Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Part III
In 1947, two years after the end of World War II, the United Nations voted to establish two countries west of the Jordan River; a Jewish and a Palestinian Arab country. The Jews accepted this plan, but the Palestinians and surrounding Arab countries did not. In 1948, Jews in Palestine declared the birth of the modern country of Israel, consisting of the lands the United Nations had set aside. The surrounding Arab nations (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon) militarily occupied the land that had been set aside for the Palestinian Arabs and attacked Israel. Over the next 29 years, Israelis fought the Arab nations in all-out war, in smaller, disconnected battles, or against Arab terrorist attacks. Major wars during this time were the initial Israeli-Arab War in 1948, the Suez War in 1956, the 1967 Six-Day War, the War of Attrition in 1969-1970, and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. During these wars, Israel defeated the Arabs and conquered land that the United Nations had set aside for an Arab Palestinian country.
The Arab countries and people refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and a constant state of war existed. Palestinians organized themselves into various terrorist organizations, aiming to destroy Israel. A terrorist organization attempts to harm its enemy by using horrific acts of barbarity, such as purposefully killing innocent civilians on a bus or in a pizza restaurant, or by assassinating athletes and journalists and women and children. Yasser Arafat founded the terrorist group Fatah in 1959, and in 1970, the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) was established in Jordan and later moved to Lebanon. Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Qaeda are more modern terrorist organizations aimed against Israel.
1979-1986, Egypt and Lebanon Recognize Israel
Major peace developments occurred in 1979 and the 1980s. In 1979, with U.S. President Carter acting as the chief negotiator, Egypt and Israel signed a peace agreement, and Egypt became the first Arab country to recognize Israel’s right to exist. In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon and destroyed much of the PLO. In 1983, Lebanon recognized Israel’s right to exist, the PLO was forced to leave Lebanon, and Israel agreed to not invade Lebanon.
1987-1993 The First Intifada
In 1987, the First Palestinian Intifada began. Intifada means “shaking off” or “shaking up.” Arab Palestinians violently protested Israel’s occupation of lands that the United Nations originally had chosen for the Palestinian country. Israel had taken these lands in the wars against the Arab countries. Israel argued that occupation of these lands was necessary so it wouldn’t be attacked from those areas.
Much changed from 1987 to 1993. In the Intifada, Palestinians threw rocks at Israelis, attacked civilians, and Israel used its military supremacy to defeat the protesters. Palestinians targeted both military targets and Israeli citizens. One technique used during the Intifada was the suicide bomber. A Palestinian would strap bombs to himself, go on a crowded bus or in a restaurant, and blow himself up, killing innocent Israelis.
About 2,000 Palestinians and 300 Israelis were killed during this time. Palestinians claimed Israel was an occupying force that abused its power. Israel claimed the right to exist and protect itself. At the end of the Intifada, Israel withdrew from much of the two areas it had occupied, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The PLO, led by Arafat, renounced violence, accepted the United Nations plan for two states in Palestine, and recognized Israel’s right to exist. Israel recognized the PLO as the representatives of the Palestinian people. It was to be known as the Palestinian Authority (PA) from now on.
1993-2000 The Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords were various agreements between Israel and the PA that was to eventually establish two countries, Israel and Palestine, and resolve the problems that had existed between the Israelis and the Palestinians since World War I. It began with much enthusiasm on both sides, but ended in armed conflict. Disagreements involved the capital city of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, and Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
2000-2005 The Second Intifada
Open conflict between Palestinians and Israelis continued. As in the First Intifada, Palestinians targeted both soldiers and civilians and used suicide bombers. In contrast with the First Intifada, Israel aggressively asserted control over civilian areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, killing terrorist leaders in their homes, destroying PA infrastructure, and maintained occupying forces. PA leader Yasser Arafat died in 2004. The new PA leader, Abbas, agreed with Israeli Prime Minister Sharon to stop all fighting. The cease fire began in 2005.
2005 to Present Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah, and Israel
In the last 9 or 10 years, Israel has fought against radical Islamic groups in the West Bank and Gaza, in Lebanon, and has militarily occupied parts of Palestine. Israel has also continued to expand Jewish settlements into areas that Palestinians claim as their own. Hamas, Fatah, and Hezbollah are three terrorist organizations who would like to see the destruction of Israel.
Hamas won elections in the Gaza Strip in 2007 and took over administration. Along with running the government, Hamas built tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip to smuggle in weapons used to attack the Israelis. Over the years, Hamas launched missiles at Israel. Fatah controls the West Bank. It began as a terrorist organization aimed at destroying Israel and establishing a Palestinian country. On November 2012, Israel launched a military offensive aimed at destroying the military power of Hamas. Hamas has launched more than 1100 missiles into Israel, and Israel successfully degraded Hamas’ ability to fight. Hezbollah is in southern Lebanon, and periodically launches missiles into Israel or conducts military raids.
