The Arab Israeli Conflict Essay

1605 words - 7 pages

The Arab-Israeli dispute is among the centermost issues facing the Middle East today. The conflict itself has spawned a number of wars, myriad militant skirmishes, and several embargos, as well as a lasting peace between Israel and a number of its former opponents. The conflict today is waged primarily between Israelis and the Arab Palestinians that inhabit Israeli territory. The Arab-Israeli dispute is rooted in the separate movements of Zionism and Arab-nationalism.
Zionism is an historical movement of the Jewish people to return to what they regard as their traditional homeland, Eretz Israel. According to Jewish custom, this "Land of Israel" is a territory promised to the Jews by God, ...view middle of the document...

Though Zionists had been migrating to Palestine for some time, the first mass migration of Jews occurred only shortly before the end of the First World War with the Balfour Declaration--a statement issued by the British government encouraging Jews to settle Palestine. In 1922, the League of Nations--an international order of governments--granted Mandatory Palestine (roughly equivalent to pre-war Palestine) to the United Kingdom in order to facilitate Jewish settlement in the region. Though the UK and the League of Nations each issued their own statements ensuring Jewish settlement would not impinge on the native population, deadly riots erupted in the region as Jewish migrants purchased land from beneath Palestinians’ feet.
Between 1936 and 1939, Palestinian arabs rebelled against British rule and Jewish occupation. The violent and lethal conflicts that ensued spurred the British government to stem the flow of Jews into Palestine. The Second World War was well underway, however, and many thousands of European Jews, targeted by Nazi Germany and its allies, were displaced from their homes. Following the end of World War II, great swaths of European Jewish refugees attempted to immigrate to Palestine in spite of Britain’s opposition. As Britain cracked down further on these refugees, support for Zionism spread rapidly, and the United States (a proponent of the Zionist movement) refused to lend its aid to the then-hobbled United Kingdom. The British would refer the issue to the United Nations (successor to the League of Nations), who, in 1947, decided Palestine would be divided into two separate territories: one Arab state, and the other Jewish. While Jews the world over rejoiced at this decision, neighboring Arab countries were opposed for the stated reason that the UN decision undermined the right of Palestinians to self-govern.
When the British government relinquished control of Palestine in early 1948 and Palestinian Jews declared the sovereign State of Israel, the armies of several neighboring Arab states--including Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon--invaded Israel in order to establish Palestinian rule and expel Jewish migrants. The conflict--known as the 1948 Arab-Israeli war--caused many Arab Palestinians to flee the territory while Middle Eastern Jewish populations flocked to the newly established Israel--either in support of the Israeli effort or as a result of the stigma they now faced in other Arab regions. Israelis managed to withstand the attacks, and in 1949 a series of armistice agreements were signed with Israel’s immediate neighbors, ending large-scale hostilities. Those Palestinians who fled the region during the war, however, were now unable to return to any homes located within the new boundaries of Israel, which encompassed most of what was Mandatory Palestine. Many of those Palestinians and their descendants remain refugees to this day.
In 1956, Egypt closed several major marine shipping lanes to Israeli vessels (namely the...

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