Founding of Israel• The land of Israel hasbeen central to Jewishconsciousness.• Zionism: the idea of aJewish nationalhomeland in Palestine.• After Holocaust therewas a pressure for aJewish state.
• In 1947 UN General Assembly adopted a planto partition Palestine into Arab and Jewishstates.• 14 May 1948 Israel was declared a state.
• Palestine Arabs rejected the state.• Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iraqinvaded Israel.• The fight lasted 15 months and it becameknown as Israel’s War of Independence.• 1949- Negotiation were held with the invadingcountries under UN auspices, except with Iraq.
• The events of 1947-48 created new sources ofconflict which endure to this day: refugees andfrontiers.• 726,000 Arabs fled from Israeli territory.• They settled in the West Bank of Jordan andGaza Strip in refugee camps.• The exile generated solidarity in the Arabcommunity-concept of the ‘Palestinian people’
• For Palestinians the loss of their land in 1948became known as "Al Nakbar" - thecatastrophe
1967 War• In May 1967, Egypt moved large numbers oftroops into the Sinai desert.• On 5 June 1967, Israel launched a preemptivestrike against Egypt and Syria.
• The war lasted 6 days.• The Sinai Peninsula, theWest Bank of the JordanRiver, including all ofEast Jerusalem, Gaza,and the strategicallyimportant GolanHeights were underIsraels control.
Settlement movement• Israelis built settlements on the Golan Heights, inthe West Bank and the Sinai.• Characterized by a conspicuous and provocativedisplay of presence, the militant settlers’movement contributed to the increase ofPalestinian resistance.• The Arab states produced its own characteristicform of violence directed against the Jews in theform of state-sponsored terrorism.
• In 1968 PLO (Palestine LiberationOrganization) adopted terror and mass murderas its primary policy towards Israel.• On Oct. 6, 1973, on Yom Kippur, Egypt andSyria attacked Israeli positions in the Sinai andthe Golan Heights.• In response to Israeli pleas, the U.S. began anemergency airlift of advanced weapons and theIsraeli Defense Forces were able to turn thetide of the battle.
• In December 1973, the first Arab-Israeli peaceconference opened in Geneva, Switzerland,under UN auspices.• An agreement to disengage Israeli andEgyptian forces was reached in January 1974,largely through the mediation of U.S.Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
• U.N. Security Council resolutions and theInternational Court of Justice have bothdeclared the settlements illegal underinternational law.• Israel has rejected the rulings and continues toexpand its settlements.
Intifada• 1987-first uprising broke out in protest against theIsraeli occupation of the West Bank and GazaStrip.• The Israeli military retaliated harshly withmeasures against the Palestinian population.• They used a system of checkpoints to control themovement of people and goods around the WestBank.• Imposed curfews at times of high security anddetained many Palestinians, often without chargeor trial.
• 1993- Oslo Accords- Israel agreed to establishlimited Palestinian self-rule in parts of theWest Bank and Gaza Strip.• 2000-second Intifada sparked by a visit byIsraeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the AlAqsa compound in Jerusalem.• In 2003, Israel took the decision to dismantleall Jewish settlements in Gaza and somesettlements in the West Bank
• In 2005, around 8,000 settlers were forciblyevicted from Gaza by the Israeli army, alongwith 500 from the West Bank.• The Gaza Strip came under Palestinian control.• In June 2007, a power struggle between Fatahand Hamas spilled over into fighting betweenarmed factions on the streets of Gaza.
• Hamas declared control over Gaza.• May 2011-Fatah and Hamas signed areconciliation agreement mediated by Egypt.• Israel stated it would reject any governmentthat included Hamas and would refuse to holdpeace talks with it.
Hamas• Acronym for IslamicResistance Movement• Emerged during the 1980sPalestinian uprising• Led a suicide bombingcampaign over the next decadeas part of its stated aim ofdestroying Israel• Built popular support througha social welfare programmeFatah• Founded in 1965 by the leaderof the Palestine LiberationOrganization, Yasser Arafat• Is the mainstream Palestiniannationalist movement• Its strongest support base liesin the West Bank• Recognizes Israels right toexist and is formallycommitted to peace talks withit
U.S. Policy• Israel- Palestine conflict complicates the U.S.foreign policy in the Middle East.• There is a resentment against the U.S. amongArabs.• Perception that U.S. policy regarding theIsraeli-Palestinian conflict is biased towardIsrael.
• In 1948 U.S.A under president Truman wasthe first state who acknowledged Israel.• Truman also endorsed the first U.S. loan toIsrael, marking the beginning of America’sfinancial commitment to Israel.• Israel still receives about US $ 3 billion peryear in economic and military grants, refugeesettlement assistance, and other aid.
• The position of the administration of LyndonB. Johnson was that Israel should withdrawfrom the occupied territory, but only in returnfor a peaceful settlement.• Every U.S. president from Lyndon B. Johnsonto George W. Bush has subscribed to sixfundamental positions for a settlement of theconflict:
1. Israel should not be required to return theterritories seized in 1967 without a ‘quid pro quo’from the Arab parties involvingpeace, security, and recognition.2. Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 armisticelines are obstacles to peace and no U.S. fundsshould be used for settlements beyond that line.3. East Jerusalem is legally considered occupiedterritory whose status is seen as subject to peacenegotiations.
4. However Palestinian rights may be defined,they do not include the right of unrestrictedreturn to homes within the 1967 lines.5. Israel’s military superiority over any coalitionof Arab parties is in the interest of the U.S. andshould be maintained, through Americanmilitary assistance.6. The existence of Israel’s nuclear capabilities istolerated.
U.S. relation with Israel• There appear to be many reasons for the special U.S.-Israeli relationship.• During the Cold War years, special ties to Israel werejustified by claims that Israel was the only democratically in the region.• Helping Israel to become the strongest military power inthe Middle East was defended on grounds that Israel hada strategic value to the U.S. in its defense against thespread of communism in the Middle East.• Extension of American power.
• Today’s Middle East is characterized by anti- U.S.radical Islamists movements who exploit America’ssupport of Israel to deepen popular distrust of theU.S.• The close relationship between Israel and the U.S. haslimited Washington’s ability to serve as a neutralmediator.• The policy of using unconditioned U.S.moral, financial and military support to persuadeIsrael to move on in the peace process, has notachieved the desired outcome.