Prompt: The Arab-Israeli Conflict is mostly a story of miscalculations and missed opportunities. Is it possible, in your opinion, to point to a side that made more mistakes in this conflict than any other? Support your choice with historical examples. Sides may include Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab League, the US, and the British.
The Arab-Israeli Conflict
The Arab-Israeli Conflict arose because of the United Nation’s decision to award Israel territory that had already been claimed by the Palestinians. Both Palestinians and Israelites claim the holy land in the name of “ancestral rights”, so they both feel as if the land belongs to their own people. The presence of Israel in what was once Palestine has led to constant strife between Israel and the rest of the Arab World. There has been violent activity, political activity, and peaceful activity, but the Conflict is still booming, and still wreaks havoc on the lives of those living in the disputed areas. This essay aims to explain the major mistakes that were made by some of the major countries involved in the issue.
There are a plethora of factors in which have contributed to the unrest and violence that has occurred in Israel, and it’s neighboring countries. I believe that Israel had two major mistakes. The first mistake was the encroachment of territory after The Camp David Accords. The second mistake was the attempts to police the region.
The West Bank and Gaza were designated as Arab states after the Camp David Accords. Israel decided to cross the borders and settle in what was supposed to be Arab/Palestinian land. Israel disregarded the agreements that had been placed. In response, the Palestinian population felt that their land would continue to be encroached even after agreements. This led to feelings of resentment and anger within many Arabs.
Constant surveillance of Palestinian movement, also known as “checkpoints”, increased the level of security within Israel and Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. These checkpoints can be very annoying for those who try to pass. This is especially annoying when a native population has to go through checkpoints to get somewhere that they think belongs to them anyway. The purpose of the Israeli checkpoints is to ensure the security of the present Israeli settlers but checkpoints often anger Arabs, namely the Palestinians.
The Palestinians major failure is the constant hostility and violence that they continue to show toward Israelis. Israelis feel as if peace is not a real option because there are always threats of violence surrounding the issue. The Yom Kippur War was perhaps the most ruthless attempt by Arabs to destroy the Israelis. Suicide bombers are another huge issue that Arabs throw at the Israelites. The Israelis feel as though they must fight back to survive. Israel is not just fighting Palestine; it is fighting the entire Arab World. Palestinians and other Arabs force Israel to defend itself when Israel could be using its time to work on peace agreements rather than war strategies. The Arabs should have put more effort into trying to coexist rather than annihilate the Israelites.
Also, the British are to blame in this issue. European colonization often leads to land partitions. I believe that The Sykes-Picot Agreement was the mark of British imperialism in the Middle East. The Sykes-Picot Agreement did major damage to the structure of the Middle East. Europeans, namely Britain went into foreign lands and drew borders up in the Middle East to best support their own agendas. The British did not care at all about the effects that this would have on the nations they created. If the borders had not been drawn, maybe the populations that lived there before would be more harmonious by nature. The borders created lumped together groups that would not have wanted to share land together.
I believe that the U.S.’s major miscalculation was the their blatant favoritism of Israel. This greatly harmed relations between the U.S. and the Arab world because the Palestinians thought that the U.S. was greatly screwed away from Palestine. When the U.S. later tried to act as if it were neutral, the U.S. failed. From that point, the Palestinians could never truly trust the U.S. to be fair in their judgment. The U.S. was not only in favor of a foreign population, but the U.S. also infringed upon the rights of the Palestinian people. All of this contributed to the mistrust that Arabs have toward westerners and also the “hatred of the West” idea.
I believe that the West, namely the U.S. has made the biggest mistake in this issue. I imagine that if the Arab World viewed the U.S. as a truly neutral superpower, then our peace offers might have actually worked. I believe the U.S. have become too close to Israel and too distant from Arabs, such as Palestinians, to strike up a legitimate shot at sustained peace in this conflict. Though we did not start this conflict, we had all the right tools to end it. But the U.S.’s bias ruins the chances of U.S. intervention to end the problem.