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Israelis, Palestinians and a Cycle of Violence

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is a conflict between 2 traumatized communities with legitimate claims to the same land. Both Israelis and Palestinians suffer from the various historic traumas their communities endured: The Nakba, the 1972 Olympic Massacre in Munich, the Coastal Road Massacre, the Sabra and Shatila Massacre, the October 7 Massacre by Hamas, the current Israel Retaliation Bombing of Gaza, and many other traumatic events that have left countless innocent Israelis and Palestinians killed.

I wanted to learn more about the beginning of the conflict and learned about the British Mandate in the early 20th century.

During World War I, the British and the Arab independence movement were both fighting the Ottoman Empire for control of the Palestinian area. Through a series of letters in 1916 between the British High Commissioner of Cairo Sir Henry McMahon and The Sherif Hussein of Mecca, the British promised to support and recognize an independent Arab state if the Arabs would help the British fight the Ottomans. The Arabs revolted against the Ottomans and helped the British defeat the Ottoman Empire.

In 1917, however, the British reneged on their promise to the Arabs and instead issued the Balfour Declaration, which promised the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. Under the Balfour Declaration, the Arab population living in Palestine would have civil and religious rights but not political rights.

Learning about this, I can understand why the Palestinians would feel betrayed. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians have competing claims on the same land based on contradictory promises made by the British Empire in the early 20th century.

Since that time, Israelis and Palestinians have provoked each other in escalating cycles of violence that result in the killing of innocent Israelis and Palestinians. Various groups have tried to get people to take one side or another in the conflict. To me, it seems more important to break the cycle of violence so that future generations of Israelis and Palestinians are not sacrificed.

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