TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 , 2012: Arab-Israeli Wars
News (long term proposals are in the news this week):
Israel wants to create an offshore gas field off of Gaza, which creates questions
about who actually has rights to that space
The President of PA is making a speech this week that will likely push for non-
member state status in the General Assembly, but will likely wait until after the US
Israeli defense minister (and former prime minister) proposed Israel pull out of the
West Bank if peace talks cannot be started.
After 1948, Palestinian identity takes a back seat and the era of Israel-Arab relations
is the focus. Post 1948 was a “non-war, non-peace” period because the War of
Independence/1948 didn’t have a formal peace treaty that ended it. There was a
series of General Armistice Agreements instead (not normal progression- which is
ceasefire, an armistice, and then a peace treaty). The conflict/war never reached
the peace treaty state.
There were armistices (bilateral) between Israeli and Lebanon, Israel and Egypt,
Israel and Jordan, and Israel and Syria. It came together through a lot of US
Diplomacy (specifically Ralph Bunche). This was the beginning of the US playing a
large role in a reason—they were seen as a viable neutral moderator. Bunche was
the first black man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and he knew the parties
wouldn’t do well in face-to-face negotiation, so he would meet separately with Israel
and Palestine and be the intermediary delivering messages. Bunche worked with
different personalities and groups and often made his negotiations casual (ex. while
playing pool). He took diplomacy in a new direction.
Why was there never a peace treaty after the armistice?
Arabs wanted to retain dignity and not admit defeat through a peace treaty.
They still wanted to gain back the territory and did not want to recognize
Different states and Israel both saw the opposition as the aggressor and
themselves as the defender.
There was an ambiguity of the territory as well (more of a result of the lack of
the peace treaty than a cause).
Conditions for negotiation: Israel wouldn’t sit down and talk about the other
issues until the Arab states recognized Israel as a state. The Arabs wouldn’t
discuss issues until Israel guaranteed a right of return.
Issues included recognizing Israel as a state, recognizing the new boundaries,
territories and borders, the refugee issue, Jerusalem at this point was split in
half between Jordan (eastern half) and Israel (western half), the Suez crisis,
and the issue of water. o These are the same issues that the conflict is comprised of today. The
recognition question has shifted, but now it is in regards of the
identity of Israel as a Jewish state.
Implications of not having the peace treaty included a continuation of cross-
border raids into the 1950s, and confusion when Israel expands its
settlements (is it an occupation?).
State of Israel was recognized in May of 1949 by the United Nations, and Truman
recognized Israel as a state the day after Israel declared independence (January
At this time, the Arab states had a boycott (political and economic) of Israel. They
are using a lot of rhetoric by using the Palestinian issue to improve their own
standing in their countries. At the same time, the government isn’t doing a lot of
accommodate the refugees or help people directly.
There was a loss of Palestine agency at this time—it went from being an Israeli-
Palestinian conflict to an Israeli-Arab conflict. The other Arab countries were trying
to show their strength.
The United Nations recognized Israel relatively early, but at the same time the UN is
trying to deal with the humanitarian crisis on the ground (UNRWA). They realized
they couldn’t solve a political problem, but they worked to provide food, shelter,
schooling to refugee children. The UN was trying to preserve the armistice
agreements as well- they created the PCC and the UNTSO (Truce Supervisory
Organization) and the MACs (mi