Why Are People Fighting Over the Gaza Strip?

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The fighting in the Gaza Strip are due to issues going back thousands of years. In order to understand the roots of the conflict some background information is necessary.

The Zionist Movement

In the 1880s the Jews scattered throughout Europe and America made known their desire to return to the Promised Land. Since they were expelled by the Romans, they had no land to call their own. The desire to reestablish themselves in Palestine was called the Zionist Movement.

After World War I, Britain announced it welcomed the idea of Jews settling in Palestine. However the Arabs residing in the area did not like it. They felt the land belonged to them. During and after World War I, many Jews migrated to Palestine. However the tension between them and the Arabs grew. So even before fighting in the Gaza Strip began, the tension was already there.

Creation of the Israeli State

In 1947, Britain turned the problem over to the United Nations. The Jews argued that they had lived in the land for thousands of years. They also pointed out that the Arabs already had several countries. They also felt they had been persecuted long enough.

The Arabs countered that they shouldn’t be made to suffer so the Jews could have their own place to live. The Arabs also said that they had lived there for centuries. The only solution the UN could come up with was to divide Palestine. In 1948 the state of Israel was created. Immediately thereafter, the fighting in the Gaza Strip began.

The Conflicts Begin

After the Israeli state was created the Arabs launched an attack. They were defeated. After the war several points emerged. The land given to the Arabs was split between Israel and Jordan. No Palestinian state was formed, and the people there became refugees. To this day it remains a problem.

In 1956 Israel attacked Egypt after the latter took control of the Suez Canal. The Israelis defeated the Egyptian Army and took over the Sinai Peninsula. They were helped by Britain and France which had vested interests in the Suez Canal. The US criticized the two countries. Israel was also forced to withdraw its forces from Egypt.

The Six Days War

The fighting in the Gaza Strip resumed in 1967. The Egyptian Army made a pact with Syria and retrained its forces. The Gulf of Aqaba was blocked. Israel responded by attacking again. In the space of a few hours, the Israelis destroyed hundreds of Arab planes.

The Egyptian Army was trounced in the Sinai Peninsula and crushed. In addition, the Israelis took the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. They also seized the half of Jerusalem that belonged to Jordan and the West Bank.

The October War

In October 1973, the Egyptian forces attacked the Suez Canal. At the same time, Syria invaded the Golan Heights. For the first few days the two Arab countries held the edge. But when Israeli reinforcements arrived, Syria and Egypt were defeated.

To this day fighting in the Gaza Strip continues as the two sides dispute the territory. In the meantime, both Israeli and Palestinian civilians continue to suffer.

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