As per the Bible, the meaning of Israel is to struggle with its God.
The biblical history of the place goes back to Abraham who is the father of the two religions.
According to the old testament, God told Abraham to settle in the old region called Cannan (modern-day Israel). In 1000 BCE king Saul establishes an Israelite monarchy which continued till King David and his son Solomon, he also built the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem. This historical legacy continues to be the claim of the Jewish people. The land continued to be ruled and conquered by various empires including Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs Egyptians Fatimids, Seljuks, Crusaders, Mamluks, and the Ottomans who called this region Palestine.
Jerusalem is a sacred city for the 3 Abrahamic religions.
Jerusalem becoming the sacred city where Christ was crucified and resurrected Christian belief and prophet Mohammed descended to heaven.
During these transitions, Jews fled the area and created a diaspora in various European countries.
After a video of an Israeli settler going viral on social media arguing with a Palestinian woman, fresh rounds of battles have taken place between the two sides. With Israel nation having its defined boundaries, Palestine stands in an undefined boundary with Gaza Strip on the western and West Bank on the eastern side.
The conflict owes much to the random partition and boundary settlement made by Britisher after the end of WW1.
The Britisher was determined to defeat the Ottomans of Turkey as its presence threatened trade interest with India which was carried through the Suez canal made in 1868 passing through the near vicinity of the Ottoman empire.
Though the British had acquired Egypt and acquired complete control over its revenue matter by the year 1888, it was always apprehensive of a possible Ottoman attack dissecting its trade route to India which was a supplier of raw material to Britain during the Industrial revolution.
The presence of the Ottoman Empire in close vicinity of the Suez canal reminded the British of the fall of Constantinople. So it became imperative for the Britishers to oust the Ottoman Empire.
With the defeat of Ottoman Turkey in the 1st World War, the league of nations gained territorial occupation over the area of Ottoman, they rule and divided the area into French and British mandate. With Britain having control over the area of the south of modern Lebanon now called Israel and France having mandate over modern-day Lebanon and Syria.
The British continued with their policy of territorial and population division as a method of rule popularly known as divide and rule, they divided the area through the famous letter of intent called the Balfour declaration.
The area was already witnessing Jewish migration after the famous letter of Theodore Herzl who gave the clarion call of Zionism in 1896 calling the jews to return to the homeland facing discrimination in Europe at the hands of anti-Semitic Christians. He propounded that Judaism is just not any ethnicity but also a nationality.
Arthur James Balfour was a British Conservative statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905. As Foreign Secretary in the Lloyd George ministry, he issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917 on behalf of the cabinet.
The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during the First World War announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population. The declaration was contained in a letter dated 2 Nov. 1917 from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The text of the declaration was published in the press on 9 November 1917.
The area witnessed even more Jewish influx owing to Nazi War crimes against the Jewish population called The Holocaust causing further influx called Aliyah.
The letter called for a Jewish national home in Palestinian land which was a Jewish homeland shared later by Arab Muslims after the rise of Islam in 700AD as the area lied on a trade route to Mecca Hejaz and Medina.
In 1947, violence broke out between Jews and Arab Muslims, which forced the UN to approve a plan to divide British Palestine into two separate states, Israel and Palestine for Arab Muslims, with Jerusalem as a special international place as it had holy sites for all Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
The Jews accepted the plan and it got acceptance by the United States at first. But the Arab states did not like the idea, they united and waged war against the Jewish state. The Arabs saw the Jewish state as just one more plan of the Europeans to create fissures and territories as per their colonialist vision for the future.
The Arabic countries which got independence recently joined the United Front and attacked Israel.
Israel meanwhile proclaimed itself a state in 1948 and gradually expanded and including a large part of Jerusalem.
In the 1948 Arab – Israel war, Israel won over the Arab union. Jordan occupied the area that came to be known as the west bank and Egypt occupied as Gaza strip, Jerusalem occupied with Israeli forces in the west, and Palestinians in the east.
Over 7000000 thousand Arabs fled and never returned. War came knocking again in 1967, with Israel on one side and Egypt, Syria, and Jordan on the other side. Israel occupied territories of the Gaza strip and west bank including east Jerusalem leading to 2nd exodus of Palestinians to what they call Al Naqba (the catastrophe), it was in this backdrop that the UN security council adopted resolution 242 aimed at establishing peace in the area.
The territories captured were Golan Heights from Syria, West Bank from Jordan, Gaza Strip, and Sinai peninsula including the Suez Canal from Egypt which was forcefully nationalized by Nasser disturbing westerns trade with India.
It emphasized Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in the conflict termination of all claims or states of belligerency just for the settlement of the refugee problem.
Sadat replaced Nasser in Egypt, while in Syria al-Assad came to power. The union attacked the state of Israel without Jordan on the holy day of Jews called Yom Kippur day.
The weapons that were supplied to Israel by the US on the peace table, Egypt recognized Israel in return for the Sinai peninsula while being handed over to Egypt as part of the Camp David accord of 1978, however, the status remained the same for the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
The Palestine liberation organization in 1964 to form an organization of Palestinians against Israel.
Since then many uprisings have been done by the PLO which was resolved from time to time for peace after the first intifada named the Oslo Accord in 1993.
In 1995, the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which gave recognition to Jerusalem that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.” The bill also contained the provisions that the American embassy should move to Jerusalem within five years. President Clinton was opposed to the Jerusalem Embassy Act and signed a waiver for every six months delaying the move.
George W. Bush criticized Clinton for not moving the embassy as he had promised to do and said he planned on initiating the process himself as soon as he was elected who also backed down on his promise.
In 2008, Democratic candidate Barack Obama called Jerusalem the ‘capital of Israel‘. On June 4, 2008, Obama apprised the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), in his speech after getting the Democratic nomination the day before, that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” However, he backtracked almost immediately, saying “Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations.”
During the 2016 US Presidential election, one of Trump’s campaign promises was to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he described as the “eternal capital of the Jewish people. Finally in December 2017 trump recognized the capital of Israel and that the US embassy would be moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv also that he did not mention the word East Jerusalem.
Radio and Television Journalism,
Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi.