INTERESTING FACTS FIGURES & QUOTES-46–ARAB ISRAEL CONFLICT

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   Arab-Israel war is an age old holy war. The conflict is primordial.

    The contemporary history of the Arab–Israeli conflict is very much affected by the religious beliefs of the two sides, and their views of the idea of the chosen people. (Now what is chosen people? Throughout History, various groups of people have considered themselves to be the chosen people or a deity’s extension on earth. In monotheistic faiths, that believes in only one God, references to God are used in constructs such as chosen people). In this context it is their policies with regard to the “Promised Land” and the “Chosen City” of Jerusalem.

    The Land of Canaan or Eretz Yisrael  (Land of Israel), according to the Hebrew Bible, was promised by God to the Children of Israel. This is also mentioned in the Quran. (Sura 17, in the night journey verse). In his 1896 manifesto, The Jewish State’s, Theodor Herzl repeatedly refers to the Biblically Promised Land concept.  (Theodor Herzl is a Jewish, Astro-Hungarian, journalist, playwright, political activist, and writer who was the father of modern Zionism, and formed the Zionist organization). Likud is currently the most prominent Israeli political party to include the Biblical claim to the Land of Israel in its platform.

    Muslims also claim rights to that land in accordance with the Quran. Contrary to the Jewish claim that this land was promised only to the descendants of Abraham’s grandson Jacob (that is Yisrael), (Just for reference Abraham is the common patriarch of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and some other religions. In Judaism (the religion of Jews) Abraham is the founding father of the covenant (the agreement) of the pieces, the special relationship between the Hebrews and God. (In Christianity he is the prototype of all believers) (Jacob, the grandson of Abraham was later given the name Israel, and is regarded as the patriarch of Israelites and so is an important figure in Abrahamic religions, such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Jacob first appears in the book of Genesis, (the first book of Hebrew Bible) as the son of Isaac and Rebecca and the grandson of Abraham). The Arabs argue that the Land of Canaan was promised to what they consider the elder son of Abraham, Ishmael, from whom Arabs claim descent. Additionally, Muslims also revere, many sites, holy for Biblical Israelites, such as the Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount. In the past 1,400 years, Muslims have constructed Islamic landmarks on these ancient Israelite sites, such as the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa-Mosque on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. This has brought the two groups into conflict over the rightful possession of Jerusalem. Muslim teaching is that Muhammad passed through Jerusalem on his first journey to heaven. 

    Then we have Hamas, that governs the Gaza Strip (Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni Islamic fundamentalist militant organization. It has a social service wing, Dawah, and a military wing, called the Izz-ad din-al-Qassam Brigades. It has been the de-facto governing authority of Gaza Strip since its takeover of that area in 2007). (The Gaza Strip, or simply Gaza, is a self-governing Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea that borders Egypt on the southwest for 11 km an Israel on the east and north along a 51 km border. Gaza and West Bank are cleared by the de-jure claims that all of the land of Palestine (which is the current Israeli and Palestinian territories) is an Islamic Waqf that must be governed by the Muslims.

    Now let’s come to Christian Zionists. Christian Zionism is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the holy land and the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 were in accordance with the Bible prophecy. The term began to be used in the mid-20th century, superseding Christian Restorationism that often supports the State of Israel because of the ancestral right of the Jews to the Holy Land, as suggested, for instance, by the apostle Paul.

    Paul the apostle commonly known as Saint Paul and also known by his Hebrew name Saul of Taurus, was an apostle (disciple of Jesus) who taught the gospel of Christ to the first century world. Paul is generally considered one of the most important figures of the apostolic age. Christian Zionism teaches that the return of Jews to Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Christ.

    The roots of the modern, Arab–Israeli conflict, lie in the rise of Zionism and the reactionary Arab nationalism that arose in response to Zionism towards the end of the 19th century. Territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is also regarded by the Pan-Arab movement as historically and presently belonging to the Palestinian Arabs. Before World War I, the Middle East, including Palestine (later Mandatory Palestine a geopolitical entity established between 1920 and 1948 in the region of Palestine under the terms of the Mandate for Palestine), had been under the control of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years. During the closing years of their empire, the Ottomans began to espouse their Turkish ethnic identity, asserting the primacy of Turks within the empire, leading to discrimination against the Arabs. The promise of liberation from the Ottomans led many Jews and Arabs to support the allied powers during World War I, leading to the emergence of widespread Arab nationalism. Both Arab nationalism and Jewish Zionism had their formulative beginning in Europe. The Zionist Congress was established in Basel, Switzerland in 1897, while the “Arab Club” was established in Paris in 1906.

