Palestinians Vs. Israelis: A Complicated Conflict Told Simply

Following school, I traveled overseas and spent some time in Israel. Despite the attraction of the area’s rich history, the vibe from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was somewhat unsettling.

And now years on, the most interesting thing I got from this video above is that when the Ottomans controlled Palestine, the Jews, Christians and Muslims all got along relatively fine.

How things change. At least though, it’s not a conflict that’s thousands of years old as some would perhaps believe. A big take away I got from the video was how the current conflict emerged after the British took control of Palestine post World War I.

During the war, the British over-promised Palestine to several different parties, one of whom were the Zionists as per the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

The declaration was actually a letter (see below) from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour (pictured left) to the banker Baron Rothschild, a representative of the UK’s Jewish community.

(Wikimedia Commons)

United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour, 1917. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

After the war, between the years 1920–1939, some 320,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine.

Soon, the swelling numbers brought on conflict, and then the Holocaust occurred in Europe. After that immense tragedy, more Jews made their way to Israel. Oddly though, the Holocaust doesn’t get a mention in the video.

The Brits soon handed over control of Palestine to the newly formed U.N. and then, well, the decades that followed were traumatic for all concerned. Today, it still remains unresolved.

Palestinian refugees in 1948. (Wikimedia Commons)

Palestinian refugees in 1948. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

John Green, the video presenter, manages to show a balanced view, but I’m not sure if many people share it. However, his wrap-up is worth repeating.

“It’s important to understand the internal logic of these competing nationalist visions. For both the Zionist and Palestine national visions to eventually work, it’s necessary to understand the right of each to exist and the legitimacy of each’s historical narrative,” Green says.

“These problems aren’t thousands of years old and they aren’t intractable. They emerged in the British mandatory period, but let’s hope that by understanding that this isn’t an endless religious war that we might be closer to seeing its end.”

As this is an extremely polarizing subject, the above video won’t please everyone. And given it’s only around 12 minutes long, it can only pack in so much, but the below interviews offer further insights about the conflict at a ground level.

The interviews, conducted by Corey Gil-Shuster, are part of a series and in these two examples, he asks both Israelis and Palestinians how they view the other. The difference in attitude between the two sides is rather telling.

Palestinians: How much do you hate Israel?

Israelis: How much do you hate Palestinians?

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