Search This Blog

Friday, 28 August 2015

Why is Korea divided?

Over the last week North and South Korea have entered talks to help stabilize the current tensions between the two countries. The 38th Parallel, the border between North and South, is one of the most heavily militarized borders in the world with 2 million soldiers guarding the border on both sides. Both countries are vastly different from one another ranging from politics to culture and even what year it is, in North Korea their calendar starts when its founder, Kim Il-sung, was born. How did the Korean peninsular get divided?

Initial Division
In 1910 Korea was annexed by Japan which added the peninsula to the Japanese Empire. Many Koreans fled abroad, some to China who founded the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea under Syngman Rhee while others in China founded the Communist Party of Korea. One of its early members was Kim Il-sung. The communists led guerrilla fighting against the Japanese from 1919 until 1925 while the Provisional Government tried to establish international support for Korea. Both failed. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s there was a forced cultural assimilation of Koreans to adopt Japanese culture which ranged from banning the speaking of Korean in public to name changes for Koreans. This would later inspire the Allies at the 1943 Cairo Conference during the Second World War to establish Korean independence. Great Britain, the USA and China all agreed to help establish Korean independence. At the Yalta Conference two years later the leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, agreed to declare war on Japan. On the 10th August 1945 the Red Army had started to invade northern Korea. The same day two US generals, Charles Bonesteel III and Dean Rusk, were tasked with deciding where the US occupation of Korea would lie. They decided to place US occupation for everything below the 38th parallel while the Soviet Union would occupy everything above the 38th parallel. When Japan surrendered later that year the Koreans wished for their own right to rule themselves but this was denied by both the Soviet Union and USA. In the south the US occupiers banned protests and in 1946 widespread riots in what was known as the Autumn Uprising led to martial law being imposed. In 1948 elections took place in the North and South which was marred by terrorism in the south. Following the election the Worker's Party of Korea won under the leadership of Kim Il-sung while in the south the election was won by the pro-American and anti-communist Syngman Rhee. War would soon follow.

Countdown to the Korean War
Kim Il-sung on the left, Syngman Rhee on the right
In the south prior during 1948 Syngman Rhee led multiple purges against left wing groups, such as banning leftists and communists from taking part in southern politics. Multiple atrocities soon followed, the worse being the Jeju Uprising in 1948 where the South Korean army massacred between 14,000-30,000 people, something which the government blamed on the communists. Many other atrocities took place on the pretext of the army hunting for communist guerrillas. In the North meanwhile Kim Il-sung was also removing political opponents. Most of the other left wing parties were merged into one under Kim Il-sung's leadership and the leaders of those parties who refused to join Kim's party were arrested. All parties that weren't the Workers Party of Korea were banned, those who supported other parties arrested and public organizations were made illegal. Unlike in the south there were no mass protests as Kim Il-sung had already started creating a personality cult surrounding himself. The first statues of himself calling him 'The Supreme Leader' started appearing in 1949. Quite likely this allowed him to quickly indoctrinate the public into supporting him, aided by the fact that he fought the Japanese as a guerrilla soldier. In 1948 the Soviets had withdrawn from the North while in 1949 the US had withdrawn from the South. Kim Il-sung's Korea was now officially called the Democratic People's Republic of Korea while Syngman Rhee's Korea was officially called the Republic of Korea. Both leaders wished to unite Korea under their rule. Kim Il-sung even traveled to Moscow to get Stalin to support a forced unification of Korea under communist rule. When US diplomat John Foster Dulles visited South Korea Syngman Rhee even directly expressed an interest in conquering the North. Stalin was reluctant to support a war at first but in 1949 communists under Mao Tse-tung took power in China and the Soviets managed to detonate their own nuclear bomb. After these events he started to supply the Kim regime with weapons while the US started to train Syngman Rhee's army. In 1950 war would be declared.

