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Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
James Reilly

1967 ARAB- ISRAELI WAR- ORIGINS AND CONSEQUENCES: 1967 Arab Israeli War: Significance: pg 1,2, 3 - Watershed moment in Middle Eastern history and politics- pg 1 - Greatly shifted the military balance of power in the hands of Israel - Demise of Arab nationalism - Arab countries more invested in the Palestinian issue (their territorial integrity was also at stake) - Israel expands its territory: Golan Heights, West Bank, Sinai Peninsula - PLO emerges as a major player in the struggle for Palestine - PLO- national liberation movement - Israel begins to lose legitimacy in the international sphere ( aggressive, expansionist power although the book argues that although territorial expansion was an outcome of the war, it was not one of Israel’s main goals when embarking on war) GOALS: - Reassess the outbreak of the war - Reassess the consequences of the war - reconstruct the war from the perspective of the protagonists - who are the protagonists? The great powers and regional powers - really have to pay attention to the role of the local powers - often times the conflict is viewed from a western- great powers perspective SPECULATIONS: WHAT STARTED THE 1967 WAR? Pg 6 • Some claim that is was purposely instigated by Israel to expand its territory • Some claim that it was Gamal Abdel Nasser’s decision to embark on war with the sole intentions of defeating Israel • THESIS: The 1967 war was just a result of Egypt and Israel reacting to events that unraveled in their spheres- it was not instigating for the purpose of pursuing specific goals. • Territorial aims were not a primary objective of the war- they were an outcome BACKGROUND- MIDDLE EAST: • one of the most volatile regions in the world post WWI 3 • unusually high number of armed conflicts, full scale, interstate and civil wars • the rise of the Zionist movement was met with opposition • “ two peoples and one land” 3 • despite jewish migration into Palestine commencing as early as 1880’s, tensions do not arise until ________, until garnering the attention and support and neighbouring Arab nations in the 1930’s • 1967- not a good time for the arab world to embark on war “ the arab world was in a state of turmoil arising from conflicts and suspicions between radical and conservative regimes” pg 7 1947: THE STRUGGLE FOR PALESTINE ENTERS ITS MOST CRITICAL PHASE: February 1947: the british relinquish their mandate over Palestine that was granted to them following WWI by the League of Nations 29 November 1947: United Nations ( successor to the league of nations) passes a resolution. Mandatory Partition of Palestine. Accepted by jews, rejected by Palestinians, neighbouring Arab states - Arabs want to prevent it at all costs 1947 U.N PARTITION PLAN: - Sought to create independent arab and jewish states PALESTINE ISRAEL - 43% of mandatory Palestine -56% to accommodate rising number of - 1/3 of the coastline jews immigrating from Europe - highlands ( not including - given sole access to the red sea Jerusalem) -fertile lowland plains - access to major acquifiers - upper Jordan valley - hill country of samaria - negev desert ( land and urban - town of acre development) – sparsely populated areas Haifa to rehovot -eastern galilee PALESTINIAN REACTIONS: - believe that Zionist claims to the country have no legal or moral basis” - it was unfair- it gave the majority of the land to the Israelis who legally only owned 7 percent of it. - Arab populations outnumbered those of the Israelis, yet, they were still given less land - Much of the land given to arabs was unfit for agriculture - UN vote 33: 13 for the UN partition FIRST PHASE- 1 DECEMBER 1947- 14 MAY 1948: - Britain’s mandate over Palestine expires, state of Israel proclaimed - First large wage of refugees in neighbouring arab states - Palestinians suffer military defeat 15 MAY 1948: ARAB STATES INTERVENE: - Invasion of Palestine by neighbouring Arab states. - Cease-fire on 7 January 1949 - Armistice agreements signed between Israel and Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan - Agreements = internationally recognized borders for Israel - First arab Israeli war = Palestinians= losers, half the population become refugees 730 000 leave Palestine for neighbouring countries - The country of “ Palestine”ceases to go. a\ ARAB PERSPECTIVE: - root cause is the aggressive and expansionist state of Israel that encroached on their territory, challenged their sovereignty as a country and a peoples caused the dispersal of Palestinians across the middle east, expelled them from their rightful homelands - violated their rights to freedom and self determination in their pursuit to ensure their own ISRAEL PERSPECTIVE: - Arabs= stubborn force in the middle east who straunchly oppose the jewish right to return, the existence of an Israeli state. They are hostile powers who endanger the existence of an Israeli state, all military actions undertaken are taken in the name of self defense, only as a reponse to arab hostility, not provocation, not to fulfill expansionist aims ARAB UNITY- IN THEORY AND PRACTICE: • Israel is the one aggressive power in the middle east that ties all arab states together • They are unified by their mutual dislike for Israel, • “ Israel is widely held to be one of the few solid pillars propping up Arab Unity” • Arab unity was a symbolic ideal, in practice, is was much harder to uphold • “ whereas at the rhetorical level, the Arab states were largely united in their commitment to oppose Israel, at the operational level they remained deeply divided. • Conservative states vouch for containment • Radical states vouch for confrontation • They had the same goals, but different means. • Feb 1966- Militant Ba’ath regime takes power in Syria, pressure Nasser to pursue war. Resent his complacency. • Arabs were more preoccupied with eachother than they were with Israel pg 7- Malcolm Kerr • “ they cannot act separately and they could not act alone” pg 8 • Arabs would have easily had strength in numbers, their weakness came in poor coordination and unified action. • No unity in the Yemeni War- Egypt supports Yemen in fight against royalists, Jordan and Saudi Arabia along with France and Israel are pro royalists • A lot of the incentive for conservative states like Egypt and Jordan who were not as bold in their calls for Palestinian liberation, to join in coalitions against Israel in the 67 war was to ensure arab world that they did infact stand for the arab cause- they wanted to ensure their credibility as Arab states. ARAB NATIONALISM AND THE IDEAL OF ARAB UNITY: - Arab nationalism: which includes the identity of a people with a common culture pg 19 - Shlaim argues that Nasser was working primarily in the interests of Egypt, it was simple realpolitik. He was pragmatic and shrewd. Non- ideological. He did not believe in joining forces with Fatah to forcefully liberate Palestine. It was dangerous and irresponsible to provoke a war with Israel pg. 19 - “ Arab nationalism was non- ideological” pg 19 - are there any instances in which ideology was the driving force behind commitment? Yes 1. Support against brits in civil war in yemen 2. Ba’ath regime 3. Fatah and PLO Ba’ath Regime: Damascus 1966-1970 one of the most ideologically committed parties in the region at the time pg 19 adamantly encouraged war against Israel Fatah and PLO- “ Palestine first”, palestininan autonomy and militancy against Israel HOW GREAT POWER POLITICS WORSENED THE SITUATION: -geostrategic importance- oil reserves, suez “ no other part of the world has been so thoroughly and ceaselessly caught up in great power rivalries” pg 5 - dominant great powers - ottoman empire ( until 1918 when it
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