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To understand the Israel-Hamas conflict, we must start from the very beginning- the
factors that led to creation of Israel and the current disputes.

Any discussion on this topic is useless, unless and until you know the map of region like the back of your hand.

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Palestine

A patch of land between Israel and Jordan.

Jerusalem

City located within Palestine region, it is the sacred place for Christians, Muslims and Jews.Jerusalem is the Capital
of Israel, (although not recognized by some countries).

Tel Aviv

Second largest city after Jerusalem.

Knesset

Name of Israels parliament.

Mossad

Spy agency of Israel. Just like CIA of USA.

When a country establishes its economic and political dominance over other nations- it is known as imperialism.
There are many ways to achieve imperialism: one of them is colonialism- that is what Britishers did in India and Africa.
Colonialism means practice of acquiring colonies by conquest (war) or purchase or any other thuggery and making them
dependent on your home country (UK).
After end of Second World War, most of the colonies achieved independence. But nowadays the powerful nations such as US
and China, colonize poor countries via providing financial aids, weapons to kill opposing sects/tribes, installing puppet regime
etc. this is known as Neo-Colonialism.

1. For getting free labourers to work cotton gins. (slave trade)


2. To establish monopoly of trade over with given country (e.g. Indias silk and spices)
3. The Industrial Revolution led to factories, mass production but still you needed raw material. Colonies supplied that raw
material (cotton, coal, iron ore and other minerals).
4. Colonies also gave new customers for your finished factorymade products. (because local handicraft artisan get destroyed due
to heavy taxation, so juntaa has no option other than buying your machine and products.)

Between 1800 and 1900, majority of Asia and Africa had been colonized. Britain and France were main players here.
Earlier, Germany was made up of small princely states. It was Otto von Bismarck, who unified them and created the modern
German empire. Our Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is often called Bismarck of India for this reason.
But the challenges that Sardar Patel faced, were tougher, both in size and complexity than of Bismarcks.
Anyways, after the unification, Germany transformed into an economic powerhouse.
By 1914, Germanys iron ore, steel production =higher than France + Germany. Germany had entered the shipping trade in a
big way. Similarly Italy too was rising.
France and Britain didnt like it- not one bit.
For them, Germany = A serious economic threat to their status and their colonies.
USA had not yet become supercop, superpower of the world. On July 4, 1776, it declared independence from Britain. But
the Northern and Southern States of USA, had opposing idea about abolition of black slavery. That led to their internal Civil
War from 1861 to 1865. So, USA was busy with its domestic troubles.

The superficial reason for First World War (1914-1918) = Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, but actually it was this
rivalry between nations for economic reasons and control over colonies. The world was divided into two gangs
Allied power (won)
1.
2.
3.
4.

Britain
France
USA
Russia (October revolution- Lenin in power, Withdrew from
war)
5. Italy
6. Japan +some misc. nations

Central Powers (lost)


1.
2.
3.
4.

Germany
Austria
Hungary
Ottoman Empire (led to Khilafat movement in
India)

Prior to First World war, the Jerusalem and surrounding Palestine region was under the control of Ottoman Turks.
But as you can see from above table, they had sided with Central Powers (Germany) in First World War.

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During the course of First world war, British army captured Jerusalem and put this Palestine region under military
administration.
This created resentment among the Native Arabs residing in Palestine. Especially after the Jewish people started immigrating
here, due to the oppression by Hitler.

After the war, the Allied nations held a conference in Versailles, near Paris in France.
The Allied nations (US,UK,France) forced Germany to sign this treaty else face another military invasion. So Germany had to sign
this humuliating treaty under which
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

The coal mines of Germany were transferred to France


Germany cannot maintain an army bigger than one lakh troops.
Germany cannot build airforce or submarines.
Colonies of Germany, were taken over and distributed among the Allied nations.
Germany had to pay $65 crore as war-reparation to these Allied Nations. (Compensation for injury).

