Wednesday, October 19, 2011


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The Arab/Israeli conflict has been continually going on since Israel was created in 148. This has taken the form of conflict between neighbouring countries that are fighting for the land, which they consider to be theirs.

The first conflict occurred between 148 � 14 with the War of Independence. In May 148 Arab armies from surrounding countries crossed into Palestine in an attempt to extinguish the new nation. Their badly led and poorly organised troops were no match for the Israelis who, by contrast, were well organised at fighting for their survival. By February 14 the Israelis had beaten off their opponents. Israel had now taken over the land, which the United Nations had reserved for the Arabs. Jews now ran 80 per-cent of Palestine. The remaining land was taken over by Jordan, who annexed the West Bank in 150 and Egypt who took control of the Gaza Strip. There was no land left for an independent Palestinian state. Palestinians were now either living under Jewish control, or in refugee camps on the outside borders of Israel.

The second conflict occurred in 156 with the Suez Crisis. In 155 Israeli troops attacked Egyptian positions in Gaza in retaliation for Fedayeen raids. As a result, Gamal Nasser, the Egyptian leader, wanted to buy arms from the Western Powers so Egypt could fight Israel. When the Western Powers refused to sell him arms, a crisis ensued which saw Nasser buy weapons from the communist bloc and nationalise the Suez Canal to boost Egyptian revenues. The British and French who owned the Suez Canal were furious and conspired with David Ben Gurion, the Israeli leader to attack Egypt in the hope of trampling Nasser. America insisted that the attack be halted and the Allies withdrew. This was seen as a great triumph to the Arabs and Nasser emerged as a hero in the Arab world.

The third war was the Six-Day War in 167. Guerrilla raids coordinated by the newly formed Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) continued in Israel. Nasser, who was stung by Arab criticism that he had lost the will to lead fight against Israel, began to make statements suggesting an attack against Israel was imminent. The Israelis decided to get in first and on June the 5th launched a surprise attack on the airfields of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, destroying most of their enemies’ planes. The Israeli army then attacked, and within a week, the war was won. Israel captured the Sinai Peninsular and the Gaza strip in Egypt; East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan; and the Golan Heights from Syria. These became known as the Occupied Territories.


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The fourth war occurred on the Jewish religious holiday Yom Kippur in 17. Anwar Sadat, the new Egyptian leader wanted to regain the Sinai and reopen the Suez Canal. In 17 the Egyptians, in an alliance with Syria, launched the surprise attack during the Yom Kippur festivities to catch the Jews off guard. They gained ground on the Sinai and the Golan Heights, however the Israelis recovered and defeated the Arab armies.

From the 170s to this very day the Jews and Arabs wage terrorist attacks on each other and the rest of the world. There are too many to be mentioned. One of the most recent being the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon in America. They are still fighting for land which, you would think is supposed to be peaceful, the Holy Land, and fighting against others who have different beliefs. We all know uncertain times are ahead. Especially in the wake of recent events we ask “why can’t we just live together, irrespective of what race, colour and religion we are?”

“Will the Middle East ever be a peaceful place?” That question is still to be answered.

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