There are many small-scale conflicts currently going on around the world between two countries,where one or both deny other's right on some piece of land. like

  • India vs Pakistan on Kashmir.
  • N.Korea vs S.Korea.
  • Israel vs Palestine.

In case of India vs Pak or the Korea's, both the sides are militarily very strong(all are in top 10 worldwide), so niether of them would probably start a full blown war with other, because they are sure of own damage.

But in case of Israel vs Palestine, Israel is much stronger than all existing forces in Palestine. So capturing Palestine should not be difficult for Israel.

Why does Israel still not capture Palestine, and rather resolve on small scale attacks like the ongoing missile attacks?. Israel has lost 1500+ people. So there is surely a reason to capture Palestine.

  • 27
    They're doing it slowly, but that doesn't mean that they're not doing it. Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 12:23
  • 12
    What would they do with it once they had it?
    – Bobson
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 14:17
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    I'm not sure why you think this didn't happen. Israel obtained control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, along with the entirety of Jerusalem, and the Sinai and Golan Heights. Most of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has occurred in this context where Israel controls to various extents the regions the Palestinians wish to claim as their territory. Not only could Israel invade and capture the disputed territory, but it already has, and in 1967 it took territory from Syria, Egypt, and Jordan. A common center-left position on the issue is for Israel to return to pre-1967 borders.
    – NL7
    Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 15:53
  • 13
    Indeed Israel fully controls the the West Bank and Israel's security forces regularly make excursions into "Palestinian" land without authorization. So they're allowed to police it but they are not responsible for Palestinian welfare or equal employment opportunities. In terms of avoiding rocket attacks, well, they frequently conduct raids and they are doing everything possible. Their security stance would not be improved in the slightest by openly annexing the entirety of the West Bank; it would just add responsibility for the welfare of the Palestinians with no further benefit to Israel. Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 21:11
  • And then? Implement a Kashmir-like "solution"? Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 18:11

7 Answers 7


First, They already have, and that is part of the reason for the conflict in the first place.

What it seems like you are suggesting is that they go in and remove the existing inhabitants from Palestine all together. The truth is none of the other Arab nations want the Palestinians either. They are from Arab tribes that have a history of conflict with their Arab neighbors. They have no wealth to speak of and bring little to no skill to anyone that would take them in. So they would become a burden on any state that granted them asylum. There are over 4 million Palestinians that would have to be resettled in lands that are already claimed in whatever nation did accept them.

Israel wants to have a Jewish state, and the Palestinians are unwilling to submit to their rule, or even to peacefully coexist with the Jewish Israelis. The Israeli position is that it is unreasonable to expect them to submit to terror attacks and rocket attacks on its people from the Palestinians. So coexistence, which has been attempted since the 1970's, has failed.

Since no nation seems willing to accept that Palestinians, the other option that Israel would have for removing them would be Genocide of the Palestinian people. I would hope that everyone would understand why that is not an option that Israel would realistically consider.

So for now, Israel's only real option appears to be to neutralize the Palestinians' ability to make war on Israel.

  • 18
    This is not a terrible answer, but I think it's a bit misleading to say that Israel already has, and that's part of the reason for the conflict. The conflict was going on well before 1967, and Israel does not currently control about half of the West Bank and the entirety of Gaza.
    – Publius
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 1:36
  • 5
    @Avi, Not sure of the objection on those grounds. I suppose, They already had, since tense would be important here. For Israel to do so again would require those areas to not currently be under their control.
    – user1873
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 3:11
  • 2
    It's not only about nobody wanting to take the Palestinians in, but also about them wanting to stay n their homeland, which they reside in from before the Exodus of the Israelian from Egypt ... if they were resettled they'd just be a minority n a new home.
    – johannes
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 15:23
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    @johannes, the Jewish exodus from Egypt took place at 5th cent BC. Arabs have settled in the land of Israel in 7th cent. AD Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 6:36
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    @ZevSpitz Your opinion does not agree with poll results in the region, that consistently show that 60-70% of Palestinians there agree with Hamas that the state of Israel and the Israeli people cannot be allowed to exist: MiddleEastMonitor, Time.
    – user47678
    Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 5:57

Israel does not want to be in charge of those areas, and has already given most of the area to Palestinian sovereignty.

Before 1993, Israel was in control over the entirety of the West Bank and Gaza. This was a result of the Six Day War. To summarize, Egypt blockaded the Strait of Tiran, and surrounding Arab nations prepared to invade Israel. Israel preempted, destroying Egypt's air force, and drove the Arab nations back. This resulted in the capture of the West Bank, Gaza, the Sinai, and the Golan Heights.

