The conflict between Palestinians and Israelis has been going on for decades. It is currently back in one of its more contentious phases. After the recent events, many will also say that the Oslo process is over – that the positive period marked by a certain amount of trust between the parties is over.
- What are the main features of the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians?
- What has happened in Palestinian politics after the Oslo process?
- Why is there such a close connection between the United States and Israel?
In 1964, the Palestinian Liberation Movement (PLO) was established. In the PLO, the various Palestinian resistance organizations gathered under one umbrella. Fatah was the largest of these, and the leader, Yasser Arafat, was from 1968 until his death in 2004 the leader of both Fatah and the PLO. The PLO’s goal was to liberate Palestine [today’s Israel and the Palestinian Authority (Gaza, and the West Bank)].
With the first Oslo agreement in 1993, there was a breakthrough between the parties when Israel and the PLO agreed to recognize each other . The PLO was then recognized by Israel as a representative of the Palestinian people and was no longer considered a terrorist organization. On the other hand, the PLO recognized the state of Israel.
The Oslo Accords meant that the establishment of a Palestinian state would take place gradually , through negotiations between the PLO and Israel on borders, the status of Jerusalem, the settlements in occupied territories and the right of Palestinian refugees to return home. Until the establishment of the state, the Palestinians were to have internal autonomy in the most important Palestinian settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. Following the 1996 parliamentary elections, Fatah was able to take the most seats in the Legislative Assembly, and Yasser Arafat was elected leader. This Palestinian Authority is often referred to as “PA” – short for “Palestinian Authority”.
But the Oslo process had strong opponents on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides. The Islamist resistance movement Hamas (founded in 1987) gained increasing support in the occupied territories, but did not participate in the 1996 elections because they did not recognize the Oslo Accords. On the Israeli side, the settlers in particular were opposed to the peace process for fear of the settlers’ future. In February 1994, an Israeli settler entered a mosque in Hebron and shot and killed 29 praying Muslims. Six months later, Hamas launched suicide bombings against Israel, citing a response to the Hebron massacre.
2: The Al-Aqsa Intifada and the Roadmap for Peace
In the autumn of 2000, the second (first in 1987) Palestinian uprising, the al-Aqsa Intifada , broke out. The Palestinians, who had been full of hope when the peace process began, were now so frustrated by the lack of progress that it boiled over again. The frustration was partly due to the fact that their life situation had worsened. Freedom of movement had been reduced, fewer jobs and more and more Palestinian farmers were deprived of their land where Israeli settlements were established or expanded.
At the same time, the peace process had not taken place, for example, the negotiations on settlers in the occupied West Bank had not led to a reduction, but to a doubling of the number of settlers since the start of the peace process. It all peaked when Likud leader Ariel Sharon entered the Haram al Sharif plateau on September 29, 2000, where Islam’s third holiest mosque, al-Aqsa, is located. The demonstrations against Sharon were met with harsh funds by Israeli police. The demonstrations quickly spread to the West Bank and Gaza and turned into a riot that lasted until Yasser Arafat’s death in November 2004.
The setbacks in the peace process led the ” Quartet ” – the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the EU – in 2003 to present a new peace plan: the so-called Road Map for Peace. The goal of the roadmap was the establishment of an “independent and viable Palestinian state”. Part of the plan was for new elections to be held in the Palestinian territories. But in the 2006 parliamentary elections, Fatah, the party that ruled in the Palestinian territories and was behind the Oslo Accords, lost. The victor was Hamas, which for the first time participated in a parliamentary election.
3: An election winner with problems
According to beautypically, the Palestinian Authority had become unpopular. A Palestinian power elite had emerged that several Palestinians viewed with suspicion, including because of. widespread corruption.
In August 2005, Israel withdrew all settlers from Gaza, but at the same time the number of settlers in the West Bank increased sharply. The decision to withdraw was not the result of negotiations, but a unilateral Israeli measure. The withdrawal of the Israelis from Gaza was used by Hamas as an example of the armed resistance against Israel that was useful – and not negotiations. This contributed to Hamas’ popularity. The movement gained its strength especially among the poor and unemployed in the Palestinian territories and was particularly strong in Gaza, where 2/3 of the population are refugees.