The German economy had already collapsed due to heavy loss of man and material during World War I.
The treaty of Versailles only added insult to this injury.
During this time, German Government resorted to printing more currency. (Name of German currency=Mark)
That led to hyper-inflation (because truck load of paper-cash on one side but not truckload of potatoes on the other side).
So paper currency lost its value. Check this photo: A German woman burns currency, because its paper was cheaper fuel than
coal!

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

A loaf of bread that cost 20,000 marks in the morning would cost 5,000,000 marks by nightfall.
Restaurant prices went up while customers were eating.
It took 4.2 trillion German marks to buy a single American dollar!
A lifetime of savings would no longer buy even a railway ticket!
Pensions planned for a lifetime were wiped out completely.

During these hard times, Hitler used to attract German crowds with his charismatic and fierce speeches.
He wanted Germany to withdraw from Treaty of Versailles.
He identified Jew as the enemy responsible for all of Germanys ills.
His argument: Jews own big business, big banks, big department stores, and big labour. And Jews have
been profiteering during First World War, during the Treaty of Versailles, during this hyper-inflation. So, theyre leading happy
life at our expense. Jews are basically responsible for anything and everything that is bad in Germany.

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German public and war veterans were already distressed by the hyperinflation and unemployment- So many of them started
worshiping Hitler as their savior.
1933, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. Within a week, He dismissed all Jews from civil services.

Now in power, Hitler started economic reconstruction of Germany on one hand and simultaneously the racial purification on
the other hand.
1. One party rule: all the opposition leaders killed, jailed or expelled from Germany.
2. Complete ban on Communist activities, Trade unions and Labour strikes. This was done to increase industrial output and
make Germany war-ready.
3. He openly defied treaty of Versailles, by increasing troops in the army, construction of submarines, aircrafts etc.
4. He made friendship pacts with unhappy nations from the Allied gang: Italy and Russia.
5. He decided to unify all German-speaking areas of Europe.

Eugenics means selective breeding of humans.


Hitlers opinion: World is divided into Aryan (pure blood/Germans) and Non-Aryans (including Jews, Gypsies and other
minorities in Germany).
The Non-Aryan are polluting human race with their inferior quality genes and bloodline. So, under Hitlers rule, following
laws/policies/rules were created:
1. Forced sterilization (vasectomy) of Jews, people suffering from disability, diseases etc.
2. To increase the birth rate of pure Germans, newly married couples were given loans. And these loans would be forgiven
with the birth of each child.
3. Marriage or sexual relations between Jews and Germans were prohibited.
4. Jews given a lower class of citizenship. They were ineligible to apply for most Government jobs, college admissions.
5. Only racial Germans were entitled to civil and political rights.
When Indian Parents try to find bride with fair white skin for their son, it is also one (stupid) idea indirectly related to Eugenics.
Thats why Skin whitening creams make huge business in India. Eugenics is now making re-entry, indirectly through the research
related to designer babies. Anyways back to the topic:

Under Hitlers laws, Jews could reside in only some specific areas, known as as Ghettos.
Ghettos were enclosed with walls and gates and kept locked at night.
Outside the ghetto, Jews had to wear a yellow colored identifying badge.
More recently, the term ghetto has come to apply to any urban area exclusively settled by a minority group. In the United
States, Mexicans and blacks have been compelled to live in ghettos, by economic and social pressures.

In 1942, Hitler decide to get final solution to the Jewish problem.


All the Jews were rounded up by Secret Police (Gestapo).
The physically fit Jewish men were sent to work in labour camps (to aid German war production during Second World war),
While pregnant women, young children, the elderly, handicapped and sick were killed in gas-chambers.
Holocaust is the term used to describe this mass murder of 60 lakh Jews under Nazi regime from 1941 until 1945.
In many nations of Europe, it is a criminal offense to say that Holocaust did not happen. Some poets, authors, fashion
designers and other self-proclaimed intellectuals cum drug addicts have denied holocaust and run into legal trouble.
Iranian President Ahmedinijad also denied Holocaust, led to big uproar.

Term used to describe the harassment done to Jewish people.


What Hitler did, was one example of Anti-Semitism, but same things were also happening in Russia, Austria as well.

