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The city of Jerusalem has become the forefront of Israel-Palestine conflict.

The recent armed violence in the Gaza strip was one of the many confrontations between the Israeli Security Forces and an extremist organization called Hamas, that controls the Gaza strip. The struggle between the Jews and Arabs in the region is older than the countries, before the first World War the region was under the Ottoman Empire with Jews, Arabs and Christians sharing the space in Jerusalem and rest of the region.


Jerusalem has been a historic site for the Abrahamic religions, close to the inception of their faith as a community. While the Judaism is oldest among the three, during the Ottoman rule the Arab influence in the region grew to the extend that the Jews began migrating towards the north in Europe due to systemic religious persecution. But something changed around the beginning of the 20th century, Jews began to face anti-Semitism throughout Europe as well. Jews faced discrimination due to a social believe that they have created an imbalance in accumulation of wealth and properties.

Jewish men on street Jewish activists on the streets. Photo by Blake Campbell on Unsplash

The native Christian population began looking at them with contempt for being high earners and hoarders of wealth. This was due to religious limitation imposed over the Christians by their faith- both Christians and Muslims were not allowed to earn profit through lending, i.e. taking interest was a sin as per religious belief. Jews had no such limitation and this resulted in the financial growth of the Jewish community throughout the industrial period in Europe. Some even blamed the Jewish people for the state of poverty and misfortune among the European working classes.

This contempt and segregation by the Christian community reinforced the Zionism movement which demanded separate Jewish state for the Jews. Zionist leaders viewed Jerusalem as their historic homeland and a planned migration to the region began in late 19th century. In the World War I, the Ottoman empire sided with the Axis powers. Meanwhile in 1917, the British Foreign Secretary issued the Balfour Declaration supporting the Zionism movement and establishment of the Jewish state of Israel.

After the defeat of Ottoman Empire in WWI, the British took the territorial control of the region. Immigration into the British controlled Israel continued but this resulted in conflicts between the Arabs and the Jews. The Arabs viewed this immigration as a continued form of colonialism by the European forces. The holocaust in the Nazi Germany was the 'final nail on the coffin', the leadership of the Zionist movement further pushed the migration and settlement plans. After the independence of Israel in 1948 around 250,000 Jews migrated into the new state of Israel. But the proposed state of Israel did not accommodate Jerusalem. The word 'zion' means Jerusalem in Hebrew, thus, it is safe to assume that even thought the Jews had a Jewish state to them, they were far from their intended goal- their return to the holy city of Jerusalem.

International Intervention

Following the Jewish immigration, the sectarian violence grew into an armed conflict with militias forming on both sides. In 1947, the violence finally gathered international attention and the United Nations proposed a two-state solution and asked the then ruling British forces to divide the region into Jewish state of Israel and Arabian state of Palestine. The plan also proposed that the holy city of Jerusalem should become a special international zone because it was of religious importance to all the three Abrahamic religions.

UN delegation on Agreement between Israel and Egypt. Photo by Matthew TenBruggencate on Unsplash

The Jews accepted the plan but the Arabs denied it. The Arabs believed that it was just a continued form of colonialism and oppression by the European forces. According to the Arabs, the Jews had illegally occupied their land and pushed them out of their own territories. And according to the Jews, they had finally returned to their historical homeland after being persecuted for centuries.

In 1948, the British finally left and the Jews accepted the UN's proposal. Meanwhile the Arab League consisting Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Transjordan, had already joined forces in opposition of the new state of Israel and raised a liberation army of thousands of volunteers. Facing this eminent threat Israel had decided to train its population in military combat and outsourced arms from Europe. The now strengthened Israeli forces faced a full-fledged war right after its independence on 14th May 1948.

In 1949, Israel signed Armistice Agreements with its neighbors putting an end to the first Arab-Israel conflict. With this agreement Israel occupied a large chunk of the Palestinian region and western Jerusalem, Egypt annexed the Gaza Strip and Transjordan (later Jordan) occupied the West Bank. This agreement displaced thousands of Arabs into the neighboring sates as refugees and thousands of Jews in the Arab regions were forced to now migrate to either Israel or Europe for safe haven.

The Six-Day war (1967), fought between the Israeli forces and the neighboring countries, proved to be a turning point in the history of Israel. In just six days Israel had seized control of the Golan Heights in Syria, reclaimed West Bank from Jordan and annexed Gaza and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. This regional conflict became a proxy ground for the Cold War when Arabs and USSR supported the Arab League and the United States of America supported the Israeli forces in upcoming struggles. As a result, in 1973-74, OPEC countries sought to punish the US and rest of the world by hiking the oil prices by almost 400%.

In 1978, US brokered a deal and the states of Egypt and Israel sighed the Camp David Accords that returned the Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt. This was the beginning of the end of the major Arab-Israeli conflict.

Intifada and the Oslo Accords

'Intifadah' is an Arabic word meaning a rebellion or movement of resistance. The First Palestinian Intifada began in Dec. 1987 that ended in Sept. 1993, during this time the riots and protest resulted in nearly 2000 deaths put of which 75% were Palestinians (human rights report by B'Tselem). The main reason for the violence was the Israeli incursion of West Bank and continuous movement of settlers in the region.

