Some of the major questions that have to be asked to understand the conflict and whether or not there can truly be peace include the following: 1. How was Israel created 2. What has caused the tension in the Middle East 3. What role does the International community play on the Middle East conflict How Was Israel Created After the First World War, the defeated Ottoman Empire was divided amongst Britain, France, and Italy. The British mandate included Transjordan and Palestine, though this was the first time the name Palestine had ever been used.
Britain’s main role was to implement the Balfour Declaration, which stated the “Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object” (Hurewitz, 1979, p. 101 – 106). The Arabs were originally given 80 percent of the British Mandate, now known as Jordan. During World War II, Britain refused to allow European Jews, who were attempting to escape the Nazis, entry into the British Mandate. Instead, they were either sent to the African nation of Mauritius or sent to detention camps (Lenk, 1991, p. 2). Even, after World War II, Britain wanted to severely restrict the flow of Jewish immigrants from Europe to Palestine. Finally, Britain announced their desire to end their mandate of the territory by May 1948 and they turned the problems regarding the division of the land to the United Nations. The United Nations came up with several plans. The one that was voted on and passed 33 to 13 was UN Resolution 181, which divided the remaining portion of the British Mandate into two independent states with Jerusalem falling under
International control (United Nations, 1947, p. 132 – 133). The UN resolution gave the half of the remaining 20 percent of the original mandate to the Arabs. Israel declared itself an independent state on the 14th. It was immediately recognized by the United State, the Soviet Union, and many other nations. However, the Arab world refused to recognize Israel and over the next several days Arab forces from Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded Israel (Anti Defamation League, 1999).
Israel defeated all of the invading countries and starting with Egypt in February 1949, they all began to sign armistice agreements with Israel. Israel gained an additional 8 percent of the original mandate after the war. The Gaza strip went to Egypt and the West Bank to Transjordan. The United Nations Conciliation Commission estimated there were approximately 711000 Palestine refugees as a result of the 1948 War (1950). However, Jordan was the only Arab country who would accept them and allow the to travel outside of UN refugee camps (Bard, 2008).
What Has Led To The Current Tensions? After the initial 1948-49 War, many Arabs in Israel choose to try and leave the country and flee to other surrounding Arab nations. However, since Jordan was the only country willing to accept them as citizens, major resentment built up towards the Jews. Again, in 1967 Egypt and Jordan invaded Israel in another attempt to wipe Israel of the map. This war lead to the annexation of the West Bank, the Gaza strip and the Suez Canal into the hands of the Jewish state resulting in even more Palestinian refugees.
Once more, resentment continued to build against Israel. The irony of the situation is the Palestinians have had land and they have had opportunities for their own country, yet the Arabs in the region were not content with the land they already had and continued the violence towards Israel creating the refugee problem. As more and more Palestinians are displaced, the blame is put on Israel for not doing enough to help out the Palestinians and help them make permanent homes. Yet, at the same time no other Arab nation will take the time to help the Palestinians.
Instead they use them in an effort to obtain their own goal of a complete annihilation of the Jewish State. Iran, for example, helps to fund and support Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both of which are terrorist organizations. This outside influence adds more to the already tense situation in Israel. Another factor that has led to the hostilities was the creation of a Jewish state in a predominately Muslim region of the world. The Muslims see Israel and Jerusalem, the third holiest Muslim city, as belonging to them.
On the other hand the Jewish people biblically have the same believe about Israel and Jerusalem belonging to them. Both groups were given the legal permission via international law that provided both groups with land in the area. While the Israelis were content with the land they were given, the Palestinians were not, thus, the start of the 1948-49 war. When the other Arab nations attacked Israel, they violated international law and started a war of aggression. Since they were defeated, International law says all land captured from the aggressive armies is to remain in the hands of the country that was attacked.
The Palestinians saw this as though Israel were stealing their homeland. However, by refusing to accept the UN’s partition plan, they gave up any right they had to the land. Though the rhetoric that these Palestinian areas are being occupied illegally by Israel helps to fuel the violence between the two groups. What is the International Community’s Role be in Trying to Ensure Peace in the Region? The United Nations was directly responsible for the creation of the state of Israel, as was noted earlier.
Therefore it is partly the responsibility of the UN to help ensure peace. The problem right now is violence is not condemned on both sides of the conflict. When a Palestinian terrorist walked into a Jerusalem seminary and 8 rabbinical students, the United Nations could not pass a condemnation of the attack (Heilprin, 2008, March 7). Yet, at the same time, the United Nations condemned Israel for their use of force to try and stop the groups of Hamas terrorist firing rockets that are targeted at Israel civilians.