The Korean War
On the 25th June 1950 war began. Fighting initially started in the Ongjin peninsula where the North crossed the 38th parallel. It is unknown who fired the first shots as Southern claims of capturing the city of Haeju has led some to believe that the South may have fired first. Regardless of who did fire first within an hour of the fighting beginning in Ongjin the North Korean army crossed the 38th parallel. Armed with tanks and heavy artillery the North easily routed the South's army which had no tanks, anti-tank weaponry or heavy artillery. Just two days after fighting began Syngman Rhee fled Seoul. The next day he ordered the execution of any political opponents as well as the destruction of a highway over the Han River which would allowed the North easy access to Seoul. 4000 civilians were on the highway at that time trying to run from the Northern army, at least 800 were killed by the blast. On the same day Seoul fell. On the 27th US President Harry Truman ordered US personnel to aid the South Korean army. He managed to convince multiple UN member nations to send their militaries to aid the South Koreans. 16 nations sent troops to Korea under the leadership of US General Douglas MacArthur who set up the Pusan Perimeter, a line to defend against the North until reinforcements arrived. Starting with the Battle of Inchon in the September of 1950 the UN coalition managed to break through the Pusan Perimeter. In one month the UN coalition had managed to push North Korea back to the 38th parallel. President Truman was fiercely anti-communist and had been criticized by opponents for 'losing' China to communism. He decided to unify Korea under Syngman Rhee and on the 1st October MacArthur crossed the 38th parallel. What followed was a devastating loss of human life thanks to the North's scorched earth policy and the South's army massacring leftists and those suspected to be pro-communist. They quickly were at the Chinese border. Feeling threatened by the anti-communist coalition moving towards the Chinese border Mao Tse-tung declared war on the coalition. China's army, the PVA, pushed the coalition back over the 38th parallel quickly. For the next few years a stalemate which costed the lives of thousands of Korean citizens occurred. When MacArthur suggested using nuclear weapons against China he was replaced by Truman whose popularity was waning in the view of the US public. In 1952 he lost the election to Dwight Eisenhower who promised to end the Korean War. In 1953 a peace deal was signed between North Korea, China and the UN coalition. However no peace agreement was signed between the North and South, it has been one long ceasefire since then.

Post-war era
Following the end of the war there has been the establishment of the Demilitarized Zone, DMZ, separates the borders of the two countries. Above pictured is the only place not guarded by mines, barbed wire and tanks. Since the end of the war the differences between the two countries have escalated. The South turned increasingly to the USA and Japan who quickly benefited. Trade with the two countries, especially with the USA who wanted a non-communist country in Asia during the Cold War, allowed the South Korean economy to flourish. Even to this day the USA holds many practice drills and has many army bases in the South. In the North meanwhile society became increasingly oppressive. The personality cult surrounding Kim Il-sung increased astronomically. Short wave radios that could only pick of radio signals coming from government sources were distributed to all households. Prison camps were expanded and torture became widespread in such camps. Harsh laws to stop anti-government ideas were put in place where if someone fled the country their siblings, their siblings children, parents and grandparents would all be sent to a prison camp. This and the firm personality cult actually created political stability for North Korea. In the South following Syngman Rhee's overthrowing in a coup political assassinations and coups took place. That is until 1987 when democratic elections took place. Although South Korea turned into a fully fledged democracy this did not help tensions.

Problems with reunification
There are multiple issues why the North and South cannot reunify. The economic difference between the two nations are astonishing, as the picture above shows the North cannot run cities with only the capital Pyongyang getting power. From 1994 to 1998 a famine hit North Korea through political mismanagement causing the deaths of up to 600,000 people, many chose to eat their own dead relatives. It would be unlikely that Korea would unite under the poorer North so the South would have to pay billions to relief to rebuilt the North. During the famine the South even sent over 250,000 tonnes of food to the North to help those starving. If unification did happen the relief would be even greater. The different political systems is a massive hindrance. In the 2014 Democracy Index from The Economist South Korea was rated the 21st most Democratic country while North Korea was rated the 167th, bearing in mind The Economist ranks 167 countries. We may laugh at many of North Korea's laws such as only 28 haircuts being allowed and jeans being illegal but this has allowed all forms of other political thinking to be nonexistent in North Korea. The personality cult surrounding the current leader Kim Jong-un has indoctrinated the entire nation into accepting the 1984-esque Big Brother society. With all this in mind it is unlikely that Korea will be unified any time soon.

