Arab-Israel Conflict History


According to Tessler, Mark (pg 2) “The Arab–Israeli conflict has run roughly for about a century of clear hostilities although the Israel nation was established only in 1948.” It mainly involved the institution of the Zionist organization and the subsequent formation of the modern nation of Israel in the land regarded by the Pan-Arab faction as belonging to Palestinians by Muslims, the Druze, Christian, or other communities and in the context of Pan-Islamic, is in the territory commonly regarded as Muslims lands, and then referred as a historical homeland by the Jewish people.

The conflict which initiated from the political unrest during the reign of the Ottoman Empire has undergone a transition from the Israel – Arab unrest which was on small scale to a much large scale regional conflict. This new development must be viewed bearing in mind that neither the Israel-Arab dispute wholly nor the Palestinian-Israel conflict exactly is based on or taken forward by primeval antagonisms and in fact, it has been slightly less than a century since when Arabs and Jews started to take each other as an enemy.

Causes of the Conflict

The major cause of the unrest between the Israeli and Arabs island. The Israeli have been fighting for land which they were promised or rather was promised by God to Abraham their forefather. Since Israel’s territory was only one country that is Israel against very many Arab countries, then the land is definitely a major source of between the two nations. The Arabs are resisting their eviction from their land by the Israeli while the Israeli believe that it’s only through militia that they can get the land (Parkes, p24).

Another major cause of conflict is religion. Israel has been worshiping the same God since immemorial having different ways of worship from the Arabs. This has posed a big problem since neither of them recognizes the worship of the other leading to conflicts.

The conflict

The Israel-Arab unrest is a recent issue which dates back to the nineteenth century in which became a serious international issue especially with the emergence of Israel in 1948. The Israel-Arab conflict has given rise to at least six major wars and several other minor conflicts. It has also been the cause of two huge Palestinian uprisings. These wars include;

1948 Israel-Arab War

The 1948 Arab-Israel war also known as the Israel Independence war is also known as the Arab disaster that started after the November 1947 UN Division Plan which projected for the establishment of Jewish and Arab nations in Palestine. The Arabs had opposed the plan while the Jews had accepted the plan. However, by March nineteen forty-eight the United States was searching for an approved trusteeship in place of the immediate division.

The Jewish authorities discarded this. By then both Jewish and Arab armies had started campaigns of controlling the territory within and outside the prescribed borders and therefore an open confrontation between the two rival groups emerged. Iraq, Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian, and Saudi troops attacked Palestine as a result of the withdrawal by the British as well as a declaration of Israel as a state on May fourteenth, 1948. Israel, the Soviet Union, the US together with the UN Secretary-General termed this illegal assault while china openly supported the claims by the Arabs.

The Arab nations proclaimed that their aim of a Palestinian United States in lieu of Israel and an Arab state was real. They viewed the UN plan to be illogical because it was not supported by Palestine’s Arab majority and insisted that the British elimination led to a lack of legal authority forcing it necessary for the Arabs to defend their lives and land. About two-thirds of Palestine Arabs were fled from the lands which came under Jewish control; the others acquired Arab citizenship in Israel. The fewer Jews in the territories seized by Arabs, and especially the old capital of Jerusalem were fled. About 7111000 Arabs became refugees during the fighting.

Significance of the War

The War Had Several Consequences

To start with the confrontation was brought to an end by the agreement signed in nineteen forty-nine between Israel and its neighbors at war which included Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and Egypt, which legalized Israel control of the area allocated to the Jewish state and more than half of the region allotted to the Arabs nations. Gaza strip was originally occupied by the Egyptians and Jordan occupied the West Bank until June the year 1967 when the Israeli seized them during the Sixth century War.

Secondly, it led to about 630000 Palestinians seeking refuge in neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and the Gaza strip since they were hardly allowed to go back to their homes which were now in Israelites land. The Relief by United Nations in conjunction with the Palestine Refugees Works Agency in the East was started to solve their predicament.

Thirdly, after the war, the Arab nations insisted on two demands none of which was accepted by Israel. First, they demanded the withdrawal of Israel to the borders of the UN division of which Israel declined on the grounds that the divisions were established as a result of the war and could only withdraw through consent. Secondly, they demanded the return of the refugees to their homes of which Israel declined to urge that tier return will not only bring hostility to the Jewish but is also will alter their character of the state.

Lastly, after the war, many Israelis fled the Arab nations where they were staying due to anti-Jew attitudes, expulsion or legal oppression like the case of Iraq.

The 1956 war

The Suez confrontation of 1956 was a combined Israel-British-French forces attack in which the Jews invaded the Sinai Peninsula while the French together with British forces landed at the port of Suez with the aim of separating the warring parties through the real target of France and the United Kingdom was basically to protect the investor’s interests in those nations which were affected by Egyptian president Nasser’s idea of taking over the Suez canal. The Jews justified their invasion of Egyptians as a way to curb attacks upon Israel civilians and to restore Israel transportation rights across the Tiran Straits, whereby Egypt urged, was its own waters.