What is Zion?=Name of the hill on which the Temple of Jerusalem was located.
Zionism is the term used to describe the Jewish political movement of the late 19th century.
Their Objective= to unite the Jewish diaspora all over world and settle them in Palestine.
They started taking donations from wealthy Jews, helped the Holocaust survivors to migrate to Palestine and surrounding
regions.

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This movement led to establishment of Israel in 1948.

Recall that after First World War, Palestine region was under British Administration.
Official policy of British = Prevent Jews from settling in Palestine region because it was leading to riots between Jews and
native Arabs.
But during the course of World war II, the US army discovered Nazi extermination camps. This created deep sympathy for
Jewish people in USA. The Senators and Congressmen of USA, started lobbying for Zionist cause.
Therefore U.S. President Truman requested British Government to immediatly admit 1 lakh Jewish Holocaust survivors into
Palestine, and unrestricted Jewish immigration in Palestine in future.

As the second world war came to an end (1945), the neighboring Arab countries began to take a more direct interest in
Palestine.
They held a conference in Egypt and made official statement. The gist of their position was
1. Weve sympathies for the European Jews who suffered under Hitlers dictatorship.
2. But the issue of European Jewish survivors ought not to be confused with Zionism.
3. If you (Allied champions:US,UK) allow Jews to settle in Palestine, itll cause great injustice to the Native Arabs and
therefore we will oppose it.

The Jews that survived holocaust and extermination camps, had no home of their own- everything was destroyed in the war.
The Zionists helped them immigrate and settle in Palestine.
But the Palestinian Arabs decided that no more Jews should arrive and that Palestine should achieve independence as an Arab
state. (in 1946 there were 12 lakh Arabs and 7 lakh Jews in Palestine). There was rioting and violence everywhere, from both
sides.
The area was still under British administration. But during this time, Britain lacked the money, political will and military force
to maintain hard control over its colonies.
In Feb 1947, Britishers were busy negotiating independence of India. They were also eager to decrease costly military
presence in Palestine.
So British Government decided to handover the Palestine question to United Nations.

In late 1947, The United nations General Assembly passed a resolution: This Palestine region be partitioned into an Arab
State and a Jewish state, and Jerusalem will become an International centre. (something like Chandigarh between Punjab and
Haryana). Check the map:

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Arab nations opposed this resolution.


The Zionists welcomed the partition proposal because it recognized a Jewish state and because it allotted more than half of
(west-of-Jordan) Palestine to them.
Soon after the UN resolution, rioting and civil war broke out in Palestine, between the native Arab and Jews. You can imagine
the hardship of people- similar to partition of India-Pakistan.

As the civil war, rioting, murder, loot, plunder, assassinations spread, on 14th May 1948, the Last British high commissioner
left Palestine.
Immediately, the Zionist leaders declared Israel a free Nation. Within a few hours, USA also recognized Israel as a nation.
In the upcoming days, the Arab nations: Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt sent their armies but were defeated by Israeli forces.
(this is known as First Israel-Arab War)

Recall that UN General Assembly had favored the partition of Palestine region into an Arab State and a Jewish state.
While Jewish State (Israel) came into existence, but there was no Palestine Arab State because Palestinian Arabs were not
organized, unlike Zionists, they lacked the money and gun power of their own. They relied on the armies sent by Syria,
Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt, to fight for their cause.
The problem was: What to do with Jerusalem city?
After The First Israel-Arab war, the Jerusalem city and surrounding was divided between Israel (West) and Jordan (East).
West Bank is the region on the west side of Jordan River.
From 1950 to 1967 it was ruled by Jordan.
But Israel captured it in 1967s war (also known as 6 Days war, or Third Israel-Arab war).

