Truth buried in Gaza’s ruins, By Osmund Agbo


Reading Time: 5 mins read

In a world that often seeks clear-cut heroes and villains, the reality is far more nuanced. By delving into the intricate historical backdrop of this conflict and peeling back the layers of narratives woven over time, we uncover a profound and multifaceted reality. It is within this complexity that we can discover the key to genuinely understanding and potentially unearthing the pathway to lasting solutions in the area, should we earnestly desire them.

The roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict trace back thousands of years, with Jews asserting a deep historical connection to the land of Israel. By one historical account, the Jewish people’s loss of sovereignty and displacement from their homeland began with the Roman conquest in 70 CE and culminated with the brutal suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 136 CE.

The Bar Kokhba revolt was a significant Jewish uprising against Roman rule that occurred in the early Second century CE and was led by a man named Simon bar Kokhba. It aimed to restore Jewish sovereignty in the region. The rebellion, which began in 132 CE, initially saw some success, as Jewish forces captured Jerusalem and other territories. However, the Romans, under the command of Emperor Hadrian, eventually managed to suppress the revolt in 136 CE.

The aftermath of this revolt was devastating for the Jewish population. Widespread destruction, loss of life, and enslavement of Jews followed. This catastrophic outcome marked a turning point in Jewish history, with many Jewish communities scattered throughout various parts of the world, leading to the Jewish diaspora, which had a profound and lasting impact on Jewish identity and history.

However, it is equally important to note that beyond the narrative of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, territorial Palestine boasts a rich and intricate history, with a multitude of ethnicities having inhabited the region for generations. Among these diverse ethnic groups are Arabs, Bedouins, Druze, Samaritans, Armenians, Assyrians, Assyrian Christians, Greek Orthodox Christians, and Copts. These are merely a few illustrations of the varied ethnic and religious communities that have resided in territorial Palestine for generations, collectively weaving the rich tapestry of cultures and histories that characterise the region.

Fast forward to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Zionist movement emerged in Europe, advocating for the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland in their historic land. This movement, which gained momentum following the Holocaust, was bolstered by the Balfour Declaration in 1917, expressing support for a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

With the formal dissolution of the Ottoman Empire that had ruled the region after World War I, the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations, granted Britain the mandate to govern Palestine. During this period, Jewish immigration to the region increased, further contributing to the demographic complexity. Then, in 1947, the United Nations passed a resolution recommending the partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, with international administration over Jerusalem. The plan was accepted by Jews but rejected by Arabs.

At the heart of the Arab states and Palestinian leaders’ rejection of the UN partition plan was a profound objection based on the demand for fairness. They perceived the plan as unduly favouring the Jewish state by allocating a significant portion of the territory to it. This allocation appeared disproportionate, given that the Jewish population was a minority in the region.

It is also imperative to emphasise the profound historical context that precedes the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. For centuries, the land was home to Palestinian communities, their deep roots entwined with the region’s rich history. However, the birth of the Jewish state in 1948 led to the immediate displacement of over 700,000 Palestinians, a humanitarian crisis of enormous magnitude. The crisis that followed that pivotal moment continues to shape the trajectory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict uptill this day.

This glaring imbalance laid the groundwork for the Arab-Israeli War of 1947-1949, a turbulent period that further complicated the regional landscape and sowed the seeds of the enduring Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Since 1948, the Arab-Israeli conflict has unfolded as a long and complex narrative, marked by territorial changes and ongoing tensions. Over the decades, Israel claimed additional territories through wars and occupations, further diminishing the land available for Palestinians.

The Six-Day War in 1967 resulted in Israel’s control of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. These territories, initially intended for a future Palestinian state, became occupied lands under Israeli rule. The situation worsened as Israel established settlements in these occupied areas, leading to a gradual encroachment upon Palestinian territories.

These settlements, considered illegal under international law, have been a source of ongoing conflict, often leading to protests, clashes, and tensions. 

Palestinians have found themselves living in fragmented territories, with restricted movement, economic hardship, and limited access to essential resources.

Blockades and checkpoints have become part of the daily life, and Palestinian communities in the West Bank are surrounded by Israeli settlements and a separation barrier.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas, an organisation with both political and militant wings, took control in 2007, leading to an Israeli blockade. This blockade has severely restricted the flow of goods and people, contributing to dire living conditions in the densely populated area.

The Palestinian political landscape is divided between Fatah, a more moderate faction, and Hamas, which Israel and much of the international community label as a terrorist organisation. The Palestinian leadership’s divisions have hindered efforts to present a unified front in negotiations with Israel.

Hamas’s election in Gaza has complicated peace efforts, as their militant actions and calls for the destruction of Israel have been met with resistance from the Israeli government. This lack of unity within the Palestinian leadership has made it challenging to engage in meaningful negotiations.

Amidst the cacophony of narratives, historical grievances, and the intricate web of geopolitics, it is crucial to acknowledge a fundamental truth: both Israelis and Palestinians hold legitimate claims to the land, and both have endured profound suffering. However, the path to a sustainable peace solution remains elusive, hindered by a conspicuous lack of genuine commitment from either side.

Consider the stark contrast in leadership. Hamas leaders amass vast donations in the name of a war they acknowledge as unwinnable. Tragically, it is the everyday Palestinians who bear the brunt of Israeli retaliatory actions. Meanwhile, many of these so-called leaders and their families reside in opulent villas in Qatar and elsewhere, shielded from the harsh realities of e thIsraeli artillery.

In parallel, certain Israeli leaders have pursued policies that only serve to further stoke tensions and obstruct the path to peace. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in particular, faced controversies and legal challenges during his earlier time in office. In a bid to shield himself from prosecution and bolster his political standing, he allied with extreme right-wing factions within Israeli politics. This alliance perceives any notion of compromise with the Palestinians as nothing short of a criminal act.

Moreover, while some Arab nations, such as the UAE, Jordan, and Egypt, publicly advocate for the Palestinian cause, behind closed doors, they strike deals with Israel, driven by their own geopolitical interests and, often, a profound concern regarding Tehran. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict becomes just one piece of a much larger regional puzzle for them.

As for the United States, it claims to be an impartial mediator in the peace process, yet the reality tells a different story. The influence of powerful Jewish lobbyists in Washington is undeniable, casting a shadow over the concept of impartiality.

So where does this all leave us? The cycle of violence between Israel and Palestine appears never-ending. The best we can hope for is the occasional ceasefire, providing a brief respite within the continuous tumult. What we witness here is the ugliest facet of human nature, characterised by unquenchable greed and an insatiable thirst for power. This, my friends, is the stark and unvarnished truth.








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