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With reference to one major international conflict. Assess and analyse the geographical impacts of the conflict on the areas involved.

The area I am going to look it is the state of Israel, and it's conflict with Palestine. The conflict is complex, with some of the issues stretching back to grudge matches from hundreds of years ago. The geographic impacts of this conflict are extensive, and have great bearing on the future of the two countries involved.

The Israeli conflict has had a great bearing on the social and cultural spheres of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. Citizens, especially Palestinians living in areas such as the Gaza strip live each day in fear of Israeli attacks, at the same time Israeli civilians live each day with the risk of Palestinian terrorists, especially suicide bombers; since the start of the conflict it is estimated that 40,000 civilians have lost their lives. This has vastly impacted on the demographics of the countries, especially Palestine, many people have lost family members, property, and religious buildings have been destroyed. This devastation to their country, in areas such as the Gaza strip has allowed the controlling party of Hamas to radicalise the Palestinian youth. 50% of Gazans are under 17 years of age and, seeing no future for themselves in Gaza, become suicide bombers in the hope to avenge fallen family members; and strike out for a country they feel is being ignored by the international community. 700,000 Palestinians have been forced into refugee camps by the conflict, and there is the continued risk to the community of unexploded mines planted by both sides. Even if the conflict ended today (it shows no sing of doing so) the impact on Palestine would still be significant; rehabilitating the refugees and clearing the minefields are just two problems that would have to be overcome, and in Palestine's current state it would be hard pressed to achieve either. Israel too has suffered socially, terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens have left many dead, and again promoted an extremist view on how to 'deal with the Arabs' as Israeli terrorist group Keshet put it.

In terms of political impacts, the Israel conflict has exacerbated the ancient grudges between Arabs and Jews that has existed for hundreds of years. The creation of Israel in the middle of several Arab nations, coupled with the Jewish attitude towards the indigenous Arab population of Israel has done nothing to help this situation. The Jewish government frequently flouts international restrictions on its borders, building in Arab owned land that it supposed to be protected by international law. This has led to rising tension from the surrounding Arab countries, seeking to protect other Arabs, as well as preventing a worsening of the already critical refugee situation created by Israel's aggressive stance towards Palestinian land. The land Israel has taken from Palestine means Israel now controls the entire coastline, this has allowed Israel to control both the imports and exports into the Gaza strip, one of Palestine's few remaining settlements. This has led to food crisis for Gazans and worse, a water crisis, Israelis receive four times more water daily than Palestinians and this is again worsening the political tension between the controlling governments of both parties. The controlling governments themselves are influenced by the conflict, the Hamas government of Palestine were seen as an extremist option, the only option Israel had left Palestine, and the Israeli government is constantly put under pressure by orthodox Jews and Zionist Jews to treat the Palestinians harsher. The political impacts of this conflict will again be long lasting, as both countries have bred a deep mistrust of each other, which will take time to overcome, and in my opinion will not happen any time soon with Israel's current attitude towards Palestine.

The economic results of the conflict are also worsening the scenario. The damage to the infrastructure of Gaza has paralysed the state economically, Gaza cannot produce enough goods to support itself economically, and this lack of economic stability has contributed to the political instability brought about by the Hamas terrorist group being put in charge of Palestine, by people turning to extremist parties out of desperation. The damage to the country has also prompted a lack of foreign investment into the country, the damage to the infrastructure has made Gaza reliant on foreign aid, but without investment it is possible Palestine could remain reliant on this aid, as it has no current means to support itself. The damage to the infrastructure also means that rates of poverty and unemployment are high in both Gaza and the West Bank, with 65% of all Palestinians being unemployed. The damage to the environment has worsened the economic crisis in Gaza, the loss of agricultural land to Israeli attacks, Palestinian military bases, and the “buffer zone” between the two countries, has meant that many Palestinian farmers can no longer farm for subsistence, or profit; making it even harder for Gaza to recover from the situation it is in.

The demographic situation is also worsening the problem. The population of Israel has risen from 2.14 million to 7.47 million in 51 years, mainly due to Jewish immigration coupled with the culture of Arab families promoting large families. This culture of promoting large families has created a crisis for Palestinians due to their land loss to Israel, the population of Israel is sky-rocketing while their territory is constantly being eroded by Israeli Zionists. The constant immigration of Jews into Israel can be seen as an issue for Israel as well, it can argued that Israel has to expand to accommodate the influx of immigrant into it, but I do not think this is the case, and even if it is in my opinion this does not justify Israel's aggressive expansion policy concerning Palestine. The growth rate of both countries is unsustainable at the current rates, but as a minimum in my opinion Israel needs to cede some land to Palestine if this is ever to be resolved but again this seems unlikely in my opinion with the Israeli governments current attitude towards Palestine.

The geographic impacts of this conflict are complex, however in my opinion Israel is to blame for the majority of them, the crisis is largely of their making in their treatment of the Palestinians whose country they occupied then subjugated, with no signs of stopping soon. Both countries are being pressured by extremist parties, and in my opinion both countries need to stop allowing these extremist parties to speak for them. The Israeli government needs to resist the pressures of the orthodox Jews; but it is much harder to convince the Palestinians to turn against Hamas, not only are Hamas now in control through terror, but many Palestinians see them as their only option. Israel has left them no option but to fight, and Hamas are are their opportunity to do so. A peace settlement needs to be made, so both sides can rebuild, and move on, however for me Israel needs to actively voice a peaceful attitude to Palestine and cede some land, especially a coastal area, to Palestine, before Palestine will trust it enough to co-operate. 

Sam S. GCSE Geography tutor, A Level Geography tutor

1 year ago

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