Middle East CAP Background Summary

Centro de Amigos Para la Paz has been working towards peace in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict since 2000 and 11 years later the struggle for peace continues. Costa Rica was among the original 33 countries in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 Future Government of Palestine which provided for two states, Israel and Palestine. The state of Israel was created in 1948, but the state of Palestine is still waiting to be declared 63 years later. There are thousands of Costa Rican Jewish and Arab refugees who contribute to our culture but the most important reason CAP is interested in this issue is humanitarian: a thirst for justice for our oppressed brothers and sisters in Palestine along with a quest to end the state of war that has lasted since 1947. The Israeli government and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), one of the most powerful militaries in the world, are largely facilitated by western arms, a colossal $7,000,000 a day payment from US taxpayers- who are quite needy themselves- and worldwide indifference.

History of the Conflict

For thousands of years Jewish people and Muslim people coexisted in an area with the name of Palestine. UN General Assembly Resolution 181 Future Government of Palestine changed this as a Jewish state was created on May 15, 1948. This date is now known as the Nakba, or catastrophe, as it began the eviction of millions of Palestinians from their ancestral homes and the beginning of an occupation with still no end in sight. Palestine was never created, as per the UN mandate; Arab states refused to recognize the creation of Israel out of Palestinian land and after a short war the entire area of Palestine became Israel. Up to 750,000 Palestinians were displaced to other countries, where they became second-class citizens, and those who stayed faced occupation, eviction and a demeaning lifestyle.

Another war in 1967, nicknamed the six-day war, left the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza- now known as the Occupied Territories- and put Israel in control of the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights and the entire occupied territories. Israel has never observed United Nations’ resolutions 242 and 338 to return the borders of Palestine to the pre-l967 limits and to allow all Palestinian refugees everywhere the right to return to their homeland.

Today the Occupied Territories consist of only 10% of the original Palestinian land. Gaza’s citizens have no access to the outside world by land, air, or sea because of Israel’s occupation . As for the West Bank, a 700 kilometer wall has been built around it with hundreds of Israeli settlements and 700,000 settlers within it. This is obviously a major roadblock to any peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians as the settlements seem to indicate no end to occupation. Citizens of the Occupied Territories daily endure the wrath of the oppressive wrath of the IDF along with a myriad of checkpoints, making the daily lives and actions of the citizens unbelievably difficult. The most harsh indication of oppression is in the living standards of the people living within the Occupied Territories. Citizens of the Occupied Territories live in some of the most condensed areas in the world with a lack of medicine, food, clean water, education and a constant fear of death or jail without a trial.

CAP has facilitated Israeli-Palestinian conflict talks, held numerous protests and vigils, spoken with the National Assembly about their role in helping the issue and hosted many speakers among many other activities: For more information please click here.