Partition in Palestine: 1948 I. The present Arab – Israeli conflict is less than one century-old



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Partition in Palestine: 1948

I. The present Arab – Israeli conflict is less than one century-old

A. Jews, Muslim and Christian Arabs live together in Jerusalem for centuries without difficulty; after World War I conflict between them emerged, and only after World War II, with the partition of Palestine in 1948, it assumed its present form.

B. During World War I, in 1917, British Foreign Minister Arthur J Balfour promise Jewish leaders in Europe that Britain would one day provide a "homeland" for Jews in Palestine.

1. After the war, Britain allow Jews to emigrate to Palestine, join the small Jewish population that had for centuries inhabited the region

C. Zionist movement, organizing the late 1890s to promote Jewish migration to Palestine and establish a Jewish nation there, Jews from Europe moved to Palestine and purchase land.

1. Immigration accelerated in the 1930s with the rising Nazi party in Germany and the spread of anti-Semitism in many countries across Europe

2. In 1936, Muslim and Christian Arabs organize riots and mounted an irregular war to force the British to transfer power to the Arab Palestinian majority

a. British responded by curbing Jewish immigration to Palestine, blocking entry of Jews fleeing Nazi persecution.

b. in 1937, the Peel commission issued its report: "Arab nationalism has become an intense force as Jewish nationalism and ethnic gulf between the races will continue to widen if the present mandate is maintained

c. Commission recommended partition of Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states, withdrew some remaining under British world.

D. World War II the Zionist movement supported British war effort. Arab Palestinian leaders oppose the British and sympathize with Axis forces.

1. Due to restrictive British immigration policy-- preventing Jews from escaping the Holocaust radical Zionist militias such as the Irgun waited terrorist campaign to force British out of Palestine

2. After World War II, British made plans to withdraw from India and Palestine in 1948.

a. they delegated authority to the United Nations; the UN commission suggested partition as a solution to the problem

b. The UN proposed creation of an Arab and a Jewish state, with Jerusalem assigned to an international trusteeship.

c. The British, the United States and Russia and the United Nations viewed partition as a solution to conflict, but with the withdrawal of British troops led immediately to war

E. The first Arab – Israeli war, 1948 – 1949

1. Arab Palestinians objected to UN partition plan, as it awarded 55% of the land in Palestine to a Jewish state, when Jews owned less than 10% of the land and one third of the population

2. The first Arab – Israeli conflict, the Israelis call "War of Independence" and Palestinians call "al-Nakba"(the Catastrophe)

3. During the war, fighting forced or persuaded many Palestinians to flee. An Israeli defense force study of Arab migration between January 1947 and June 1948 found that:

a. Direct, hostile Jewish operations against Arab settlements

b. The effect of our hostel operations a nearby settlements, especially the fall of large neighboring cities

c. Operations of the [Jewish] dissidents [such as the Irgun and Stern gang]

4. When war ended, Israeli army sealed borders and blocked return of Palestinian refugees

a. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion stated, "We must prevent their return at all costs."

b. Israeli government adopted regulations providing for the seizure of Arab land or property in an "abandoned area" and transferred seized assets directly to Jewish settlers and to private Jewish agencies, which then leased Arab properties to Jews (Schaeffer 226) .

c. The Knesset in 1950 adopted Absentee Property Law, Arabs not present and register during 1948 Census would be regarded as "absentees."

d. The 1950 law of return, granting rights in Israel to Jews living outside the country, as a way of encouraging continued Jewish immigration.

e. During the 1950s, nearly one million Jews around the world, half of them from the Middle East and North Africa —and half from Europe — immigrated to Israel.

f. When war ended, territory under Israeli controls 21% larger in area allotted to it under initial UN partition plan

g. The partition of Palestine resulted in the creation of an Israeli state, but did not result in the formation of a Palestinian state

(1) Lands assigned to "Palestinian" state were absorbed by Israel during the fighting or incorporated by neighboring states: the West Bank by Jordan, the Gaza Strip by Egypt.

F. The Six Days War and Occupation

1. The third Arab – Israeli war began on June 5, 1967; its armies struck across three fronts in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

a. in only six days, Israeli forces routed and destroyed Arab armies, taking Gaza and the Sinai from Egypt; East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan; and the Golan Heights from Syria.

b. Israel's impressive victory created a new set of problems

(1) Israeli armies occupied territories home to large Palestinian populations: 400,000 Palestinians in Gaza; 600,000 in the West Bank; and 100,000 in East Jerusalem

(2) Palestinians fled into Jordan where they join Palestinians who had fled in 1948

(3) Israeli government did not extend Palestinians any meaningful civil rights; Palestinians were subjected to military, not civilian rule, and treated as illegal immigrants who belong to another state (see Jordan or Egypt) see.

(a) As in 1948, 36% of the land in the West Bank was seized by Israel from "absentee" owners and transferred to Israeli ownership or military control.

(b) in East Jerusalem, 4000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in the Jewish quarter to make possible creation in all – Jewish Jewish quarter, and 10,000 residents of villages in the West Bank were expelled from their homes.

