Riots between Palestinians and Israelis in the old town of Jerusalem, April 2014
© picture alliance / landov
The political and sometimes military conflict in the Middle East between Israel and the Arab states, particularly between Israel and the Palestinians, is called the "Middle East conflict”. To understand the causes of this conflict, it is necessary to know its historical background: In 70 A.D., that is, almost 2,000 years ago, the Jewish state in Palestine was destroyed by the Romans. Its inhabitants were scattered to many parts of the world (diaspora). For centuries, the Jews were seen as outsiders in many countries where they lived, and were often persecuted as well. For this reason, they had a growing desire to establish their own state again in their original homeland. By now, there were only a few Jews still living in Palestine; most of its inhabitants were Muslims, along with some Christians. They spoke Arabic and felt themselves to be part of the Arab
Car wreck after an Israelian attack in Gaza, July 2014
© picture alliance/ AA
world. When, at the start of the 20th century, a growing number of Jewish immigrants started coming to Palestine, the seeds of the present Middle East conflict were sown. After the First World War
, Great Britain had been given the mandate, or task, of administering Palestine. It gave permission for Jews to immigrate there. Particularly during the Holocaust, many Jews fled to Palestine to escape the Nazis. When the British mandate ended in 1948, the state of Israel was proclaimed against the will of the Palestinians and the other Arab states.
Five Israeli-Arab wars
took place. The Middle East became an international flashpoint. Many Arabs fled the region; a large number still live in refugee camps to this day. In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was founded. Since then, it has called for the establishment of a separate Palestinian state, which still has not been created. There have been many negotiations and treaties between
This terror attack by Palestinian assassins in 2002 killed eight Israelis
© picture alliance / dpa
Israel and the neighbouring Arab states in a bid to reduce tensions in the Middle East. In 1994 and 1995, Israel and the PLO signed agreements on the partial independence of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, these agreements met with great resistance both in Israel and among the Palestinian people. This not infrequently leads to violent guerrilla or terrorist
attacks by the Palestinians and military reactions from the Israeli armed forces. The civilian population is often affected as well. To this day, a resolution of the Middle East is being desperately sought – often with the involvement of the international community. In principle, it all revolves around the following problem: the Palestinians demand their own nation; the Israelis demand the recognition of the state of Israel. Is there a solution that would allow all the people in this region to live in peace
? And what could this solution look like?
Gerd Schneider / Christiane Toyka-Seid