The attacking military agreed to pull out under international pressure and the US and therefore Israel pulled out from the famous Sinai as well for the restoration of U.N. separation military and guarantees of Israel freedom of transport by ship in return. Finally, the canal was given to the Egyptians rather than with the British or French control.

The 1967 war

The War which lasted for six days erupted due to false information which was presented to Nasser by the intelligence services of the Soviets that Israel was congregating troops around the Syrian-Israel border. The status of the clash was also very dense after new confrontations arose among Syria, Jordan, and Israel.

The fighting in the Six-Day War of 1967 began with a strike by Israel, which many consider defensive, against Egypt and Syria following the withdrawal of international tactful hard efforts to resolve the calamity begun by the Egyptian closing of the Straits of Tirana in 1967, therefore, blocking all delivery to and from Éclat according to a possible elucidation of international law eviction of U.N. peacekeeping troops from Sinai and stationing of some ten thousand Egyptian groups at the peninsula.

The army by Israeli had a capability, including the immobilized reserves. Israeli air invasions took Egypt by surprise and destroyed their entire armies while they were still on the ground. A consequent ground attack into Egyptian land led to conquest by the Israel of Sinai Peninsula and the narrow piece of Gaza. Despite Israel’s request to Jordan to cease invading it, Syria along with Jordan began to covering Israeli targets. In addition, Hussein, who was reluctant at first, ordered ineffective bomber strikes due to Nasser’s requests and confirmation of a sound Egyptian triumph. With the sudden and rather unexpected win on the Egyptian front, Israel decided to invade and successfully seized the West Bank from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria.

Significance of the War

After the war which lasted for six days in the 1967 Arab-Israel confrontation, the Security Council of the United Nations adopted the 242 resolution which supported ending the Israel-Arab conflict through a peaceful resolution. This resolution was rejected by Syria until when the war by Yom Kippur hammered sense into their heads although it was accepted by the Israeli forces. However, this resolution remains unclear to date due to the confusion over much territory Israel would be needed to be withdrawn in order to conform to the resolution.

Secondly, the Israelis occupied the West Bank following the war with the effect of increasing Palestinian nationalism. The armed uprising was encouraged deep from within Arab states and the newly acquired and occupied lands that had suffered defeat during the war.

Lastly, the US Secretary of state proposed a peace plan which the Egyptian government agreed to even before Anwar Sadat became president. However, the plan failed because of the initiation of a war of abrasion from Egyptian armed forces by a heavy reaction by Israel.

War of 1967-1970

The confrontation of Attrition was a unique confrontation fought between Israel and the Egyptians from the year 1967 to the year 1970. It was started by Egypt to destroy Israel’s confidence and economy after its victory in the war which lasted for six days. The war came to a close due to a cease-fire signed by countries at war in 1970

. Confrontation of Attrition actually was a restricted confrontation between the Israeli forces and Egyptian forces from the year 1967 to the year 1970. This was started by Egypt to break Israel’s morale and its economy after its triumph in Six-Day War. The war came to a close with a cease-fire signed by the countries at war in nineteen seventy with the frontiers at the same place as where the war started.

The War by Yom Kippur (1973)

Yom Kippur war of 1993 started when Syria and Egypt launched a surprise united invasion on the Jewish fasting day, in the Golan Heights as well as the Sinai Peninsula. Syrians and the Egyptians progressed well in the first 24–48 hours, and then impetus began to swing in favor of the Israelis. By the third week or so of the conflict, the Syrians have cleared absolutely out of the Golan’s forces. By this time the Israel forces had invaded at the pivot between two invading Egyptian armies in the southern side of Sinai and passed the Suez Canal where the former cease-fire point had been. They then cut off the Egyptian entire army before the United Nations cease-fire was affected. It was during this time, that provision was airlifted by the military to Israel by the United States. The Soviet Union also airlifted military assistance to Egypt (Howard, pg 455).

According to Encyclopedia of the Middle East that is Continuum Political; Israel by far had the military triumph over both Egypt and Syria, but suffered a huge blow to morale and also a number of human casualties. The results of the confrontation of Yom Kippur initiated the stage for an end to an end to Egyptian-Israel relations which was a new phase ending finally to the signing of the Accords of Camp David (Smith, pg 128).

War of 1982 and Subsequent Occupation

The Lebanon confrontation of 1982 started when began when Lebanon was invaded by Israel, which was justified by the Israeli as a first attempt to destroy the Fatah militants which were led by Yasser Arafat from Lebanon’s southern side. The attack was largely criticized both from within and outside Israel and particularly after the Israeli supported Phalangist Christian militia’s Sabra and Shatila massacre and eventually led to the death of approximately 1,000 Palestinians.

Though through the war, Israel managed to exile the PLO military people, including Arafat to Tunisia, it became tangled with various native Muslim militias mostly Hezbollah, which fought with the aim of bringing to an end the Israeli occupation of the land.