Friday, 21 August 2015

What If: The August Coup had succeeded?

From the 19th August to the 21st August 1991 a failed coup took place in Moscow. Since his rise to power in 1985 the General Secretary of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev had been enacting his reforms of perestroika (reconstruction) and glasnost (openness). These reforms were meant to reinvigorate the stagnating Soviet economy, allow increased freedom of speech and lessened government controls over people's lives. He even re approached the United States which helped end the Cold War and gave more independence to the USSR's puppet communist states in Europe such as East Germany and Czechoslovakia. However these reforms had little success as Gorbachev tried to keep communism meaning that the economy could not grow and many conservative Soviet officials became irate over Gorbachev's reforms. The public became more angry as the new open government policy exposed the weaknesses of the Soviet economy and the USSR was slowly breaking up with the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) declaring their independence and Russia declaring it had increased sovereignty. In the August of 1991 eight leading officials including the USSR's Vice-President and the Chairman of the KGB formed the State Committee on the State of Emergency, the GKChP, with the intention of overthrowing the government. They placed Gorbachev under house arrest in Crimea and attempted to overthrow the government. However quick acting by Boris Yeltsin allowed the public to oppose the coup. When the coup failed its leaders were arrested and later that year the USSR collapsed. What if the coup had succeeded though?

The coup succeeds
One of the main reasons why the coup failed was the conspirators failed to arrest the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Russia Boris Yeltsin (he held the equivalent role of a state governor). Yeltsin informed two leading figures, Ivan Silayev the Prime Minister of the Supreme Soviet of Russia and the Supreme Soviet Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov, who in turn informed the public. In this scenario Yeltsin is arrested by the plotters before he could leave his summer home. After Yeltsin is placed under house arrest the early hours of the 19th would be the same as it was in our timeline where the GKChP takes control of the Soviet television and radios as well as the only independent radio Ekho Moskvy. Caught unawares Ivan Silayev and Ruslan Khasbulatov are arrested as they try to get to the White House, the Soviet workplace of the Russian Prime Minister. Small level protests would emerge demanding the release of Silayev and Khasbulatov as well as for Gorbachev to address the nation but these would be minuscule to what protests were like in our timeline. The next day the head of the GKChP who was also the Vice President, Gennady Yanayez, is declared the General Secretary after Gorbachev's 'resignation thanks to ill health'. The Defense Minister, Dmitry Yazov, calls for the army to support the Yanayez government and the KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov forbids the resignation of any KGB agents after many quit because of the coup. Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Silayev and Khasbulatov are forced to resign officially and are all placed under house arrest with the official story that they had to resign through family problems, ill health and possibly even political corruption. The last of the protesters are rounded up after martial law is declared in Moscow ending what is left of anti-coup protests. The coup has succeeded.

Following the coup
Following the coup the GKChP would try to reestablish dominance over the whole of the Soviet Union. The military would be sent to the Baltics, Moldova and Georgia to brutally suppress the independence movements and the leaders of the movements themselves would either be executed or sent to prisons. With the ease of communication that had arisen during the 1990s these would be internationally condemned. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union communism had fallen in the USSR's puppet states with East Germany reunifying with the West, the Velvet Revolution ousting communism from Czechoslovakia and the Romanian Communist Party being dissolved following the execution of its General Secretary Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989. It would be unlikely that the new Soviet government would be able to reinstate control over these nations. However they would seek out Yugoslavia as an ally who was collapsing thanks to ethnic tensions, something that would lead to genocide. North Korea and China would also offer closer partnerships with the new Soviet government, China especially who had managed to end its own protest for democracy following the Tiananman Massacre. Relations with the USA would break down and the work that had been done during the 1980s to ease tensions would be undone as the Soviet government starts rearming. Criticisms from President Bush on the coup and crackdown on protesters would infuriate the new USSR. They in turn would criticize the USA on the Gulf War and its funding of contras in Nicaragua and mujahadeen fighters in Afghanistan. Both nations would rearm. Instead of ending the Cold War it would fire up again.

