Historical Dictionary of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

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Details Collect From YY Order a copy Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary. To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video. Need help? How do I find a book? Can I borrow this item? Can I get a copy? Can I view this online? Israel is the only country in the world that does not have a recognized capital. This is partly because of the peculiar nature of the Partition Plan, which declared Jerusalem to be a corpus separatum. Given the importance of the city to all three Semitic religions, the United Nations preferred to declare Jerusalem to be an international city.

At the same time, none could ignore the centrality of Jerusalem or Zion to the Jewish people and their struggle for a homeland. Therefore, as they prepared to declare the statehood, the Zionist leaders were conscious of the international position regarding Jerusalem. While Zionism could not be expected to flourish without Zion, any explicit reference to Jerusalem would result in international opposition to the newly born state. Given the anticipated opposition from the Arab neighbors, Israel could ill afford to make new enemies.

Therefore, the Declaration of Independence issued in Tel Aviv eloquently dealt with the historic rights of the Jews to the land of their forefathers but was silent on the question of the capital city. In the ensuing war, the city was divided, with Israel taking control over the western part while Jordan captured East Jerusalem, including the sites most holy to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This division was formalized in the armistice agreement signed on 3 April In December of that year, a few months after its admission to the United Nations, Israel proclaimed Jerusalem its capital.

There is, however, an anomaly. All state institutions such as the seat of the presidency, the Supreme Court, the Knesset, and most ministries and government offices are located in Jerusalem; for logistical reasons, the defense ministry still remains in Tel Aviv. All official meetings and transactions take place in Jerusalem. Even though foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv, all ambassadors, including Arab ambassadors accredited to Israel, present their credentials in Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem issue also has another dimension. If the international community led by the United Nations does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it also does not recognize the city to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Since both parties stake exclusive claims to Jerusalem, especially the Old City, an imaginative compromise acceptable to both becomes a precondition. By placing Jerusalem in the Oslo Accords as an issue to be decided during the final status negotiations, Israel conceded that its claim to Jerusalem as the united, undivided, and eternal capital was not final.

It ought to be recognized that because Jerusalem has also been on the Islamic agenda, any compromise worked out between Israeli and Palestinian leaders would have to be acceptable to the larger ummah. Indeed, Jerusalem is the issue where the wider non-Palestinian Islamic world wields a veto.


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This issue in turn makes the Jerusalem question the most intractable aspect of the Arab—Israeli conflict. The status of the Occupied Territories constitutes the fourth dimension of the conflict. King Abdullah I captured these areas during the Arab—Israeli War of — and subsequently annexed them, contrary to the prevailing sentiment in other Arab states. On the other hand, Egypt, which took control of the Gaza Strip, retained it as a custodian rather than its owner.

Therefore, the West Bank was an occupied territory from to as part of Jordan. Following the June War, the areas remained occupied territories, but now under a new occupying power, Israel.

Historical Dictionary of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Commonly known by the biblical names Judea and Samaria, the West Bank is considered by some to be an integral part of the Eretz Yisrael. The settlement policy in the Occupied Territories has reflected that claim. If it is considered part of the state, Israel has full rights to pursue activities that promote the settling of its citizens in these areas.

Even those not swayed by religious sentiments have advocated some form of Israeli control over the portions of the West Bank. There is a general view in the country that Israel strategically cannot afford to withdraw to the positions it held prior to the outbreak of the June War. Domestic opposition to the Green Line becoming the final boundary between Israel and a future Palestinian state remains one of the few issues that enjoy widespread support in Israel.

Despite such claims, Israel has been unable to translate its claims over the Occupied Territories. With the notable exception of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, it refrained from annexing any other portions of territory. Even these two measures were linked to the Camp David accords and the domestic opposition that Prime Minister Begin faced in agreeing to completely withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula.


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The deterrence came in the form of demographic compulsions. Formal annexation of the Occupied Territories would require Israel to follow the example set by Jordan earlier when it annexed the West Bank—granting full citizenship to all Palestinian residents. Such a move would immediately transform Israel into a binational state, and it would cease to be a Jewish state. The alternative would be to opt for the apartheid model, annexing the territories without granting citizenship rights to the Palestinian residents or engineering their expulsion from the Occupied Territories.

Such a move would not only be unfeasible but would plunge Israel into an irreversible cycle of violence, international uproar, and complete isolation. Above all it, would deprive Israel of its democratic and moral credentials. It was largely due to this demographic nightmare that Israel opted for the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip that was completed in August Closely related to its policy toward the Occupied Territories is the settlement policy that constitutes the fifth dimension of the conflict.

Though such activities were pursued in the Sinai Peninsula and on the Golan Heights, the primary focus has been on the Palestinian areas.

