Political Science Middle Eastern Politics - Essay Example

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The origins of the Palestine-Israeli conflict lies in the British colonial government's decision to allow the Jews to build a separate homeland in the region inhabited by Palestinians. In 1917, after the First World War, the Balfour Declaration thus stated: "His Majesty's Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".
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Political Science Middle Eastern Politics
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Download file to see previous pages Whatever the reasons, the establishment of Israel infuriated the Palestinians who deemed the Jewish state as occupation of their homeland including that of their second most important place of worship, the Aqsa Mosque. The most revered place of Muslim worship is the Ka'aba in Saudi Arabia. The Palestinians and Arabs felt that it was a total injustice to ignore the rights of the majority of the population of Palestine. The Arab League and Palestinian institutions rejected the UN partition plan supported by the United States, and formed volunteer armies that infiltrated into Palestine beginning in December of 1947.
Thus the formation of Israel in 1948, laid the foundations of a conflict which took the lives of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis but even more devastating was the diaspora of Palestinians who took refuge in neighboring Arab countries fleeing the conflict and the associated socio-economic problems. While Israel was recognized by the United Nations as a sovereign state with rights to self-determination, the Palestinians remained a tribe without any rights. "The Arab-Israeli conflict has been a persistent source of tension for decades, for example, but it has taken on new dimensions in the aftermath of the failed Oslo process and the recent explosion of violence that shows no signs of abating." (Bensahel et al, 2003)

In fact, no sooner was the Jewish state announced that the region was engulfed in a war: as the British left Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia declared war on Israel. Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian began to invade the newly declared country. An armistice was soon reached with the mediation of the UN, but as the dust settled, Israel had conquered double the land it was originally allowed under the UN Partition Plan. In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed under the leadership of hardliner Yasser Arafat with the aim of destroying Israel. The Palestinian National Charter called for the liquidation of Israel. Three years later, Israel conquered the West Bank from Jordan and Golan Heights from Syria. UN Resolution 242 called for Israeli withdrawal. This was followed sooner by the Yom Kippur war involving the Egyptians, Syrians and Israel. The signing of a peace accord between Israel and Egypt in 1979 ushered in an era of relative peace. But three years into this era, Israel attacked neighboring Lebanon and conquered most of its land in pursuit of wiping out PLO fighters. In 1993, the Oslo Declaration signed by Israel and the PLO called for mutual recognition. Two years later, the Palestine Authority was established. In 2005, Israel evacuated Gaza and parts of West Bank occupied in 1949. In the wake of the September 11 attack, Israel and Palestine Authority reached a peace accord but it was never implemented.

The Arab countries as well as the former Soviet Bloc, the Non-Aligned ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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