The Arab-Israeli conflict is a battle involving the Jewish nation of Israel and the Arabs of the Middle East regarding the region called Palestine. The expression refers to the political strains and overt fighting involving the Arab society and the Jewish people in the Middle East that have existed for more than a century. The name ‘Palestine’ has been linked variously and at times contentiously with this small area. Both the geographic region known as such and the political standing of the expression have undergone changes over the course of time. The Palestine region, or a fraction of it, is also called the Holy Land and is considered sacrosanct amongst Christians, Jews, and Muslims. In the 20th century, the region has been the subject of differing assertions of Jewish and Arab national groups, and the disagreements have led to protracted violence, and in a many occasions overt combat in opposition to Israel's existence.
Some people trace the starting of the conflict to extensive settling of Jews in Palestine, in particular, after the founding of the Zionist lobby group, which strengthened with the 1948 conception of the contemporary nation of Israel. Others see the conflict as an element of Arab nationalism, whose fundamental tenet is that the societies of the Arab world, ranging from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Arabian Sea, make up a single state (in theory of course) joined together by a general linguistic, artistic, religious, as well as chronological heritage (Sela 60). An area held by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is at the same time held by the Pan-Arab association as traditionally and at present belonging to the Palestinian Arabs, and in the Pan-Islamic framework, in a region held as Muslim territory. The conflict, which initiated as a political as well as nationalist difference over opposing territorial aspirations after the fall of the Ottoman Kingdom, has changed over the years from the extensive region Arab–Israeli conflict to a more confined Israeli–Palestinian conflict, even though the Arab societies and Israel generally stayed at loggerheads over the precise territory (Bard 28). At present, the majority of Palestinians take the West Bank as well as Gaza Strip as their future state, and the majority of Israelis are in concurrence. This paper aims at reporting about the roots of the conflict as well as the attempts at bringing the warring sides to peace to the area and the failures of those attempts. The paper also reports on the fact that neither side wants to make peace and why so.
The Present Situation
The parties that are involved in negotiations to find a solution to the conflict are the Israeli government along with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The formal negotiations are arbitrated by a global body called the Quartet on the Middle East (the Quartet) embodied by special emissaries that consist of the European Union, the United States of America, Russia, and the United Nations. The Arab League, an additional significant player, has suggested an alternative peace plan. Egypt, which is a part of founder members of the Arab League, has traditionally been a chief player. The US has been an enthusiastic backer of Israel frequently taking sides that are UN Resolutions reproachful the measures of Israel.
From 2006, the Palestinian side has been split by differences between the two key splinter groups: Fatah, the major party, along with Hamas. Consequently, the territory under control by the Palestinian National Authority (the Palestinian acting administration) is divided between Fatah on the West Bank and Hamas on the Gaza strip. Hamas is held to be a terrorist group by Israel along with the United States even though it won the Palestinian polls in 2006; and as a result, it has not been permitted to take part in formal dialogues. The Palestinians are in general, an engaged society living in refugee camps frequently with no adequate food, drinkable water, energy, sufficient medical care, or employment. Peace discussions started at Minneapolis, Maryland, US, in November 2007, and until now, no resolution has been found. The involved parties agree that there are six concluding status' matters, which need to be determined: Jerusalem, settlements, refugees, security, water and borders.
Causes of the Arab Israeli Conflict
Wars are a little like road accidents, the renowned British historian A. J. P. Taylor cleverly remarked. They do have a general cause as well as particular causes concurrently. A road mishap can be said to be caused by the contraption of the internal-combustion engine as well as by human's aspiration to get from one point to another. However, a driver, facing careless driving charges would be foolhardy if he did plead that the being of motor cars as his solitary defense, or even his defense. The law enforcement and justice system do not consider deep causes. They are interested in seeking a precise root for every mishap. That is how war is like.
