An Uneasy Gulf: A History of Violence

Posted on June 4, 2011 in GlobeScope

By Pratham Karkare:

The Israel-Palestine war which has been terrorizing the Gulf for decades is not only a perfect example of how cultural conflicts can lead to uncalled-for violence and bloodshed but also time and again has shown how the Superpowers have failed to unite the Jewish and the Arab communities. For about half a century, the Jews and the Arabs have fought over land in war which can be thought to have been created as a result of some selfishly-motivated political moves.


The real tension between the Arabs and the Jews was a result of the Young Turk Revolution which took place in 1908. Before the revolution, Palestine was under the Ottoman Empire rule and the residing population consisted mainly of poor, illiterate and indebted Arabs and the relatively well-off Jews who had migrated from Eastern Europe. The revolution spread pro-Arabic and nationalist views and hence, propagated anti-Jewish feelings amongst the already depressed Arab Muslim community residing in Palestine. A point in the history where Britain, a major power, was supposed to come up with an effective solution to the problem. However Britain, pursuing her own political interests of having a strong uphold in the region, promised creation of separate states for both the communities.

This displeased the Arabs, however, the Jewish supported Britain’s cause, thereby leading to communal tensions. Thus, in 1948 the State of Israel was created with both the USA and the Soviet Union voting in favor of the creation of an independent state for the Jews.


Palestine was naturally displeased with the creation of a separate Israeli state, while Israel enjoyed an improvement in political relations with France, USA and the Great Britain. This led to a full-scale war (1948 Arab—Israeli War). The four armies of Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Iraq invaded the newly self-declared state. However, Israel emerged victorious and occupied those areas which were supposed to be under the Palestinian rule as per the division. The Palestinian rule was restricted to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Palestine thus retaliated with the creation of Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964 which resolved to terrorism thereby gaining international notoriety for not only attacks on Israel but also for terrorist activities beyond Israel such as hijacking of Air France in 1976 and the open support of the Second Gulf War.


The US, Israel’s most important ally and the European Union have initiated many peace keeping efforts like the Oslo Accord, The Wyes River Memorandum and the Camp David Negotiation. However, no effective long term solution to the problem has been obtained. The US’s and EU’s open support for Israel and its disharmonic relations with the Arabs states has been a major concern for Palestine. It must be observed that the major powers have never really payed the same degree of importance to both the sides. While countries like France continue Arms Deal with Israel, not much focus has been laid for the improvement of economic and social conditions of the suffering Arab community in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.


Today , the sounds of rockets and blowing up of school buildings are common occurring in both the States. High rates of inflation , poverty and high levels of unemployment flourish in the regions of West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian community fails to recognize Israel as an independent state. The struggle for peace has been long, hard, and bloody and continues to take its tolls on the lives and aspirations of people residing in an uneasy gulf.