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Jews desperately sought entrance into the City of Spring, but the British stood firm on their proclamation, fearing Arab backlash. "The Nazis kill us," the Jews cried, "and the British won't let us live."
In 1945, the world discovered that its greatest fear had come true: the Nazi death camps all over Europe, ripe with the massacre of the Jewish people, cemented the Zionist call in those who lived. "Israelis developed a mind-set to never again trust their fate to others - no one gave a damn during the Holocaust - and to this day the Israelis don't like outsiders proposing 'peace plans' that threaten their security." While the Jews would never be able to forget the fear caused by intrusting their fate to others, the modern world would never forget the guilt of what amounted to letting the Jews be brutally murdered and giving them no place to go; in an American legal court, that is paramount to homicide. The Jewish survivors demanded to be let into Palestine and for a Jewish state to be created, and the UN pandered to their requests.
In 1947, the UN partitioned the area of Palestine into a segmented region of Jewish and Arab states, leaving a neutral Jerusalem. While none of the Palestinian inhabitants were pleased with the nature of the UN partition, both sides were in little position to argue. However, while the major superpowers of the world now acknowledged a Jewish state of Isreal, the Arab states worldwide rejected it. To them, this was equivalent to theft of their own land. In the early creation of the states, the path for the future was cemented: Israel would trust no one to help, and the Arabs would be unwilling to compromise.
The policies of the Israeli state since its earliest day have been clearly summed up by the one mantra that characterizes all Jewish nationhood ideology: ayn brayra, meaning "no alternative." To them, the Jewish state was what Hertzl had warned of years ago: the only place for safety. The Arabs, uncoordinated and poorly trained, fought the determined Israelies, but were defeated all the way to the West Bank and eastern walls of Jerusalem. The Jordanians of the West Bank stood their ground firmly, as did the Egyptians, Syrians, and Lebanese. All had been mandated by UN auspices to acknowledge a truce with Israel, but feeling perpetually threatened, the Jewish state sought to secure its borders through expansion, and soon brought these tenuous agreements to a screeching halt.
In 1956, during the Sinai Campaign for control of the Suez, France and Egpyt struggled for domination, and both the U.S.S.R. And the United States further intalged the situation. The Egyptian President, Gamal Abdul Nasser, saw himself as the torch-carrier of a pan-Arab movement, not merely an Egpytian leader and Arab. Arab Palestinians occupying the Gaza Strip, then ruled by the Egyptian Nasser, launched suicide missions into Israel called fedayeen, or self-sacrificers. The Israelies retaliated, and Nasser decided to wage battle in return. The U.S.S.R. supported the army, selling it vast quantities of dangerous weapons, and Nasser created a visibly auspicious power directly on the border.
Immediately, Israel was nervous. Characteristically, in fear of being attacked, the Israelies invoked ayn brayra and struck first. The Allied forces, now the ruling super powers on the international scene, reacted quickly, pulling their cards where and as soon as they could. The United States and Britain refused their previous offer to Nasser to help rebuild the Aswan Dam, and Nasser, furiously, declared the Suez, previously a cooperative effort, to be solely Egyptian. While Nasser viewed the U.S. And Britain as overstepping their boundaries of power and exerting their force where it was not warranted, a vestige of Colonialism, the United States and Britain feared the greater calamity that could occur in an area so heated and, now, armed.
Britain and France enlisted the aid of Israel in a pact of mutual-benefit. In October of 1956, the Israelis "clobbered the Egyptians and streaked through the Sinai toward the Suez Canal." In an already-planned move, the British and the French stepped in as "peacemakers." They demanded that both the Egyptians the Israelis retreated to ten miles from the Canal, and when Nasser refused, the Europeans invaded and seized the Canal for themselves on November 5, leaving the Israelis with the Sinai peninsula.