The Arab-Israeli Conflict is rooted in opposing Jewish and Arab positions to the land in Palestine (the Zionist settlement in the Palestinian territory), contradictory pledges by the British in the shape of the Hussein-McMahon communication along with the 1917 Balfour Declaration, and a number of eruptions of fighting involving Jewish with Arab residents of the state of Palestine (Lesch 8). The origin of the conflict is traceable back to the latter 19th century, which witnessed an increase in the numbers of nation pressure groups, which included the Zionism, as well as Arab patriotism. Zionism, the movement of the Jews, was set up as a political association in 1897, mainly in reaction to European and Russian anti-Semitism. Zionism lobbied for the institution of a Jewish Nation-State inside Palestine in order to find a haven and autonomy there. The World Zionist Organization, as well as the Jewish National Fund, promoted migration and financed the buying of land during the Ottoman rule, as well as during the British rule in Palestine.
In 1898, Theodore Hertzl established a Zionist global group to set up in Palestine a residence for the Jews protected by civic law. At the time, many Palestinians were living in Palestine just as their ancestors had for centuries. Arthur James Balfour, in 1917, the Foreign Secretary, wrote the Balfour Declaration, which called for the founding of a Jewish motherland in Palestine. This Declaration promised the support of England in regards to Zionist goals to get support of worldwide Jews, particularly American, to the Allies in the First World War. A year before the Balfour Declaration, a secret accord was arrived at, between the Britons and Zionist chiefs pledging the latter a “national residence” in Palestine as a reward for their labors to convince the US into War in support of Britain. After the First World War, and the subsequent termination of the Ottoman Kingdom, the reins of Palestine were handed to the UK through the Sykes-Picot accord and a League of Nations directive. During the British rule, they (British) made contradictory pledges to both sides in the shape of the Hussein- McMahon communications along with the 1917 Balfour Declaration. During the British rule, more and more Jews got into Palestine. Palestine Arabs hated this “immigration” into their motherland. Tensions involving Arab and Jewish factions in the area exploded into violence (the 1920 Palestine unrests, the 1921 Palestine unrests, the 1929 Hebron mass murder as well as the 1936-1939 Arab rebellion (Slater 176).
The British attempted keep a shaky tranquility. However, the Nazi’s anti-Semitic plans augmented the incursion of Jews into Palestine and caused more Arab bitterness. The British suggested a rejected partition strategy, whilst the 1939 white Paper set up a ration for Jewish migration established by the British in the interim period and by the Arabs in the continuing time. In 1942, Zionist chiefs convened in New York to design the Biltmore Program, which called for unrestricted immigration to Palestine by Jews. After the war, Palestine would turn into a Jewish commonwealth nation. In 1945, the Jewish group wrote Prime Minister Churchill calling the total and instant execution of the Biltmore decree, the termination of the White Paper, the founding of Palestine as a Jewish state, Jewish migration to be an Agency duty, and compensation to be made by Germany. The Palestinians appeared to have no say in all this.
The British delayed, and the Haganah (the Jewish militia structured chiefly for local protection) undertook broad smuggling. In 1945, the militia’s underground radio station, affirmed the launch of “The Jewish Resistance Movement.” The Jews in Palestine undertook an extensive “terrorist” operation and hit naval craft, ruined railway lines, and hit a railway station, as well as an oil plant. In mid 1946, Jewish terrorists carried out more attacks in Palestine. They hit 22 RAF aircrafts at an airfield. The Haganah allowed an Irgun (a derivative of Haganah) assail on British head office in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel which killed 91 people and injured 45. The British reacted by attacking the Irgun H.Q. in Tel Aviv and by the start of 1947 the Irgun had murdered 373 individuals.
These attacks as well as the effects of the Second World War motivated Britain to hand over the matter of Palestine to the UN. In 1947, the U.N. accepted the split of the British command of Palestine into two nations: a Jewish and Arab state. The Jewish leaders agreed to the arrangement, however, Palestinian Arab chiefs, with the support of the Arab League, did not, and a civil warfare started. Israel rapidly got the advantage in this inter-society war, and on May 14, 1948 affirmed its sovereignty. Subsequently Five Arab League Nations (Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Transjordan-now Jordan), attacked Palestine, commencing the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. The conflict upshot victory for the Israeli and Israel captured extra regions past the UN partition borders, but Jerusalem remained a divided city. The region that Israel failed to capture was captured by the five Arab nations.