Domestic USSR
Parades in Red Square showing the USSR's missiles would become common again during the 1990s and the 2000s as a gesture of force in the continued Cold War. Like in the 1950s when the Cold War was very intense the Soviet Union would spend most of its GDP on the military. Instead of nuclear missiles though most of the weapons would be ballistic missiles and drones as the face of warfare changed. During the Gorbachev years the USSR went through a period of decentralization as each state of the USSR (Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan) all gained increased sovereignty. Under the new government the increased sovereignty would be stripped off of them, possibly even more so in the Baltics, Georgia and Moldova who openly declared their independence. Each state, or republic, would be allowed to create their own laws but the law could only be ratified with the Kremlin's say so. Similarly the republics would be forced to pass any law that came from the Kremlin. The Soviet people would be able to see a rising economy and a better standard of living. The USSR, specifically Russia, had tonnes of raw resources such as coal, natural gas and oil which previously the Soviet government used to keep the economies of communist puppets going. No puppets means that all the natural resources could be used to trade with China and the EU. However with so much money being spent on the military most citizens would be unable to prosper as none of it would be going their way. The Russian oligarchs and monopolies would not exist in this timeline as a communist regime meant full control of businesses and the economy rested with the government. The massive economic collapse in Russia and the new republics following the dissolution of the USSR would not happen which in turn means that the Russian Mafia would remain small. The mafia grew exponentially as it thrived on the economic collapse so no collapse means that the mafia would remain small.

Censorship would return full force to the Soviet Union. The independent radio Ekho Moskvy would be outlawed and if it somehow managed to survive it would only be able to broadcast in secret. Literature deemed to be anti-communist or critical of the government would be banned along with any other media forms. The dancer Baryshnikov for one would be unable to return due to him being made an official US citizen. Today in Russia there has been a revival of the Orthodox religion following the breakup of the USSR which would not happen in this scenario. Religion was widely persecuted in the USSR so the persecution of the Orthodox church would continue as well as Islam in republics where Islam was the primary religion. Right wing politics gaining ground in Russia would never gain root thanks to the one-party communist state forbidding any other idea other than communism from getting into the USSR. Homosexuality was illegal in the USSR so likely homosexuals in the USSR would be more persecuted than they are today. When the internet gets invented it would be likely that the Soviet Union installs a firewall similar to that which China has today. In China foreign websites such as YouTube and Facebook cannot be accessed thanks to this firewall unless through the deep web so likely to reduce foreign influence the USSR would have a similar firewall.

A Cold War in the 2000s
In regards to US politics Bush would likely lose the 1992 election still. Criticism from Republicans about not doing enough to counteract the USSR and criticism from the Democrats for allowing the Cold War to return would allow Clinton to win. However in the USA there would be less welfare programs, including Obama Care if he manages to win the 2008 election in this timeline. From 1950-1985 many social welfare projects were criticized for being socialist and not passed due to the friction with the USSR. This could easily be repeated. Following 9/11 a US led invasion of Afghanistan would turn into a proxy war. The USSR would fund anti-American fighters in an ironic twist of fate considering that the US funded anti-Soviet fighters during the Soviet-Afghan War (1979-1988). Vladimir Putin would never come to power. In our timeline he resigned from the KGB in protest of the coup which helped him progress his career. In this timeline his resignation would stop him from being a leading figure. The current Ukrainian crisis would not happen as there would be no independent Ukraine but the USA and USSR would still disagree over Europe. The former communist nations such as Poland and Romania would be even more eager to join the EU and NATO to escape from the shadow cast by the USSR. Castro's Cuba would be a bigger ally to the USSR than it was during the 1980s thanks to the re-ignition of the Cold War. The current talks between Obama and Castro thus would not happen. The USSR would be a growing power having its biggest trade partners with the EU and China but would remain one of the most authoritarian governments in existence. 

Friday, 14 August 2015

Comics Explained: Deadpool

Last week the trailer for the new X-Men spin-off Deadpool starring Ryan Reynolds as the titular character was released. Since his debut in 1991 he has remained a fan favorite from comic book enthusiasts for his dark sense of humor and him repeatedly breaking the fourth wall, Deadpool is fully aware that he is in a comic book. Today we'll look at the character and publishing history of Deadpool.

