Arab Israli Conflict Essay, Research Paper
The conflict that continues to be a problem today between the Arabs and the Israelis was begun many years ago. Although many steps have been taken to try to resolve this fighting, the two groups still hate each other. The problem is that the hatred between these two is so deep that it seems as if an agreement can t be met. However, there is a good chance that after the Israeli elections in May that huge steps will be taken to rid this conflict from their lives. In this paper I will recap the Arab-Israeli conflict from the beginning until the present time.
The Hebrews were led out of Mesopotomia in 1800 B.C. by Abraham and they also received the covanent around that time. In the covenant between god and Abraham it says that there is a holy land somewhere for the Jewish people. They left Mesopotamia for the holy land, which they didn t find. Due to a widespread famine, the Jewish people ended up in Egypt where they were cast as slaves. This marked the first huge problem with a soon to be Arab country, Egypt, and the Jews. In 1250 BC Moses led the Hebrews from Egypt, once again in search of the holy land. After forty years of wandering in the desert, the Jewish people finally find the holy land that they call Judah. It is also known as Canaan. They lived there and prospered until 586 BC when the Babylonians came into Judah and took over. They kicked the Jews out and dispersed them. Judah was controlled by the Babylonians until the Persians took it from them. Then in 539 BC the Persians allowed the Jews to return to Canaan. However, their stay was short lived, because the Romans expelled them from the holy land around 70 AD. The Jews did not return to the promised land until the 1940s.
After 70 AD the Jewish people were not heard from about regaining the rights to the holy land. It continued that the Hebrews had no place to call their own, and they lived all over the globe. Then in the late 1800s, almost 1900 years after being ejected from their promised land, the Zionist movement began. The Zionist movement was the efforts of the Jewish people, and others that supported them, working towards establishing a homeland for Jews in the holy land, Palestine. In 1896 Theodor Herzel s book, The Jewish State, is published. This book ignited the Zionist movement, and caused all the Hebrews to focus on their goal of gaining a homeland. The year after Herzel s book was published, there was a Zionist congress held. They chose Palestine as the site they were going to try and make the Jewish homeland. Palestine at the time was part of the Ottoman Empire. However, before World War I the European nations were taking the Empire over piece by piece. Then after World War II the Allied powers were mandated countries in 1920. This was because of the Sykes-Picot agreement. This agreement gave Britain Jordan, Palestine, and Mesopotamia. It gave France Lebanon and Syria. Russia was left out of this agreement because they were in the middle of a revolution. The Sykes-Picot agreement also nullified another agreement having to do with the land of the Middle East. That agreement was known as the Husayn-McMahon correspondence. In this agreement Britain promised the Arabs control over the land in the Middle East. However since the Sykes-Picot agreement was the on that was carried through, it is obvious that Britain lied to the Arabs just to gain their support. Through all of this lobbying for power, Herzel still was working for a Jewish homeland. He was also gaining a lot of support and help. Especially from a Russian born chemist and Jew named Chaim Weizmann who was a British citizen. He worked on the British government and pushed them to allow a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Then in 1917 Lord Balfour of England sent a letter to Lord Rothschild, head of a famous Jewish banking family in Britain, that contained the Balfour Declaration. This declaration said that the British government would allow the Jews to establish a homeland in the holy land of Palestine. This eventually caused the founding of the Jewish state of Israel and also set into motion the bitter Arab-Israeli wars and conflicts.
At first a partition was set up that split Palestine between the Jews and the Arabs. However, in 1948 the Jewish people declared independence and they called their state Israel. One of the main reasons for the world accepting this Jewish state was the hardships that the Jewish people faced in World War II at the hands of Hitler. 1948 also marks the time of the first war between the Arabs and the Israelis. It was mostly terrorist attacks involved in this war, but soon the conflict escalated. In 1956 Gamal Abdel Nasser, president of Egypt, nationalized the Suez Canal. It cut off Israeli shipping and France and Britian had paid for most of it so they were all angry. The three countries then attacked Egypt. France and Britain attacked in the air and Israel on the ground. Soon they were told to leave by the United Nations. So Egypt retained control of the Suez Canal. This was closed to Israeli ships, so they were forced to use the Strait of Tiran to continue their shipping. However in 1967 Egypt closed the Strait of Tiran and would allow any Israelis through. This cut off Israeli shipping all together. This action caused another war Between the Jews and the Egyptians. It began in 1967 and only lasted for six days, thereby gaining its name, the six day war. The Israelis attacked and were so well led that in six days they had completely defeated the Egyptians. They took many territories from the Egyptians and the surrounding Arab countries. They took the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. These territiories were known as the occupied territories. Later on the United Nations passes several resolutions that do not allow Israel to keep the occupied territories. Before this war began, in 1964, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed. It was led by Yassir Arafat. It was an umbrella group that supported the Palestinians right to a nation of their own. They were also on the side of Egypt in the wars against Israel because they felt that the Israelis kicked the Palestinians out of Israel when the country began. The Arabs now greatly supported Egypt and Nasser. However Nasser died in 1970 and his vice president took Anwar al-Sadat took over as president. He quickly took action by sending many soviets out of Egypt. The Arabs greatly supported him because it seemed he did not want to be pushed around. Then in 1973 on Yom Kippur, a Jewish holy day, he led an attack on the Jews that was the strongest showing of an Arab army yet. Although the war ended in a stalemate, it gave the Arabs confidence that their forces were getting better. After the Yom Kippur war the Arabs were trying to mount enough support so that they could a Palestinian nation could be established. The PLO was now growing and they were supported by almost all of the Arab nations. Then in 1974 Yassir Arafat took the Palestinians case before the United Nations. He asked them for a Palestinian homeland in the occupied territories. The United Nations agreed with his plea and released UN resolution 242. This resolution stated that the United Nations supports the Palestinians right to an independent nation. The main problem with this was that Israel hated the Palestinians and did not recognize them as a people. They hated them because of their terrorist acts throughout the 1970s. The one act that sticks in everyone s mind is the killing of eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972 by a Palestinian terrorist group called Black September. For the years following the UN s resolution the United States was trying to mediate an agreement between Israel and Egypt to stop the wars and begin the peace process.