For many years after 1948, Arab states refused to recognize Israel. In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was born with the fundamental belief that Palestine, with its foremost Mandate boundaries, is the motherland of the Arab Palestinian communities. In turn, Israel snubbed the PLO as a negotiation partner. In the 6 Day War in 1967, Israel took custody of the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the West Bank from Jordan, along with East Jerusalem that includes the Old City and its holy locations, which it took control of and joined up with the Western areas of Jerusalem. This new status of the city (Israel capital) and the capturing of the West Bank, in addition to Gaza Strip generated more clashes. In 1970, the PLO was banished from Jordan (an event called the Black September). Many Palestinians went to Lebanon after the Black September, linking the numerous already there. In 1973, an alliance of Arab nations led by Egypt along with Syria started the Yom Kippur War fighting Israel. The Arabs made advances in the first 1-2 days, after which Israel started to gain momentum. Finally, a truce was called to end the war. This cleared the path for the 1978 Camp David Accords, which set a model for future peace talks.
Peace Making Efforts and the Failures
Peacemaking efforts in the Arab-Israeli Conflict have developed over the years, in spite of the bloodshed in the Middle East along with the ‘all or nothing’ approach regarding a permanent peace, which reigned in the 20th century (Eran 121). From the 1970s, parallel efforts have been made to agree conditions on which there can be peace in the Arab Israeli conflict. Several nations have signed peace accords, e.g. the Egypt–Israel (1979) as well as the 1974 Jordan–Israel.
1. The Rogers plan (1970-72)
After the 6 Day War, the U.N. Security Council accepted Resolution 242, which suggested a nonviolent resolution to the Arab Israeli conflict. This resolution was approved by Israel, Jordan, along with Egypt, but not Syria prior 1972-73 (Carter, 18). In 1970, William P. Rogers (the then US Secretary of State) suggested the Rogers Plan, which required a 90-day truce, a military standstill region on either side of the Suez Canal. Egypt supported the Plan even prior to Anwar Sadat becoming leader. Israel declined to negotiate with Egypt based on the Rogers plan. No advance was made even after Sadat stunned many by abruptly ousting Soviet military advisers from Egypt and yet again signaling to the US his readiness to talk based on Rogers plan.
2. Madrid (1991-93)
After the First Gulf War, an advance happened when in 1991 President George H.W. Bush hosted a forum in Madrid, involving Israel and the Arab nations that were involved directly in the Arab Israeli conflict. This was to serve only as a prelude to direct bilateral as well as multilateral negotiations involving Israel and its neighbors (Rogan and Avi 20). Negotiations went on in Washington, DC, but with little outcomes.
3. Oslo (1993-)
The slow-paced Madrid negotiations were upstaged by a sequence of covert summits involving Israeli and Palestinian teams hosted by Norway. These negotiations generated the 1993 Oslo Peace pact, a plan spelling the needed essentials and setting for a potential Palestinian state. The accord was signed on the White House in September 1993. Rabin, Arafat, and Shimon Peres won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for these efforts. After Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in 1995, the peace efforts ground to a stop (Casper 13). Later on, periodic suicide bomb attacks from Palestinian radical organizations and the ensuing reprisal attacks from the Israeli military made circumstances for peace talks untenable.
The Hebron agreement (1997) and the Wye River Memorandum (1998) were signed next. Camp David 2000 Summit was next, and it did not offer a tenable resolution. According to the BBC, the collapse at Camp David was preceded a rebirth of the Palestinian revolt or intifada. The Beirut summit of Arab league happened 2002. Though the Israeli government accepted the terms, neither side met its responsibilities under this peace plan. Egypt mediated the 2008 Israel–Hamas truce, which lasted six months until December 2008. This led to the Gaza War in the same month. The 2010 direct talks initiated by the Obama administration is the latest attempt, but it is being fraught by difficulties.
The Arab Israeli conflict has constantly showed to be resistant to bargains solutions. Even with the many peace packs, neither side is interested in making peace since they do not want to fold owing to the aforementioned all or nothing approach. Other reasons that perpetuate this conflict include the fact that neither side wants to accept the existence of the other. Another reason is the egocentric approach of the leadership. The leaders in the conflict appear to be more concerned with demonstrating their “merit” by obliterating the other than securing a good life their people. The leaderships prefer to live in delusion rather than reality. The naïve international community fails to see radicals as such and rather sees them as moderates does not help the conflict.
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