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By: Noorain Zafar Anson Ambreen Fatima Kim Carter
The Israeli-Palestinian-Arab Conflict in a Nutshell History's legacy created divisive issues between Palestinians and Israelis. Judea, home of the Jews in ancient times, was conquered by the Romans and renamed Palestine. Palestine was later conquered and inhabited by Arabs for over a thousand years. The Zionist movement arose to restore the Jews to Israel, largely ignoring the existing Arab population. Following the Balfour Declaration in 1917, Palestine was granted to Britain as a League of Nations mandate to build a national home for the Jewish people. This became an issue as the Arabs resented the Jews coming in to take their land. Led by Grand Mufti Hajj Amin El Husseini, they rioted repeatedly and later revolted, creating a history of enmity between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. Britain stopped Jewish immigration to Palestine. Following the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, pressure on Britain increased to allow Jewish immigration to Palestine. In 1947, the UN partitioned the land into Arab and Jewish states. The Arabs did not accept the partition and war broke out. The Jews won a decisive victory, expanded their state and created several hundred thousand Palestinian refugees. The Arab states refused to recognize Israel or make peace with it. Wars broke out in 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982, and there were many terror raids and Israeli reprisals.
Growing Tensions Before War… -Israel accomplished its "Declaration of Independence," which proclaims the existence of a Jewish state called Israel beginning on May 15, 1948, at 12:00 midnight Palestine time. - Immediately after which, it gained the support of U.S. -The United States faced growing tensions with allies over its support of Israel's military campaign to cripple Hezbollah, amid calls for a cease-fire to help with the mounting humanitarian crisis. - European allies were particularly alarmed about the disproportionately high civilian death toll in Lebanon. They were also concerned that the U.S. position will increase tensions between the Islamic world and the West by fueling militants, and would add to the problems of the U.S.-led coalition force in Iraq.
Why did U.S support Israel? Political Support The US was the first country to recognize Israel, only minutes after it was officially created in 1948, consistent with a 1922 Congressional resolution backing the League of Nations mandate for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Since then, the two countries have developed a rock-solid friendship that does not depend on the parties in power either in Washington or Jerusalem. While there have certainly been ups and downs, the basic bond between the US and Israel, the only country in the Middle East that resembles the US in its values and democracy, is very strong. Economic Support In 1951 the US provided the first aid to Israel, $65 million to help Israel take in Holocaust survivors There has been economic aid to Israel every year since 1949, with the amounts fluctuating, generally increasing as the cooperation with Israel became closer or in years when Israel was forced to fight defensive wars or terrorism from 1960 until 1985.
Other Reasons for U.S support for Israel: In the following decades, Israel and the US worked together to counter the greatest threats to American interests in the Middle East. These threats include the large creations of weapons of mass destruction; state-sponsored terrorism; the potential disruption of access to Middle East oil; and the spread of Islamic extremism.
May 17, 1939: British White Paper on Palestine May 25, 1939: Senator Harry S. Truman inserts in the Congressional Record strong disapproval of the British White Paper on Palestine, saying it is a dishonorable negation by Britain of her duty.
Loy Henderson, director of the State Department's Near East Agency, writes to Secretary of State James Byrnes that the United States would lose its moral status in the Middle East if it supported Jewish goal in Palestine. The report of the Intergovernment Committee on Refugees, called the Harrison Report, is presented to President Truman. The report is very dangerous of the treatment by Allied forces of refugees, particularly Jewish refugees, in Germany. Senators Robert Wagner of New York and Robert Taft of Ohio introduce a resolution expressing support for a Jewish state in Palestine.
State-War-Navy organize Committee warns that if the United States uses armed force to support the accomplishment of the proposal of the report of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, the Soviet Union might be able to increase its power and influence in the Middle East, and United States access to Middle East oil could be jeopardized. September: President Clark Clifford writes to the President to warn that the Soviet Union wishes to achieve complete economic, military and political domination in the Middle East. On the eve of Yom Kippur, President Truman issues a statement indicating United States support for the creation of a "viable Jewish state." Loy Henderson, director of the State Department's Near East Agency, warns that the immigration of Jewish Communists into Palestine will increase Soviet influence there. October 1946: President Truman writes to King Saud of Saudi Arabia, informing the king that he believes "that a national home for the Jewish people should be established in Palestine."
The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine issues its report, which recommends unanimously (all 11 member states voting in favor) that Great Britain terminate their mandate for Palestine and grant it independence at the earliest possible date; and which also recommends by majority vote (7 of the member nations voting in favor) that Palestine be partitioned into Jewish and Arab states. The Joint Chiefs of Staff argue in a memorandum entitled "The Problem of Palestine" that the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states would enable the Soviet Union to replace the United States and Great Britain in the region and would endanger United States access to Middle East oil.
