nations (UN) and signed between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993. 
    • Under this, a part of the West Bank came under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

    Present Scenario

    • Israel considers whole Jerusalem as its capital and not just a part of it. But Palestinians don’t agree with that and rather want it to be their capital of future independent Palestine.
    • Earlier this year, the Central Court in East Jerusalem upheld a decision to evict four Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in favor of Jewish settlers.
    • Recently, with the start of Ramzan, Israeli police had put up barricades at Damascus Gate which created a problem for Palestinians.
    • Israeli police stormed inside Al-aqsa Mosque leaving a number of people injured. This was done on Jerusalem Day
    • In retaliation, Hamas, the Islamist militant group that runs Gaza, fired dozens of rockets
    • The Israelis launched an airstrike on Gaza in response, killing at least 65 Palestinians, including 16 children.

     

     

    India’s Stand on Israel Palestine Conflict

    • India has remained “steadfast” in its support for Palestinian rights and has consistently voted in favour of Palestine at the United Nations.
    • India had voted in the UN General Assembly that had sharply criticised the United States for recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in December 2017
    • India had voted in favour of another UNGA resolution “deploring the use of excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians” in June 2018.
    • India has consistently voted in favour of those resolutions that promote the two-state solution with a Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem.
    • Recently, India condemned “all acts of violence” but specifically criticised rocket attacks from Gaza at an emergency closed-door session of the United Nations Security Council.

    Way Ahead

    • Peace based on a “two-state solution” is much needed with the help of international organisations and can only be achieved from Israel-Palestine talks.
    • Signed in September 2020, the Abraham Accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and mediated by the United States, was a significant breakthrough to facilitate cooperation between Arab nations and Israel. Now, it’s an urgent need of hour to find a peaceful and sustainable solution for the ongoing conflict.
    • India has good relations with both Israel and Palestine and is also attached to multilateral principles that can play an “enhanced” role in the search for a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
    • India should enhance political and diplomatic support to talks, as well as development aid and cooperation for institution building in Palestine.

    India-Israel Relations

    Political Relations

    • India announced its recognition of Israel on September 17, 1950.
    • The full diplomatic relations were established in 1992.
    • Since the upgradation of relations in 1992, defence and agriculture formed the two main pillars of bilateral engagement.
    • Political ties between the two countries are friendly.

    Commercial Relations

    • From US$ 200 million in 1992 (comprising primarily trade in diamonds), bilateral merchandise trade stood at US$ 5.65 billion (excluding defence) in 2018-19, with the balance of trade being in India’s favour by US$ 1.8 billion
    • In recent years, bilateral trade has diversified into several sectors such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, IT and telecom and homeland security.

    Agriculture

    • India has benefited from Israeli expertise and technologies in horticulture mechanization, protected cultivation, orchard and canopy management, nursery management, micro- irrigation and post-harvest management particularly in Haryana and Maharashtra. 
    • Israeli drip irrigation technologies and products are now widely used in India. Some Israeli companies and experts are providing expertise to manage and improve dairy farming in India through their expertise in high milk yield.

    Defence & Security 

    • India imports critical defence technologies from Israel. 
    • There are regular exchanges between the armed forces
    • There is cooperation on security issues, including a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism
    • India and Israel signed three important agreements on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Cooperation in Homeland Security, and Protection of Classified Material.
    • Since 2015, IPS officer trainees have been visiting the Israel National Police Academy every year for a one-week long foreign exposure training at the end of their training in the National Police Academy, Hyderabad.

    Cooperation in S&T and Space

    • India-Israel Industrial R&D and Innovation Fund (I4F) by the Department of Science and Technology, India and the National Authority for Technological Innovation, Israel. This fund, with a contribution of $ 20 million from each side over 5 years, is expected to play an important role in enabling Indian and Israeli enterprises to undertake joint R&D projects.

    Culture & Tourism

    • India is known in Israel as an ancient nation with strong cultural traditions.
    • In popular Israeli perception, India is an attractive, alternative tourist destination
    • Israeli youth are particularly attracted to India. 

    Indian Diaspora

    • There are approximately 85,000 Jews of Indian-origin in Israel (with at least one Indian parent), who are all Israeli passport holders. 
    • The majority is from Maharashtra (Bene Israelis) and relatively smaller numbers from Kerala (Cochini Jews) and Kolkata (Baghdadi Jews)
    • In recent years some Indian Jews from North Eastern states of India (Bnei Menashe) have been immigrating to Israel. 

    Zionism

    • A Jewish nationalist movement that has had as its goal the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews. 
    • Though it originated in eastern and central Europe in the latter part of the 19th century, it is in many ways a continuation of the ancient attachment of the Jews and of the Jewish religion to the historical region of Palestine, where one of the hills of ancient Jerusalem was called Zion.

    Jerusalem Day

    • It is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in the aftermath of the June 1967 Six-Day War.

    Al-Aqsa Mosque 

    • It is Islam’s third holiest site.
    • The mosque is known by Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, and by Jews as the Temple Mount.
    • Temple Mount is believed to be the remains of the Second Jewish Temple, the holiest site in Judaism.
    • It is part of the Old City of Jerusalem, sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims.
    • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, has classified the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls as a World Heritage Site.

    Sheikh Jarrah 

    • It is a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
    • It is currently the center of a number of property disputes between Palestinians and Israelis.
    • Over a period of five decades, a number of Israeli settlements have been built in and adjacent to Sheikh Jarrah.

    Hamas 

    • It is a Palestinian fundamentalist militant organization.

    Sources: TH