First Appearance
Deadpool first appeared in The New Mutants #98 created by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist/writer Rob Liefeld. Liefeld designed his appearance and Nicieza designed his speech and mannerisms. Liefeld happened to be a fan of DC's Teen Titans, an superhero group comprising of teenage heroes similar to how the New Mutants were teenage mutants, and designed Deadpool with the Teen Titans' main villain Deathstroke in mind.
This is Deathstroke
Upon seeing the design Nicieza said 'this is Deathstroke from Teen Titans' so they decided to make Deadpool a parody of Deathstroke. Instead of the serious manner of Deathstroke Deadpool gained a jokey manner (although he was not a jokey as he is today) and even his name (Wade Wilson) was made to parody Deathstroke's name (Slade Wilson). In his first appearance Deadpool is hired by an enemy of the New Mutants called Tollivar to kill the leader of the group, Cable. He failed after a new member of the group called Domino put three knives in his back. 

Further Publications
Following his first appearance Deadpool started making cameo in other Marvel publications such as The Avengers and Daredevil. In Daredevil it was revealed that he was also challenging regular Daredevil villain Bullseye to be the Kingpin's assassin-for-hire. Two years following his initial appearance he gained his own brief comic series called Deadpool: The Circle Chase where his character went from slightly jokey to be more humorous and psychotic. 
The success of The Circle Chase drastically improved Deadpool's popularity and he gained his own series in 1997. Through this we learnt more of Deadpool's backstory. He was once a mercenary but after developing cancer throughout his body he joined the Weapon X program, the same program which gave Wolverine his adamantium claws, to help him find a cure. Due to the extreme mortality rates of people experimented on people would place bets on how long patients would last for. A 'deadpool'. Through the tortuous experiments Wade Wilson gained the healing ability that Wolverine has but the experiments also mentally broke him and left him visibly scarred. This also allowed him to see the true existence of the Marvel Universe, basically he realized that everyone in the Marvel Universe were comic book characters. After he had his heart ripped out a mixture of a thirst for vengeance and his healing factor allowed him to break out of the Weapon X facility with other patients. Adopting the name Deadpool the 'Merc with a Mouth' adopted mercenary work again. In his first real title his breaking of the fourth wall and dark humor became more prevalent earning himself a cult following among comic book fans. His slapstick violence against his best friend Weasel and playing violent pranks on Blind Al, a blind woman who he was supposed to assassinate but ended up kidnapping her to be his cleaner. Although Al would get revenge on him by putting laxatives in his food.

After his own series finished in Deadpool #69 it was believed that someone called Agent X was Deadpool but with amnesia. This Agent X teamed up with Deadpool's old foe Cable to form the team Agency X. It was revealed that Agent X was actually a different person and that the real Deadpool was being nursed slowly back to health. The real Deadpool teamed up with Cable to stop a terrorist plot which was trying to release the shapeshifting 'Facade Virus' into the world. This started Cable and Deadpool, a series where the former enemies teamed up to help save the world. The person who stabbed Deadpool with three knives in his first appearance, Domino, developed a friendship with him which turned romantic. Although Deadpool's narcissism and homicidal mentality meant that it did not last it was hinted that he did actually have some feelings for Domino with many people believing that his fear of chickens was put on because Domino had a fear of chickens. 

Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth and After
In 2009 Deadpool gained another publication called Merc with a Mouth where he founded the Deadpool Corps. He got multiple different versions of him to form a superhero group which would go from universe to universe fighting villains, eating chimichangas and spouting pop culture references. Most of the comic covers were even parodies of film posters or famous comic covers including Jurassic Park, Jaws, Dawn of the Dead and Wolverine #1. Members of the Deadpool Corps. included the original Deadpool, Kidpool, Lady Deadpool, Dogpool and Headpool (the decapitated by still living zombified head of Deadpool from the Marvel Zombies universe). He left his Deadpool Corp. to their own devices so he could go off on his own adventures. Briefly he joined the more violent branch of the X-Men called the X-Force and during an invasion of the Earth by the creator of Asgard itself he stole a magic hammer from some werewolf hunters and gave it to someone  (called Walrus) who thought it would give him strength to rival the Hulk. Deadpool would then defeat him when Walrus rampaged through a town and the grateful townspeople would give him a tonne of Confederate gold. This plan failed when he had to return the hammer to the werewolf hunters to stop a werewolf invasion and when he found out that the town's gold had been stolen years ago. He was briefly institutionalized in an asylum in England resulting him taking the Queen hostage who convinces him to release her after giving Deadpool relationship advice. 

