The conflict between Arabs and the Zionist (now Israeli) is a struggle between the Jewish state of Israel and the Arabs of the Middle East concerning the area known as the Palestine. Middle East has not known peace for many years, this conflict have also seen many lives wasted as each camp argues its rights to the land in dispute.
The origin of the problem went back almost 2000 years to the year AD 71, when most of the Jews were driven out of Palestine, which was then their homeland, by the Romans. The Jews kept protesting against the Roman rule, however they were put down by Emperor Titus and the temple of Solomon was destroyed shortly after that which marked the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora. In 1897 some Jews living in Europe founded The World Zionist Organisation at Basle in Switzerland. Zionist were people who believed that Jews ought to be able to go back to Palestine and have what they called a Jewish State.
British became involved in 1917, when the foreign minister Arthur Balfour, announced that Britain supported the idea of a Jewish national home in Palestine. After 1919, when Palestine became a British mandate, large number of Jews began to arrive in Palestine; however the Arab opposed the idea of the British and demanded an independent Palestine for the Arabs and an end to the immigration of Jews. In 1937 the British proposed a need to divide the land between Jews and Palestinians. The Jews were to take 1/3rd of the land including coastal plain and Galilee but this proposal was again rejected by the Arabs, thus the UN was handed the mandate of handling the conflict by the British in 1947 after which the UN proposed for division of the land (56.47% to Arabs and 43.53% to Jews) which the Arabs rejected again.
On 14th May 1948 the Nation of Israel was proclaimed and without delay the British troops left. This was followed by frequent wars between the Arabs and Israel.
ARAB- ISRAELI WARS
Nearly every decade of the past 60 years has seen bloodshed, with significant wars being fought in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982 and 2006
- The first Arab- Israeli war 1948
Viewed as a ‘Catastrophe’ by the Arab world, but for the Israelis it was regarded as their war of independence. After the Second World War the British were unable to maintain control of its colonial possessions and they were also faced by unanimous opposition, thus Britain refused to implement it and set 15 May as the date for ending its mandate and Israel declared independence. The next day regular troops from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq entered Palestine in support of the local Palestinian Arabs. The Israelis fighting for the existence of their new state against a poorly coordinated Arab front, proved the stronger force. The outcome left the new Israeli state with 80% of the territory that was to have been divided between the two communities according to UN partition plan. More than 300 Arab village were destroyed and the centre of Palestinian life shifted to the Arab towns of the eastern region, later called the West Bank, thus starting the plight of the huge number of displaced Arab. The number of Arabs within newly created Israel was cut from about 700,000 to 165,000. Many inhabitants fled in the face of the Israeli counter attack. More than 20% of Palestinian Arabs left Palestine and resettled in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Iraq.
This fighting continued up to January 1949 and was brought to an end with individual armistice agreement between Israel and of the Arab states.
- THE SUEZ WAR(1956)
The second Arab- Israel war, or the Suez War, broke out on 29th October 1956 when Israel, Great Britain and France staged a joint attack against Egypt. Events leading up to the hostilities started when Nasir struck an arms deal with Czechoslovakia a move that worried great Britain and the US who viewed it as a shift towards closer ties with the Soviet Union. The World Bank, prodded by the US retaliated by withdrawing a loan to Egypt for the building of the Aswan Dam. In the ongoing Nasir nationalised the Suez Canal a vital waterway that was largely owned by French and British concerns.
Israel’s invasion of Egypt was motivated by all these developments, but also Nasir had blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba, stopping Israel’s access to the Red sea. Great Britain saw the conflict as a means to regain lost ground, as for the French, they were angered by Nasir’s support of the Algerian rebellion against their French colonisers. On 29th October 1956, Israel initiated the hostilities when it invaded Gaza and the Sinai, then, on 30th October, moved to the Suez Canal zone. Outraged that the US was not informed of the secret attack plan and fearful that the Soviet Union which had close ties with Egypt would be drawn into the conflict, US president Dwight Eisenhower sponsored a UN resolution denouncing the attack. On 6th November 1956 the US threatened to cancel vital loans to Britain and the French and hostilities ended. A ceasefire came into effect and a UN emergency force was stationed in the area and the Suez was returned to Egypt.
While Nasir lost the war in military terms, he gained politically. The conflict marked the dramatic end of British and French influence in the region, and left the US to become the most influential power in the region.
