Emma Sulaiman, Staff Writer
Photo//Maxim Studio, Shutterstock
Palestine and Israel have clashed for over a century, leaving thousands of citizens on both sides subject to violence and death. On Oct. 7, 2023, chaos erupted once again.
Jews had been leaving Europe long before the state of Israel was founded. In 1917, the British promised Jews Ottoman-controlled Palestine as a way to gain Jewish support during World War I.
A letter sent from Britain’s foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, to the head of Britain’s Jewish committee, Lionel Warner Rothschild later became known as the Balfour Declaration. It promised “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, which was already 90 percent occupied by Arab Palestinian natives. This promise was delivered many years later, when the Ottoman Empire collapsed after World War I and Britain took over Palestinian lands.
Jews gradually invaded Palestine throughout the years, causing the Arab Revolt which lasted from 1936 to 1939, in which Palestinians launched a strike to stop the invasion of Jewish immigrants. Britain fought back to help their Jewish community and was victorious.
In November 1947, the United Nations adopted the Partitions Resolution, stating that Arab Palestinians and Jewish Israelis would share the land as a way to decrease violence. However, the colonization didn’t stop; Israel attempted to conquer more land, holding on to the belief that their ancestors lived in Palestinian territory in biblical times and that the land is theirs to return to, as stated in the Tanakh, also known as the Hebrew Bible.
The Zionist Movement is driven by the aspiration to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In May 1948, after a large number of Jews managed to inhabit Palestine, the Zionist military prepared their quest to gain land for their growing nation. 530 Palestinian villages were destroyed and around 15,000 Palestinians were killed by the Zionist troops during what is known as Al-Nakba, or “the catastrophe” in Arabic. On May 15, 1948, Israel was established.
Palestinian loss of land throughout the years. Photo//Emir Kaan, Shutterstock
Since then, Palestine has tried to regain its independence, leading to severe bloodshed over the years on both sides. From 2008 to up until this past weekend, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had documented 308 Israeli deaths and 6,407 Palestinian fatalities.
On Saturday, Oct. 7, Palestine’s military group, Hamas, launched a surprise attack on Israel, taking over a hundred civilians hostage and leaving more than 1,200 dead. Israel responded by launching air strikes on Gaza, causing at least 1,354 fatalities. Hamas explained their attack was the result of the Israeli attacks on Islamic worshippers earlier this year on Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, as well as the decades of colonialism, apartheid and violence that came before.
According to CNN, Israel hadn’t faced an attack of this magnitude in decades. They have responded by declaring war on Palestine. Neighboring countries such as Qatar, Lebanon and Syria support Palestine, while the U.S. and most European countries stand with Israel.
“...The United States will continue to make sure Israel has what it needs to defend itself and its people,” said President Joe Biden in a White House press release.
As the conflict continues, communities all over the world are standing to show their support of Israel or Palestine.