Deadpool vs. Deadpool
Deadpool has fought himself twice in the last few years. One was Evil Deadpool who was formed when Deadpool threw his frozen, desiccated body parts in a bin which thawed and joined together. It only ends when Evil Deadpool is shot by police and a mysterious assassin who had a dart nullifying his healing factor. The second time he fought himself was in Deadpool kills Deadpool. The origin of that stems from the special Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe where in an alternate reality a sadistic voice comes into Deadpool's head after a failed mind control experiment which convinces him to kill all the Marvel characters in his universe and then the authors of Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. This alternate Deadpool, Dreadpool, decides to kill all the alternate versions of himself and manages to wipe out the entire Deadpool Corp, including my favorite PandaPool who Deadpool describes as being 'black and white and red all over', except for the original Deadpool. The battle between Deadpool and Dreadpool culminates in Dreadpool's original universe. During the battle Deadpool convinces Dreadpool that 'he did bad' and is killed by Deadpool.

Fun facts
Deadpool's favorite food is chimichangas although that is only through their long name. He also has very elequent handwriting saying that: I think it's a crime the way schools neglect the fundamental. Deadpool's awareness that he is in a fictional medium has transcended into cartoon, video game and even movie appearances. In the video game Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 after you beat him in a boss fight he mentions how he needs to get a bigger life bar. His own video game, incidentally called Deadpool, breaks the fourth wall virtually every other sentence ranging from criticizing the player when his life gets too low and repeatedly says that his video game 'is the best ever'. Although he was completely ruined in X-Men Origins: Wolverine he seems to be his famous self again judging by the trailers which have shown he has broken the fourth wall. In the teaser trailer he says 'from the studio that inexplicably sowed his f****** mouth shut the first time' as a reference to what happened to him in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In the actual trailer he says as well 'don't make the suit green or animated' as a little joke at the expense of the Green Lantern film which also starred Ryan Reynolds.

Friday, 7 August 2015

A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

One of the conflicts in our news is the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. With its constant coverage it can be viewed as an eternal conflict; in fact I have been told by my grandmother that her father said that World War Three would happen through this conflict during the 1970s. However the conflict only started during the mid-twentieth century. During the nineteenth century when both Israel and Palestine were under Ottoman rule Jews, Christians and Muslims got on well with an Orthodox Christian composer Wasif Jawhariyyeh reported that he used to play with his Muslim and Jewish friends as well as celebrating Passover and Eid with his friends. The conflict itself is not primarily motivated by religion but rather land. Today I will talk about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. If you are interested my information comes from the BBC, Al Jazeera, the YouTube channels TestTube and Crash Course and the books 1001 Days that Shaped the World and A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Hourani.

