Know Your History: The Roots of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Part II

Read Part I: HERE!

The tragedy of the Holocaust during WWII provided an ample amount of sympathy toward the Jewish race, and with the establishment of the newly formed United Nations, the world body (minus some key states) looked to solve the dilemma in Palestine once Britain signified that it no longer wanted anything to do with it.

The UN constructed a plan to divide Palestine into two states – Israel and Palestine. The Israelis where thrilled at the prospect of having their own modern nation. The indigineous Palestinians and the surrounding Arab countries were outraged at either the map configurations of the countries which ceded much of the best land to the Israelis or they were infuriated by the thought that the Jews deserved any of the land.

Israel, buoyed by the declarations in the United Nations, declared Independence in 1948. All surrounding Arab nations immediately declared war on Israel. Israel fought alone and defeated Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. Israel occupied some of the land designated to the Palestinians and the surrounding nations took the rest for themselves, leaving the Palestinian people stateless upon their own land.

The next major threat to the nation of Israel came in 1967 when, once again, the five neighboring countries declared war on Israel. With the US embroiled in their own fight in Vietnam, Israel fought alone, destroying the Egyptian and Jordanian air forces within hours and completely defeating all nations withing six days. Israel then established buffer zones in depth by controlling all of the West Bank, Gaza and Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights from Syria. In essence, Israel quadrupled in size in six days.

Our of the aftermath of the war came what has been the main thrust for peace in the region – the concept of land for peace. UN resolution 242 states that Israel will return land taken during the Six Day War in exchange for diplomatic recognition which acknowledges Israel’s right to exist.

It will take ten years, but Egypt would become the first nation to accept those terms.

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