By Qasim Swati (United Kingdom)
Area of the eastern Mediterranean region, consisting of parts of modern Israel and such Palestinian territories, as the West Bank (west of the Jordan River) and the Gaza Strip (along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea) is called ‘Palestine’. However, Palestine, in a contemporary context, is defined as a piece of land, referring to the region bounded on the west by the Mediterranean Sea (including the coast of Gaza), on the north by the border between Lebanon and Israel, on the south by the Negev, with its southernmost extension extending to the Gulf of Aqaba and on the east by the Jordan River.
The whole or, at least, a part of this region is honoured and respected by and sacred for Jews, Christians and Muslims and known as the Holy Land, among them.
Both the Jews and the Palestinians claim this area and consider themselves as the genuine and legitimate owners and inhabitants of the region. Several conflicts and wars have taken place between the two sides, due to Jewish and Arab national movements since the 20th century.
Many Palestinians and Jews have been killed and injured since the start of the conflict after the creation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948 so far. The majority of the casualties and victims are civilians, women and children. The same conflict has done a lot of damage to the economies, infrastructure and other systems on both sides.
Over 5.6 million Palestinians have been forced to register with the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East and live as refugees, as of 2019. Similarly, some 850,000 Jews have also been expelled or forced to migrate from the Arab and Muslim countries, mainly, from 1948 to the early 1970s.
Nevertheless, a large number of Jews and Palestinians are peace-loving and tolerant of each other, who do not want aggression and are in favour of a peaceful solution to the problem. Even during the recent 2021 Israel – Palestine Crisis, the Jews and Arabs of Israel protested against the war between the Israeli government and Hamas, as reported by France 24 on May 18, 2021. “Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel, let’s live together,” read the headline of Haaretz (an Israeli newspaper, founded in 1918) editorial on Tuesday.
Titled “Against the backdrop of Gaza Violence, Israel’s Jews and Arabs join forces for peace,” the report said that Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel have taken to the streets across Israel, while calling for an end to the inter-communal clashes that have erupted within the borders of the country.
Nonetheless, whether someone is a Jewish, Muslim, Christian or the follower of any other religion or sect, everyone should be treated as a human, in the first place, irrespective of any of their background.
Accordingly, all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, as made clear in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person; no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state, and everyone has the right to a nationality, while no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile, as stated in the UDHR.
Thus, this is the responsibility of the Israeli government, Hamas and other anti-Israeli groups and the world community to resolve the Israeli – Palestinian Conflict peacefully and bring peace and prosperity to the region.