Conflict Resolution in the Middle East Term Paper

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Conflict Resolution in the Middle East

History of the ARAB-ISRAELI conflict

The Palestinian Arab and Jews rivalry is of recent origin that started on the eve of 20th century. Even though both of them have different religions the religious diversity is not considered to be the reasons of such rivalry. This is necessarily a struggle over the territory. The territory claimed by both the groups till 1948 was known as Palestine. However, during the period following the war of 1948-49 the territory concerned was split into three portions: the state of Israel, the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Gaza Strip. This small territory comprises of about 10,000 square miles which is considered of equal size with that of the state of Maryland. The conflicting claims of the groups are not capable of being resolved if a group exerts political control over the total territory. The claim of Jews is attributed to the historical reasons of biblical promise to Abraham and his descendants and based on the fact that this was the historical site of the Jewish kingdom of Israel and cater to the Jewish need for a haven from European anti-Semitism. (Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer)

On the other hand the claims to the territory by the Palestinian Arab's are based on constant residence in the country for hundreds of years and they constitute the majority native of the land. In the 19th century, both the Jews and Palestinians started developing a national consciousness and steered to attain the national objectives. The Palestinian territory at that time was a part of the Ottoman Empire at that time. However, the territory was not under a single political unit. Till end of the 19th Century most of the Jews were residing in Palestine were diffused in four cities with religious significance: Jerusalem, Hebron, Safad and Tiberias. Their loyalty to the territory was religious rather than national and they were not involved in or supportive of the Zionist movement that started in Europe initially and brought into the Palestine by the settlers. Most of the Jews that came from Europe led a more secular lifestyle and were loyal to the objectives of creating a Jewish nation and determined to create a modern, independent Jewish state.

On the eve of 20th Century Palestine was demonstrated to become a disturbed area strangled with territorial struggles and political interests. During the initial years the gradual downfall of Ottoman Empire was seen and the rising of European powers in the Mediterranean area inclusive of the Palestine. In the post World War II periods growing struggle over the Palestine between the Arabs and Jews and between the Zionist militias and British army forced Britain to surrender its mandate over the Palestine. British appealed the United Nations instituted recently to resolve the issue. On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed the resolution in favor of partition of the Palestine into two states namely, Jewish and Arab. The Zionist leadership had to accept the leadership even though they thought of more expansion in the borders allotted to the Jewish state. (Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer)

The Palestinian Arabs and the coterminous Arab states could not accept the UN determination and accused General Assembly vote as an international infidelity. The struggle between the Arab and Jewish inhabitants of Palestine cropped up soon after the adoption of the UN plan. The armed forces of Arab were weak in terms organization, training and arms in comparison to the Zionist military forces that were small in number but well equipped, trained and organized. The Zionist forces could succeed in securing control over the most part of the area allotted to the Jewish state by spring of 1948. British evacuation of Palestine was effected to on May 15, 1948 and the Zionist leaders proclaimed the state of Israel.

The Palestinian Arab State as planned by the UN could not ever be established. As a result of the incessant struggle between Palestine and Israel during the period 1947-49 most of the Palestinian Arabs became refugees. According of the official sources of Israel the refugees had to flee as per the orders of Arab Political and military leaders. During the early 1960s the territory was considered turbulent amidst the Cold War rivalry between the U.S. And the Soviet Union for global dominance. In response to a Syrian request for assistance, in May 1967, the Egyptian troops moved to Sinai Peninsula coterminous with Israel. With continuance of the military and diplomatic crisis Israel attacked Egypt and Syria on June 5, 1967 as a defensive effort. The short war of six days exhibited Israel as the dominant regional military power. The rapid and diligence victory of Israel disgraced the Arab regimes.

Contrary to this the Palestinian national movement rose as a major incident after 1967 in form of political and military groups in the name of Palestine Liberation Organization. The Palestinian population in West Bank and Gaza began a mass uprising against the Israeli occupation. This effort drew the attention of the organizations and institutions emerged under occupation. Organization of the Intifada activism through the popular committees under the patronage of United National Leadership of the Uprising was seen. Even though the intifada could not resolve the occupation issue however, it transpired that the status quo was unsustainable. The PLO adopted a clear political program to guide the struggle for independence. The Palestine National Council in its convention at Algeria in November 1988 acknowledged the State of Israel proclaimed an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and relinquished terrorism. (Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer)

However, there was no response of the Israeli government to such events since no remarkable change has been noticed and that the PLO was a terrorist organization with which it would never negotiate. Israeli Labor Party government came into power under the leadership of Yitzhak Rabin in June 1992 and committed a quick effectual to the Israel-Palestinian agreement. However, the hostile fighting by HAMAS an Islamic Resistance Movement and Islamic Jihad against Israeli targets further aggravated the tensions. Paradoxically, before the intifada, Israeli authorities resorted to the policy of enabling rising of Islamist organizations as a means to split the Palestinians in the occupied regions. Moreover, the Palestinian expectations were not accommodated by the Oslo accords.

The differences with the two parties in the matters of Jerusalem and refugees made it quite impossible to arrive at an accord in the Camp David Summit meeting held during July 2000. Imposition of terms on the Palestinians by Israelis are started to have been realized by them could never fetch peace. The peace approach initiated at Oslo was believed to have suffered from deep flaws coupled with the continuous irritations and humiliations inflicted upon Palestinians in the occupied territories initiated a second intifada started in late September 2000. The Palestinian street discarded the Oslo and the top officials of the PA presently opined that the UN resolutions must form the basis of future final status talks. (Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer)

-- why the topic is important for the world?

The turbulence in Middle East today has given scope to proclaim it as the most militarized region in the world and considered to be the centre of global arms market. The dominance and involvement in the Middle East with the wide availability of the energy resources forming the strength of the Western economies are considered to be quite significant for the past and present imperial and superpowers like France, Britain, USA and former Soviet Union. (The Middle East) The Americans perceive the incidents of Middle East is of considerably significant for the U.S. foreign policy and consider the Middle East region is of paramount importance to the U.S. advantage. The Middle East region was therefore considered by most in U.S. To be of considerable significance to the U.S. economy. The possible outcomes of the hostility in Middle East therefore are considered to have profound impact on the U.S. A relatively stronger majority of the Americans believed that the U.S. Mid-East policy is one of the crucial factors instigating the September 11th terrorist attacks. Such attitude is common to the whole world. (Israel and the Palestinians: Importance of the Middle East to the U.S.)

What is unique in Middle East? One specialty is perceived in institutionalization of the hostility-with its continuance over the few decades if not more. It is worthwhile to view the annual budgets of all the organizations dedicated to moralize the Middle East. The provision of funds to all the activist organizations, the lobby groups, the news publications, the charities, the think tanks that exist primarily to label blame to the Israeli or Arab side are required to be estimated. The hostility in the Middle East is considered as a cottage industry in U.S. And Europe. This is not similar to the hostilities in other regions. It is quite fascinating to probe into the…[continue]

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