294 - Peace for Life

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, US History
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Palestine-Israel Conflict Historical & Geopolitical Perspective



This paper aims to provide a brief historical background and geopolitical perspective on the decades-long conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and the role of the US in this conflict 2

The history of the Palestine-Israel conflict may be discussed in four periods From ancient times to the end of World War I

The British Mandate of Palestine – 1917-1948 The establishment of the state of Israel and the Israel-Arab Wars (1948-1982) Peace talks, the 1st and 2nd Intefada, to the present


Ancient Times to the End of World War I 

1250 BC - Israelites conquer Canaan; King David, Solomon (965-928)and other Hebrew rulers 586BC - Jews driven out by Assyrian conqueror Nebuchadnezzer Succession of Assyrian, Persian (539BC), Greek (333BC), Egyptian, Syrian, Roman Byzantine (63 BC), and Arab rulers from Damascus (661-750), Iraq (750-1258), and Cairo (969-1099, 1187-1516), and the Crusaders (1099-1187) . Palestine incorporated into the Ottoman Empire from 1516-1917 Zionism – the movement to establish a separate Jewish state in Palestine – was born in the end of the 19th century


The Middle East in 1917

Middle East in 1917



The British Mandate (1917-48) 

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 pledged Britain’s support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” and paid lip service to safeguarding the civil and political rights of the non-Jewish communities in Palestine

Successive waves of migrations increased Jewish population in Palestine from less than 6% in 1903 to 31% in 1945 7


29 Nov 1947 - UN Resolution 181 – partitioning Palestine into a Jewish state (56.5% of Palestine) and a Palestinian state (43%); rejected by the Palestinians and Arab states. 14 May 1948 - State of Israel proclaimed in Tel Aviv at 4:00 P.M. , recognized by US President Truman 15 May 1948 - British Mandate ends. Declaration of State of Israel comes into effect. 8


The Arab-Israeli Wars     

1949 – First Arab-Israeli War 1956 – Suez Campaign (Oct 29-Nov 5) 1967 - Six-Day War (June 5-10) 1973 - October War (Yom Kippur) 1982 - Israeli invasion of Lebanon




Six-Day War 1967 June 5-10


October 1973 War

(Yom Kippur)


Peace Talks and the Intefada  1978 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt; Israel turns over Sinai to Egypt in exchange for recognition of right to exist  1987 - the outbreak of the first Palestinian intefada in December 1987 triggered by death of Palestinian youths run over by Israeli lorry (military personnel carrier)  1988 - Yasser Arafat's condemnation of terrorism and recognition of the state of Israel in December 1988. 

1991 October - The Madrid peace conference 15


1992 - secret Israeli-Palestinian talks in Oslo, Norway

1993 Declaration of Principles (DoP), signed by Yasser Arafat and Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin: o set up the Palestinian Authority, but o failed to resolve the issues of : § return of Palestinian refugees § the status of Jerusalem § Israeli settlements § final Palestine-Israel borders

1994 – Arafat returned to Gaza Strip and West bank to head the Palestinian Authority 16


Israel wielded full authority and control by frequently sealing off the Palestiniangoverned areas from the rest of the Occupied Territories and from Israel.


Some highlights in recent history of Palestine 1974 - The Arab Summit in Rabat recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. 1987 - Relations between Israel and the Palestinians entered a new phase with the intifada, a series of uprisings in the occupie d territories that included demonstrations, strikes, and rock-throwing attacks on Israeli soldiers. 1988 - The Palestinian National Conference meeting in Algiers declared the State of Palestine as outlined in the UN Partition Plan 181. 1993 – Israeli PM Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat signed an historic peace agreement wherein Israel agreed to allow for Palestinian self-rule (Palestinian National Authority), first in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho, and later in other areas of the West Bank. But failed to resolve the issues of return of Palestinians to Palestine, Jewish settlements, Jerusalem and final Israel-Palestine borders. 1994 Jan - PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat elected President of the PNA.

Camp David Summit, 11 July 2000 

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, US President Bill Clinton and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat failed to reach an agreement on resolving the IsraelPalestine conflict.

September 2000 – Opposition Likud Party candidate Ariel Sharon’s visit to Jerusalem sparks 2nd Intifada, which lasts throughout 2001.

March 2002 - Saudi Peace Initiative 

Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia proposed a Saudi peace initiative in March 2002 that formally changed the Arab world?s position on Israel. The proposal, endorsed by the Arab League, asked Israel to withdraw to the 1949 borders and establish an independent and sovereign state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital. It stipulated that displaced refugees should either be allowed to return to their homes or be compensated for their loss of property. In return, the Arab states would consider the Arab-Israeli conflict over, sign comprehensive peace treaties with Israel, and normalize relations. The proposal was received with skepticism by Israel and had little practical effect.

13 March 2002 - U.N. Resolution 1397 The U.S. pushes through the passage of U.N. Resolution 1397 by the Security Council, 25 November an 2010 demanding "immediate cessation of all acts of violence" and "affirming a vision of a region where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders".

March 2002 - Israeli forces attack Palestinian cities Operation Defensive Shield, Israel's largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War. Its goals was launched purportedly  to enter cities and villages which have become havens for terrorists;  to catch and arrest terrorists and, primarily, their dispatchers and those who finance and support them;  to confiscate weapons intended to be used against Israeli citizens;  to expose and destroy terrorist facilities and explosives, laboratories, weapons production factories and secret installations.

