Arab-Israeli Conflict (1)

Arab-Israeli Wars (2)

The SIX DAYS' WAR of 1967 had humiliating results for the Arab world. The Westbank, the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula were occupied by the Israelis, the Suez Canal formed the border line and was closed for shipping. Egypts President GAMAL ABDEL NASSER had lost face and credibility; je resigned and was succeeded by ANWAR AS-SADAT.
Sadat regarded it imperative to restore Egyptian self-respect. When Soviet advisors interfered in his plans, he expelled them from the country; in 1973, when Israel was celebrating the Yom Kippur festival, the Egyptian army attacked, joined by Syria. The Israelis were caught by surprise; Egyptian forces occupied the right bank of the Suez Canal. The Israeli air force also had difficulties in dealing with SS 10 missiles the Syrians fired at them. In a daring move, Israeli troops broke the Egyptian lines in the central section of the Suez Canal, crossed over to the African side, moved southward along it and thus surrounded the Egyptian forces which occupied the southern section of the canal's right bank. Then, after two weeks of war, the YOM KIPPUR WAR was ended by a truce based on the status quo ante.

Since its foundation in 1964, the PLO had emerged into an efficient terrorist organization. In 1970 Jordan forces expelled the Palestinians from Jordanese soil; the presence of the PLO there had become a threat to the sparsely inhabited country. Many Palestinians moved to Lebanon. The PLO had two problems to deal with - the Israelis occupying their land, and Jordan still claiming the West Bank.
The Arab nations supported the Palestinian claim; the PLO had been accepted as a member of the Arab League in ....., was granted observer status in the UN in ..... In 1973 the Arab oil producing governments took control of oil production and raised the prices considerably, causing the OIL CRISIS. OPEC nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya and Algeria not only voiced their support for the Palestinian cause, but provided the PLO with financial support. OPEC oil policy had multiple objectives, to increase the revenue of the OPEC member countries as well as to put pressure on the west to rethink its Near East policy.
Israel could develop and maintain its high-tech army becausze it was the world's largest recipient of US aid; Israel had been able to build up a positive image of itself in the western media, as the immigrants who turn desert land into flourishing fields etc., while discrediting their enemies. Now the world painfully became aware of the injustice done to Palestinians and the conditions under which they were forced to live in refugee camps.

Egypt's president ANWAR AS-SADAT, in an interview, outlined his thoughts on a peace between Israel and Egypt. Negotiations were begun, a peace signed at CAMP DAVID with US President JIMMY CARTER serving as mediator (1977); both Sadat and Israel's president MENACHEM BEGIN were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1978. Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula, which was handed over to Egypt. Egypt, for a long time a leader among the Arab nations, suddenly found itself an outcast, because it had negotiated and come to terms with Israel. In 1981, Sadat fell victim to an assassin; Egypt, however, has respected the peace treaty ever since.
Political authority in Lebanon disintegrated rapidly, various politi-ethnic groups ruling their respective strongholds. Lebanon became an operation basis for terrorists striking at Israel. In 1982 Israeli forces invaded southern Lebanon and established a SECURITY ZONE, controlled by a Lebanese christian militia allied with Israel. In 1982 armed men of the same militia, in an act orchestrated by the Israeli army, entered the Palestinian refugee camps of SABRA and SHATILA, massacring camp inmates, among them seniors, women and children. This triggered a mass emigration of Palestinian refugees from Lebanon to Tunisia.
The PLO continued in their terrorist activities; in 1985 the Israeli airforce raided the Palestinian refugee camps in Tunisia.

Israel claimed the Gaza strip, the West Bank including all of Jerusalem abd the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. It pursued a policy of establishing settlements which dotted all the occupied areas. Houses of Arabs who engaged in violent protests regularly were bulldozed. The state of Israel has not yet defined its borders; long it refused to recognize the Palestinians as a nation, claiming that 'there was one Israel and 28 Arab states' (implying that the Palestinians should resettle elsewhere in the Arab world).
The Islamic nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Soviet block supported the PLO; increasingly the nations of Western Europe distanced themselves from Israel's policy. The UN passed a number of resolutions calling upon Israel to give up the settlements it created on the West Bank etc. and to withdraw their occupation forces. Israel found itself increasingly isolated, with the US forming an (important) exception.

Meanwhile, Jordan has given up its long-held claim on the West Bank (1988); Yassir Arafat and the PLO have recognized the existence of the State of Israel (1993) and have limited the claim of Palestinian territory to the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Negotiations have begun between Israel and the PLO (OSLO ACCORDS, 1995, and others), and certain areas within the Gaza Strip and the West Bank have been handed over by Israel to the PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (beginning with Jericho 1994). Israel has withdrawn from the Lebanese Security Zone (2000).
In negotiations Israel has declared its preparedness to give up most of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank; however, the status of the city of Jerusalem, the part of the West Bank and Gaza Israel wants to hold on to, a continued policy of establishing settlements and the issue of the right of the refugees to repatriation continue to be bones of contention. Since 1987 the Palestinians engage in an INTIFADA, a non-cooperation with the Israeli authorities, accompanied by demonstrations, violent acts such as stone-throwing, and terrorist acts such as suicide bombings.

Arab-Israeli Wars, from Palestine - Home of History
Palestine Timeline 1900-1979, from Palestine - Home of History
DOCUMENTS Documents Pertinent to Middle Eastern Issues, posted/linked by Vincent Ferraro at Mt. Holyoke
Palestine Partition Plans - Maps, from Stanford, including a number of plans never realized
Palestine 1916 - 1999 : A Documentary Record, from Avalon Project at Yale Law School, many documents, mostly before 1955
Palestine : Historical Documents, from Palestone - Home of History, focus on recent documents
Oslo Accords (1995 and after) from Al Mashriq
Arafat's letter of recognition of the State of Israel, 1993, from Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on July 16th 2001, last revised on November 15th 2004

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