The Instability In Israel Essay, Research Paper
The subject that I will be focussing on is: Why has there been instability in Israel from its formation in 1948 to present day.
This question can be broken down into several key areas: The Balfour Declaration of 1917; The creation of Israel; The subsequent four wars; Egyptian-Israeli peace talks; Turmoil in Lebanon and 90 s to present day. I will focus on the Palestinian point of view as well as the Israeli. I will use biographies written by both sides and their own interpretations of what was going on along side them. I will show that for there to be peace in Israel, Israel must adopt a policy, which is less prejudice towards the Arab Israeli s who live in Israel but are Muslim. They must also decide what is more important land or peace. I will also show that Palestinians need to be realistic as to the land that they can receive and that compromise on their part could stop the crisis. I will also show that Israeli s have been as much to blame for the violence that is still going on today. I will also use newspaper articles to show the different ways in which Palestinians and Israeli s are viewed by the media both in the past and the present.
In November 1917, The Balfour Declaration sent to a leading Zionist, Lord Rothschild stated that the British government believed that a national home for the Jews should be created in Palestine. The Zionists were an extremist group who believed that it was essential that Jewish people should have a homeland of their own. Their rights to Palestine are on the basis that in the Old Testament god promised Jews Palestine as their homeland. Britain ruled Palestine, by the end of the 19th century and this did not please the Arabs who had expected self-government and an Arab state.
The aspect of the declaration that I am interested in is the place where it states …the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people… This has been misinterpreted by many people including the Zionists who saw this as an open invitation to take over Palestine. I will address the letter that was sent to Sherif Hussein Leader of the Arabs, which stated, Great Britain is prepared to recognize and support the independence of the Arabs in all the region. I will look at the contradictory statements made by Britain, which left both sides wondering what they meant.
The four wars that have occurred in the last fifty years shows us that the hostility in Israel did not cease, in fact it worsened after Ben Guiron announced the creation of Israel in 1948. As Israel was proclaimed it was immediately attacked by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. Subsequently Israel not only retained the land given to them by the UN but also gained more and refused to give it back.
The Suez War in 1956 occurred for many reasons partly the Arab Israeli conflict and partly the struggle between Arab nationalism and Britain and France wanting to maintain power in the Middle East. The result of the war was humiliation for France and Britain who achieved none of their goals. Israel gained as it inflicted heavy loses on the Egyptian army, however land that she had captured from Egypt was handed back on the orders of the UN.
The Six Dar War in 1967 was another joint effort from the Arab nations to attack Israel. However Israel not only nullified this threat it also captured the Gaza strip, the whole of Sinai from Egypt, the rest of Jerusalem, West Bank from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria. This time Israel ignored a UN order to give back the land.
The Yom Kippur War in 1973 was a joint Egyptian- Syrian attack on Israel. It occurred mainly because of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) led by Yasser Arafat applying pressure for something to be done. It was more evenly balanced however the rest of the world suffered as oil prices shot up because Arab nations decided to lessen the supply.
In 1978 Israeli and Egyptian leaders signed agreements for peace in the Middle East to the surprise of the Arab world. President Sadat of Egypt became the first Arab Leader to talk peace with Israel. However it became evident that anyone seen as betraying the Muslim cause would suffer as Sadat was assassinated in 1981. I will look at the reasons why there was a settlement between some of the countries in the Middle East at this time. Egypt was frustrated at the losses that she was receiving fighting costly wars and Israel was going through economic problems, caused partly by an enormous defense budget.
During this time in the early 80 s there was also another major war going on in the Middle East and that was between Iraq and Iran. This however affected all the countries in the Middle East and not so much Israel in particular so i have decided not to concentrate on this. This did however take the pressure off Israel as everyone in the Middle East was concentrating on the war between Iraq and Iran.
Lebanon was a country in the Middle East, which was prosperous and wealthy. However it was in turmoil as there were various different religions and sects, which fought constantly in the 80 s. There were four main Christian groups: Maronites; Greek Orthodox; Roman Catholics and the Armenians. The Muslims also had three groups: Sunni s; Shia s and the Druze. Added to this was Israel who supported the Christians. As Civil War broke out in Lebanon the Israel s seized the opportunity to send troops to help the Christians. The Palestinians countered and attacked the Christians and it escalated to the point that Israel in retaliation to Palestinians on her attacked Lebanon. I will look at how religion is one of the major reasons of tension in Israel as well as the rest of the Middle East.
