Land of Canaan. Part III, 50 years of turmoil.

After 1967 Six Day War further history of Israel resembles the first 20 years of its existence, with more military conflicts with Arabs and Palestinian insurgency. Great Jewish victory didn’t deter their foes from trying to retake the land. In some cases it actually proved to cause exactly opposite effect. Humiliated Arab leaders decided to recuperate their armies and punish Israel. As a consequence many calamitous sequence of events followed.
“Black September”. In 1972 during Olympic Games in German City of Munich Palestinian gunmen took Israeli team hostage and eventually killed its members.
Only one year later, on 6th of October 1973 coordinated attacks of Syria and Egypt hit targets in occupied territories in Sinai and Golan Heights. The surprise intervention was launched on Yom Kippur – the holiest day in Judaism. Fights lasted until 25th of the month and after suffering severe looses, with support from the USA Israel managed to push back the hostile armies and ultimately won the war.
Camp David Accord. In 1977 Sadat visit to Jerusalem brought long-awaited U-turn in the countries’ bilateral relations. Thanks to efforts of Jimmy Carter, the then US president, Israel and Egypt signed peace treaty, ending 30 years of war. The process which had stared in November 1977 resulted in Camp David Accord of 1978 and led Israel to expand Palestinian self-government in West Bank and Gaza, withdrawal from Sinai, as well as to Egypt’s recognition of Israel.
The next chapter of the Middle East history – invasion of Lebanon was one of the most tragic events in the region and a big disgrace for Israel and humankind. In June 1982 Jewish forces invaded its neighbour due to expel PLO leadership. In September the same year residents of two Palestinians refugee camps in Beirut Sabra and Shatila were slaughtered by allied to Israel Christians Phalangist movement. Hobeika’s (leader of Christians Phalagist) people did not spare anybody, raping women, killing hundreds of children, women and elderly. All coordinated and watched by Israeli commanders. In an action to get rid of ‘terrorists’ and to take reprisal for assassination attempt of Israeli ambassador to London by small Palestinian militant group. Three years later Israeli forces left Lebanon.
Late 80’s and early 90’s was the time of first Palestinian Intifada – popular uprising against occupation, birth of Hamas and first talks between Palestinians, Syrians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Israeli representatives during Madrid conference. The efforts resulted in signing peace treaty by Israel and Jordan. Until the mid 90’s progress made in peace process gave short lasting hope for the end of the war and beginning of two state solution. Palestinian National Authority was formed from PLO administration members, who were finally allowed to came back from exile in Tunis with Yasser Arafat as its leader. Furthermore both sides agreed to transfer more power and territory to the newly created Palestinian Authorities. The course of better mutual understanding and good will finished in 1996 when conservative Likud Party under Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power.
Beginning of the new millennium brought only more uncertainty and turbulence regarding reaching deal with Palestinians. Frequently changing Israeli government back and forth from conservative to liberal did not help the case. Moreover Palestinian street which seemed never to be happy with any compromise with Israel and the outcome of the talks in general, yet again started to attack Jewish nationals and the state. Second intifada and suicide attacks from one side and military actions (Defensive Shield) and building concrete wall separating two nations from one another became new-old reality of everyday life of Palestinians and Jewish alike. Alongside growing tension and hostility mutual efforts to find solution went ahead and in June 2003 both sides agreed for a plan brokered by the United States, European Union, Russia and United Nations, a plan requiring halt of West Bank illegal Jewish settlements and an end to Palestinian aggression towards Israelis. Nevertheless in 2006 Hamas Islamist group won the elections in Gaza Strip. Attacks on Israel became more frequent, pulling into fights big numbers of desperate young man over the years. As a response Jewish forces launched three massive military actions against their enemies. First one, month lasting Operation Cast Lead in December 2008, the second Pillar of Defence in November 2012 and the latest one – Operation Protective Edge from July to August 2014, leaving this small piece of land reduced to rubble, with 3660 Palestinians casualties, most civilians and 85 dead on the Jewish side. And even though in 2005 Israel ended its military presence withdrawing also all its settlers, the state kept control over airspace, coastal waters and borders, not letting trucks of concrete and building materials to reach their destination and therefore stopping Palestinians from rebuilding their homes. Instead in June 2017 trucks full of concrete and building materials went elsewhere, to occupied West Bank, where for the first time in 25 years Jewish settlements works have begun.
It seems that none of the both respected 2003 plan, the plan Israelis and Palestinians agreed for. The peace process is in impasse for years to come. Almost dead.
Knowing all that – the history from the moment of creation we are still left with more questions than answers. Why do Israelis overreact so much? Responding with armed fire against teenagers throwing stones? Or maybe state of war is in favour of some influential people and help them to stay in power? Also there is hardly anything else which fuels economy better than well maintained war. So is it money what stops the peace process? And the most important one which comes to my mind is how is it possible that after so many of innocent lives taken both sides don’t do everything what they can to stop the war? I guess that the history can give only a few answers. There are so many different factors to this issue: honour, vendetta, independence, trauma, growing demographics, influential minorities inside respective societies and above all the land – for many much more precious than any human life.


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