Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Gavin Duggan, Cultural Geography

When Will There Ever be Peace

Jews began migrating to Palestine in the early 20th century. In 1947 the UN divided Palestine into "Arab" and "Jewish" states after WWII as Jewish people needed a homeland. Fighting ensued after the Jews moved onto the land and many Palestinians fled and were forced to leave their homes.
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Relation to Unit 1

In relation to geography the Jews live there because they feel it is their birthright, also it was declared by the UN they needed someplace to call home after WWII. The Palestinians on the other hand due to geography live in two territories the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This was not their choice but due to Israel continuing expansion of their settlements and wars they had to flee.

Relation to Unit 2

During the 1967 war between Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Syria 500,000 Palestinians migrated mostly to Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan which led to a refugee crisis. A major conflict is the Palestinians want to return to their homes however they have larger families and Israel fears they will overpopulate the land. The refugees are receiving basic services, healthcare, and education through the UN Relief and Works Agency to help them live their lives.
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Relation to Unit 3

Since 2002 Israel has been building a security wall in the West Bank separating Israeli settlements from Palestinian communities. This has resulted in farming villages losing farm land to the Israeli side and subjecting farmers to checkpoints before they can get to their orchards. The barrier also prevents people to get to school and work and accessing health services. in 2006 Hamas won parliamentary election and rose to power among the Palestinians. Israel tightened border restrictions at the Gaza Strip because they reject a Hamas run government. Gaza's economic life suffered and relief organizations couldn't get aid to the Palestinians. Egypt closed their border after Hamas took over, but they let food, water and medical aid to get into Gaza.
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Relation to Unit 4

Before the 20th century most Jews living in Palestine were concentrated in four cities. Most of them observed traditional orthodox religions practices. Their attachment to the land was religious rather than national. Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived in rural villages with their own groups of people. After WWI Britain took control of the area and with France carved up the Arab Provinces. Clashes broke out between Arabs and Jews. Muslims and Jews clashed over religious rights over the Wailing Wall because it is sacred to both Jews and Muslims. After WWII the Jewish community settled in over 77% of the land and the Palestinians now live in mostly slums and refugee camps.
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Seriousness of the issue

  • The conflict became a major international issue after the Ottoman Empire in 1917 loss power in the Middle East
  • The conflict was a source of at least 5 wars and a large number of minor conflicts
  • 1948 Arab-Israeli War
  • 1956 Suez War
  • 1967 Six day War
  • 1973 Yom Kippura War

Multiple Perspectives


  • Anti-Semitism
  • The Israeli people view the conflict as a matter of security and defense
  • They believe in their right to the land of Israel due to their history and identity tied to it
  • Israel is constantly defending themselves from hateful terrorist attacks produced by the Hamas terrorist group and Palestinian people
  • The history of the Jewish people is what has fostered the shared identity of a culture that feels exiled from the world


  • Islamic law requires that Muslims forever retain control over all land that was ever in Muslim control
  • Islamic law forbids Jews or Christians from being considered equal to Muslims
  • The Palestinian story focuses on victim-hood, their suffering and dispossession and their deep sense of injustice at being punished because of Europe’s treatment of Jews
  • Palestinians claim they have international law on their side