Ethnic conflict is a conflict between two or more contending ethnic group. The conflict is usually not about ethnic differences themselves but over political, economic, social, cultural, or territorial matters. Indeed, ethnic conflict is one of the major threats to international peace and security. Conflicts in West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Chinese “Nine-Dash Line” of South China Sea in Asia are the best-known and deadliest examples for the late 20th and early 21st century.
Violent ethnic conflict leads to tremendous human suffering. In fact, Israelis and Arabs have been fighting over Gaza on and off, for decades. It is a part of the wider Arab-Israeli conflict. After the World War II and the Holocaust in which six million Jewish people were killed, more Jewish wanted their own country. They were given a large part of Palestine, which they claimed their traditional home but the Arabs who already lived there and in neighboring countries felt that was unfair and they did not accept the new country. In 1948, the two sides went to war. Then, when it ended, Gaza was controlled by Egypt and another area, the West Bank was controlled by Jordan. They contained thousands of Palestinians who fled what was now the new Jewish home, Israel. However, in 1967, after another war, Israel occupied these Palestinian areas and Israeli troops stayed there for years. Israelis believed they might exchange the territory they won for Arab countries recognizing Israel’s right to exist and give an end to the fighting.
Finally, Israel left Gaza in 2005 but soon after, a group called Hamas won elections and took control there. Truly, much of the world calls Hamas a terrorist organization. It refuses to recognize Israel as a country and wants Palestinians to be able to return to their ancestor’s home, and they will also use violence to achieve their goals. Since then. Israel has held Gaza under a blockade, which means it controls its borders and limits who can get in or out. Other countries and the United States of America have worked hard to settle the fighting between the Arabs and Israelis but so far nothing has worked. This area is current one of the most dangerous places on Earth.
Another serious ethnic conflict at the moment is the China’s “Nine-Dash Line” and its effects on the Asian region. The dash-line appeared on a Chinese map as an 11-dash line in 1947 as the Republic of China’s navy took control of some islands in the South China Sea that had been occupied by Japan during the second world war. After the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, the communist government declared itself the sole legitimate representative of China and inherited all the nation’s maritime claims in the region. In addition, two dashes were removed in the early 1950s to bypass the Gulf of Tonkin as a gesture to communist comrades in North Vietnam. Beijing, later on, intensified its hold in the northern part of the waters in the mid-1970s when it expelled the South Vietnamese navy from the Paracel Islands after a clash that killed more than dozen South Vietnam soldiers. The “Nine-Dash Line” are extremely significant to Beijing because it serves the historical rights in Chinese history. Moreover, China government wants to have the lawful right for these nine dashes in order to control over the entire ocean encompassing more than two million square kilometers of South East Asia.
Until now, this area still in a “sensitive” situation. Other claimants for example Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines root their claim in geographical proximity. Vietnam government, which occupies the largest number of islands and reefs in the Spratly Islands, stresses about maintain the administration and military protection for this huge area. Also, the Philippines is challenging the legality of the line by contesting their claims at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. However, Beijing has also repeatedly stated that it will ignore any rulings by the tribunal.