International leaders were up in arms over the move, in what the United States thought was a sneaky trick by France and Britain, unbecoming of a world that would need to work together. Eisenhower was furious that the Europeans invaded against his wishes, and, as he feared, Nasser was not absolutely concurred, only beaten in one battle, leaving the Arab states worldwide entirely furious, but none more than Egypt itself. The Arabs sided with the Soviets, and the barely-pacified international powers struggled for a renewed peace again. The UN resolved that the French and British needed to evacuate the Suez, which they did within one month; they also ordered Israel out of the Sinai. With recompense, the UN, led by the United States, promised to patrol the Sinai for Egypt with UNEF forces and provide access to the Tiran Straight for Israeli Shipping, secured with commitment from Israel.
During the next ten years, De Gaulle's France became fiercely francophillic and self-obsessed, distancing itself from the international scene and Israel specifically; meanwhile, the Arabs were gaining footing under the strength of the U.S.S.R. umbrella. The Israelis and Palestinian Arabs continued their violence, and in 1963, Israel launched an infrastructural campaign to diver water from the Jordan River from Syria and Jordan. The problem continued to brew, and in 1967, Nasser launched war.
While some attribute the onset of the Six Day War to cultural differences between the two societies, the Egyptians barked loudly and the Israelis bit back.
Nasser's ferocious anti-Israel rhetoric and declared readiness for war were taken seriously and literally by the Israelis. This was in part the clash of two cultures: Arabs are given to exaggerated rhetoric, whereas Israelis are given to straight, blunt talk. When Israelis heard on Egyptian radio Arab vows to drive them into the sea, they believed and acted on it."
The Israelis launched an offensive against the Arabs, and the Syrians occupying Golan Heights shelled the Israeli farmers in the Upper Galilee. On April 7, Israel struck back, hitting Syrian guns and shooting down six MIGs. The Syrians claimed the Israelies were amassing troops to strike, and forced Nasser into responding. While Israel vehemently denied the military action and even welcomed international forces, particularly the Soviets, to see that the accusation was false, Nasser came to the aid of Syria. May 18, 1967, Nasser ordered UNEF out of the Sinai and closed the Tiran port five days later. On the thirtieth of May, he and Jordan's King Hussein signed a pact for defense, adding to the one he already had with Syria. Israel was surrounded.
Israel waited for the U.S. To force open Tiran as promised, but the United States was knee-deep in Vietnam and unable to do anything.
Israel felt, again, abandoned by the forces that swore to protect it, and on June 5 struck first in a quick action of preemption. Within hours, they destroyed warplanes and groundtroops of Egypt, marched through the Sinai, and reached the Suez Canal in three days. Hussein, acting on his promise to Nasser, shelled the Israeli troops, and the Israelis stormed the Old City of Jerusalem and the West Bank with only three battalions. The Jews declared Jerusalem a reunified part of Israel ad by 1988, Hussein was forced to relinquish any claim to the West Bank.
The Israelis were not through, and set their sights on the Golan Heights, which they knew were strategic and wanted for their own. When the U.S.S.R. threatened to step in, the UN intervened, and forced a cease-fire. The UN passed Resolution 242, asking Israel to withdraw from territory it did not belong and for the Arab states to peaceful accept the Jewish state. Both sides reacted poorly, and while 242 set the stage for future peace accords, it also began the disregard for them seen throughout the history of Israel and Palestinian conflict.
In 1973, war came again. The new Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, planned a surprise attack on the Israelis in conjunction with Syria to retrieve the Sinai, Golan Heights, and West Bank, and, if not mostly, to destroy the morale of the Jewish people. On October 6, the joint forces struck, launching the biggest tank battles in history in the Golan Heights. The Israelis were shocked, and rushed in units to protect their forces and land. At the same time, the Egyptians took a nighttime stand through the Suez and into the Sinai. With great cunning, General Ariel Sharon crossed his forces west of the Canal and cut the Egyptians off at the pass.
The USSR and the U.S. took their sides strongly and, involved in their…[continue]
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