Recently, two Islamic radicals attacked Jewish worshippers at prayer in an Israeli synagogue, killing and maiming with guns and axes. In Israel, people mourned the act of barbarism, but in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinians celebrated by handing out candy to children. Shimon Peres, President of Israel from 2007 to 2014, said, “If a problem has no solution, it may not be a problem, but a fact – not to be solved, but to coped with over time.” It appears that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be such a fact. Islamic organizations such as Hamas and Fatah have political control over the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and, these groups espouse the destruction of Israel. To these groups, attacking Jews at prayer is equivalent to fighting the most evil conquerors of mankind. Israelis are compelled to live as a country constantly at war, defending itself against neighbors who want its destruction.
1. Write one or two sentences that describe each of the periods listed below:
a. War, 1948-1979
b. 1979-1986, Egypt and Lebanon Recognize Israel
c. 1987-1993 The First Intifada
d. 1993-2000 The Oslo Accords
e. 2000-2005 The Second Intifada
f. 2005 to Present Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah, and Israel
2. Has Israel acted justly when militarily occupying Palestinian lands of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank? Explain your answer.
Veteran's Day and the War on Terror
On Monday, November 11th, 2014, the Veteran's Day National Ceremony took place at Arlington National Cemetery, located in Arlington, Virginia. The ceremony began exactly at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It continued with a parade of colors by veteran's organizations and speeches by dignitaries. Veteran's Day is a day set aside to honor all members who have fought in America's wars, including our current war, the War of Terror. In the War on Terror, there has been difficulties within the U.S. government determining who is a veteran and who is not.
November 11th, 11:00 a.m., is the moment that fighting in World War I stopped. World War I - known at the time as "The Great War" or "The War to End All Wars" - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles in France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of World War I.
Each year on this day, Americans remember and give thanks to all veterans. A veteran is a person who served in the United States Armed Forces. This year, American leaders give honor to those Americans who fought in wars that are over and to the veterans of The War on Terror, the war that we are currently fighting.
The war the U.S.A. is currently in may be our most complicated war, beginning with what it is called. In 1984, President Reagan used the words "war against terrorism" as he attempted to persuade Congress to pass legislation aimed at freezing bank assets of terrorist organizations. Five days after 9/11/2001 attacks against America, the U.S. Congress passed the "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorism," which allowed the President to use force against the terrorists and the regimes that sponsored them to carry out the 9/11 attacks. On September 20th, 2011, President George W. Bush used the words "War on Terror" to describe the global war America is in. President Obama did not like the title, however, and described the war as "Overseas Contingency Operation."
Veterans of the War on Terror number in the millions and include personnel who have fought abroad, but not at home. Since 9/11, over 2,333,627 military personnel have served in Afghanistan or Iraq (according to ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-veterans-numbers/story?id=14928136#1 ) in the War on Terror, and some argue, military personnel have also fought terrorists in the United States. On October 5, 2009, U.S. Major Nidal Hasan, fatally shot 13 American servicemen at Ft. Hood, Texas. Hasan was injured and is being held for murder. He has declared his attack was part of jihad, an act of Islamic holy war. Hasan has applied for citizenship in the Islamic State, the terrorist state in the Middle East. The Obama administration refuses to call Hasan's attack an act of terror, and instead calls it, "workplace violence." Survivors of Hasan's attack and family members of the deceased do not enjoy benefits of soldiers injured during war.
1. Why is November 11th Veteran's Day? Why was this date chosen?
2. What words did President Bush use to describe our current war and what words do President Obama use?
3.Do you think that the soldiers killed and injured by Major Hasan should be considered as war veterans? Why or why not?
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Part II
Who Were the Ottomans?
The Ottomans were a ruling dynasty (family) of Turks who had a large empire in both Europe and Asia from the 1400s to 1922. The Turks are an Asian people who migrated to Arabia and Europe, became Muslim, conquered the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium), and ruled Palestine and the rest of Arabia for five hundred years. The leader of the Ottomans was a sultan, what we would call a king.
The Rise of Nationalism and World War I
Before the 1700s, people were content to live in empires or kingdoms and did not consider it important if their leader spoke the same language as they did, or if they had the right to vote. In the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s, however, people throughout the world began to see themselves as part of nations, with the right to have their own countries. Historians call this idea nationalism. Both Arabs and Jews began to dream of their own, independent country in Palestine.
During World War I, the people of Palestine wanted to separate from the Ottoman Empire and form their own countries. The Ottoman Empire fought alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary against the Allied Powers (Great Britain, France, and the U.S.A.). Wanting to weaken the enemy, Great Britain made a secret promise to the Arabs (known as the Husayn-McMahon understandings) that if they attacked the Ottomans, the Arabs in Palestine would have their own state. At about the same time, British foreign minister issued the Balfour Declaration announcing British support for a Jewish national home in Palestine. And, secretly, Great Britain and France agreed to carve up the Arab provinces once the Ottomans were defeated.