First Arab - Israeli War 1948 - COLD WAR DOCUMENTARY

Under the Labor Party, Israel built settlements in areas that were considered vital for security, such as the Jordan Valley. The Likud, on the contrary, perceived Jewish settlements as an instrument for preventing the territorial continuity of the West Bank and thereby precluding the formation of a Palestinian state. As a result, while in power, the Likud encouraged settlement activities in areas closer to the Palestinian population centers. Even though the Labor Party was opposed to such a strategy, it was unable to escape from its consequences.

The fallout of the settlement policy became apparent following the Israeli withdrawal in from Palestinian towns. The presence of Jewish settlements scattered all over the region meant that Palestinians could not move from one nominally free town to another without passing through barriers and checkpoints at both ends. This was also true for the Gaza Strip, where the presence of settlement blocs meant Israeli control over vast areas of Palestinian lands until the unilateral withdrawal. For decades, numerous attempts at Arab—Israeli reconciliation have collapsed because neither side was prepared to recognize the claims and demands of the other.

The Arab leaders were looking for a non-Israeli partner to resolve their problem with Israel, while the Jewish state was looking for non-Palestinian leaders to solve the Palestinian problem. Ideally, the mutual recognition of Israel and the PLO that led to the historic Rabin-Arafat-Clinton handshake on the White House lawn should have resulted in an irreversible process of reconciliation. Despite their earlier grievances, reservations, and sense of injustice, both sides were prepared to leave the past behind and seek reconciliation.

The mainstream Palestinian leadership was prepared to recognize the success of the Zionist enterprise in the Palestine Mandate, while the Israeli government was prepared to recognize the political rights of the Palestinians who were living under its occupation. Increasing domestic unpopularity did not prevent Rabin or Arafat from deviating from their goals.


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  7. Unfortunately, the assassination of Rabin in and the spate of suicide attacks in early brought the whole process to a grinding halt. Even though the Camp David summit negotiations in the summer of were aimed at resolving some of the core issues, erstwhile trust was absent. Despite their best efforts, Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat could not resolve sensitive issues such as borders, refugees, and the Jerusalem question. And the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada more or less formalized the demise of the Oslo process.

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    The spirit of compromise and reconciliation embedded in the Oslo process still remains the essence of any resolution of the Arab—Israeli conflict. Devoid of all other issues, it is primarily a conflict between two intense and rival nationalist movements over the same piece of territory. Compromise and accommodation is, therefore, the only way of resolving this enduring Arab—Israeli conflict. External players may facilitate a solution but cannot impose any settlement on the parties. After pursuing initial studies in Syria and Jordan, he obtained a Ph. In early , Abbas coordinated the secret Israeli—Palestinian negotiations in Norway that culminated in the Oslo Accords.

    After the establishment of the PNA, Abbas returned to Palestinian territory in July and played an important role in the conclusion of the Taba Agreement that outlined the phased Israeli redeployment from Palestinian towns in the West Bank. Simultaneously, Abbas engaged in secret talks with Israeli officials that culminated in the Beilin—Abu Mazen Plan, a draft proposal concerning the permanent status agreement between the two sides.

    Abbas was critical of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which broke out in September Repeated U. On 6 September , Abbas resigned his position, and he was replaced by Ahmed Qurei. In the direct presidential election held on 9 January , Mahmoud Abbas contested as the Fatah candidate and won the election, securing 62 percent of the popular votes.

    Soon after his swearing in on 15 January, he secured a cease-fire agreement with Hamas and, threatening to act against security chiefs, he managed to stop rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel. In pursuance of the reform process, he attended the diminutive London Conference in January He subsequently became foreign minister when his father assumed the title of King of Hijaz presently in Saudi Arabia. In March , following the defeat of his father by the House of Saud, Abdullah arrived in Amman with the intention of establishing Arab-Hashemite rule over an area that would include Syria.

    Determined to avoid a confrontation with France, which had interests in Syria, in April Great Britain partitioned Palestine, created a new emirate called Transjordan, and made Abdullah its emir. In May , Britain recognized Transjordan as an autonomous emirate, began offering support in the form of political patronage and financial assistance, and helped in the formation and maintenance of the Arab Legion.

    Historical Dictionary of the Arab-Israeli Conflict P. R Kumaraswamy

    In May , Britain granted independence to Transjordan, upon which Abdullah became king; in , Transjordan was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. After the United Nations approved the Partition Plan, he conducted a substantive political dialogue with the Yishuv leadership, meeting with Golda Meir days before the British mandate ended. As a result, in April Abdullah formally annexed the West Bank and granted Jordanian citizenship to all its residents, including the Palestinian refugees who were forced to flee from areas that became the State of Israel.

    On 3 April , Jordan signed an armistice agreement with Israel. Eldest son of King Hussein, Abdullah bin al-Hussein was enthroned as king of Jordan following the death of his father.

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