The origin of the conflict does not start in modern day Israel and Palestine but rather the Austro-Hungarian Empire in central Europe during the late nineteenth century. The Empire had various nationalist movements where each wanted their own independent nation; this itself would lead to crisis with Serbian nationalists assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand leading to the First World War. A journalist called Theodor Herzl would start his own nationalist movement.
Theodor Herzl
Herzl was Jewish and throughout European history Jews had been oppressed and treated as second class citizens. This continued to happen well into the late nineteenth century such as in 1894 a Jewish officer in the French army called Alfred Dreyfus was incarcerated for treason on extremely flimsy evidence and it took until 1906 for his innocence to be proven. Herzl wanted to create a Jewish homeland where they would be free from persecution. This idea became Zionism. Quickly early Zionists chose Palestine to be this Jewish homeland but they envisaged it as a secular state for Jews rather it being a Jewish state. Centuries ago Palestine was home to the Jewish province of Israel until the Romans expelled them. There was an issue though with choosing Palestine; it was under Ottoman rule and Jews only made up 3% of the population of Palestine. During the dawn of the twentieth century Jewish immigration started to rise in Palestine as nationalism grew around Europe. Then there was the Balfour Agreement. 
In 1917 the British promised to create a Jewish state called Israel in Palestine while also ensuring that non-Jewish people in the area could have their own state. There were a few issues with this though. Britain was still fighting the Ottoman Empire during the First World War and the Ottomans still held Palestine. The British had also stated that they would rule Palestine in 1916 when the British and the French started to divide Ottoman territory in the Middle East. Also the British had promised the Sharif of Mecca, Hussein bin Ali, Palestine if they revolted against Ottoman rule, which they readily did. Nevertheless following the war the British took control of Palestine as a League of Nations mandate (which was basically a euphemism for a colony). As apart of the Balfour Agreement the British agreed to 'facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions' to Palestine and between 1920 and 1939 Jewish immigration to Palestine increased by over 320,000. However problems started to occur.

Balfour to Independence
Jewish immigrants often bought Palestinian land to farm on which started to upset the Palestinians who wanted the land for future projects. Arab nationalism from nearby Syria also started to inspire Palestinian nationalism who wanted their own independent Palestine. Clashes between Jews and Palestinians started as early as 1920 in Jerusalem which escalated to the Arab revolt in 1936-1939 resulting in around 5,000 people being killed. In 1936 the Peel Commission proposed a partition of Palestine between Jews and Palestinians but few accepted this. When the British created a proposal to eventually create a Palestinian state and to limit Jewish immigration both sides became angry. The Jewish leaders became angry as the declaration came at a time when Jews in Europe were desperately wanting to leave Europe due to Hitler's anti-Semitic policies and the Palestinians were angry as they had to wait ten years for an independent nation. During World War Two the conflict subsided with Jews and Palestinians working side by side in the Palestinian Regiment fighting the Germans in North Africa. After the war when decolonization became official British policy tensions rose up again; Palestinians wanted their own state and limitations on Jewish immigration while Jews also wanted a free state but were angry at the British for not allowing open immigration for all Holocaust survivors. This escalated on July 22nd 1946 when a wing of the King David hotel in Jerusalem which had been taken over by the British administration was destroyed by the militant Jewish group Irgun. 91 people were killed including 41 Arabs, 17 Jews and 28 British people. This prompted the British to hand Palestine over to the newly formed United Nations who in 1947 adopted Resolution 181 dividing Palestine.
In blue is the proposed Jewish state while in brown is the proposed Palestinian state
 The two states were supposed to be equal in size but clearly the proposed borders could not create a stable country. In 1948 Israel declared its independence with Chaim Weizmann as the first President and David Ben-Gurion as the first Prime Minister.

The Conflict Starts
When Israel declared independence the members of the Arab League declared war and Israel had to fight against a coalition of Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Jordan (Lebanon fought for one battle and Saudi Arabia's troops were controlled by Egypt) in the aptly named 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Israel managed to defeat the coalition, mostly due to the Arab League not being organized, and it annexed a third more land than it once owned while Jordan occupied the West Bank and Old Jerusalem while Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip. Later Jordan and Egypt would annex the areas they occupied. Over 700,000 Palestinians had became refugees and had to flee to neighboring Jordan and Lebanon as they now became stateless. The wide dispersal of Palestinians and resentment towards Israel by the Arab League would cause problems for years to come.