The United Nations actions of condemning Israel for their use of superior force to defend itself against those targeting Israel civilians, while at the same time refusing to condemn terrorist attacks targeted at civilians, merely emboldens the terrorists. The radical Palestinians who commit these terrorist acts see this lack of condemnation from the UN as a free pass to continue their targeting of civilians. Israel’s only logical response is to fight back, thus causing the violence to continue with at a cessation in site. Then again with an increase in world wide Anti-Semitism over the last few decades, it has ecome unpopular, in the world, to support the Jewish state. Why should the World Care? While the United Nations has shown weakness on the issue of supporting Israel as they continue to fight terrorist in an effort to protect its civilians, the question should be asked if there really is a need to support Israel and protect them from being completely eradicated. The first thing to consider is displacement. If the country of Israel were to ever fall to the Arab world and it become a Muslim nation again, where would the Jews go? You would first have the immediate influx of Jewish refugees would be most likely forced from their homes.
Additionally, what happens if another Holocaust happens in which one group is attempting to eradicate the Jewish people? Where would these Jews go to be guaranteed an escape from this persecution? The next big issue as to whether or not Israel is worth saving is the question of what has Israel done for the world so far? Good News from Israel gives plenty of examples of how Israel has contributed to the world. Here are just a few. Motorola’s research and development facility in Israel developed the cell phone. Both the Intel Pentium microprocessor and Pentium MMX Chip were designed in Israel.
The AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in Israel. Israeli doctors are making major medical breakthroughs including finding was to stop cancer in its tracks. Israel has the third most companies listed with the NASDAQ, behind Canada and the United States. These are just a few of the contributions that Israel has made to the world (http://www. newsoftheday. com/). All these and more have been accomplished while continuously engaged in war and being the target of terrorist. The question should be how could the International Community afford not to play a role in establishing peace in the Middle East while not removing Israel from the map?
What can be Done To Achieve Peace? Unfortunately, it seems as though the only way there will ever be peace in the Middle East is for a devastating and complete loss for one of the sides. The sad reality is peace talks and cease-fires do not work. The only way to truly achieve an end to a conflict is for an enemy to be dealt a crushing blow or a complete annihilation. The biggest problem is Fatah and other organizations that are part of the mainstream Palestinian lifestyle have called for the destruction of Israel (Ratzlav-Katz, 2007, November 20). They refuse to stop their fight against Israel until the country of Israel no longer exists.
These leaves Israel with the option of defending itself and acting aggressively to prevent more civilians from being targeted by Palestinian terrorists. Perhaps ones all the terrorists have been eliminated, the two sides will be able to sit down and reach an agreement that will result in a lasting peace. In order for peace to fully exist, though, after the terrorist have been removed from the equation, Israel’s neighbors are going to have to recognize it as a legitimate country with a right to exist. Perhaps once these two conditions exist, there can be a true heading towards peace.
References Anti Defamation League. (1999). Israeli War for Independence. Retrieved March 3, 2008, from http://www. adl. org/ISRAEL/Record/48war. asp Heilprin, J. (2008, March 7). Libya Blocks UN from Condemning Violence. Yahoo News. Retrieved March 7, 2008, from http://news. yahoo. com/s/ap/20080307/ap_on_re_af/un_mideast_violence Hurewitz, J. C. (Ed. ). (1979). The Middle fast and North Africa in World politics: a Documentary Record, vol. 2. New Haven: Yale University Press. Lenk, Karl. (1991). The Mauritius Affair, The Boat People of 1940/1941. London. Ratzlav-Katz, N. (2007, November 20). American Jewry: Fatah Charter Calls to 'Eradicate' Israel. Arutz Sheva. Retrieved March 9, 2008, from: http://www. israelnationalnews. com/News/News. aspx/124315 United Nations. (1947). Resolution 181. Retrieved March 8, 2008, from http://daccessdds. un. org/doc/RESOLUTION/GEN/NR0/038/88/IMG/NR003888. pdf? OpenElement United Nations Conciliation Commission. (1950, October 23). General Progress Report and Supplementary Report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, Covering the Period from 11 December 1949 to 23 October 1950. Retrieved March 9, 2008, from http://domino. un. org/unispal. nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/93037e3b939746de8525610200567883! OpenDocument