There are around 4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Combined with the number of Arab Israelis, this puts the Arab population west of the Jordan River approximately equal to the Jewish population. Israel wants to remain a Jewish state, but cannot do so if it annexes the entirety of the West Bank and Gaza while remaining a democratic country. This is why Israel has offered Palestinians land equivalent to the entirety of the West Bank and Gaza a number of times.

However, the annexation of all territory in the West Bank and Gaza would not just be a demographic problem, it would also require the retaking of land already given to the Palestinians. In 1993, Israel and the PLO agreed to the Oslo Accords, which granted Palestinians around half of the land in the West Bank and Gaza. In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza. The Oslo Accords were only intended to define interim borders until a final settlement had been negotiated, but in the mean time, Israel recognizes Palestinian sovereignty over the areas specified in the Oslo Accords.

Israel does not want to capture all territory west of the Jordan River, nor should they. Even if it is militarily feasible, it would be a political and demographic disaster.

  • 17
    Just as a clarifying note: The areas Israel captured were not "Palestinian" land at the moments. They were Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian land.
    – user4012
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 13:56
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    Do you have a source that agrees that Israel currently recognizes Palestinian sovereignty? As I understand it after the Palestinians reneged on their end of the deal Israel withdrew from the Oslo Accords and is no longer willing to consider Palestinian Sovereignty in an lands that are currently part of Israel Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 17:03
  • 4
    The Oslo Accords never granted Palestinians land that is currently part of Israel.
    – Publius
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 18:33
  • 1
    That contradicts what your answer says then. Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 17:25
  • 2
    I don't see how.
    – Publius
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 19:59

In addition to all the OTHER answers, another reason is the sheer difficulty. The cost/benefit analysis doesn't tip towards capture.

Capturing a terrain is easy (Update: yesterday, 8/5/2014, a high ranking IDF officer noted that they could take over entire Gaza in 10 days if the government made that decision).

Actually successfully occupying a terrain with a hostile population for a length of time is incredibly hard and VERY costly in both materials, lives, and political capital. See the amount of resources USA devoted to post-WWII Japan/Germany; or Russia's Chechen wars; or USSR and later USA in Afghanistan; or USA in Iraq; or Israel's own previous experience of occupying the areas.

The issue becomes significantly worse in the case of Palestinian areas, where there's millions of people with no economy to speak of in small area of land. It's a lot easier to subdue a farmer (threat to his land/farm) than someone having no job/property; which is why military occupation got progressively MORE difficult as history marched on and less and less humans were farming.

  • 2
    Farmers are easier because they only have 2-4 months a year to rabble rouse. The other 8-10 months a year they are busy farming 16-20 hours a day. Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 13:13
  • 3
    @Chad - tell that to every single peasant rebellion leader ever :)
    – user4012
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 13:22
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    And the only ones that were ever successful were ones that they won quickly. Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 13:24

Israel has already captured Palestine. That is why the Palestinians are living under a military occupation. But it will never officially declare Palestine conquered or make it part of Israel.

If they did, and if they wanted to continue to be a democratic state, they would have to give the Palestinians citizenship. Then the population of Israel would be roughly split 50/50 between Jews and Arabs. That situation is frightening for most Jewish Israelis as it would mean they would no longer be a majority in "their own" land. They fear that the Arabs wouldn't settle with being equal to Jews but would try to be on top.

The Holocaust taught many Jews that being a majority is much better than being a minority.

There are some left-leaning Jews such as president Reuven Rivlin who favours this option and thinks that Jews and Arabs can coexist in the same country. But most of the population is very skeptical.

The other option is to return the West Bank to the Palestinians, but that option is also inconcievable to a majority of Israelis. So the only thing the government can do is to continue the occupation.

  • 2
    The Holocaust taught many Jews that being a majority is much better than being a minority. - You think they didnt learn that from egypt? Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 10:03
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    Saying Rivlin is leaning left is absurd. He is well planted in the ideological right. But that (classic) right also triumphs human rights, meaning equality for all. So while he believes the entire country, Mediterranean to Jordan river, belongs to the Jewish people, he also believes all it's inhabitants should have equal rights. Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 15:51

Please consider what would happen after Israel took over. Total number of Arabs in Palestine and Israel combined is about equal to total number of Jews, but they have higher fertility rates. If Israel annexed Palestine outright it would have to grant the right to vote to newly incorporated citizens. This in turn would ensure the complete dominance of Arab voices in Israel's politics in near future.