(4) Israeli government began constructing Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, often on land seized from Palestinians.

(a) By 1976, there were 3,176 Jewish settlers in the territories, 10,000 in 1979, 20,000 in 1982, 57,000 in 1987, and 147,000 by 1995

(5) Israeli-occupied territories in East Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights, has not been recognized in international law.

(a) UN resolutions ratified by the United States treat Israeli authority in these territories as temporary, pending a negotiated settlement in the region.

G. The 1973 Yom Kippur war and oil embargo

1. Egyptian army crossed Suez Canal and attacked Israeli forces in the Sinai.

2. Egyptian and Syrian armies did not defeat Israeli armies, but they inflicted serious losses, a worrisome development for Israel

3. The war engaged both superpowers. United States was forced to rush military supplies to Israel while the Soviet Union was forced engaged in frantic diplomacy to rescue its allies from outright deceit

4. The war triggered an oil embargo that had serious economic consequences around the world.

a. Anwar Sadat hoped the embargo would provide Egypt with important new economic leverage to reverse falling oil prices due to US dollar devaluations in 1971

5. Oil embargo raised the price of oil and contributed to inflation around the world. Inflation triggered economic stagnation in the rich countries and force many poor countries to borrow heavily.

a. When United States moved to curb inflation the 1980s, high interest rates created a recession at home, which contributed to a crisis in banking, housing, and agricultural industries and create a debt crisis for indebted countries around the world (Schaeffer 233) .

H. Intifada 1

1. Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza could not claim citizenship in Israel, poetic elections, or serve its armed forces.

a. subject to military rule, not civil law, and could be arrested without cause, jailed indefinitely, deported at will.

b. subject to collective punishment from fractions by individuals, including destruction of houses belonging to relatives or friends charged with violations of military law.

c. Palestinians were allowed to work in Israel, but under conditions approximating illegal immigrant workers in the United States

2. Between 1948 in 1967, Palestinians relied of Arab states to advance their cause. After the destruction of Arab armies in 1967, they turn to the PLO to fight on their behalf

a. Palestinians conducted strikes and organize demonstrations, refuse to pay taxes, boycotted Israeli goods, and encourage police and tax collectors to resign.

b. Israeli forces responded by imposing collective punishments such as destroyed homes, arresting and detaining demonstrators, deported others to neighboring countries, curbing the press, and shooting at demonstrators and rock throwers with live ammunition

c. during first 18 months, 50,000 Palestinians were arrested. By 1993, 1,145 Palestinian civilians had been killed, tens of thousands wounded, 1,473 homes demolished, and for 13 people deported.

d. 160 Israeli soldiers and civilians had been killed, and hundreds injured

e. in 1993 secret negotiations between Israelis and PLO representatives in Oslo, Norway resulted in an agreement that ended the intifada started a peace process

I. The Oslo Peace Accords, 1993

1. the peace process was undermined by three developments over the next several years

a. Israel continued to build Jewish settlements in the West Bank and cause a, accommodating some of the nearly 1,000,000 Jews who immigrated to Israel from Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

b. number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank grew from 80,000 in 1990 240,000 in 1998.

2. the Israeli government implemented a series of "closure" policies designed to restrict Palestinian migration into Israel proper and to prevent terrorist attacks by splinter groups like Hamas

a. Israeli roadblocks and security checkpoints prevented Palestinian workers from traveling to Israel to work and restricted the movement of people or goods from the West Bank and Gaza. Which contribute to unemployment

(1) 35% of Palestinian labor force dependent on income from unskilled jobs in Israel

(2) These economic losses where compounded by the loss of remittance income from Palestinians working in the Gulf states.

(3) Between 300,000 and 400,000 Palestinians working in the Gulf were forced to leave at the end of the 1990 Gulf War because Palestinian leaders had supported Iraq during the war.

(4) In 1996 nearly 15% of the Palestinian population lived on less than $500 a year,

3. Ongoing violence by splinter groups corroded the peace process. Arafat and Palestinian authority were either unwilling or unable to curb terrorist attacks – such as the suicide bomb that killed 21 Israelis in Beit Lid — by militant groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Israelis were unable to curb Jewish settler attacks on Palestinians, such as a massacre of 29 worshipers at a mosque and had Brian by a Jewish settler.

a. violence triggered retributions, and retribution revenge.

4. Devastating blow to peace was assassination of Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and, murdered on November 4, 1995 by an Israeli militant opposed to the Oslo Accords.

5. election in 1999 of Ehud Barack, dedicated war veteran, revive the peace process. Brock agreed to meet with Arafat at Camp David to hammer out a final agreement.

a. Arafat, constrained by Palestinian militants opposed to any concessions that Israel, would not agree to compromise and reach agreement.

b. Barack, constrained by conservatives and settlers led by former Gen. Ariel Sharon, cannot offer concessions that might clinch an agreement

c. The Oslo peace process collapsed. One year later, a second intifada began.


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