Attack on Arafat’s HQ at Ramallah (14 March 2002)

12 April 2002 – Massacre at Jenin Refugee Camp IDF used heavy armored bulldozers to flatten apartment buildings in Jenin, burying trapped occupants alive. Foreign media was prevented from entering the camps for two weeks after the operation.

IDF troops occupy Bethlehem and attack the Church of the Nativity, where 200 Palestinians sought refuge for 39 days

June 2002 – Israel starts construction of the West Bank Apartheid Wall

The Wall will run over 650 km deep inside West Bank, will de facto annex nearly 50% of it.

The Wall takes on a variety of forms, but always with watchtowers, concertina wire, and bulldozed buffer zones.

The Wall is a blatant violation of international law, particularly on the annexation of occupied land (United Nations Charter, art. 2.4).

The Wall has devastated every aspect of Palestinian life, and has incited strong protest not only by the Palestinians but by the international community as well.

US, European Union, Russia and the UN propose a “Road Map to Peace” 

called for an independent Palestinian state peacefully coexisting with Israel requires the PNA to undertake democratic reforms and abandon the use of terrorism. Israel must support and accept the emergence of a reformed Palestinian government and end settlement activity of the Gaza Strip and West Bank as the Palestinian threat is removed.

June 2003 Arab Summit

Arab leaders hold a two-day summit in Egypt, announce their support for the US-EU-Russia-UN Road Map and promised to work on cutting off funding to terrorist groups.

21 Aug 2003 – Israel assassinates Ismael Abu Sinaub, 3rd most senior Hamas leader Five Israeli missiles incinerated Ismail Abu Shanab in Gaza City, killing one of the most powerful voices for peace in Hamas and destroying a sevenweek ceasefire. Hamas declared an immediate end to the truce and vowed a bloody revenge for the death of Abu Shanab, who was married with 11 children. He had advocated the existence of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, not replacing it.

US role in the conflict 

1948 - Israel wins the first war against its Arab neighbors leading to the establishment of the state of Israel. The US lobbied for Israel and was the first country to recognize Israel in the United Nations. 1956 Suez Crisis - Israel, France, and Britain attack Egypt in October of 1956 after the Suez crisis but the US comes out against the war forcing UN intervention and an end to hostilities. 35

1967 Six-Day War - US backs Israel in its third war in the region against the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Israel gains control of the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, Syria's Golan Heights, and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. 1973 -October/Yom Kippur War - Egypt and Syria attack Israel in October of 1973 in an attempt to reclaim lands lost in the Six-Day War. Israel initially suffers major losses until the United States arranged a massive airlift of weapons which helped Israel in its counteroffensive. 36

1978 Camp David Accords - US President Jimmy Carter mediates negotiations between Egypt's Anwar Sadat and Israel's Menachem Begin leading to the Camp David Accords, the prerequisite to the 1979 EgyptianIsraeli Peace Treaty.

1982 War of Lebanon -- Israel gets explicitly involved in the Lebanese Civil War, attacking Syrian and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) forces. The US mediates an agreement with the PLO to withdrawal which leads to American troop deployment in Lebanon.

1991-Current - Peace Process -- The US has played a mediating role between Israel and its neighboring Arab countries, leading to the Madrid Conference (1991), Oslo Process/Accords (1993), the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty (1994), and most recently the Roadmap For Peace.

2006 War with Lebanon - Israel attacks Lebanon in retaliation for the Hezbollah kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. Questions arose about whether or not Israel used American supplied weapons during the conflict. 37

Israel largest recipient of military aid from 1976-2004; since then 2nd only to Iraq 

US stockpiles war materials in Israel that it ccan use in any part of the world, while Israel can and also has used these its military offensives such as the 2006 war in Lebanon. From USD 800 M worth in 2007, the stockpile will be increased to USD 1 billion in 2011 Since 1985, Israel received nearly USD 3 B in military aid with preferential terms (early delivery, can be used for R&Dto buy military hardware , eg warplanes from the US) 38

Straight from the US State Department’s mouth: 

“U.S. assistance will help ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge over potential threats, and prevent a shift in the security balance of the region. U.S. assistance is also aimed at ensuring for Israel the security it requires to make concessions necessary for comprehensive regional peace.” (in justifying FY2011 Foreign Operations budget) 39

Pipeline Geopolitics and Israel 

Israel is part of the Anglo-American military axis, which serves the interests of the Western oil giants in the Middle East and Central Asia. Not surprisingly, Israel has military cooperation agreements with Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Oil and natural gas are also factors in Israel’s insistence in maintaining control of occupied territories in the West Bank and Gaza strip. 40

The Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline 

While the official reports state that the BTC pipeline will "channel oil to Western markets", what is rarely acknowledged is that part of the oil from the Caspian sea would be directly channeled towards Israel. In this regard, an underwater Israeli-Turkish pipeline project has been envisaged which would link Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon and from there through Israel's main pipeline system, to the Red Sea. 41

The objective of Israel is not only to acquire Caspian sea oil for its own consumption needs but also to play a key role in re-exporting Caspian sea oil back to the Asian markets through the Red Sea port of Eilat. The strategic implications of this rerouting of Caspian sea oil are farreaching. What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel's Tipline, from Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon. 42

US-Israel targetting Iran 

US has stepped up its political and economic offensive against Iran as part of the “axis of evil” and threatens to invade and occupy it unless it dismantles its nuclear weapons program Israel has been pushing the US to take more aggressive military actions against Iran, which it accuses of preparing a nuclear attack on Israel. Iran remains the main obstacle to the consolidation of US hegemony and control of the Middle East and its resources 43

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