Israel International Politics Terrorism Case Study

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ISRAEL

Locked in a history of persecution, religious discrimination, and national consciousness, the Jewish people were granted their own land when, following World War II, the British withdrew from Palestine and the United Nations divided the war-torn land into two separate states. The UN created an Arab state and a Jewish state, Israel, against tremendous rejection by the Arabs, who felt that what was once their land was being redistributed without their approval. The 1947 UN Partition created a very small state in the area of Tel Aviv, and, through a series of wars, Israel ambitiously expanded its borders. The Jews and the Arabs, both inextricably psychologically tied to this holy land, continue to mar the narrowly defined lines of the nation of Israel, Medinat Yisra'el, with perpetuated discontent, a series of largely disregarded peace accords, and a renewed violence since in the last five years.

Today, Israel occupies 20,770 sq km, nestled between the Gaza strip, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Egypt. It is home to the Old Testament land, the Dead Sea, the Jordan Rift Valley, the Negev desert, and the Sea of Galilee. The Jewish desire for statehood, and the belief that it should be in the holy land, is a religious cultural norm, based on the Holy Scriptures and a history of war. Documented historically in their own religious texts, the Jewish struggle for nationhood and self-preservation has been actively pursued against the military strength of Assyria, Persia, Alexander the Great, Rome, and the Hebrews themselves, in addition to wars amongst themselves.

The early modern call for Jewish statehood came as the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century reignited religious intolerance in Europe. The tension quickly billowed with the dawn of nineteenth century nationalism and radical anti-Semitism, forcing Jews out of their communities and into the ghettos they had historically struggled to leave.

In the 1890s, a French trial convicted a military officer named Dreyfus of spying for Germany; Dreyfus, tried on what has since determined to be fake evidence, was a scapegoat, being punished not for the accused actions, but instead for his religion. Theodor Herzl, an assimilated Jewish journalist responsible for reporting on the controversial trial, was stunned by the persecution emanating from the so-"enlightened" French government. Herzl concluded that, without a nation state of their own, the Jews would never be safe from persecution.

In 1896 he responded to the growing anti-Semitism and mounting difficulties which the Jews in Europe felt in their daily life by publishing Der Judenstaat. Immediately, he was enthroned as the leader of the political movement for Zionism. Zion, the hill in Jerusalem from which the great Jewish kings Solomon and David ruled, became the symbol of the movement that sought the return of the Jewish nation to the land of Palestine. While not all Jews were Zionists, and many responded to the growing climate of tension by emigrating to Western Europe or America, the movement rapidly accelerated, and the first Zionist Congress was founded a year later. That same year, Herzl proclaimed that in fifty years, the Jewish state would be a reality; he was only wrong by one year.

The land without a people shall have a people without a land," Herzl declared as the dictum of the Zionist cause, and set his sights on the bucolic land of Palestine, a tiny corner of the crumbling Ottoman Empire.

The Zionists, under Herzl's commanding lead, organized around the land cause with a Jewish National Fund, responsible for raising money abroad, and a Land Development Company that quickly scooped up parcels of the Palestinian land. Jews had long coexisted with the local Arabs, a religiously peaceful demographic with whom the Jewish people had enjoyed longer periods of stability than with others, but disputes over land slowly deteriorated the relationship.

Many of the Jews living in Jerusalem, in Palestine, disregarded the concept of Zionism. The strictly religious opposed a man-led movement for a Jewish state, believing that the Messiah was supposed to come and found one himself; the City of God, they believed, was to be the Work of God alone. Roskin addressed the differentiation between the older Jews of Jerusalem and those following Herzl's powerful ideology.

The young Zionists were a new breed. They were secular (some were even atheists), socialistic, and pioneering. Jewish nationalism was their religion, and working the soil was their form of worship."

The LDC not only bought land, they also established the communities in which the new Zionist settlers could come to work. They set up kibbutzim and moshavim, communal and cooperative farms that drained the swamps, irrigated deserts, and turned the previously infertile desert into vital land. The settlers revived Hebrew as the colloquial tongue, and rejoiced in their own Zion. In 1903, they founded the Hill of Spring, or Tel Aviv, just north of the port city Jaffa as the first modern Jewish city.

As World War I lit its way through Europe, the British encouraged the Zionist movement in Palestine as a means of creating sympathy among the Jews in the United States and Russia for the Allied cause. The war situation grew more tense, and the British were desperate for support. They encouraged the Arabs and the Jews in their various causes, and insinuated promises to both in return for their invaluable contributions, even if they could not be repaid.

Between 1915 and 1916, Sir Henry MacMahon, the English director of Egyptian affairs, and Sherif Hussein, leader of the Arabs, exchanged a series of letters in which the Arabs requested the entire Fertile Crescent for their own; the British skirted a direct answer, but Hussein thought that the deal was as good as cemented. Meanwhile, the British were also involved in a series of negotiations with France and Russia culminating in the Sykes-Picot Agreement, giving the Arabs the peninsula, but dividing the Fertile Crescent into spheres of influence. In 1917, the British Cabinet then decried a new position in the Balfour Declaration, siding with the Jews in search of popular support from the powerful growing demographic.

His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine..."

Although the Balfour Declaration did not directly impede the desires of the Arabs or cause any explicit rift, it indicated the shifting waters of association that would characterize the upcoming conflict between the Jewish Zionists, the Arabs, and the governing world.

In their still-imperial governing mindset, the British overlaid their "white man's burden" onto the jurisdiction of the Fertile Crescent, where in 1922, the League of Nations granted mandates to its two ruling nations, France and England. At first, the British honored their agreement to the Jews for a home in Palestine, causing a massive influx of Jewish immigration, with nearly 10,000 new Jews entering the area annually until 1931. The Palestinian Arabs were frightened at their growing minority, and between 1920 and 1921, launched a series of riots against the Jews, initiating the violence that would mark the next eight-five years at least.

By 1936, the two religious groups were caught in a near-civil war. The Jews, eager to cement the area they desired as theirs with land certificates if not governmental support, bought more land as quickly as they could. This only further angered the Arabs, whose responded directly with more violence. The Jews created Haganah, their own self-defense group that would later become the Israeli army, which helped defend the Kibbutznicks from the nighttime Arab rioters.

By 1939, the tension was so high that it threatened to be the next "powder keg" of Europe. The Jewish population now numbered 413,000, a minority, but a growing one; the Arab population, too, was growing, and more and more were joining their cause in defense of Islam. Externally, the rest of Europe watched with warnful eye, noting both the strategic position of the region to continental politics as well as the profundity of natural resources. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was the first to intervene, sending two armies into the area, one through Russia and the other through Africa to support the Arabs in their revolt against the British. The British feared for their territories and political arm in the region, and issued a White Paper in 1939 that strictly limited Jewish immigration and assuaged some discontent among the Arabs.

The Jews reacted as if the British had reneged on a formal promise. Over the next forty years, only 75,000 more Jews would be permitted entrance to inhabit the area, betraying the promise for a Jewish homeland. Yet, they had no other recourse. The onset of World War II, however, created a romantic ideal of the idea of Israel - not only was it supposed to be a Zion, but it was, in the imagination of Jews across the continent,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Israel International Politics Terrorism.  (2005, April 20).  Retrieved February 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/israel-international-politics-case/33360

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"Israel International Politics Terrorism."  Essaytown.com.  April 20, 2005.  Accessed February 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/israel-international-politics-case/33360.