The Israel and Palestine Conflict Explained

Chaitanya Arora
3 min readJun 11, 2021
Photo: USA Today

By now, I’m sure we’ve all heard about the Israel and Palestine conflict. At first glance, it seems like it just has to do with two nations fighting over the same piece of land. But, like all conflicts, things are never just that simple. So today, I’ll be summing up the conflict in a way that’s easy to understand and follow along with.

First, let’s take a trip way way back to the year 1900. The region now known as “Israel-Palestine” was originally under Ottoman rule. It was occupied by religiously diverse people — Muslims, Christians, and a small amount of Jews. At that time, the people in the area were beginning to develop a sense of nationality. They were no long just the people of the Ottoman Empire, but became the “Palestinians”.

Around the same time, Europeans were experiencing a nationalistic change as well. European Jews began joining the movement of Zionism, which advocated that Judaism was more than just a religion, it was also a nationality. These Jews believed that they deserved a place solely for their people to call home, and naturally turned to their original ancestral homeland in the Middle East. Hence, thousands of European Jews began moving there and the Jewish population in Palestine skyrocketed.

After WWI in 1918, the Ottoman Empire fully collapsed and the British and French each took control of areas in the Middle East. Within this area, tension between Jews and Arabs grew, and the British government began limiting Jewish immigration. In response, the Jews formed militias to fight the local Arabs and resist British rule.

After the Holocaust, many more Jews again left Europe to settle in British Palestine. Violence between Jews and Arabs continued to grow, and as a result, in 1947, the UN approved a plan to divide the land. It was divided into two states, one for Jews (Israel), and one for Arabs (Palestine). The land known as Jerusalem, was to remain a shared holy site for all Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

But the solution wasn’t that simple. Many Arabs were unhappy with the arrangement and aimed to reclaim all of the land that was once British Palestine. This conflict kicked off the Arab-Israeli War (1948–1949). Israel won the war, but also took over more land, much of Jerusalem and Palestine. They expelled Palestinians from their homes, creating millions of Palestinian refugees, and ended up controlling all of the territory but Gaza, and The West Bank.

In 1967, Israel fought another war that allowed them to seize all of the Palestinian territories (including the shared Jerusalem, The West Bank, and Gaza), leaving them responsible for governing the Palestinians. Many Israelis began making homes in the majorly Palestinian occupied land. These growing settlements forced Palestinians out of their land, and made it almost impossible for them to have their original independent state.

Photo: BCM

Fighting between Israel and Palestine continued on for centuries. More militia groups formed, and Palestinians created Hamas, a violent group dedicated to destroying Israel.

In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza, and Hamas gained power. However, Israel put Gaza under a blockade, causing high unemployment and terrible living conditions for Palestinians in that area. This is where the conflict stands today, with continued fighting between the two groups.

In 2021, Israel bombed Gaza, leaving the prospect of peace between the two nations even farther away. As protests continue, nations around the world hope that Israel and Palestine can reach an agreement.