Israel and Palestine

The State of Israel

Although the partition plan failed, in the end David Ben Gurion proclaimed the independence of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. Ben Gurion was also the first prime minister of a democratic state of Israel. But the Arabs did not agree.

So there was a war very quickly. Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan fought together against Israel. But despite the numerical superiority, the Israelis triumphed. At the same time, they conquered other Palestinian territories to which they were not entitled according to the partition plan. This enlarged the Israeli territory.

Many Palestinians had to flee to camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. You can see these areas on the lower right map. They are red and orange. Other Arabs stayed and became Israelis, that is, residents of Israel.

Just the beginning of many more wars

But with this war – it is also known as the “First Arab-Israeli War” – the clashes only began. Again and again there were conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians, for example in the Suez crisis.

The Egyptian President Nasser planned to nationalize the Suez Canal. With the money he wanted to build a dam, the Aswan Dam. He also stoked hatred of Israel and had the canal closed to ships from Israel. In October 1956, for example, Israeli troops marched into the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.

Almost simultaneously, Great Britain and France attacked Egypt. The background was that Great Britain did not want to lose control of the Suez Canal. The action was highly controversial. A serious political crisis began and brought the world to the brink of war.

Moscow warned the British and French. The Americans also sent warships. However, in the UN assembly that was called, the Soviet Union and the US jointly voted “Yes” to prevent another war. The United Nations then stood in front of their biggest test. In the end, a UN police force on the Suez Canal ensured that the peace was kept.

A six day war?

Another major war was the Six Day War, which took place in 1967. With this war the Middle East conflict reached its climax.

According to loverists, The war was preceded by a provocation by the Egyptian President Nasser, who had his armed forces advance to the Sinai Peninsula on May 16, 1967. And Israel responded quickly and eliminated the entire Egyptian air force before an Egyptian attack broke out.

Hatred of Israel grew

In this war Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip. The Sinai Peninsula was also Israeli territory. With it the Israeli national territory was enlarged again.

For the Palestinians, this war was another reason to radicalize. They increasingly demanded a nation of their own. And hatred of Israel continued to grow throughout the Arab world.

Hope for peace

In the years that followed, there were repeated clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, and peace became ever more distant. Peace should be created and in the end violence always triumphed. Great hope entertained everyone when a peace agreement between the in 1993 PLO boss Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Isaac Rabin was closed. At last there was a prospect of peace. A peace treaty was supposed to be signed in the presence of the then American President Clinton.


The PLO is a superordinate organization of the various Palestinian groups and in 1993 recognized Israel’s right to exist. The Israelis should withdraw from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and leave the administration of these areas to the Palestinians. But after the death of the Palestinian leader Arafat in 2004, the radical forces of Hamas gained the upper hand, rejecting Israel as a state and attacking Israeli cities with rocket attacks.

Oslo stands for hope for peace

The negotiations took place in the Norwegian city of Oslo, which is why one speaks of the Oslo Accords. For the first time, both sides recognized each other. A withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and Palestinian self-government were planned. But some controversial points were left out. What should happen to Jerusalem, what should happen to the many refugees? But negotiations continued, even if many questions had not yet been clarified. But with the murder of Rabin in November 1995 by a radical Israeli, all hopes were dashed. The conflicts even intensified.

No solution in sight

Conflicts, kidnappings, rocket drops and other military actions broke out again. In between there was a rapprochement and a two-state solution was planned. But again and again there was an argument about the border lines between these two countries. The Jewish settlements that were also established in the Palestinian autonomous areas are a major problem. Here Israelis build houses and take their land from the Palestinians. What should happen to these settlements if there were a Palestinian state there? In doing so, the settlers create facts that stand in the way of a peace agreement. These settlements are also controversial among Israelis.

The Israelis protect their settlements and so there is again conflict here. So many Palestinians, especially young people, became radicalized. The Palestinians are calling for the many refugees who would be displaced from their territories to return home. Another point of contention is the security fence that Israel had, or is still building, built in the West Bank through many Palestinian villages. Many Palestinians feel restricted in their freedom of movement.


Hamas is a radical Islamic organization that aims to expel Israelis from the Holy Land. They want to destroy Israel and establish an Islamic state. Even if the Hamas leadership sometimes says otherwise, most Hamas members are radical. They send suicide bombers to Israel or launch rockets. Thus, they prevent moderate groups from asserting themselves within the Palestinians. The Israeli army also reacts helplessly to violence by Hamas with violence. Violence to which civilians – including many women and children – often fall victim.

Radical Palestinians are firing rockets at Israel and the Israelis are increasingly reacting by destroying Palestinian territories. The Israelis respond to the bomb attacks by the radical Hamas movement with military action. Many people died and are dying on both sides, including children. In 2014 there was another violent conflict. Each side claims the other is to blame for the conflict.

The State of Israel