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The Arab Israeli Conflict

A timeline of events that led to the creation of the Arab Israeli Dilemma

Will Gibbs

on 17 February 2015

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Transcript of The Arab Israeli Conflict

Abraham is tested by God.
1225 BC - after freeing his people, Moses recieves the Ten Commandments from God at Mt. Sinai in the Sinai Desert
1025-965 BC: The Kindgom of Israel is created under the leadership of Kings Saul, David and Solomon,
1725 BC: the Hebrews left their homeland due to famine and arrived to Egypt...only to become enslaved for the next 500 years.
1914 - 1918
WWI Breaks out across Europe
1920 -
Syria and Lebanon become French Mandates
Palestine becomes mandate of Britain
1920 -
Egypt is granted independence from Britain
1932 -
Iraq gains independence
from Britain
1939 - 1945
WWII breaks out across Europe
the Arab League is formed
The French vacate Syria and Lebanon
Jordan gains independance
1948 -
The State of Israel is declared
586 BC
Babylonians conquer the Hebrews, sparking the beginnings of the diaspora
4 AD: Birth of Jesus
70 AD -
the Romans conquer Israel...
Destroy the Temple. The Western Wall of the temple mount remained intact.
Muhammad is born
630-1280 - Arab control over Islam
Ottoman Control over Islam
the effects of Theodore Herzl's Zionist movement is felt in Palestine...to the tune of about 25,000 jewish residents
1897 -
the First Zionist congress is formed
1280 -
The Ottoman Empire emerges
1930s -
the rise of Nazi Germany
509-49 BC - Ancient Roman Republic
31 BC - 180 AD
Pax Romana
313 AD
Constantine recognizes Christianity
400 AD
Rome adopts Christianity
From Abraham’s son Isaac came the Jewish race, and from Abraham’s other son Ishmael came the Arabs.
The Problem of Palestine: Both Jews and Arabs claim the right to control and live in a small territory traditionally known as Palestine
The dilemma is that both groups have STRONG claims to the land. According to tradition: they have a common ancestor, Abraham.
The Jewish Claim: the Old testament is the story of the struggles of the Jews to survive and their longing for the promised land in Palestine. They settled there in about 1200 BC. Problems arose in 586 BC (Babylonians) and in 70 AD (Romans). In 135 AD, under the direction of the Romans...they were forbidden to assemble for prayer or visit Jerusalem again.
For the next 18 centuries they were a people without a homeland, dispersed throughout the world. (diaspora)
They never lost their identity or pride is Judaism. Their reoccuring goal was simple: “next year in Jerusalem”
The Arab Claim:
In the 7th century AD, Palestine was taken over by Arabs as they spread their Religion through the Middle East and North Africa
That is Where we will start...
Jerusalem, and more specifically, the Dome of the Rock became a sacred place for them.
2.) The strengthening and fostering of a “Jewish National sentiment and consciousness”
Theodore Herzl - the father of organized/political Zionism. He is the author of the book “The Jewish State”. This book helped unite the victims of the diaspora. It organized Zionism. His thesis was essentially, “due to the worldwide persecution of Jews, it is critical for the survival of this race to have a national home…for Jews…and only Jews”
An organized Zionist movement took shape, evidence by the Basel Declaration in 1897 at the first Zionist Congress.
A couple Basel Declaration goals:
1.) colonization of Palestine by Jews through the establishment of agricultural communities (Moshav & Kibbutz)
The Zionist movement was an effort to escape PERSECUTION a.k.a: Anti-semitism.
Jews were being persecuted against across the world from France (the "most liberal country in Europe"), Spain (Inquisition), Ukraine and Russia (pogroms)
DIASPORA: The settling of Jews outside of their homeland (Palestine/Judea/Israel)
Between 1880 and WWI, three million Jews fled from Eastern Europe in an effort to escape this violent persecution. Some went to Palestine, some went to America (500K immigrants)
Herzl's sentiments were fueled by The Dreyfus affair in France: Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was accused of treason. Theodore Herzl took special exception to this as cries of “death to the Jews” echoed throughout the very liberal French lands.
WHY were they persecuted against?
1.) a reaction to the Jews referring to themselves as “The Chosen People”
2.) accusations of their involvement in the crucifixion of Jesus
3.) they became frequent scapegoats for every kind of shortcoming that arose in any country during the diaspora.
1.) European countries were becoming more involved in the area (Imperialsim)
2.) The Arabs were trying to free themselves from Turkish rule (Ottoman Empire)
3.) European and American Jews were buying up land and beginning to work to establish Jewish settlements in Palestine (Ottoman Territory) (Zionism)
British and French
“Footholds" in the lucrative Middle East.
Suez Canal
French merchants/traders in Syria

but wait....
The British had two main goals in WWI:
WIN the war
Increase their influence in the region after the war
“during the War, in an effort to achieve these goals, The British made promises that they either never intended to keep…or ones that were contradictory."
As for those regions lying within those frontiers wherein Great Britain is free to act without detriment to the interest of her ally, France, I am empowered in the name of the Government of Great Britain to give the following assurances and make the following reply to your letter:-