Again recall that UN General Assembly had favored the partition of Palestine region into an Arab State and a Jewish state.
Under that resolution, UN General Assembly had said that Gaza strip will be given to Arab State. (observe the map).
After Israel became an independent nation (1948), the Arabs from Tel-Aviv and other parts of Israel/Palestine region, had
started migrating to this Gaza strip, to save themselves from riots and looting.
These are called Palestinian (Arab) refugees.
During the first Israel-Arab war, the Egyptian army had captured Gaza strip. But In 1967s war, Israel re-captured Gaza Strip.
But The Egyptian government did not consider Gaza Strip as a part of Egypt and did not allow those refugees to become
Egyptian citizens or to migrate to Egypt or to other Arab countries. (their side of border was opened in 2011)

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On the other side, Israel did not allow these refugees to return to their former homes.
So these refugees are stuck from both the sides, live in poverty and food aids from United Nations.
Ever since, there is rioting and violent street clashes between Gazas Palestinians (refugees/Hamas) and occupying Israeli
troops.

So far, the Palestinian Arabs were relying on outside support (Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon), but later realized they had to
get themselves organized to fight for their own cause. Thus came Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Soon, Yasser Arafat became the leader of PLO.
PLO launched guerrilla war against Israel during the 1960s to 1980s from its camps in Jordan.
But later on PLO got into power-struggle with Jordanian King, and were expelled from there. So PLO shifted their base to
Lebanon.
1982, Israel launched military attack on Lebanon to destroy the PLO camps.
Ultimately Yasser Arafat concluded that military fight with Israel = useless and futile.
So, He decided to accept the earlier UN resolution (recall: UN wanted Palestine region to be divided between a Jewish State
and an Arab State).
He proposed, Our PLO is the Government-in-exile. Were representing that Arab State envisioned under UN resolution.
We recognize Israel as the Jewish state, we accept their right to exist. Now give us our land, Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Theyre political-militant organization stationed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They run their own schools, charities,
clinics, and schools in these areas.
They get money and weapons from tunnels through Egypt-Gaza border.

They want to destroy Israel and the create an Islamic state in Palestine.
The Difference between Hamas and PLO = both started as militant movements for Palestinian Arabs But PLO has (almost)
ceased violence while Hamas continues to remain armed and dangerous.

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After many rounds of talks, Israeli Government and Yasser Arafats PLO entered into peace agreement, according to which
1. Israel and PLO will formally recognize eachothers right to exist.
2. A new Palestine authority (PA) will be formed, itll have elected Arab representatives.
3. Israel will gradually handover the administration of Gaza strip and West Bank, to this Palestine Authority (PA).
But Hamas was opposed to Oslo accords.

It was formed under the Oslo Accord.


Elections were held, Yasser Arafats Fatah party won majority seats and he became the first President of Palestine Authority
(PA).
Israel withdrew its military from Gaza strip, and handed over the civil functions (police, municipality etc) to this Palestine
Authority. (1994)
Yasser Arafat died. (2004)
Yasser Arafats Fatah Party was defeated by the Hamas Party, in 2006s election for Palestine Authority,
Hamas and Fatah eventually formed a coalition government, but there was violence and power struggle between these two
camps.
Ultimately, Hamas got control of the Gaza Strip, while Fatah took control of the West Bank.

In 2007, Gaza strip was under Hamas rule. The acts of terrorism continued.
Israel declared them as a hostile entity and approved sanctions against Gaza strip- including electricity cuts, heavily restricted
imports, and border closures.
Hamas retaliated by launching rockets at Israeli cities.
So, Israel started military invasion on the Gaza, mainly to destroy those tunnels through which Hamas gets rockets and other
weapons.
In this clash, more than 1,000 were killed. Finally Israel and Hamas declared a unilateral cease-fire.
Since then Gaza strip is in control of Hamas but Israel has blocked the whole area with huge wall.

Some NGOs, Peace workers wanted to deliver food, other humanitarian aid and construction materials to Gaza refugees.
They came by sea using a ship named Mavi Marmara, wanted to land on Gaza strip But were intercepted by Israeli military.
Each side accused other one for starting trouble. Led to much uproar about human rights violation.
This was asked in UPSCs General Studies (Mains) 2010 paper.

Israeli soldier, abducted by Hamas during a raid in 2006.


They kept him as a hostage for five years and returned him to Israel for the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, in 2011.

