Jerusalem, also dubbed the ‘Holy Land’ is perhaps one of the most revered places on the planet. The city is considered to be among the most sacred sites for not just Jews; but Christians and Muslims as well. But this distinction has also plunged the region into violence, time and again through out much of the past 3,000 years.
Currently, the state of Israel, a country created on the religious ideology of Zionism extends a mere 20, 000 miles and is surrounded by twenty one Arab countries, predominantly populated by Muslims. Settlements of about 5 million Israelis, particularly those located close to Palestinian territory lie at the heart of the conflict. Experts contend that the Arab-Israeli conflict is more than meets the eye. Extremist Palestinian groups such as Hezbollah incessantly carry our attacks on Israeli check posts and other locations. Israeli army conducts regular operations, often with support from the Air force. But the conflict is also a proxy war being fought between more influential Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon; and western powers including the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Yet only civilians have had to face the savagery of war. Estimates from “B’TSELEM”, an Israeli watchdog organization show that 4,791 Palestinian and 237 Israeli civilians have died in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between 2000 and 2008.
Currently Israel has imposed a total embargo on Palestine. Due to this even an aid convoy dubbed “Freedom Flotilla” sent by a Turkish non-government organization was not allowed to enter Israeli waters. Israeli commandos killed 10 international peace activists, and arrested dozens more. As expected, Turkey and other Arab countries condemned the act of aggression. The Arab League and OIC held emergency sessions, hours after the incident. Surprisingly, some European countries that have traditionally adopted a neutral stance have also stepped up rhetoric against Israel. Some commentators predict that the increased international pressure may force Israel to end its blockade soon. But the core conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is a lot deeper. Solving that, is a different ball game!