1. Subject to the above modifications, Great Britain is prepared to recognize and support the independence of the Arabs in all the regions within the limits demanded by the Sherif of Mecca.
2. Great Britain will guarantee the Holy Places against all external aggression and will recognise their inviolability.
3. When the situation admits, Great Britain will give to the Arabs her advice and will assist them to establish what may appear to be the most suitable forms of government in those various territories.
I am convinced that this declaration will assure you beyond all possible doubt of the sympathy of Great Britain towards the aspirations of her friends the Arabs and will result in a firm and lasting alliance, the immediate results of which will be the expulsion of the Turks from the Arab countries and the freeing of the Arab peoples from the Turkish yoke, which for so many years has pressed heavily upon them.
The Balfour Declaration
Foreign Office
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
"His 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, 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."
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours sincerely,
Arthur James Balfour
Promise 3
The Sykes-Picot Agreement
1916 - assuming the allied powers won WWI, the French and The British made a secret agreement which divided up much of the old Ottoman Empire:
Britain: Iraq, Palestine, Transjordan
France: Syria and Lebanon
Promise 1:
The Husayn-McMahon Letters
Letters between Sharif Husayn (Arab leader) and Sir Henry McMahon (British diplomat)
Promising the creation of an independent Arab Kingdom. They did this to gain Arab support.
Promise 2
The Balfour Declaration
A Declaration of intent from James Balfour: British Foreign secretary
It speaks for itself.
The "Thrice Promised Land"
British and French mandates followed the lines of the Sykes-Picot Agreement.
Creation of “New” countries or “Nations”: Iraq, Syria and Lebanon now existed…
Ottoman Empire Collapsed, the Sultan agreed to give up all of his non-Turkish territory
Arab lands that had been part of the O.E. are under Allied occupation
League of Nations divided up the region into political units called “mandates”
MANDATE: an order giving the country the right to rule a territory until it was ready for independence
Arab revolts ensued across the region.
Creation of Saudi Arabia: the Arabian Kingdom. Persian Gulf to the Red Sea….but not Palestine as promised in the Husayn/McMahon letters.
In Palestine, the British ruled directly. They could not install an Arab king because of the promises made in the Balfour Declaration….and the other promise made with the French that resulted in a British Mandate
The birth of Middle Eastern Oil:
After WWI and more significantly, after the Industrial Revolution…the Middle East, long known for its importance as the hub of 3 Continents, the crossroads of the World, and the gateway to India…now had something even more valuable…OIL.
This increased the desire for European Countries to “increase their influence in the region”. (read: bleed the region dry of their precious natural resources)
Pipelines, railroads and ports were built. The British had direct/indirect control of the much of the Tigris Euphrates River valley and into the Arabian Peninsula.
In and around this time, we saw the birth of Standard Oil of California, The Texas Oil Company, and the Arabian-American Oil Company (aramco)
The Palestinian Arab claim:
We understand the horrors of the Holocaust, but why should we be punished for European anti-Semitic actions?
Their first order was to form the Arab League: an attempt at a unified Palestinian Arab leadership body. Arab leaders from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen joined forces to form a political body designed to compete with the Zionist Organization.
Start of WWII: roughly 450K Jews in Palestine (about 30 percent of pop.)
British line of thinking:
We need support in WWII
The Jews are obviously not going to support the Nazis…
So we better do something to gain Arab support: the White Papers
The White Papers limited the number of Jewish immigrants into Palestine to 75K over the next 5 years. The Arabs saw this is a small victory. Little did they know.
Unfortunately, this document had no chance of holding up against the immigrants fleeing Nazi persecution.
By the end of WWII: The true horror of the Holocaust was realized…to the tune of 6 million Jewish murders (roughly 60% of Europe’s Jewish population).
1.5 of these murders were children.
The understandable worldwide sympathy that ensued increased the popularity of Zionism among Jews and non-Jews.
Harry S. Truman, President of the United States, urged European Jews to be admitted to Palestine.
Immigration increased, Violence ensued, and an exhausted Britain found it impossible to control the Arab/Jewish tensions in Palestine. They ended their Mandate over Palestine and turned over control of the land to the United Nations (League of Nations)
Official Mandate of Britain…which angered the Arabs…and the Balfour Declaration was fuel to the fire.
Immigration started…Zionism was working.
Palestinian-Arabs were working hard to limit this immigration
Violence in Palestine between the residents and the immigrants (Palestinian-Arabs and Jews).
The Arab High Committee formed to build a united front against Jewish Immigration into Palestine. What followed has been called by some as a “Civil War” between Jews and the Palestinian-Arabs.
Immigration intensified with increase in Jewish Persecution around the region (emergence of Nazi Germany)
National flag
National anthem
Jewish National Fund
Purchased land from the weak and feeble Ottomans who were desperate for money
The State of Israel was created; it’s right to exist was recognized at once by the US and Soviet Union.
The Arab countries recognized it in a different way…The day after Israel was created, Arab troops from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq invaded.
Interesting Result…Israel won…and increased their land share from 56% to 77%
