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World War II drew to a close, and the planet was forced to recalibrate in unprecedented proportions, the United States began its long emergence as the most expansive super-power that had yet been known. Its influence that would compete virulently with the post-war Soviet influence for half a century, has since disseminated into every facet of the geopolitical theatre. As such, American support can operate as the determining factor in the success of a national agenda. Likewise, American dissent can be the stifling roadblock that sets nations adrift in failure and, consequently, resentment. So it's important to acknowledge that a nation's complaint of American neglect is more than just the bitter rhetoric of the disenfranchised. The emphasis placed on American approval and volition is fairly justified when one considers the weight and implication of the U.S. stance on any given topic. And it's certainly fair to say that American intervention has been as significant a factor in the Arab-Israeli conflict as have been the opposing belief structures characterizing the two sides. As such, it's also reasonable to suggest that, as present evidence would purport, Israel's ascension to power and success in spite of violent opposition from all of its borders, could only be an indication of America's intense support. This is not, however, an indication that the United States has not provided support to Arab countries when such a measure was deemed appropriate. Nor is it an indication that America's lopsided advocacy of the Israeli cause was unwarranted. Historically, while American policy in the Middle East was not exclusively designed to favor Israeli interests, the two nations forged a solid alliance on the strength of ideological commonalities, often leaving Arab priorities at a disadvantage in the currying of favor.
Such was the case early in the Middle East conflict, when Israel fought to establish its existence, much to the disapproval of the Arab states surrounding the land known, to that point, as Palestine. After World War II, the world found itself in a position of overwhelming debt to the Jewish people. The quest to build a Jewish homeland had seemed so promising prior to the war, particularly when the British issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which became the first documented guarantee that the Jews would be entitled a homeland as soon as provisions were available for such a reality. That reality seemed to be a motivation for President Truman's support of Israel's ratification. And the desire by many to fulfill the promise of the Balfour Declaration was multiplied exponentially, in effect, in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Through the lens of such unspeakable atrocities as those which transpired to result in the deaths of over six million Jews, much of the world could now see the legitimacy of a Jewish state. Even as Truman hoped to pursue that validation of Israel's claims, there were still some in his administration that were not as inclined to concede to Zionist demands. This was, of course, due to that very same factor which still governs most interests in that part of the world. Many of Truman's underlings noted the threat of Zionism to inhibit U.S. access to oil by alienating Arab states, thus aligning them with the Soviets. This risk, even after Israel's establishment in 1948, would become just another implication of the Cold War's international sway. American policymakers would be forced to straddle that line between bolstering Israeli initiatives and satisfying Arab demands, with varying success. Soviet and American chess strategy in economic practice and the acquisition of oil was a simple fact of life that granted Arab states a ubiquitous bargaining chip.
These considerations aside, President Truman's overall support for Israel, even in spite of his occasional irritation with radical Zionism and its inadvertent tendency to delay progress by virtue of its extremism, was encouraged heavily by popular opinion.
Americans, as abhorrent images of German death camps began to filter out to the public, overwhelmingly favored the creation of a Jewish state. Public impression of the situation in the United States contributed to Truman's approval of Zionism, and America was the first nation to recognize Israel's birth. And it was no coincidence that the U.S. would play such an integral role in the validation of Israel before the world. A keen observation of world affairs in the global makeup following WWII, by Zionist lobbyists, indicated that America's new acquisition of power made it the prime gatekeeper in passing through to statehood.
Incidentally, almost as soon as Jewish activists turned their focus on American diplomacy, they also gave further distinction to the Zionist movement, upgrading their goal from the general establishment of a Jewish national homeland to the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. America responded positively to this newly articulated direction, heeding requests from many lobbyists within their own borders.
None of this is to suggest that America has provided its outright and unquestioned support in all forms to Israel. Certainly, this is not the case either. And in moments when the Israeli's may have appreciated or even required American assistance, they have been denied. Further, they have even been dealt setbacks at the hands of America, who is consistent to reveal that, at the core of all its actions, are its own best interests. Even as America recognized Israeli statehood, it deprived Israel the aid it may have greatly benefited from when it was attacked by its new Arab neighbors within scant hours of its creation. An American arms embargo, intended to promote a peaceable settlement to what would later be identified as the Israeli War of Independence, denied Israel weapons support, though Soviet authority readily supplied the Arab forces with supplies for the destruction of Israel. Later Soviet interference would prompt higher response from the U.S. When various political and economic factors drew the Soviet Union into the 1973 war, American involvement was an inevitability. Word that the U.S.S.R. had supplied the Arab antagonists with nuclear weapons incited an Israeli threat to deploy its own nuclear arms as a contingency of further Arab incursion. A combination of the shadow of nuclear massacre and the Cold War undertones that Soviet engagement invoked, led to a direct involvement of the U.S. On the Israeli side of the battle line. Noting the rapidly escalating urgency of the situation, the United States orchestrated a prodigious airlift of war machinery to be delivered to frontline Israeli fighters. The provision of weapons and vehicles was successful, helping the Israelis to stave off Arab invasion. Likewise, the Russians backed down in the face of American pressure. The tension of the situation, and its resultant allocation of forces provided for an inevitable pairing of America and Israel as democratic partners in the larger Cold War.
However, the United States has a history, as does much of the world outside of Israel, of forgiving Arab trespasses in the name of oil relations. UN charter violations such as an Arab blockade of the Suez Canal in the early fifties, as well as a seemingly infinite number of terrorist attacks, had been regarded with only passing interest by American intelligence officials prior to September 11th. Since then, even, American policy toward terrorist acts in the region, perpetrated by Palestinian fundamentalists originating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, has been more lenient that Israelis would prefer. Right wing Likud party leader and Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has found American support and resistance almost in equal parts since the inception of the current Mideast crisis last year. And American governments have, in both the past and in recent weeks, impeded upon Israeli military directives, though never by any show of hostile force. After the Suez War, for example, President Eisenhower forced the victorious Israeli government to relinquish its spoils and return to within its borders, though none of its actions had been in non-compliance of UN accord. Similarly, President George W. Bush, who has taken to flip-flopping most dramatically his policy on middle eastern affairs in these past few months, has most recently demanded Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories of the West Bank where troops worked to eliminate the imminent threat of Palestinian terrorism.
And just as the United States has assisted Israel, so it has provided many a diplomatic or financial service to Arab governing bodies, provided said bodies would act according to American interests. As early as President Wilson's term, when the democratic leader's stance on national self-determination encouraged the establishment of self-governed Arab states, the United States has taken occasion to aid the Arab cause. Allied victory in WWI and the subsequent dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, part and parcel of American triumph, made this goal a more credible one for many Arab nations.
However, American-Arab relations have been most often strained, since the creation of Israel, by Arab insistence upon an all-or-nothing policy. The popular ethos of the Arab world asserted that even the mere recognition of Israeli was undermining to the cause of Arab advancement. So there was no flexibility or…[continue]
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