May 14, 1948: late morning eastern standard time (late afternoon in Palestine) : David Ben- Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, reads a "Declaration of Independence," which proclaims the existence of a Jewish state called Israel beginning on May 15, 1948, at 12:00 midnight Palestine time (6:00 p.m., May 14, 1948,eastern standard time). The British permission for Palestine end, and the state of Israel comes into being. The United States recognizes Israel, The White House issues the following statement: "This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional government thereof. The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the State of Israel." …that’s the document!.
January 31, 1949 : The United States recognizes Israel on a de jure basis. February 24 to July 20, 1949 : Israel signs armistice agreements with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
Moves toward Peace in the Middle East Although bloody wars seemed to be raging all over the post-cold war world, there were breakthroughs toward peace. The U.S played an important role in several peace efforts in the Middle East. The following are two examples how U.S helped in creating peace terms between Middle East countries:
Israeli-PLO Agreement Of all the conflicts in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict has been the most enduring and difficult. Brief History – When Israel was created from British-occupied Palestine in 1948, Palestinian Arabs had been forced to move to the West Bank of Jordan River. This area soon came under the control of Jordan, however. With the support of Arab leaders, in 1964 some of these displaced people formed the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to work toward the elimination of Israel and the creation of an independent Arab Palestine. Fearing attack by its Arab neighbors, in 1967 Israel seized the Gaza Strip from Egypt and Jordanian territory west of the River Jordan, including Jordan’s part of Jerusalem, the capital. For 20 years after 1967 war, Arabs and Israelis-occupied territories. Then in 1987 the Palestinians in both areas began an uprising. Finally in 1991 the U.S helped start Israeli-Arab peace-talks. Peace talks continued after President Clinton took office. The peace talks proceeded until September , when the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the PLO leader Yasir Arafat reached an agreement. The PLO. signed the Oslo Declaration of Principles, renouncing violence and recognizing the right of Israel to exist. In return, Israel allowed the PLO to enter the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians gained control of most of the population of these areas.
Peace between Israel and Jordan President Clinton also helped to work out a peace agreement between Israel and Jordan. In July 1994, Israel’ Prime Minister Rabin and Jordan’s King Hussein signed a historic peace treaty officially ending their state of war that had existed between their countries for half a century now. The treaty also set up a framework for cooperation in the environmental protection, tourism, and trade. Did this peace continue? Not for long,as there was a growing opposition to the peace plan. Palestinian leaders contended that growing Israeli settlements on the West Bank violated the spirit of the agreement. On the other hand, Israelis feared that a fully independent Palestinian state would be a threat to their nation. Israeli leaders drew away from the agreement when the militant Palestinian groups attacked Israelis settlements. In November 1995, an Israeli who opposed his government’s policy with the Palestinians assassinated Prime Minister Rabin. A series of terrorists attacks further rocked Israel, and the 1996 election of a more conservative prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, signaled a shift toward a harder line in negotiations with the Palestinians.
Relations Today High priorities in the foreign policy of Israel include seeking an end to hostilities with Arab forces, against which it has fought six wars since 1948 and gaining wide acceptance as a sovereign state with an important international role. The State of Israel joined the United Nations on May 11, Today, Israel has diplomatic relations with 161 states. It is notable as a probable nuclear power, though has refused to confirm or deny the existence of a nuclear weapons arsenal. The relations between Israel and the United States have evolved from an initial United States policy of sympathy and support for the creation of a Jewish state in 1948 (It was the first country to recognize the establishment of the State) to an unusual partnership that links Israel with the United States trying to balance competing interests in the Middle East region. The United States has been considered Israel's most powerful and supportive ally for almost 60 years. Following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, diplomats have been discussing the possibility of improved relations between Israel and Iraq. However, then-Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi said in 2004 that Iraq would not establish ties with Israel. In 2005, Saudi Arabia announced the end of its ban on Israeli goods and services, mostly due to its application to the World Trade Organization, where one member country cannot have a total ban on another. However, as of summer 2006 Saudi boycott was not cancelled Although the Soviet Union initially sought to develop close ties with Israel, Soviet-Israeli relations worsened in the 1950s as Moscow turned to Egypt and Syria as its primary allies in the Middle East. The Soviet Union and the other communist states of Eastern Europe (except Romania) broke diplomatic relations with Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. However, those relations were restored by Relations between Israel and Iran have alternated from close political alliances between the two states during the era of the Pahlavi dynasty to hostility following the rise to power of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Currently, the countries do not have diplomatic relations with each other.