In 1985, the Jews retreated from all except a narrow extension of Lebanese land designated by Israel as the Jews Security Zone. Unfortunately, Security Council Resolution 42 by the UN was not completely fulfilled despite resolutions by the UN (Lesch, p47).

Gulf conflict of 1990-1991

The Gulf conflict of the year 1990-1991, started with the Iraqi attack and seizure of Kuwait and was not at first involving nonstop military participation with Israel. An international alliance guided by the United States and which included the Arab military gathered to drive out Iraqi armed forces out of Kuwait. To attract Israel into the conflict and hence make it hard for Arab nations to maintain the coalition, Iraq fired thirty-nine Scud missiles towards Israeli cities and likewise to Israel’s nuclear facilities near Dimona. Nevertheless, under strong demands by the US, which almost unserved Israeli Involvement would cause a threat to the accord of the association; Israel did not strike back at Iraq. Subsequently, the multinational coalition drove out the Iraqi army from Kuwait. At some point in the war, King Hussein and the PLO of Jordan backed the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq.

The overpowering of Saddam in the War “was an overwhelming bluster to the Palestinians. The entire Arab monarchies expelled refugees from Palestine and also held financial aid to Palestine because of the support kind of support Palestine had given to Saddam Hussein. As a result of the political environment that ensued, the PLO was forced to commence talks with both the United States and Israel.

The difference has also brought on two outstanding Uprisings (Intifada)

1987-1993 (Intifada)

The first ‘Intifada’ started as an uprising by Palestinians especially the youth against the Israel military occupation of the west gate and the strip of Gaza after the collapse of PLO diplomatic solution to the Palestinian problem. The exiled PLO leadership played a role in the intifada through the uprising brought a rise to a Declaration of independence by the Palestinians in 1988. The intifada was formed by the Palestinian youth who started throwing stones at the Israeli forces in the Gaza strip. In May 1989 the government of Israel, under Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, suggested a cease-fire and that elections are held in the West Gate and Gaza for a delegation of power so as for Israel to agree on the implementation of interim Palestinian self-governance.

‘Intifada’ of 2000

This began in late September 2000 at the time when Ariel Sharon, then Israel’s opposition leader, and armed bodyguards paid a visit to the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem and declared the area an internal Israel territory. Riots broke out between the two rivals i.e. Palestinian and Israeli who were in Jerusalem and so many Israeli cities also followed suit.

Other issues following the Arab-Israel differences

Several Arab nations adopted discrimination measures against Israel as a result of the adoption of resolution 181 by the United Nation in November 1947 and the declaration of the nation of Israel in May 1948. Due to this discrimination, a big number of Jews ended emigrating from Arab states due to depriving them of citizenship and seizure of property.

On the 30th of May, 1967 Jordan took part in a mutual defense agreement between Egypt and Syria, mobilizing Sinai units against the Israelites. Israel and Egypt signed a peace agreement in March 1979after the Camp David Accords of the plate 1970in which the Sinai Peninsula returned to Egyptian lands while the Gaza strip remained under the control of Israel.

In the year of 1967, Arab leaders met in Sudan in reaction to the war, to discuss the Arab stand toward Israel. They agreed that there should be no recognition, B with the State of Israel.

In the October of 1994, Israel and Jordan agreed to sign a harmonious accord that specified mutual cooperation, a cease of hostilities, and a resolution encompassing other issues. This conflict between them ended up costing them a great fortune. Its signing was closely related to efforts to establish peace between Israel and Palestinian authorities through the PLO. It was signed at the southern border crossing of Arabah on October 26, 1994, and made Jordan follow Egyptian suit to create normal relations with Israel.

As an effort to stop the uprising Israel raided facilities that were in the major urban centers of the West Bank during 2002. This included taking control of many parts of land in the area. The hostility came back again in the region. The Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon initiated a strategy of unilateral pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2003. This strategy was fully implemented in August 2005. Sharon’s announcement to withdraw from Gaza came as a tremendous surprise to his critics.

The formal announcements to withdraw from seventeen settlements in Gaza and from another four settlements that were in the West Bank region in February of 2004 symbolized the first major turnaround the settler movement experienced since 1968. It caused division in his party with trade minister Ehud Olmert and Immigration Minister Tzipi Livni supporting the move while Foreign affairs Minister Silvan Shalmon together with the Minister for Finance Bibi Netanyahu were opposing the move. It was rather unclear whether this simply was the beginning of another evacuation.


Howard M. Sachar. A History of Israel from the Rise of Zionism to Our Time. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976.

Lesch, M. and Tschirgi, D. Origins and Development of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Greenwood Press: West Port, Connecticut, 1998.

Parkes, James. A History of the Jewish People. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1964.

Smith, Charles D. Palestine and the Arab Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents. Bedford/St. Martin’s: Boston, 2004.

Tessler, Mark. A History of the Israel-Palestinian Conflict, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994.

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