The Palestinian National Council s recognition of Israel and the decision to seek an Independent Palestinian state alongside Israel was a major break through in Israel s 40 years of existence. It had taken it that long for Palestinians to finally admit to Israel s existence.
The early 90 s to present day have been frustrating as well as progressive in the Arab Israeli tensions. Peace and violence have combined to make Israel a time bomb waiting to explode. The media is something I will look at because the portrayal of the crisis is at the very least biased towards the Israel s. In 2001 in the last 6 months 400 people have died in the troubles out of which over 350 people are Palestinian, most of who are children. Out of the rest most of the Israeli casualties are soldiers yet the pictures of an Israeli woman crying are the most shocking pictures that I have seen in the newspapers. Papers like the Sun welcome Ariel Sharon even though he was found guilty of playing a part in the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian woman and children. The Palestinians are also violent and have shown this in the past but the odds of one suicide bomber getting past the best Intelligence Organisation in the world is extremely remote.
I have gathered together a list of various books, Internet sites and newspaper articles, which will help me in my project.
Israel by Yossi Berlin is a secondary source and covers a vast number of topics about Israel. It dedicates only a chapter to the Arab Israel conflict, which is unusual and covers everything from the structure of the Israeli Government to the myths about Israel. This book is useful for an overview about Israel and its development as a nation and it is interesting as it is written by a self confessed Ardent Zionist 1 so it is interesting to see his point of view come across. This of course shows that he his biased towards Israel but it is interesting none the less.
Palestine: Retreating from the Mandate by Michael Cohen is another Secondary source and concentrates on the crucial events leading up to Britain s retreat from Palestine. It chronicles in detail the nine years between 1936-1945. This is a source, which is of great importance to me because it gives me vital information about the events leading up the formation of Israel. The book analyses a lot of documentary evidence like the White paper of 1939, which is again invaluable to my case study. The author, a lecturer in Israel will have his own angle.
No Trumpets, No Drums by Sari Nusseibeh and Mark Heller is a Primary source and deals with how Israel and Palestine can co exist in the future. The two people writing the book are both scholars and both from different sides of the conflict, which makes this an interesting book to study as it gives you two different personal opinions. The book gives its own blue print as to how a settlement could arise. It is of great use to me as by looking at what both sides want I can get a greater understanding as to why resolution hasn t occurred to this day.
Tried by Fire by Andy McNab is a Primary source and gives the first hand view of two important members of the struggle. Bassam Abu- Sharif who was Yasser Arafat s Chief Lieutenant and Uzi Mahnaimi who was a spymaster for Israeli intelligence. This is an incredibly insightful book and gives the personal accounts of two people who have suffered at the hands of the struggle. The book also gives an insight as to the cause of the problem and how to eradicate it. This book will be extremely useful, as first hand accounts will help me grasp the cause of the problem.
Against the Stranger by Janine Di Giovanni is a Primary source again but with a difference Di Giovanni interviews people who share their experiences with her. This is a look at Palestinian people and how they have suffered in the crisis. It is deeply disturbing but it gives insight into an area that I have found not a lot on. This book is excellent as it gives me something that I do not have; First hand accounts of ordinary people living in Israel and the West Bank.
I will also be using Newspapers in England such as The Guardian and Tabloids such as The Sun to get an indication what the academics and the mass population thinks about the crisis. I have also seen American Newspapers such as The New York Times, which are also excellent. Hard to come by was the newspapers written by Palestinians or Muslims but I did find them on the Internet and have included them in my bibliography.
Internet sites that I will be using are also varied. There are quite a few Israeli sites and lesser Palestinian sites. Out of interest Israel got over 2000 matches whilst Palestine got 80.
Overall I see my Level 3-project heading in a positive direction. My topic has a lot of information to be found both in books and in the media. It is a relevant historical issue and is continuing to this day. Currently Israel has gone into Palestinian controlled areas with the condemnation of America. I want to look at the Middle Eastern problem from an angle not previously looked at or not done as much. I am also interested from a personal point of view as being a Muslim I have my own opinions about the area.