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  • Max Hyman

Morals of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Upon early stages of research of the history of the Israel-Palestine issue, I came across a basic conflict of interest. In the interest of comprehension, one must understand that in 1917, Palestine was a 'mandate' run by the British Empire. Hundreds of thousands of Jews migrated to the region, as part of the Zionist movement; this group of mostly European Jews looked to escape persecution and establish their own state in their ancestral homeland. While Palestinians view the increased concentration of Jews in their claimed land as an invasion of their society, this group of migrating Jews saw the move as necessary in order to escape death. Unfortunately, these two extremes in opinion meant a lack of understanding or even intent of understanding this even from the other perspective. In later years, and into today, the assertion of both opinions of what occurred in 1917 are driving factors of deep hostility.

So, this raises the question - is it ethical to impose oneself or one's society on the life of a different society in order to escape danger? Is it ethical to be upset at others for escaping danger into your land, especially if both groups have claims to the land for historical land? Furthermore, is it ethical to be so intensely stubborn that oneself is unable to understand the opposite point of view, over a century later? Which group had a more moral opinion of what occurred in 1917 and why? Secondly, the question arises over which group has not only the moral right in their decisions, but also in the foundation of their arguments. Both claim to have a historical and religious right to the entire land in question - mostly, to Jerusalem and other landmarks of psychological significance. In the historical sense, the Jewish claim to the land derive thousands of years ago, from when King David pronounced Israel for the Jewish people.

Most importantly, Jerusalem was established as the vibrant center of the Jewish culture and society. However, though Israel has changed hands numerous times over the past millenia, the most recent and major government over the land was the Islamic Ottoman empire - which ruled right up until tension filled the political vacuum after WWI. With religious reasoning, it is indisputable that this land was essential to the Jewish bible - Jerusalem was the place where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac to God (a key story). Abraham's grandson Jacob took the name Israel, and Jerusalem was home to the first temple of the times of King Solomon.

In the Quran, however, Jerusalem was the last place the Prophet Muhammad visited before ascending to the heavens at the Dome of the Rock in the 7th century. While this site (Western Wall/Dome of the Rock) is of extreme holiness to 2 of the world's major religions, it is considered the holiest place in Judaism and the 3rd holiest in Islam. Does one claim topple the other? Or, rather, is it even fair to make the assumption that one claim is more important to a people? Should ownership of land even be based on historical or religious claims? These questions are undoubtedly essential to understanding why the conflict has evolved into what it is today. Leave your comments below as to, apart from personal bias, where the morality of this situation lies.

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