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The creation of the modern nation-state of Israel A brief overview…

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1 The creation of the modern nation-state of Israel A brief overview…

2 The Covenant… According to Jewish belief, God made a covenant (sacred promise) to them that if they accepted God as the ruler of heaven & earth, they would be his chosen people (around 1800 BC). This belief led them to form the kingdom of Israel in around 1025 BC (in Canaan, between Egypt & Mesopotamia). Because of its location, it was frequently threatened by invaders.

3 The Romans … In 70 AD Jews who had been living under Roman rule revolted & many were savagely killed. The Romans forced survivors out of the area (which by this time was called Palestine) in what is referred to as a diaspora (scattering of people). From that point on, the Jewish dream was to return to the area & reestablish the kingdom of Israel.

4 The Zionists… During the late 1800’s hatred and fear of Jews (anti-semitism) increased throughout Europe, leading to violence & death. To escape the violence, may Jews migrated to Palestine (which they believed to be their sacred land promised through the covenant) The Zionist movement was formed during this time (a movement seeking to reestablish a Jewish state in Palestine).

5 The British Role… After winning WWI the British had a mandate over Palestine which gave them the right to “administer the affairs” of the former Ottoman territory; The British supported the growing Zionist movement as the numbers of Jews who migrated to grew. In 1917 the British gov’t. issued the Balfour Declaration, which expressed their favor for “…the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…” This Declaration opened the door for waves of Jewish immigrants into Palestine

6 The British Role continued… Between WWI & WWII the numbers of Jews who migrated to Palestine continued to grow. After the atrocities of the Holocaust the numbers of Jewish refugees who fled to Palestine grew even more significantly. Violence & resentment between the 2 groups escalated.

7 The Partition… Unable to end the violence & exhausted from WWII Britain withdrew from Palestine & turned the area over to the UN In 1947 the UN recommended that Palestine be partitioned (divided) into a Jewish state & an Arab state.(see map on p. 617) In May of 1948, Jews announced the creation of the modern state of Israel.

8 Response to creation of Israel… War erupted immediately following, with Egypt, Syria, Iraq & Lebanon all using military force against Israel. Israel wins & takes ½ the land set aside for Palestine + ½ of Jerusalem; Jordan took the rest of Arab Palestine & Egypt took the Gaza Strip – so at that point, “Palestine” ceased to exist.

9 Palestinian refugees… Over one million Palestinians either fled Palestine or chose to remain & settled into UN refugee camps which eventually became permanent settlements for several generations of Palestinians. Palestinians have never given up the goal of regaining their country.

10 Continuing conflict… 3 more major wars were fought over this issue (1956, 1967, 1973). The 6 day war (1967) gave Israel substantial new territories & significantly increased the tension with Palestinian refugees & Arab neighbors Peace Treaty with Egypt (return of SP) 1987– Intifada; 1993 – renewal of peace talks; 2000-new cycle of violence over settlements in occupied lands and PA autonomy. The US has long been Israel’s strongest ally & has been very involved in trying to negotiate peace between the two sides.

11 PLO continued… In 1964 the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) was formed with a goal of reclaiming Palestine & destroying Israel. Its leader was Yasser Arafat. The PLO has used guerrilla warfare and terroristic tactics against Israel & nations who support Israel. PLO attacks have brought reprisals (forceful acts in response to injury) from Israel & others in the region.

12 The Palestinian Authority is an interim self-government body established to govern the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a result of the 1993 Oslo Accords. It was intended to serve as a five-year interim body. As of 2014, more than nineteen years after the formulation of the Authority, they have failed to become a permanent political force or voice for the Palestinian cause. Current leader is Mahmoud Abbas.

13 Modern Israel… Population = 7.1 million; GDP per capita + $18,000 About 15% of Israelis are non-Jews (most are Arab Muslims & Christians) Israel has a strong, mixed economy with well developed high-tech & service industries. Prime Minister = Benjamin Netanyahu Palestinian Authority President = Mahmoud Abbas

14 The Peace Process. This conflict has defied all efforts at resolution. Many Arab nations refuse to recognize Israel still; Most “Palestians” continue to want a Palestinian state; Many Israeli Jews see a Palestinian state as a threat to Israel’s survival.

15 Major unresolved issues… Jerusalem is now the capital of Israel b/c of its special significance to Judaism; Jerusalem is also holy to Muslims who outnumber the Jewish population Jerusalem. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of the Palestinian state they continue to hope for.

16 Unresolved issues… “ Right of Return” issue – this would grant Palestinians who fled their homes the right to return. Israeli Jews fear they would be overwhelmed if they allowed this to happen. Future concerns over Jewish settlements in West Bank, Gaza & East Jerusalem. Ongoing violence between Israeli army & various Palestinian groups (currently worst in Gaza Strip). Summer of 2013 Yasser Arafat’s body is exhumed & it is determined that he was murdered in 2004 reigniting old tensions. US is currently at odds with Israel (long time allies) over our position regarding Iran’s nuclear capabilities.


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