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A report on the history of the conflict in the middle east

From 1920 to 1947, the British Empire had a mandate over Palestine. The increasing number of Jewish people immigrating to the Holy Land increased tensions in the region. European geopolitics in the earlier half of the 20th century in the wider Middle East region contributed to a lot of instability overall. The British Empire, especially, played a major role in the region. In return, the British government would support the establishment of an independent Arab state in the region, including Palestine.

Yet, in contradiction to this, and to also get support of Jewish people, in 1917, Lord Arthur Balfour, then British Foreign Minister, issued a declaration the Balfour Declaration.

  • The United States not only accepted the UN plan, it aggressively promoted it among the other members of the United Nations;
  • Both sides witnessed massive internal displacement of people and terror;
  • This is what some describe as a paradox of democracy; what if a people decide to elect a non-democratic party into power?

As a further complication, there was a deal between Imperial Britain and France to carve up the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire and divide control of the region. The spoils of war were to be shared.

As with the 1885 Berlin Conference where Africa was carved up amongst the various European empires, parts of the Middle East were also to be carved up, which would require artificial borders, support of monarchies, dictators and other leaders that could be regarded as puppets Back to top Post World War II to 2000 After World War II, the newly formed United Nations which then had less developing countries as members recommended the partition of Palestine into two states and the internationalization of Jerusalem.

The minority Jewish people received the majority of the land. The two states were to be joined in an economic union, and Jerusalem would be administered by the United Nations. The Arabs would get 43 percent of the land, the Jews 57 percent.

The proposed apportionment should be assessed in light of the following facts: The Jewish portion was better land; by the end of 1947 the percentage of Palestine purchased by Jews was less than 7 percent; Jewish land purchases accounted for only 10 percent of the proposed Jewish state; and Jews made up less than one-third of the population of Palestine. Moreover, the Jewish state was to include 497,000 Arabs, who would constitute just under 50 percent of the new state's population.

The United States not only accepted the UN plan, it aggressively promoted it among the other members of the United Nations. That response and his earlier studies of the Bible made him open to the argument that emigration to Palestine was the proper remedy for the surviving Jews of Europe.

Modern History » Middle East Conflict

He, like his predecessor, had promised he would take no action without fully consulting the Arabs, and he reneged. Henderson warned that partition would not only create anti-Americanism but would also require U. But Truman was concerned about the domestic political implications as well as the foreign policy implications of the partition issue.

As he himself put it during a meeting with U. I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents. Later, in a 1953 article in the American Zionist, Emmanuel Neumann, president of the Zionist Organization of America, conceded that Truman would not have worked so hard for the creation of Israel but for the prospect of wholesale defections from the Democratic Party.

The Middle East conflict—a brief background

Niles, and Clark Clifford, all members of his staff, and Eddie Jacobson, his close friend and former business partner.

The White House, too, was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leaders—actuated by political motives and engaging in political threats—disturbed and annoyed me. Pressure on Truman also came from non-Jewish fundamentalists and politicians.

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In some cases, support for Jewish admission to and statehood in Palestine may have had another domestic political angle. That support sidestepped the sensitive issue of U. In other words, support for Zionism may have been a convenient way for people who did not want Jews to come to the United States to avoid appearing anti-Semitic. American classical liberals and others, including the American Council for Judaism, opposed the quotas, and it is probable that many of the refugees, given the option, would have preferred to come to the United States.

By mid-November 1947 the Truman administration was firmly in the Zionist camp. When the State Department and the U. The United States also voted against a UN resolution calling on member states to accept Jewish refugees who could not be repatriated. Senior Editor Sheldon L. The State of Israel was proclaimed on May 14 1948, but the Arab states rejected the partition of Palestine and the existence of Israel. While the Jewish people were successful in creating their homeland, there was no Palestine and no internationalization of Jerusalem, either.

In 1948 for example, Palestinians were driven out of the new Israel into refugee camps in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and other regions. At least 750,000 people are said to have been driven out or ethnically cleansed, as some have described it. It should be noted that many Jews were also expelled from surrounding Arab countries. Zionist organizations and even some Arab nations also encouraged many Jews to immigrate to Israel.

In 1956, Britain, France and Israel invaded the Sinai peninsula after Egypt nationalized the Suez canal because these waning empires feared further loss of power, this time of a major economic trading route entry point for the West to the rest of the Middle East. While Egypt was defeated, international US, really pressure forced their withdrawal.

In 1967, Israel simultaneously attacked Egypt, Syria and Jordan in a pre-emptive strike against the Arab troops along its borders. Israel captured key pieces of land, such as the strategic Golan Heights to the north on the border with Syria, to the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza strip from Egypt.

In fact, Israel more than doubled its size in the six days that this war took place. Since then, negotiations have been around returning land to pre-1967 states, as required by international law and UN resolutions.

In 1973, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur to attempt to regain their lost land, but failed. To many in the Arab world, Egypt had sold out to US pressure. To the US and Israel, this was a great achievement; Egypt was obviously not to be underestimated in its capabilities, so the best thing would be to ensure it is an ally, not an adversary. In 1978, due to rising Hezbollah attacks from South Lebanon, where many Palestinian refugees still were, Israel attacked and invaded Lebanon.