Intifadah- is an arabic word meaning rebellion or revolution. Photo by Ömer Yıldız on Unsplash

In 1988, PLO signed and accepted the UN Security Council Resolution 242, which asked the Arab League to accept Israel's right to live in peace within secured and recognized boundaries, and resolution 338, which called for the implementation of resolution 242 in all its parts. In the following years through secret meeting and international involvement, Israel and PLO signed the Oslo Accords. According to the Oslo Accord, PLO re-instated its resolution from 1988 and Israel accepted PLO as a legitimate representative of the Palestinian public and agreed to withdraw in stages from the West Bank. This was the first major step towards a two-state solution.

But the peace was short lived, while PLO turned to negotiations another extremist organization called Hamas started an armed rebellion with a vision for complete Islamic dominion in the region. Hamas rejected the Oslo Accords and started mobilizing suicide attack on Israeli targets. Meanwhile, the Israeli's continued building a road network in the west bank to support settlers and attract more settlers from Israel and across the world. The Palestinians imported arms and raised a security force. The Oslo Accords failed, and talks broke down.

Shortly after, a prime ministerial candidate visited the Temple Mount as an assertion of Israeli dominance over their sacred site, the Islamic followers felt violated because the compound also houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque (third holiest site in Islam). As a result riots broke out and the Second Intifada began.

The second Intifada was much worse than the first and resulted in nearly 4300 deaths, with a similar ration of 75% Palestinians and 25% Israelis.

Keywords: Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem, revolution, Intifadah, Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Oslo


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Books that you can read in 2022.

Reading allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the world around you, stimulating your creativity and keeping your mind engaged.

A list of new releases published by Aleph:

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life?: How to Flourish in Our Turbulent Times

Many causes, including technology, climate change, demographics, and inequality, will cause our planet to change more in this century than in all of human history. Extreme change is offering unparalleled opportunities for individuals, companies, and society, as well as a 'adaptive challenge.' Those who can adapt to a fast-paced, complex, dynamic, and unpredictably changing world will prosper. Those who are unable to do so will suffer immensely.

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There are obvious signals that we need new ways of thinking about the world and our place in it all over the place. Our old ways of thinking about education, lifestyle, success, and happiness are no longer valid. What are the changes in the workplace? When future jobs are still being invented, how can you know what talents will be useful? Will 'jobs' even exist in the future, or will we be relegated to a world of projects and freelance work? What do you do with all of this and more?

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life? is a book on figuring out what you want to do with your life. Ravi Venkatesan argues that effective adaptation in the twenty-first century necessitates a "paradigm shift," a new attitude, new talents, and new techniques. Ravi also considers how, rather than drifting along like a piece of driftwood, we will need to live life more consciously, making deliberate decisions about who we are, what we do, and how we live.

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Neeraj Chopra: From Panipat to The Podium

On the night of August 7, 2021, a billion Indians' long-held desire came true as Neeraj Chopra won gold in the javelin in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The wait, on the other hand, had been extremely long. In reality, this is India's first individual gold medal in athletics since the modern Olympic Games began. The entire country showered him with affection when he did it in his signature flair and smile. The media went crazy, and the youth discovered a new source of inspiration. People flocked to get their photos taken with him, and businesses discovered a new wonder-ambassador. Neeraj Chopra: I'm Neeraj Chopra, and I'm From Panipat to the Podium begins in a small village in Panipat and tells the story of his formative years, which were marked by restricted resources and opportunities. It takes readers through his journey to Panchkula and then to the national camp in his quest to conquer the world.

My Cricket Hero: XII Indians on their XII favourite Cricketers

Pieces from Keki Daruwalla on Polly Umrigar, Fredun De Vitre on Chandu Borde, Gulu Ezekiel on Eknath Solkar, Hemant Kenkre on Sunil Gavaskar, Amrit Mathur on Salim Durani, Kersi Meher-Homji on Vijay Hazare and many more make for a great lockdown read.

It's A Wonderful World: A Memoir

His book is a provocative read that makes us wish we had a life like his. Khalid Ansari's life has been an exciting and purposeful journey in service to his fellow human beings, beginning with his birth in Mumbai's impoverished Madanpura to a father who began his life as an orphan and a mother from a poor household. Ansari has attempted to depict some highlights of a splendored life that he has been lucky to experience, catching stars while chasing rainbows in this 'donkey's tale'. It's been la vie en rose for him, from founding newspapers and magazines to representing his country at the United Nations, accompanying dignitaries on state visits, covering cricket Test matches, nine Olympics, Commonwealth and Asian Games, travelling the world, and being awarded the Padma Shri award. The author has worked hard to keep this narrative from devolving into a 'I-did-this-did-that' pat-on-the-back, shabash!' By 'spicing' it up with dollops of frothy stories and self-critical bon mots, he has attempted a discourse on the meaning of life, the 'right path,' and the like, even as he has attempted a discourse on the purpose of life, the 'right route,' and the like.

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