In 1979 an agreement was finally reached. It was called the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement. The two parties agreed to end the state of war and respect each other as independent nations. They also established that Israel got free use of the Suez Canal, Egypt got back the Sinai Peninsula, and the Strait of Tiran was made international territory. Also included in the treaty was an agreement that within a year the two parties would have decided on how to implement Palestinian self-rule. However, this part of the treaty was never carried out. Israel did not want to give up its territory to the Palestinians. Despite that, the treaty was signed and peace began between the Egyptians and the Israelis. However the problems had just begun between the Palestinians and the Israelis. In 1982 the Israelis invaded Lebanon and forced the PLO to withdrawl and move to Tunisia. The Israelis took over a six mile strip in Lebanon, but were later forced to leave by the United Nations. Several years later, in 1988, the Intifada uprising occurred in the Israeli occupied territories. This is when the Palestinians in the occupied territories of the Gaza Strip and West Bank began a surprise revolution. The Israelis were caught by surprise and the Palestinians declared a moral victory. Without the Intifada many people believe that there would have been no peace process, and also there would have been no Palestinian self-rule.
As the uprisings continued, the Israelis were looking for an end. So peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis began in 1991. They didn t get serious until 1992 when Yitzhack Rabin was elected prime minister of Israel. He was part of the labor party and he truly believed in peace. He continued the peace talks and then within a year of him becoming prime minister he had reached some results. In 1993 Israel and Palestine signed the Oslo Agreements. These agreements were ground breaking for many reasons. First of all they allowed the Palestinians to have limited autonomy in the Gaza Strip and Jericho. Also a Palestinian council was created to rule and was called the Palestinian Authority. The things that Israel got although not as huge were also ground breaking. They got peace and also they were recognized as a country by the Palestinians for the first time ever. Israel also had to protect the borders in the case of any problems. This agreement was much needed and seemed to help limit the violence between these two enemies.
Then in 1995 the peace process took a huge hit when Rabin was assassinated. He was killed by one of his own people because they didn t agree with his point of view. This was a larger problem than everyone at first thought. Rabin was all for peace, and was willing to work for it. However his replacement Benjamin Netanyahu did not want the Palestinians to get anything. He drug his feet and held up the entire peace process. If not for pressure from the United States, the peace process might have ended with his election. The year after Netanyahu was elected, Arafat was elected chairman of the Palestinian Authority. Then after they were both elected to their respective governments, another break through occurred. In 1998 the Wye Agreements were released. These Agreements stated that Israel would withdraw thirteen percent of its troops from the West Bank. It also said that the Palestinian police force would be reduced. There were still many unresolved issues, but this was a step in the right direction, the direction of peace. However, the main thing still to decide on was a Palestinian nation. This decision was supposed to be made one year from the date of the Wye Agreements. That date is slowly approaching. After signing the Wye Agreements, Netanyahu met a lot of opposition. The people elected him because they thought he wouldn t give anything to the Palestinians. However, he proved the people wrong. He gave a large amount to the Palestinians and is an unliked man in Israel because of it. Elections are scheduled to be held in May for a new Israeli prime minister. This is because Arafat has threatened to declare independence when the year s deadline is up. Therefore these elections have an enormous bearing on the peace process in the Middle East.
As you have seen the Arab-Israeli conflict is still going on today. It began many years ago, but still is unresolved. There is a good possibility that it could be taken care of in this month s elections. Also if Arafat declares independence the whole process could take a different turn. There are many directions in which the ongoing conflict could go. Hopefully everything will eventually work out for the best and peace will be restored in the holy land, as it was in 1800BC.