Over the next eighteen years Israel led a precarious balance between both neighboring nations and discontented Palestinians who were upset about either their own or their relatives displacement. In 1964 the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded by Yasser Arafat to use guerrilla tactics based in other countries to attack Israel. The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) even attacked the village of as-Samu in Jordanian West Bank to find the PLO which rankled Israel's neighbors. When members of the Arab League started to mass armies Israel made a preemptive strike in the aptly named Six-Day War. In six days Israel managed to defeat Syria, Egypt and Jordan taking the West Bank and Old Jerusalem from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria and the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Province from Egypt. 
Israel took over everything in green
Following the Six-Day War the United Nations released a resolution stating that Israel must withdraw from the land that it had seized during the war and all nations had to recognize Israeli and Palestinian independence. This was rejected. What followed (until 1978) was a reduction of the conflict from Arab-Israeli to Palestinian-Israeli. It is important to note that not all Palestinians are Muslims and Arabs but rather but their own ethnic group and as well many Palestinians are Christians. Throughout the 1970s Israel and the PLO would continue to fight each other with the PLO often using violence against civilians and Israel would intervene in Lebanon to fight the PLO. One notable example actually started in West Germany. During the 1972 Munich Olympics eight members of the Black September (a Palestinian terrorist group) kidnapped nine members of the Israeli Olympic team and during the botched rescue mission all the hostages were killed and three of the kidnappers fled. Later the Israeli intelligence force Mossad hunted down two of the kidnappers and assassinated them.  Making matters worse was that in 1967 the Israeli government had allowed Israeli citizens to create settlements in the West Bank which the UN denounced as being illegal. In 1948 Israelis in the West Bank numbered 480 which rose to around 4,400 in 1977. Eventually during the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur Egypt and Syria supported by many other countries invaded Israel and almost completely took over the country. However Israel fought back and actually managed to come close to taking over the Suez Canal. In 1978 the Camp David Accords overseen by US President Jimmy Carter returned the Sinai Province to Egypt and could have led to peace in the conflict but divisions prevented this.

PLO attacks on Israel continued and Israeli settlement in Palestine also continued causing rifts in both sides. Following the assassination of several Israeli officials in Palestine to reduce the amount of guerrillas fighting against them Israel invaded southern Lebanon to support the government against the pro-Palestinian militant group Hezbollah. Many Israelis were against the fighting as well which is evident in the Tel Aviv protest in 1982 where 300,000 Israelis protested against Israeli troops allowed 3,500 Palestinian refugees in Beirut to be massacred by the Christian Phalangist militiamen. By 1987 poverty, humiliating security measures, vast unemployment and under representation in the government caused many young Palestinians to start disobeying the government by throwing stones of soldiers and refusing to pay taxes. The same year when four Palestinians died in a car crash caused by army truck in the Jabalia refugee camp widespread protests caused the first Intifada (shaking off) began. For around six years Palestinians used protests which often escalated into violence such as throwing Molotov cocktails and stones while the Israeli police not used to protests resorted to violence earning international condemnation when they shot stone throwing children. Within the first two years of the Intifada Save the Children estimated that 7% of all Palestinians under the age of 18 had been injured by shootings, tear gas or riots while in the first year 53 children under the age of 17 had been killed. By the Oslo Accords of 1993 160 Israelis and 2044 Palestinians had been killed. With the Oslo Accords the PLO recognized Israel for the first time and Israel allowed the Palestinian Authority to be created under Yasser Arafat to give Palestine more freedom. Overseen by President Bill Clinton it ended the Intifada.

From the Oslo Accord
It seemed that peace was going to be achieved but in 1996 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who had signed the Oslo Accord, was assassinated by a far-right Israeli citizen. Quickly negotiations broke down once more and after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the highly provocative area Temple Mount in 2000 a second Intifada was announced lasting for five years. This Intifada was much more violent claiming over 4,000 lives and ended through brute force rather negotiation. A large wall was even created in the West Bank segregating Israelis from Palestinians. Negotiations between Palestine and Israel continue today but there are many issues. The group Hamas located in the West Bank refuses to recognize Israel halting talks while Israeli settlements continue to grow in Palestinian territory where from 2004 to 2014 the number of Israelis in Palestine has risen from 441,178 to 771,000. Similarly the Jerusalem Light Rail train has been accused of purposefully favoring Israelis over Palestinians. 

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one that can be solved but it is a very divisive issue. Both Israel and Palestine have a right to be there and international pressure to fix the problem has been steadily growing since 2012 when Palestine gained UN non-member observer status. Likely in the next ten or twenty years the conflict will end but compromise would be needed to ensure peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.