The British Mandate, 1920 – 1948
The Allied Powers defeated the Ottoman Empire and established the League of Nations. Allied political leaders wanted The League of Nations to be an organization that resolved world conflicts peacefully. The League of Nations split up the Ottoman Empire into separate areas controlled by Britain and France. Palestine was defined as the area west and east of the Jordan River, and given to the British to control. In 1921, the British split this area in two. The area east of the Jordan River became the country of Jordan. West of the Jordan River became an area of great conflict between the Arabs and the Jews. Both wanted to realize the British promise of having their own country.
The 1930s and World War II were catastrophic for Jews. In 1933, the N.A.Z.I. Party in Germany won a plurality of the vote, and Hitler quickly took dictatorial power. Hitler blamed nearly all of Germany’s problems on Jews and over the next 12 years the Germans and various Europeans murdered over 6,000,000 Jews in Europe. Throughout these years, Jews tried to escape to various countries, however, they were rejected in many instances. For their survival, many fled to Palestine with the hope of building their own country.
In 1947, two years after the end of World War II, the United Nations voted to establish two countries west of the Jordan River; a Jewish and a Palestinian Arab country. The Jews accepted this plan, but the Palestinians and surrounding Arab countries did not.
1. Who were the Ottomans?
2. What is nationalism?
3. How did nationalism affect the Jews and Palestinians?
4. What happened to the Arab provinces after the Ottomans were defeated?
5. What did the United Nations vote to establish in 1947?
Recently, two armed Palestinians armed with axes, knives and pistols stormed a synagogue in Jerusalem and attacked Jews at prayer. The Palestinians killed four unarmed rabbis (three Americans and one British) and injured others before being killed by policemen. In Israel, Jews mourned the four who were murdered, but in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinians celebrated by handing out candy to children. This act of barbarism is one of many in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is a modern one, beginning in the 1900s and continuing today. At least since the end of World War I, Israelis and Palestinians have both claimed their right to exist as separate countries, with Jerusalem, or a section of Jerusalem, as their capital city. Although this conflict is a modern one, the history of the people involved dates back thousands of years. As with many conflicts in history, to correctly understand the modern conflict, it is important to understand the thousands of years that predate it.
The Ancient Hebrews
The Hebrews were ancient people who lived in roughly the same area that is Israel. Sometime between 2000 B.C. and 1600 B.C., Hebrews believe God told Abraham to move with his wife Sarah to Canaan, what is today approximately Israel. Abraham and Sarah are the founders of the Hebrew people. The Hebrews established a kingdom in this area c. 1050 B.C. The religion of the Hebrews was Judaism and the believers called Jews. In A.D. 135, the Romans forced all Hebrews to scatter throughout the world. The Hebrews moved to Asia, Africa, and Europe, where for centuries they kept their religion and customs intact.
Who Were the Ottomans?
The Ottomans were a ruling dynasty (family) of Turks who had a large empire in both Europe and Asia from the 1400s to 1922. The Turks were an Asian people who migrated to Arabia and Europe, became Muslim, conquered the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium), and ruled Palestine and the rest of Arabia for five hundred years.
Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire from the 1500s to its fall after the end of the World War I in 1922. In 1878, there were about 462,465 inhabitants of the area of Palestine. There were 403,000 Muslims, 43,000 Christians, and 25,000 Jews. Palestinians did not consider themselves part of a single political unit, and for the most part, under the Ottoman Empire, there was no conflict between the three religious groups that existed.
The Rise of Nationalism and World War I
Before the 1700s, people were content to live in empires or kingdoms and did not consider it important if their leader spoke the same language as they did, or if they had the right to vote. In the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s, however, people throughout the world began to see themselves as part of nations, with the right to have their own countries. Both Arabs and Jews began to dream of their own, independent country in Palestine.
During World War I, the people of Palestine wanted to separate from the Ottoman Empire and form their own countries. Great Britain made a secret promise to the Arabs (known as the Husayn-McMahon understandings) that if they attacked the Ottomans, the Arabs in Palestine would have their own state. At about the same time, British foreign minister issued the Balfour Declaration announcing British support for a Jewish national home in Palestine. And, secretly, Great Britain and France agreed to carve up the Arab provinces once the Ottomans were defeated.
1. What did two men do in a synagogue in Jerusalem?
2. How old is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
3. Who were the Hebrews?
4. Who were the Ottomans and how was Palestine related to the Ottoman Empire?
5. How did the rise of nationalism change the relationship between the Arabs, the Jews, and Ottomans in Palestine?
John De Gree
John De Gree writes the current events with a look at the history of each topic. Articles are written for the young person, aged 10-18, and Mr. De Gree carefully writes so that all readers can understand the event. The perspective the current events are written in is Judeo-Christian.
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