In 1917, a tiny 67-word letter changed everything in the Palestinian region. It was written by Britain’s foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour. He promised a home for Jewish people in Palestine, with Britain’s help. But this promise caused a lot of trouble. You see, Britain controlled Palestine, but the people who lived there, mostly Arabs, were very angry. They felt like their land was being taken away by force. This anger led to conflicts between Arabs and Jews.
Fast forward to 1947, when Britain gave up control of Palestine. The United Nations had to step in. They said there should be two countries, Palestine and Israel, and that Jerusalem should be an international city. Seemed fair, right? But the Arabs didn’t think so. They were upset because the Jews got more land. This disagreement led to a war, and Israel gained even more land. Egypt took control of Gaza, and Jordan took the West Bank.
But the story doesn’t end there. In 1967, another war broke out, and Israel took control of Gaza and the West Bank. Palestine was almost gone. The Palestinian people saw this as an illegal occupation. Some tried to talk things out, while others used violence. In the 1980s, a group called Hamas started making headlines for fighting against Israel. Many countries tried to help make peace between Israel and Palestine, but the conflicts didn’t stop.
In the 1990s, Israel gave up some control of the West Bank and Gaza to a temporary Palestinian government because of international pressure. But it didn’t stop the conflicts. The Arab people still wanted what they believed was their land. When Hamas took control of Gaza in 2006, Israel tightened its grip. They closed off Gaza from the rest of the world, shutting down land, sea, and air routes. Two million people were trapped in a tiny area with no freedom to move around.
This had terrible effects on Gaza’s economy. The United Nations looked at the numbers and found that Gaza had the world’s highest unemployment rate. More than half the people there were living in poverty.
In 2006, Gaza was contributing a good chunk to the Palestinian economy, but by 2018, it had shrunk to just a small part. From an economic point of view, Gaza suffered massive losses, costing billions of dollars between 2007 and 2018.
Now, we come to today.
In recent years, many in the West have suggested an “economic peace” as the solution to this long-standing conflict. They say there are valuable oil and natural gas fields in the disputed region, worth a colossal $524 billion.
The United States has also worked to make peace between Israel and several Arab nations. In 2020, they brought the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan together to make deals with Israel. These deals were meant to benefit each Muslim nation and promote trade with Israel, creating jobs and prosperity. While the U.S. has tried to get major Middle Eastern players like Saudi Arabia involved, the concerns of Palestine have taken a back seat.
All of this continued until the recent violent attacks. Now, we have to wonder if this war will affect the whole world. We don’t know yet. Israel and Palestine don’t produce much oil, but oil prices have already gone up. Some think it’s because of Iran, which some believe supported Hamas’ attacks. If Iran gets directly involved, it could be a big problem. They not only produce oil but also control the vital Strait of Hormuz, where 37% of all sea-based oil exports pass through. If militants in the region target this passage, it could shock oil prices.
For now, we can only hope that reason prevails in the region, that the war ends soon, and that innocent people don’t have to suffer from these senseless attacks.