The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or Arab-Israeli conflict, or whatever name it goes by, is perhaps one of the more sensitive issues that is discussed. The introduction section talks about the western involvement in the Middle East in general, that forms a backdrop to the situation between Palestine and Israel.
The history of the Middle East region in the past 100 or so years has been violent. Due to the importance of the region primarily due to the natural resources, geopolitical interests have seen immense power-play at work affecting local populations. This section gives a brief time line of the events that have affected the Jewish and Palestinian people from the creation of the modern state of Israel to the conflicts of today. Maps are also provided.
The Israeli offensive on Hamas in the Gaza Strip on 27th December, 2008 ended on January 17, 2009 when both Hamas and Israel announced separate ceasefires, which have turned out to be quite fragile. The 3 week offensive claimed some 1,300 Palestinian lives, 400 of which were children. Another 5,000 were injured including some 1,800 children and 800 women. 13 Israelis were also killed. How did this crisis come about and what were some of the issues raised?
According to most mainstream media outlets, the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Hezbollah in mid 2006 sparked off the crisis in Lebanon. While Hezbollah has been firing many, many rockets at civilian targets in northern Israel, Israel has retaliated with air strikes at Beirut and elsewhere, bombing civilian infrastructure. The UN has described both sides as committing war crimes. Thousands have become refugees in Lebanon and Israel, as innocent civilians attempt to flee bombardment. Bush and Blair’s stance give the appearance of a green light to Israel to continue its wave of attacks in order to route out Hezbollah, but they too have received criticism from around the world for this. But there were a number of incidents before the kidnapping that contributed to this latest crisis.
The end of September and October, 2000, has seen a series of violent events unfold that probably unofficially mark the end of the Oslo accords. The 1993 Oslo Accord, whereby Israel recognized the PLO and gave them limited autonomy in return for peace and an end to Palestinian claims on Israeli territory, has been largely criticized as a one-sided accord, that benefits only Israel, not the Palestinian people.
A former Israeli military general, Ariel Sharon, (accompanied by 1000 soldiers) visited a holy Muslim site, called the Temple Mount by the Israelis, and Haram al Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) by the Muslims and proclaimed it as eternal Israeli territory. Sharon had been accused of massacres in his military days and is well known to all. He is very right wing and against the peace process. This infuriated Palestinians, and led to a series of protests and violence.
Around the world, countries have condemned Israel's excessive violence. Human Rights groups have likewise criticized the Israeli forces.
This article looks at the rising violence, and also introduces other articles looking at media reporting, how Palestinian, Israeli, US, and UN leadership reacted, and at the quality of the media reporting.
This part provides links to many other web sites and resources for more in-depth information. Sources include web site and commentators that are critical of the mainstream, of the US, Israeli and Palestinian leaderships. Many include Jewish commentators, that provide an interesting perspective on the issues as they strongly object to the actions of the Israeli leaders. Palestinian perspectives are also provided.