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Lecturrete Topic 113 - Israel Palestine Issue


The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the world’s longest-running and most controversial conflicts. It is a conflict between two self-determination movements — the Jewish nationalist project and the Palestinian nationalist project, in the same territory.

Though claims of both Jews and Arab Muslims date back to a couple of thousand years, the current political conflict began in the early 20th century. Since then, there has been a gradual expansion of territory occupied by Israel and today Palestinians are confined to only two regions – West Bank and Gaza Strip. The issue is again in the news due to recent rocket attacks conducted by Hamas (a militant group) on Israeli territories. In retaliation, Israeli airstrikes are targeting the Gaza strip.

Current Scenario

  • Israel and Hamas exchanged heavy fire on 11th May 2021. The conflict has resulted in the death of 35 Palestinians in Gaza and five in Israel till now. The escalation was sparked by unrest at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

  • The country has been embroiled in conflict over the threat of eviction of dozens of Palestinians from East Jerusalem’s neighborhood.

  • Over 70 Palestinians in total are set to be evicted from Sheikh Jarrah in the coming weeks to be replaced by right-wing Jewish Israelis.

  • It is the heaviest fighting between the two bitter enemies since 2014 and isn’t showing any signs of slowing.

  • An emergency meeting of the UNSC has been conducted for drawing out an immediate plan of de-escalation and restoration of peace in the region.

Israel – Palestine conflict

  • Firstly, Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, located just east of the Mediterranean Sea. Palestinians (Arab population) refer to the territory as Palestine and want to establish a state by that name on all or part of the same land. 

  • Secondly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is over who gets what land and how it’s controlled.

  • Thirdly, though both Jews and Arab Muslims date their claims to the land back a couple thousand years, the contemporary political conflict began in the early 20th century.

  • Fourthly, Jews fleeing persecution in Europe desired to create a national homeland in an Arab- and Muslim-majority territory. This territory was part of the Ottoman Empire and later of the British empire.

  • Fifthly, the Arabs resisted, seeing the land as rightfully theirs. Since then both parties have battled several wars over the territory.

Solutions to Israel Palestine conflict

There are mainly two approaches to solve the problem –

Two-state solution:

  • Firstly, it would create a sovereign Israel and Palestine. It would establish Palestine as an independent state in Gaza and most of the West Bank, leaving the rest of the land to Israel.

  • Secondly, it has been the goal of the international community for decades, dating back to the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

  • Thirdly, it would identify a 1967 demarcation line known as the Green Line to partition Palestinian and Israeli land. It would also divide Jerusalem between the two states.

One-state solution:

  • It would merge Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip into one big country.

  • It comes in two versions. One, favored by some leftists and Palestinians, would create a single democratic country. Arab Muslims would outnumber Jews, thus ending Israel’s status as a Jewish state.

  • The other version, favored by some rightists and Israelis, would involve Israel annexing the West Bank and forcing out Palestinians or denying them the right to vote.

India’s stand on Israel- Palestine conflict

  • India has been consistently supportive of the Palestinian cause.

  • India was the first Non-Arab State to recognize Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1974.

  • Also, India was one of the first countries to recognize the State of Palestine in 1988.

  • Currently, India supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

  • As a part of the Link West Policy, India has de-hyphenated its relationship with Israel and Palestine in 2018. This will allow it to treat both the countries as mutually independent and exclusive.

  • As per India, the issues between the two should be resolved through direct negotiations and solutions must be acceptable to both.

Way Forward

  • Firstly, both Israel and Palestine should immediately resume the peace talks under the guidance of the UNSC. 

  • Secondly, the proposal to evict 70 Palestinians from East Jerusalem should be delayed for some time. This would help in brokering peace between the parties.

  • Thirdly, there must be proper adherence to UNSC resolution 2334. It concerns the Israeli settlements in “Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem”. 

    • One, it states that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a  clear violation of International Law and has “no legal validity”. 

    • Two, it demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

  • Fourthly, the February 2021 ICC ruling should be implemented in spirit. It allows the ICC to investigate persons committing war crimes in the Palestinian Territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  • Fifthly, India should leverage its growing influence in the world to counsel Israel to exercise restraint and move towards a two-state solution. 

  • It should continue to use its voice in the United Nations and work with major states in the world towards that end without directly participating in the peace process.


The international community must try to instill peace among the two states. Further any successful peace initiative would need to resolve the four core issues that have plagued the peace process: West Bank borders/settlements, Israeli security, Palestinian refugees, and Jerusalem.

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