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees fled this new state arriving as refugees in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, giving Jews the population majority in what was once "Palestine"
War of Words:
Palestinian Arabs: “We were forced out of our land”
Jews: “they left on their own free will”
1956 - The Suez War
1967 - The Six-Day War
1973: The War of Yom Kippur
With Egypt defeated, Nasser resigned. Though his government and his people turned down his resignation, the loss of the war was a major personal defeat for him. This bold Israeli victory sent shockwaves throughout the Middle East
Jerusalem was now solely in the hands of the Jews
1979 - US President Jimmy Carter hosts the Camp David Peace Accords - USA is the mediator who arranged a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and Israel took the shape that most resembles what it looks like today.
Egypt and Syria invaded Israel…surprise attack on October 6th 1973, Yom Kippur: the most solemn religious day in the Jewish calendar.
The Israelis proved their military strength once again. Egypt was doomed, but saved by the bell when the United States and Soviets swooped in an organized a cease fire (Henry Kissinger)
The US was most interested in stopping the fighting because of an Oil embargo put forth by the Arab oil nations. The oil embargo effected nations who supported Israel (USA)
However, the dilemma remains…what do we do with the Palestinian refugees?
Some points of emphasis during this time period 1967-1973:
"No War, No Peace"
In the years after the 6 day war…there were no “wars” to speak of…but that is not to say there was “peace” either.
This era gave birth of Islamic Fundamentalism: a desire to return to a traditional Islamic values and beliefs: i.e.: Governments based on Religion, and they are willing to resort to violence in an effort to attain this. (militant groups came to the surface like the Muslim Brotherhood)
Oppose everything that is not Islamic in nature
Anti-European Imperialism
The Jews finally had control of (most of) their holy land, and they
were determined to keep it.
David Ben-Gurion was happy with the current situation:
Goal #1 - Jewish state (completed)
Goal #2 - Democratic form of Government in Israel (completed)
Goal #3 - ALL the historical land of Isreal (not completed)
Emergence of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) led by Yasser Arafat. Under his leadership, these Arabs increased their “terrorist” actions on/in Israel.
In response, Israel hit Palestinian camps.
United States and others tried to ease tensions between these groups…but had yet to find a middle ground for Jews and Palestinians
Temporary cease fires were somewhat successful, but splinter terrorist groups remained. Rejected peace treaties were responded to with continued attacks, Plane hijackings and protests led to the fourth war in 25 years.
135 AD -The final Jewish revolt is put down. The diaspora is in full effect
691 - The Dome of the Rock is built in Jeruslaem
1099 - Crusaders conquer Jerusalem and attempt to set up a Christian kingdom
1516 - Ottoman take control of Jerusalem
1880's - The birth of Zionism
This new Shape of Israel marks a new Dilemma: the Israeli Dilemma. Israel had changed shape and absorbed non-Jews in the process. Here is the dilemma:
“We want a purely Jewish state, but if we kick out the Arabs…then we are being hypocritical. We were given Israel because WE were kicked out of our land”
Choice 1 - keep newly gained land. Be less democratic. Deny Arab Citizenship in Israel.
Choice 2 -keep land, be democratic…but lose purely Jewish state.
Choice 3 - keep some land, be democratic, give back West Bank and Gaza Strip
Choice 4 - take action, expel refuges from West Bank/Gaza -attain purely Jewish state (this would achieve the 3rd uncompleted Zionist goal)
1882-1903: 25,000
1904: 1914: 40,000
1919-1923: 30,000
1924-1931: 84,000
1932-1938: 215,000
1939-1947: 154,000
1950 - LAW OF RETURN is passed
Think back to The White Papers. They were issued prior to WWII and limited Jewish immigrants to 75K. Well, much to the dismay of the Arab World, in 1950, the newly formed Jewish Government passed the ”Law of Return” stood in sharp contrast to promises made under British Mandate; the LAW OF RETURN states, “Any Jew, from anywhere in the world, can return to Israel and be granted full citizenship”
GROWTH: Total population of Israel
1948: 770,000
1954: 1,717, 814
1961: 2,232300
1969: 2,841,100
1973: 3,200,00
“Israel is a country which came into being by making another country cease to be”
This group consists of:
Arabs and their descendants who were not among the 750,000 who DID flee in 1948-49 - this group stayed in Israel.
Those who have lived under Israeli occupation since 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. There were roughly 350,000 who DID flee at this time. (War of Words)
These camps are overseen by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency
1973: Palestinian Arabs numbered approximately 3.3 million. Of these, 1.4 million were living in Israel.
Arab refugee camps are located on the borders of Israel in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan.
The number of Palestine refugees varies depending on the who you talk to.
For our purposes, we will use these numbers:
The number of descendents of Palestinian refugees by country as of 2005 :
Jordan: 3 million
Gaza: 1 million
West Bank : 750,000
Syria 400,000
Lebanon 400,000
Egypt 75,000
This is a presentation on the Arab Israeli Conflict that is serving as a substitute for the books used as part of the 8th grade curriculum at Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia. Information was taken from 2 sources: The Middle East and North Africa: Regional Studies Series; Globe Book Company, 1993 and Arab Israeli Conflict: Modern World Problems; 1979 Greenhaven Press. Some dates and statistics might be outdated, but for the purposes of this resource, they are suitable. There is also events and facts missing from this timeline...but for the purposes of our assignment, present facts are suitable.
L. Eaks, Palestine: Background to Conflict
The Arab-Israeli Dilemma

