ISRAEL- HAMAS WAR
WHY IN NEWS ?
- Recently the fighting between Israel and Hamas, which launched a surprise attack, is the latest in seven decades of war and conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that has drawn in outside powers and destabilised the wider Middle East.
GENESIS OF THE CRISIS:
- The conflict pits Israeli demands for security in what it has long regarded as a hostile region against Palestinian aspirations for a state of their own.
- Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the modern State of Israel on May 14, 1948, establishing a safe haven for Jews fleeing persecution and seeking a national home on land to which they cite deep ties over generations.
- Palestinians lament Israel’s creation as the Nakba, or catastrophe, that resulted in their dispossession and blocked their dreams of statehood.
- In the war that followed, some 700,000 Palestinians, half the Arab population of what was British-ruled Palestine, fled or were driven from their homes, ending up in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
- Palestinians who stayed put in the war today form the Arab Israeli community, making up about 20% of Israel’s population.
- Around 750,000 Palestinians were expelled as Jews captured 78% of the land. The remainder were settled in Gaza and the West Bank.
- In 1967, Israel annexed the remaining Palestinian land from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria, expelling more Palestinians.
- In time, Israel became the protector of western interests in an oil-rich region.
- As to religion, the holy city of Jerusalem lies in Israel. Both sides claim the Temple Mount, venerated by Muslims, Jews, and Christians.
MAIN ISSUES BETWEEN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE:
- A two-state solution, Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, and refugees are at the core of the dispute.
- Two-state solution – an agreement that would create a state for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip alongside Israel.
- Hamas rejects the two-state solution and is sworn to Israel’s destruction.
- Israel has said a Palestinian state must be demilitarised so as not to threaten Israel.
- Most countries deem Jewish settlements built on land Israel occupied in 1967 as illegal.
- Israel disputes this and cites historical and Biblical ties to the land.
- Their continued expansion is among the most contentious issues between Israel, the Palestinians and the international community.
- Jerusalem – Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which includes sites sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians, to be the capital of their state.
- Israel says Jerusalem should remain its “indivisible and eternal” capital.
- Israel’s claim to the eastern part of Jerusalem is not recognised internationally.
- Refugees – Today about 5.6 million Palestinian refugees – mainly descendants of those who fled in 1948 – live in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza.
- About half of registered refugees remain stateless, according to the Palestinian foreign ministry, many living in crowded camps.
PLAYERS OF THE WAR:
- There are two main players. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, now in his sixth term, has been PM for more years than any other Israeli.
- But the right- wing politician has faced mass protests, including by military reservists, over plans to curb the judiciary’s powers.
- Hamas, an Islamic group which governs Gaza, is opposed to the very existence of Israel.
- Its political wing is headed by Ismail Haniyeh and the armed wing by Mohammed Deif.
- Sidelined by the Hamas attack is the moderate president of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas. Globally, he remains the face of Palestine.
GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE WAR:
- The Biden may get to finally consider brokering a peace in West Asia.
- The likely short-term fallout is worrying though: shooting oil prices, global recession, mounting resentment in the Islamic world and galvanized militant groups, led by the Lebanon-based Hezbollah.
- The role of Iran, which backs both Shia Hezbollah and Sunni Hamas, will be key.
- Netanyahu may solidify his position; equally he could be blamed for the military failure and ousted.
- There have been some calls already for a government of national unity.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE WAR ON INDIA:
- India has to be watchful about Pakistan and its deep state drawing opportunistic inspiration.
- A messy country will often seize upon such chances.
- The economic challenges are stiff: selling pressure on Monday drove the volatility index to its biggest rise in 10 months.
- With soaring crude prices, India’s dependence on cheap Russian oil will increase.
- Plans to build an India-Middle East-Europe corridor have come under a cloud.
- Civilians must be repatriated from Israel.
- Lastly trade with Israel, at $12 bn, is likely to be seriously impacted.
SYLLABUS: MAINS, GS-2, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
SOURCE: REUTERS, MINT