    In the late 19th century European and Middle Eastern Jewish communities began to increasingly immigrate to Palestine and purchase land from the local Ottoman landlords. The population of the late 19th century in Palestine reached 600,000 – mostly Muslim Arabs, but also significant minorities of Jews, Christians, Druze (sect of Islam) and some Samaritans and Bahai’s. At that time, Jerusalem did not extend beyond the walled area and had a population of only a few tens of thousands. Communal settlement called kibbutz, were established, as was the first entirely Jewish city Tel Aviv in modern times.

    During 1915–16, as World War I was underway, the British High Commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, secretly corresponded with Husayn-ibn-Ali, the patriarch of the Hashemite family (the Jordan royals) and Ottoman governor of Mecca and Medina. McMahon convinced Husayn to lead an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany against Britain and France in the war. McMahon promised that if the Arabs supported Britain in the war, the British government would support the establishment of an independent Arab state under Hashemite rule in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine. The Arab revolt, led by T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) and Husayn’s son Faysal, was successful in defeating the Ottomans, and Britain took control over much of this area.

    The Arab-Israeli War of 1948 broke out when five Arab nations invaded the territory in the former Palestinian mandate, immediately, following the announcement of the independence of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. In 1947, and again on May 14, 1948, the United States had offered a de-facto recognition of the Israeli Provisional Government, but during the war, the United States maintained an arms embargo against all belligerents.

    On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 (also known as the Partition Resolution) that would divide Great Britain’s former Palestinian mandate into Jewish and Arab states in May 1948. Under the resolution, the area of religious significance surrounding Jerusalem would remain under international control administered by the United Nations. The Palestinian Arabs refused to recognize this arrangement, which they regarded as favourable to the Jews and unfair to the Arab population that would remain in Jewish territory under the partition. The United States sought a middle way by supporting the United Nations resolution, but also encouraged negotiations between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East.

    The United Nations resolution sparked conflict between Jewish and Arab groups within Palestine. Fighting began with attacks by irregular bands of Palestinian Arabs attached to local units of the Arab Liberation Army composed of volunteers from Palestine and neighbouring Arab countries. These groups launched their attacks against Jewish cities, settlements, and armed forces. The Jewish forces were composed of the Haganah, the underground militia of the Jewish community in Palestine, and two small irregular groups, the Irgun, and LEHI. The goal of the Arabs was initially to block the Partition Resolution and to prevent the establishment of the Jewish state. The Jews, on the other hand, hoped to gain control over the territory allotted to them under the Partition Plan.

    After Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, the fighting intensified with other Arab forces joining the Palestinian Arabs in attacking the territory in the former Palestinian mandate. On the eve of May 14, the Arabs launched an air attack on Tel Aviv, which the Israelis resisted. This action was followed by the invasion of the former Palestinian mandate by Arab armies from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia sent a formation that fought under the Egyptian command. British trained forces from Trans-jordan eventually intervened in the conflict, but only in areas that had been designated as part of the Arab state under the United Nations Partition Plan and the Corpus-Separatum of Jerusalem in 1947. After tense early fighting, Israeli forces, under joint command, were able to gain the offensive.

    Though the United Nations brokered two cease-fires during the conflict, fighting continued into 1949. Israel and the Arab states did not reach any formal armistice agreements until February. Under separate agreements between Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan, and Syria, these bordering nations agreed to a formal armistice lines. Israel gained some territory formerly granted to Palestinian Arabs under the United Nations resolution in 1947. Egypt and Jordan retained control over the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively. These armistice lines were held until 1967. The United States did not become directly involved with the armistice negotiations, but hoped that instability in the Middle East would not interfere with the international balance of power between the Soviet Union of those times and the United States.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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