The Arab citizens of Israel are about 20.7% of Israel population. Majority of the Arab-citizens of Israel are Muslims and rest are Christians. If Israel captures all the area where the Muslims are living especially the West Bank and Gaza and kicks out the Arabs from the area, then there will be certain problems which are listed herein below.

  1. As, Israel is surrounded by Islamic countries which somehow do not want Israel existence on the face of the earth. If Israel kicks out the Palestinian (from their land) then the neighbor countries will use the exiled peoples against Israel and peace of Israel and Middle East will be ruined.
  2. As I said that the Arab-citizen of Israel are about 20% of Israel population, if Israel captures all the area of Philistine, then this will radicalize the Muslim population inside Israel, that will not be in favor of Israel.
  3. If the aforementioned task carried out, then it will be the genocide of Philistinian and it will be opposed by the International Community because the international community has passed a two-state solution for them.

So, eternal peace comes with negotiation and compromises. We, hope that Israel and Philistinian authorities will solve their problem with negotiation. I read the answer of one of my friend that “The Holocaust taught many Jews that being a majority is much better than being a minority”, his say is okey but there was no involvement of Muslims or Philistinian in holocaust and we oppose and condemn that, so we can’t embed that logic here.

  • 8
    Not that it matters much in the context of this question (Jews could have learned that lesson regardless of Palestinian involvement), but some Muslims and specifically Palestinians were very much involved in the Holocaust. And some Palestinian organizations today are still strongly anti-semitic and do deny the Holocaust.
    – tim
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 8:57
  • 5
    Back then, many endorsed the Nazis because they approved of their anti-Jewish positions; some fought against Jews being able to find safety in Israel and instead approved of the "final solution" (ie murdering all Jews); it wasn't just ideological support either. al-Husseini eg negotiated against the freeing of 5000 Jewish children, successfully arguing that they should be send to concentration camps and murdered instead.
    – tim
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 8:57
  • 1
    Holocaust is a fact and fact needs not to be proved. I don't think any Muslim can deny that brutality. If Hamas or anybody else, is denying this as the wiki link they may be doing this in Israel enmity, Hamas is not representing the Muslims. You are saying that Muslims were involved in the Holocaust as for as I have researched Muslims were endangering their lives (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…) for safety of Jews in those days. Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 9:13
  • 5
    I'm definitely not saying that all Muslims were complicit, or that Hamas represents all Muslims (or even just all Palestinians). And just as there were Polish or German people who rescued Jews, there were of course also Muslims who did so. But saying that no Muslims or especially Palestinians were complicit is not correct. There was a large and systematic involvement of Palestinian leaders at the time.
    – tim
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 9:58
  • 2
    I think that Isreal has shown that it is willing to buck the international community even when it knows that the US will not have its back. I dont think number 3 is a factor at all. Otherwise good answer Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 10:12

Political blow back mostly. Israel is surrounded by countries that have all declared war on them and many have made statements that their goal is to wipe them off the map. The only reason Israel still exists is the massive support they get from the U.S. and other Western allies. If Israel wiped out Palestine it would enrage the region against the west and Israel's allies can't afford losing their oil trade connections. Wars of conquest to expand territory are looked down on in the western world because they already claimed everything they could hundreds of years ago, and have an interest in preventing others from doing the same, Israel as a young country is adversely affected by this.

  • 6
    It's not true that the great powers "already claimed everything they could hundreds of years ago". Russia conquered Finnish Karelia in 1940, and annexed Königsberg in 1945. China invaded Tibet in 1949.
    – dan04
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 13:29
  • 7
    Not to mention Russia and Ukraine right now...
    – Bobson
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 14:18
  • 1
    -1 because there's also un-mentioned factor of INTERNAL political blowback. Large segments of the society would object to capturing Palestinian territories (the country is pretty much evenly divided between "left" and "right")
    – user4012
    Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 15:40
  • 2
    You may be interested to know that In 1948 America did not support Israel And Britain supported the Arabs. And in 1947 prior to israel's independence, Britain didn't vote in favour of a partition with a jewish state, israell's independence, they abstained. Israel was fortunate there in that it managed to get support from Stalin of all people.
    – barlop
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 12:42
  • I down-voted for a different reason: this answer lacks any citations. It reads like opinion, rather than fact. Are there documented instances of Israeli officials claiming this is the reason? Is there research that postulates this is the reason? Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 0:04

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