2000 BC
This was a major turning point on this timeline. When the truth behind the Nazi's WWII actions was realized... there was a worldwide sympathy for the Jews.
notice the location of Beersheba
notice the land in and around Jerusalem
it is tough to recognize the changes...
notice the land SE of the Gaza Strip
Notice the land West of Lake Tiberias
The Israeli Government summarized their
stance on the Refugees with 3 distinct views
1.) Israel did not create the problem. The war
was started by the Arabs who ignored the UN Partition plan and who invaded Israeli territory on May 15th, 1948
2.) Since 1948, many Jews have been forced to leave Arab countries to Israel (600K between 1948-1972). These people have been resettled and given homes... the Arabs could have done this for the Palestinians
3.) Arab leaders have deliberately
left the Palestinians in the refugee camps because it is good propaganda vs. Israel. Arab oil wealth could have easily solved this relocation problem
these Palestinians who started leaving Israel around this time were wealthier and had options, not all were so lucky.
Palestinian villages that fought the Jews faced two options: disarm or be destroyed. Many Palestinians became refugees at this time out of Fear of Jewish attack
at this point, the Jewish military force, the Haganah, started to act on the "disarm or be destroyed" tactic. Palestinian villages were surrounded and searched.
Many Palestinians were killed, men women and children, during this time period. Those who survived became refugees
As fear of Jewish violence quickly spread, so did the number of refugees. Neighboring Arab Countries tried to dissuade the Palestinians, but to little or no avail.
Roughly 700K refugees were created in the 2 year period surrounding the UN Partition plan
Palestine under the British Mandate (Sykes-Picot was the only promise that held up)The British were tongue-tied following the Three Promises they made during WWI. They were trying to untangle the web of lies and trying to keep the Arabs and Jews happy… it wasn’t working
The Zionist leaders (and soon to be leader of Israel) accepted the partition plan, the Palestinians did not. They were angry for two reasons:
1.) It was wrong to give Jews half the land when the Jewish population was only 1/3
2.) they did not like the idea that small groups of Arabs would be living under Jewish government in the new state.
There were roughly 160K Palestinians who did not leave, and lived under Israeli rule...under strict military control.
The Israeli Government quickly passed an "Absentees' Property Law" that confiscated the homes and land of the Palestinians who fled.
They were treated as "non Jews" in a Jewish State, discriminated against and treated as second class citizens.
information also taken courtesy of:
Their initial refusal to allow Holocaust survivors (the White Papers) into Palestine was met with wide worldwide criticism...
Israel is literally erased off the map. As a punishment
for continued revolts by the Jews, the Romans make Jerusalem a "Pagan" city and forbid Jews to congregate there. They also change the name of Israel to PALESTINE
Why did they make this bold statement? How did it come to be?
During World War I, Great Britain needed help. Since Germany (Britain's enemy during WWI) had cornered the production of acetone -- an important ingredient for arms production -- Great Britain may have lost the war if Chaim Weizmann had not invented a fermentation process that allowed the British to manufacture their own liquid acetone.
It was this fermentation process that brought Weizmann to the attention of David Lloyd George (minister of ammunitions) and Arthur James Balfour (previously the British prime minister but at this time the first lord of the admiralty). Chaim Weizmann was not just a scientist; he was also the leader of the Zionist movement.

Referred to by the Arab World as:
The Catastrophe

Referred to by Jewish sympathizers as:
The War of Independence
Full transcript