In 1985, Israel declared a strip of South Lebanon to be a Security Zone never recognized by the UN, and hence Israel was always occupying this other nation.

  1. While Palestinian militants announced a ceasefire, Israel continued to assassinate militant leaders. Zionist organizations and even some Arab nations also encouraged many Jews to immigrate to Israel.
  2. In 2003, Israel stepped up its campaign against Hamas, the chief organization behind the suicide attacks of recent years.
  3. Israel also shelled a UN shelter killing about 100 out of 800 civilians sheltering there. In 1995, then Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, who had been involved in the latest peace processes, was assassinated by a Jewish extremist.

Many civilians were killed on both sides. Israeli forces were accused of massacres on many occasions. After 22 years, Israel withdrew in May 2000. In the late 1980s came the Palestinian uprising—the Intifada.

While there was much of a non-violence movement initially, the mainstream media concentrated on the violence. Young Palestinians confronted Israeli troops with nothing more than sling shots and stones.

Thousands were killed by the Israeli military. Many suicide activists killed Israeli soldiers and caused other damage. Many innocent civilians were killed on both sides. This has been largely criticized as a one-sided accord, that benefits only Israel, not the Palestinian people.

It resulted in Israeli control of land, water, roads and other resources.

  1. He managed to get Hamas and Islamic Jihad to agree to a temporary ceasefire.
  2. What Would You Do? The Arabs would get 43 percent of the land, the Jews 57 percent.
  3. The two states were to be joined in an economic union, and Jerusalem would be administered by the United Nations.

In 1994, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip and Jericho, ending twenty seven years of occupation. A Palestinian police force replaced them. In 1995, then Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, who had been involved in the latest peace processes, was assassinated by a Jewish extremist. In April 1996, Israeli forces bombed Lebanon for 17 days, with Hezbollah retaliating by firing upon populated areas of Northern Israel.

Israel also shelled a UN shelter killing about 100 out of 800 civilians sheltering there. The UN claimed it was intentional. October 1998 saw the Wye River Memorandum outlining some Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank but Israel suspended it in January 1999 due to internal disagreements on its implementation. Back to top 2000 to Present Further attempts through to the beginning of 2000 were made at continuing the Wye River accord, but kept breaking down due to Palestinian protests of continued new Israeli settlements.

The Camp David summit in 2000 also failed to come up with solutions on Jerusalem.

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Sharon has long been accused of massacres in his military days was seen as generally being against the peace process at that time. This proclamation infuriated Palestinians, and led to a series of protests and violence and another major uprisingor intifada.

The Palestinian National Authority, which Arafat headed with a police force armed by the Israelis was itself criticized for not serving the full interests of the Palestinian people. In all this time then, the Palestinian people have been without any nation, and have had limited rights, while suffering from poverty. Israel continued to increase and expand their settlements into occupied territories, giving up less and less land compared to what was promised.

Many Palestinians that are not Israeli Arabs since 1948 living in Israel do not have the right to vote, or have limited rights, while paying full taxes. For over 3 decades, the Palestinian people have been living under a military occupation.

Palestinian frustration has spilled into extremism in some cases as well. Many militant groups from Palestine and other areas of the Middle East have therefore sprung up in recent years as well as past decades, performing acts of what the West and Israel describe as terrorism and what the groups themselves justify as freedom fighting though achieving freedom through terrorist actions could arguably still be called terrorist organizations, despite claimed motives.

Suicide bombings, and past acts of terrorism have terrorized Israeli civilians, making peace harder and harder to imagine, yet it has been easy to influence and recruit the young, impressionable and angry into extremist causes. As violence continues, it seems that it will remain easy to find recruits to violent causes. In 2002, Israel started construction of a large defensive security fence in the West Bank supposedly to stop terrorists from making their way in to Israeli cities and settlements.

While it mostly seems to have worked, those large fences have drawn international criticism for going quite far into Palestinian land not Israeli land. Israel also continued controversial settlement programs in disputed areas. In June, US President George Bush stated in a speech, I call upon the Palestinian people to elect new leaders and for Israel, I challenge Israel to take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable, credible Palestinian state.

This was widely criticized for amounting to an open call for regime change. In 2003, Israel stepped up its campaign against Hamas, the chief organization behind the suicide attacks of recent years.

Arafat himself and his ruling fatah party are also being seen increasingly as corrupt and ineffective by Palestinians themselves. While Palestinian militants announced a ceasefire, Israel continued to assassinate militant leaders. Relative calm only lasted a few weeks, after more targetted assassination and suicide bombings. Abbas resigned soon after, seemingly frustrated by the internal politics. Ahmed Qurei replaced him, seen as more friendly to Arafat.

In 2004, Sharon announceda withdrawal of troops and settlements from the Gaza Strip, but a commitment to the largest settlements in the West Bank. On the West Bank, the security fence construction continued, despite continuing protests.

The International Criminal Court said the barrier was illegal, but Israel is not bound to it, so ignored it. Turmoil within Palestine increased as Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and others turned on each other, amid disputes on how to reform the security forces.