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Arab and Israel
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Page 1: Arab And Israel

Arab and Israel

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• Let them hate us, as long as they fear us. – Caligula, Roman emperor 037-041 (12 AD -

41 AD)

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Back History• Abraham: 2,000 BCE

– Leaves present day south-eastern Iraq and heads west– Takes family/clan/tribe with him

• Moses: 13th Century BCE– Leads a group out of Egypt

• Region– Philistines control the coast – Canaanites control the hills

• Kings Saul/David/Solomon: 11th to 10th Century BCE– Create the Kingdom of Israel– Split into two Kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the


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Back History• Israel conquered by Assyrians in the 8th century and

Judah taken by Babylonians in the 6th

– Return in 397 BCE and reclaimed the land for the Jews• Greeks conquer region in 332 BCE

– Jews didn’t care for Hellenistic culture– Revolt 165 BCE (Hanukkah: Festival of Lights)

• Rome takes region: 64 BCE– Jews still aren’t happy– Revolt 66 AD: Brutally put down, Jerusalem sacked– Revolt again 132-135, brutally put down and Jews dispersed:

Diaspora• Byzantines take a hard whack: 628/629

– But anti-Semitism in Europe drives the occasional Jew back to the region

– Muslim rulers generally lenient and accepting

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Current Day• Israel: Over 7 million

– Over 5 million Jewish citizens and one million non-Jewish Arabs citizens

• Various other groups: Christian/Druze• Males at 18 get three years of service/females 2 years

– Jews divided into European or Asia/African descent• A large proportion (35%) refugees or returnees

– Proportional representation democracy• 2% of vote gets a seat in the 120 seat Knesset (Parliament)• Prime Minister elected by popular vote• 12 parties in 2006

– Kadima: 29, Labor: 19, Likud: 12, Eastern Jews: 12

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British Involvement:

• After 1936-1939 Arab revolt the British severely limited Jewish immigration to Palestine– Policy effectively kills thousands of Jews attempting to flee Nazi

controlled Europe– Jewish leaders have no choice to back England in WWII

• Begin to form civilian militias– Haganah: Unofficial Army

» Palmach: Regular fighting force of the Haganah

• But some choose to oppose British rule– Irgun: militant offshoot of the Haganah

» Targeted both British and Arab» Stern Gang or Lehi: more militant offshoot of the Irgun

– Arab leaders have a choice and some flee to Germany (Arab religious leader of Jerusalem)

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British Involvement:

• Britain’s policy– Road to hell

• Keep Arabs happy– Maintain access to oil during the war, and after– Arabs vastly outnumbered Jews

• Keep Jews happy– But was never a consistent backer of a Jewish state

– Peel Commission 1937: Only real answer is partition• Jewish state/Arab state/Neutral Jerusalem

– 1921-22 movement of nearly 2 million Greeks/Turks– Arabs refuse anything short of Arab dominated region– Brits shelve Peel Commission findings

– Saw itself as remaining a Great Power after WWII

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British Involvement:

• Post World War II– Can not survive financially and can not

militarily control the region• Looks to set up Arabs as proxies in the region

– All the region’s leaders are beholden to Britain– Sets up the “Arab League” in 1945

• Turkey, Greece and Iran under increasing pressure from Soviet Union and internal communist parties

– Soviets looking to set up proxies as well» Ala Eastern Europe

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British Involvement:

• Post World War II– Palestine

• Arabs want Jews out and an Arab nation– Stop all immigration

• Jews want increased immigration– Accept holocaust survivors

» Britain refuses– Jewish terror organizations increasingly target British

• Britain has over 100,000 troops in region– Financially and morally drained– Decides to give the problem to newly created United


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United Nations:• An impossible problem

– Arabs refused to discuss any option except their complete control over the region

– Jews discussed the issue and got what they wanted:• A Nation

– UN General Assembly Resolution 181, November 1947

• Partition the region (ala Peel Commission)• Two state solution

– 33 to 13 with ten abstentions» All Arab Nations voted no» US and USSR voted yes» Britain sets the date of 14 May 1948

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United Nations Resolution 181:

• Problem: – Its not a solution to the problem if one side

refuses to accept it• Arab League: Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon

and Saudi Arabia– Threaten war if partition went forward– Decided they didn’t need diplomacy

» Would use military force and change Palestine to suit their needs

» In retrospect, not the brightest move– Did not really agree on any war goals or aims, just that

they would go to war.

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United Nations Resolution 181:• Early 1948

– Britain slowly pulling out and vacuum is left• Jewish militias begin to take over not just “their” portion but

also Arab portions• Control of key road intersections and key terrain• By end of April/early May Jewish forces controlled most of the

area designated for the Jewish state but also half the area designated for the Arab portion

– 9 April 1948: Jewish forces kill 100 to 250 Arab villagers

» Panic spreads among Arab and many flee their homes

» Arab leaders tell them it is only temporary and many Arabs leave to avoid the future battle they know is coming

» Arabs are supremely confident they will crush the Jews

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United Nations Resolution 181:

• Early 1948– Arabs weren’t organized in Palestine

• No national government in the wings• Disorganized local forces with no leader

– Arab nations do not coordinate any of their efforts

• lack of trust between them• Differing agendas

– Jordan’s Emir Abdullah only intention was to seize the Muslim Holy site in Jerusalem: Haram al-Sharif

• Sincerely believe they were going to be victorious

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Israeli Independence• May 14 1948

– Israel comes into existence• U.S. recognizes Israel• Arab league declares war

– Army units from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq attack

• Soviet Union recognizes Israel

– May 15th to June 11th

• Israelis hold off all attacks except the Jordanians• Truce brokered by the UN

– July 8th to July 19th

• Israel attacks Arab positions and expands boundaries except against the Egyptians in the Negev Desert and the Jordanians holding Jerusalem

• Truce from 20 July to 14 October

– October 15th: Israel attacks again and seizes West Jerusalem

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Israeli Independence• War causes over 750,000 Arab refugees

– 180,000 to Egyptian controlled Gaza– 240,000 to the West Bank and 50,000 more into Jordan– 100,000 into Lebanon– 70,000 into Syria

• Israel counts 500,000– Some (250,000) stayed

• Arab countries still think this is a temporary problem– They will beat the Israelis

• Dec 11th 1948: UN Resolution 194– Refugees should be permitted to go back to their homes– Problem:

• There is still a war on• No Arab Nation recognizes Israel

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Israeli Independence

• January 6th 1949:– Egypt agrees to UN sponsored negotiations

• 1947 Partition plan gave Jews 55% of Palestine– By 1949 the Jewish state comprises 77%

• Refugees: what should be done?

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