- THE SIX DAY WAY 1967
During the early 1960s, border incidence between Israel and Syria, Egypt and Jordan became a more frequent, with Palestinian guerrilla groups actively supported by Syria, this led to the clashes between Arab and Israel for the third time, in what came to be called the six day war. In early 1967 Syria intensified its bombardment of Israeli villages from position in the Golan Heights. When the Israel air force shot down 6 Syrian MIG fighters’ jets in reprisal, Nasser mobilised his forces near the Sinai border, dismissing the UN force there, and he again sought to blockade Elat. In May 1967 Egypt signed a mutual defence pact with Jordan.
The escalation of treats and provocations continued until 5th June 1967 when Israel launched a massive air assault against Egyptian airfields and destroyed most of Egypt’s air force on the ground within a few hours. Then, turning back to Jerusalem, Israel attacked Jordan and occupied the West Bank and the old city before Jordan’s acceptance of a UN resolution for a cease fire on 7th June.
Following Egypt’s acceptance of a cease fire on 8thJune, the Syria also accept the cease fire on 10th June.
- THE YOM KIPPUR OF 1973
Following Arab defeat in 1967 and the occupation of Palestine and other Arab territories in Egypt, Jordan and Syria, the overall consequence of war weighed heavily on the Arab conscience.
On October 6th 1973 during the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur Israel was attacked by Egyptian and Syrian force. The Arab army shows great greater aggressiveness and fighting ability than in the previous wars, and the Israel forces suffered heavy casualties. The Egyptians made initial giants, but Israel then forced the Syria and the Egyptians back and in the last hour of the war established a Salient on the west bank of the Suez Canal. But this achievement was achieved at a high cost in terms of human resources and equipments.
By 25th October USA and USSR decided it was time to intervene to try to bring about a peace settlement. Acting with UN co-operation, they organised a ceasefire, which both side accepted.
An important development during the war was that the Arab oil-producing state tries to bring pressure to bear on the USA and on western European states which were friendly to Israel; with this in mind the OPEC began to raise oil prices substantially. This contributed to inflation and caused an energy crisis in the world’s industrial nations.
- Israel’s invasion of Lebanon (1982).
On June 5, 1982, less than six weeks after Israel’s complete the withdrawal from the Sinai, increased tension between Israelis and Palestine resulted in the Israel bombing of Beirut and southern Lebanon, where the Palestine liberation organisation (PLO) had a number of strongholds. The fallowing day Israel invited Lebanon, and by June 14 its land forces reached as far as the outskirts of Beirut, which was encircled, but the Israel government agreed to halt its advance and begin negotiations with the PLO. After much delay and massive Israeli shelling of west Beirut, the PLO evacuated the city under the supervision of multinational forces. Eventually, Israeli troops withdrew from West Beirut and withdrawn entirely from Lebanon by June 1985.
- THE JULY WAR OF 2006
The Israel eventually removed their troops from Southern Lebanon, but not until 2000. However, they still occupied an area known as the Sheba’a farm, which, so they claimed, was part of Syria, and therefore there was no need for Israeli troops to move out. Hezbollah insisted that the Sheba’a farms belong to Lebanon, and therefore Israel must withdraw. The dispute simmered on until in July 2006 Hezbollah launched an operation against Israel in an attempt to pressure the country into releasing Lebanese prisoners, killing a number of Israeli soldiers in the process and capturing. The war lasted for 34 days and in 2006 the UN succeeded in arranging a cease fire, but not before over a thousand Lebanese civilians and some 200 Hezbollah fighters had been killed and around a million civilians made homeless. On the Israeli side 118 soldiers and around 40 civilians were killed. Hezbollah claimed victory; however several Arab leaders criticized for inciting the conflict. Nevertheless, Hezbollah ability to fight the Israel defence forces to a standstill won it praise throughout much of the Arab world.
Over the year Israel has been in constant wars within every Arabic countries Arab nations have initiated six major wars against Israel. The first war in 1948, the second war in 1956 the third war in 1967, the fourth war in 1973 and the fifth war in 1982 and finally the sixth war in 2006. In all these wars Israel defended herself winning all the wars and there are many treaties that have been signed between Israel and Arabic countries, however the peace treaties has not been successful since the parties have involved severely contravened some of the articles within the treaties.
Therefore, we can put in a nuggets that the most crucial of all is to look into the source of conflict between Palestine and Israel and help them lay down policies that will establish eternal peace.