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1. Originally, Palestine was under control of Ottoman empire, but British captured it during first world war.
2. In the inter-war years, facing the Antisemitism in Germany and Russia, the Jews started Zionist movement to create
a separation nation for them in Palestine. But the native Palestinian Arabs opposed it.
3. After second world war, British Government referred the matter to United Nations.
4. United Nations, passed a resolution that Palestine will be divided into a Jewish State and an Arab State. And Gaza strip will
be given to the Arab State.
5. When Britisher left the area, Jews declared their own nation Israel, but Arabs of Palestine couldnt declare their own nation.
6. The neighboring Arab nations (Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon) sent their armies, leading to Israel-Arab wars. In the end,
Israel won and captured Gaza Strip and West Bank.
7. Two resistance movement started against Israel: (1) Yasser Arafat (PLO) (2) Hamas.
8. PLO entered into peace with Israel under Oslo Accords, while Hamas continued the path of terrorism and suicide bombers.
9. A Palestine Authority (PA) was created and Israel handed over the civilian administration of Gaza and West bank to this PA.
10. Initially Yasser Arafats Fatah party used to win elections to Palestine Authority (PA) and all was going good.
11. But Hamas party won 2007s election. So, Israel started blockade of Gaza strip. Both went into military conflicts with sporadic
ceasefires and fighting every now and then.
12. The current Israel-Hamas conflict being one of them. Hamas wants Israel to lift Economic blockade of Gaza and Israel wants
Hamas to stop its militant movement and arms-smuggling through tunnels.
13. Indias position (yes you guessed it right): both sides should exercise restrain and settle the matter via peaceful talks and
negotiations.
For the entire archive of Diplomacy and International Relations (IR) related articles, visit: mrunal.org/diplomacy

1. Which of the following not correctly matched?


Country

Capital

a. Beirut Lebanon
b. Syria

Damascus

c. Jordan Amman
2. What is the correct order of these water bodies from North to South: Red Sea, Black Sea, and Dead Sea.
a. Black > Red > Dead
b. Dead > Black > Red
c. Black > Dead> Red
3. Which of the following countries dont share land border with Israel?
a.
b.
c.
d.

Jordan and Egypt


Lebanon and Jordan
Saudi and Iran
Egypt and Lebanon

4. Find correct Statement


1. Gulf of Aquaba is linked with Red Sea
2. Gulf of Suez is linked with Red Sea
a.
b.
c.
d.

Only 1
Only 2
Both
One

5. Which of the following is not a member-state of United Nations:


1) Palestine, 2) South Sudan 3) Kosovo
a. Only 1 and 3

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b. Only 2 and 3
c. Only 1 and 3
d. All of them
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Background, implications explained
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Communique, Highlights
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sentiments, how & why Indias policy failed
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127 comments to [Diplomacy] Israel, Palestine, Hamas, Gaza-strip, West Bank, PLO: Conflict, Origin,
Explained

Older Comments

ganesh
Reply to this comment
No word in English available till now to describe Mrunals articles. But if want to comment with available words in English then
excellent, marvelous, fantastic, amazing are the words that pops up in my mind when i read this article.

breakingbad
Reply to this comment
Amazing work Mrunal. Excellent background. Now I am getting a hang of this whole issue. Thanks a ton, bro. you rock!

malika
Reply to this comment
Great work sir!! everyday i read news of palestine issue, but could not grasp about the issue. This article gave insights. Thankss!

Anshuman Rai
Reply to this comment
1. A
2. C
3. C
4. C
5. C

CS
Reply to this comment
Superrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

1/1/2004 5:01 AM

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surendran
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@mrunal Sir, please post Indias diplomacy with all countries. I am not able to get it here and also please post d current affairs
month-wise starting from may 2012. It would be very useful for us .

Mrunal
Reply to this comment
website of ministry of external affairs- contains PDF files for almost all countries relations with India.

Kamal
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Thanks for your efforts, Mrunal.

dwarika
Reply to this comment
excellent history of Palestine Israel
thank mrunal good job

Older Comments

1/1/2004 5:01 AM