Gaza Crisis a War Crime Aided Western World Essay

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Gaza War began in 2008 as a three-week long invasion of the Gaza Strip in Palestinian territories after rocket attacks allegedly hit southern Israel. The conflict did not begin at this point, however, as both sides had obviously prepared their actions for months, perhaps years in advance. The stated aim of Israel upon commencing the war was to end the rocket attacks into south Israel, but due to the relative weakness of the rocket attacks, as well as Israel's immediate and overwhelming counter-offensive, it would appear as if Israel had been planning for an invasion of Gaza for some time. Hamas, the political entity in control of the Gaza Strip, has been leading the Palestinian people away from acceptance of Israel's supremacy of Palestinian lands. However Hamas has been criticized for jeopardizing the safety of the people of Gaza, and the long-term outlook of peace between the two parties. The 2008 Gaza War was a conflict started by Israel in order to diminish the growing influence of Hamas, and to de-legitimize the Hamas led political powers in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Defense Force reacted in an overtly harsh way[footnoteRef:1], greatly damaging the Palestinian people in their fight against Hamas. This cruelty has even been reported in Jewish newspapers[footnoteRef:2], and received widespread international condemnation. [1: Rain of Fire: Israel's Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza, Human Rights Watch, March 25, 2009. http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2009/03/25/rain-fire] [2: 'Israel Committed War Crimes in Gaza' - JPost - International." Web. 01 Nov. 2011. .]

The longstanding conflict between the Palestinian Arab people and the Israeli Jews is the world's most dividing ethnic battle in history. There are territorial claims which can be traced back far longer than any human can remember. Historical control of the territory known as Palestine or Israel has been at times in both peoples' hands, and, to make matters worse, for hundreds of years the entire area was controlled by completely foreign rulers, the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman's empowered the Palestinians, as both peoples were Muslim, even though the Turkic people are slightly removed from Arab problems in the region. The Ottomans had been focused on the West, where wars were constantly being waged, and the continent was being engulfed in Great Power Conflict.

This is when the region of Palestine/Israel started to come under the umbrella of the British Empire, as the British and the French divided the Middle East in the Treaty of Versailles.[footnoteRef:3] The British first empowered the Jews in Palestine to look over Jewish affairs within the state. Soon after, however, nationalist movements in Palestine scared the Jews, who replied with the Zionist movement, a plan intended to reshape the state of Palestine in Jewish favor, and to resolutely gain control in the region of Palestine, for the extended purpose of creating a state of Israel, specifically for the Jewish people. This plan was ignored by the British rulers, who believed the Zionist movement was simply based on extremist views that were held in a small segment of the Jewish population, and therefore too small of a problem to be addressed directly. Something started to happen in Europe, however, which legitimized the Zionist movement in Europe, the rise of Nazi Germany in 1933 meant a continental anti-Semitic movement which was unheard of in the history of the world. Jewish people, feeling threatened by Adolf Hitler, left Germany and neighboring hostile countries in droves. Josef Stalin, in the Soviet Union, was similarly anti-Semitic, and therefore the state of Palestine was overrun with new emigres from European and Soviet countries alike. [3: History of Israel, British Broadcasting Channel, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7385661.stm]

The horrors of anti-Semitism in Europe convinced the American victors of World War II that the Jewish people were justified in overpopulating Palestine, and did not consult the Palestinian authorities in their decisions of support. The British were unwilling to reduce their already shrinking empire, but the Israeli's began violent protest, and the British realize it was no use to try to maintain the state of Palestine and relented the territory to the mandate of the new United Nations. The United Nations was a critical actor in the post-World War II giving half of the Palestinian state to the creation of a state of Israel on November 29, 1947. The United Nations approached the creation of Israel as an early test of its power in the post-colonial world order after World War II. The United Nations did not understand that what it was doing was splitting Palestine asunder, permanently weakening the Palestinian people in relative terms to Israel, with borders getting changed in Israel's favor many times hence. The Soviet Union, a traditional ally of the Palestinian people, exercises a veto on the Security Council, but in these early days of the Cold War did not wish to interfere in a conflict that did not enhance the Soviet Union's relative strength against the West.

The Palestinian territories were split into three, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. Besides being humiliating to the Palestinian Arabs who still had control over Palestine, the West clearly favored Israel in every regard after their violent declaration of independence. The most fateful war, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, erupted on May 14, 1948, when the five armies of Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded Israel. The cause of Palestine's defeat has since been attributed to the terrorist attacks by Israeli's in the neighborhoods of Palestinian elite, causing a quick withdrawal of the sources of money for the foreign soldiers. What resulted is now known as the "Catastrophe," a time where over 700,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes, which had now been located inside of new Israeli territory. The Jews also left much of Palestinian territory, along with Lebanese, Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian Jews, who wished to now live in the Jewish state of Israel. Most of these Arab states were happy to see so many Jews leave their countries, as they each feared an uprising by the Jewish minorities in their borders before 1948.

It took the idea of Pan-Arabism to bring a large retaliation by the Arab people onto Israel in what is known as the Six-day war in June of 1967. The flexing of muscle by the various Arab leaders was wrapped together into a complete failure to achieve any military objectives. The purpose of the Six-day war was not to liberate the Palestinian people, who had been oppressed since 1948, but rather to show off the new military purchases by the various dictators of the Middle East region. This war was disastrous for the idea of Pan-Arabism, and created tension between the dictators of the Arab states, who were now pit against each other, unable to unite to address the plight of the Palestinian people in the years after 1967. It was in the cold aftermath of the Six-day War that Palestinian political leaders realized that they could not depend on the Arab nations to protect them, and therefore it would take the broad opinion of the international community in order to wake up the world to the fact that the Palestinians had been unjustly cast out of their own lands and stripped of any say in the future of their own territories.

This period marked the revival of Palestinian nationalism, and was fought on the basis of espionage, and terrorism, to draw international attention onto the problems of the Palestinian people. The rise of Hezbollah and the support of Palestine from newly revolutionary Iran allowed Palestinian groups to gain strength throughout the 1970s and 1980s. This is also the period when diplomacy was first being tried in order to come to some kind of two-party solution. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, PFLP, and Fatah, whose enigmatic leader, Yassar Arafat, was able to garnish attention to the conflict at last in the signing of the 1993 Oslo accords, meant to settle the conflict between Palestine and Israel by means of diplomacy. The Oslo Accords failed, however, because the Palestinian people were not given agreeable terms, and a return to violence ensued. Despite a last resort effort by President Bill Clinton in 1999 in the Camp David Accords to resolve the conflict at the end of his term, no peace could be reached and the conflict simmered just under the boiling point for more war. In 2008, after the democratic election of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Israel declared a separation between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, creating a blockade into the Hamas controlled territories.

After the 2000 conflicts, Hamas became more radicalized in the Gaza Strip, openly defying the Palestinian Authority.[footnoteRef:4] The Authority based in Gaza was seen as corrupt and ineffective by the locals, meanwhile Hamas was able to build up its social programs, as well as its paramilitary force the Izz Ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The number of Hamas paramilitary by 2006 was estimated to be between 6,000 and 10,000 fighters, with reserve troops close by. The result of the rising…[continue]

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