Many believers feel that the only right Israel has to the land is because God gave them the land in the Bible days. But that stance, however true, may sound sentimental and unjust.
Remember, the Roman government killed Jesus at the request of the Jews. So, the land was under Roman colonisation. Jesus predicted that the temple would be destroyed.
In an attempt to un-Israelize the land, the temple was destroyed in 70 CE and many Jews were killed, taken as slaves and many others were forcibly exiled. Rome also unofficially name the place, “the land of Palestine” so as to disassociate the Jews from the land.
The Roman power fell and the Ottoman Empire took over the region. The Ottoman Empire was an Arab/Muslim empire and included places like Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and more.
They built a structure known as the “Dome of the Rock” on the site of the destroyed temple and a mosque beside it. The Dome is seen as very important to Muslims because it is said that Prophet Muhammad made night journeys and ascension from there. The Mosque beside it is also held in high esteem by the Arab and Muslim world.
After World War I, the Ottoman Empire fell and the region was placed under the control of France and Britain by the League of Nations (now United Nations) with the mandate of preparing them for self-rule. Britain was in charge of Jordan and the Land of Israel/Palestine. While France was in charge of the rest. Other countries soon gained their independence but Britain continued to oversee the land of Palestine/Land of Israel due to the complexity and peculiarity of their situation.
At the time, the number of Jews on the land had greatly reduced and the Arabs had increased. Take Ilorin in Kwara State for instance where you have the Fulanis becoming legitimate indigenous Ilorin due to their long stay since they migrated there.
The Zionist Movement began to gain momentum. The Zionist movement is a clamour for Israelites around the world to return to their land of origin. Remember the prophecy in the book of Isaiah 43:5-6
5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;
6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth” and other places where God said Israelites would return from the North, South, East and West.
The increased population of the Jews caused tensions with the Arabs living on the land. There was also the Holocaust where 6 Million Jews living in Europe were killed by Adolf Hitler during the Second World War. This made it very important for the world government to give the Jewish people a country of their own that they could identify with.
The British government wanted to hand over the land and came up with a plan which was passed and declared by the United Nations. It is known as the Partition Declaration. They gave the Jews about 1/3 of the land while they gave the Arabs the remaining 2/3. The division was based on their population. They said Jerusalem would be under the International government because of both claims to the holy sites (the remains of the temple wall, Dome of the Rock together with the mosque).
The Jews accepted, and the Arabs rejected. They said they wanted the whole land. That led to fighting but Israel declared itself independent anyway six months after the UN plan in May 1948.
The surrounding Arab nations (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq, as well as local Palestinian Arab forces) gathered to go on an all-out war with Israel with one intention- to wipe out the State of Israel. By the end of the war, Israel had taken more lands including control over part of Jerusalem. The other part of Jerusalem including the Holy sites fell to Jordan and Egypt occupied Gaza.
18 years after in 1967, the Arab nations gathered again to wipe out the State of Israel. They were gathering planes and ammunition for ground assault. Before they could fire the first bullet, Israel had blown their planes and other ammunition. In 6-days, Israel had beaten all of them seizing the whole of Jerusalem and the rest of the lands Jordan and Egypt held and even more. This is known as the Six-Day War.
Seizing more lands means Israel occupied (in charge) the lands that were once given to the Palestine people and some places belonging to the surrounding Arab nations. Occupying those lands not only reduces the risk of further assault but also creates a gap between the hostile neighbours and Israel’s border.
However, the occupation comes with strict monitoring of the Palestinians and high-handedness. This is judged to be an abuse of their fundamental human rights and it always leads to confrontations between the Palestinian and the Israeli soldiers. To the Palestinians, it is an abuse of their rights but to Israel, it is DEFEND OR DIE.
Meanwhile, Israel has since returned many of those lands including Gaza.
Hamas, a designated terrorist group took over the government of Gaza and has since been launching rockets into Israel targeting civilians from time to time. If not for the Israeli air defence system. For instance, on the first day of this October 2023 attack, Hamas launched 5,000 rockets in a day.
Hezbollah, another terrorist group stationed itself in Lebanon and has been attacking Israel from the Lebanon-Israel border which is on the north side of Israel. Gaza is on the east.
The baseline is that, after several failed attempts by the surrounding Arab nations to go to war with Israel, they began to sponsor and support terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah so that when they strike, they would say, “A terrorist group killed Israel civilians”, no government will be directly held accountable. And when Israel fights back, it would be that the “Government of Israel attacked civilians”. Iran did not even hide the fact that they are the one bankrolling the Hezbollah terrorist group.
One time, Israel entered Lebanon to chase out the Iran-backed Hezbollah but they have since regrouped and returned to Lebanon.
Hamas, situated in Gaza recruited so many people and on October 7, 2023, breached Israel’s borders, killed every being in sight and kidnapped some. In total, it is on record that they killed 1,400 people including 260 people from a party that was holding that night. 203 people from Israel have been confirmed kidnapped. Hamas said they are up to 250.
Back to the Background, both Israel and Palestine Arabs have a right to the land just like the Yorubas and the indigenous Fulanis can claim Ilorin today. There is a need for a middle ground and a peace deal if these continuous assaults would end or be reduced to the minimum.
Several and Several proposals have been made in the past by Britain, the UN, US again and again. Many of which were opposed by the leaders of Palestine.
The aim of Israel in the ongoing war started by Hamas is to remove Hamas from the government of Gaza and incapacitate it from causing a future harm on the state of Israel.