Term Paper: Palestinian and Israeli Conflict in International Law

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Palestinian and Israeli Conflict in International Law

History by itself and the differing views of history possibly play a very significant role in the conflict between the people of Palestine and Israel. Thus historical accounts and the interpretation of these accounts are made use of in the claims and counter claims of the parties in the dispute. "No two historians ever agree on what happened, and the damn thing is they both think they're telling the truth" (a Brief History of Israel and Palestine and the Conflict)

History of the Conflict from the Time of Creation of Israel

The UN General Assembly agreed to a plan November 29, 1947 for the division of Arab lands into the three parts of Israel Palestine and an internationally-administered zone that centered round Jerusalem. "This plan formed the basis for the declaration of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948." (the History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict) Angered over the loss of Arab lands in the formation of the Israeli state, a combined force of Arab states invaded Israel leading to a war. The consequences of the war were disastrous for the Arabs. Israel annexed more land than was provided to them by the United Nations and many of the Palestinian Arabs were displaced rendering them homeless. This war officially ended in January 1949, but the peace was short lived due to the mutual suspicions and sense of betrayal by the Arabs. "Threatened by invasion Israel launched an attack on Egypt on October 29, 1956 and captured the Gaza strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt." (the History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict) International protests followed this gradual usurping of Arab lands and Israel withdrew from these territories Another war between the Arabs and Israel broke out on May 6, 1967, provoked by a blockade of the Israeli port in the Gulf of Aqaba and shelling of Israel by Syria from the Golan Heights, as Israel launched an attack on Egypt, Syria and Jordan. (the History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict)

The result of this war was further loss of territory by the Arabs to Israel. Israel occupied the Gaza strip and the Sinai Peninsula again and also the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Arab sector of Jerusalem. "The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on November 22, 1967, asking Israel to withdraw from these Occupied Territories, but Israel refused and the United Nations did not take any intervening action to enforce its resolution." (the History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict) the result was that the Arabs refused to recognize Israel as a state. As a result of the repeated failure wars to retrieve lost lands the Palestinian Arabs formed terrorist organizations to fight against the Israeli occupation. Israel has thus become a target from those days for these terrorist organizations and their guerrilla warfare and this has caused severe loss of life and injuries not only to the combating Israeli soldiers and Palestinian guerrillas, but even more loss of life and injuries to the Israeli and Palestinian civilians. (the History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict)

The demise of Yasser Arafat and the election of the more moderate Abbas as the head of the Palestinian people and their aspirations, provide hope that the Palestinians and Israelis will be able to sort out their differences to bring lasting peace in an area that has been an area of concern to the world for more than five decades." (Rice urges Israel to take hard decisions for peace ahead of summit) This is the reason behind the U.S. urging Israel to make use of the more conducive circumstances to bring about more lasting peace. (Rice urges Israel to take hard decisions for peace ahead of summit)

Zionism vs. Pan-Arabism

Nathan Birnbaum was the person responsible for the coining of the term Zionism. Zionism represents the movement that called for the state of Israel and the return of the Jewish people spread all over the world to Israel. Zionism also required the Jewish sovereignty over Israel. "The Zionist movement spread to embrace all sets of Jews irrespective of their political and religious leanings and all the Jews worked towards this goal of Israel." (a Definition of Zionism) There were rifts as was to be expected from a collection of people with differing views and perceptions and yet at the end of it all they succeeded in setting up the State of Israel., which was the common goal. (a Definition of Zionism)

The greatest strength of Zionism has been its ability to maintain a striking continuity in its aims and methods for over hundred years. The drive for the Jewish statehood paid scant attention to the presence of the Palestinian majority and their national aspirations. The need for the creation of the Israeli state pushed back any claims of the Palestinians. There were very few supporters for the creation of two nations among the Israelis and territorial partition was considered the best way to achieve statehood and at the same time providing a certain national rights to the Palestinians. To create a homogenous Jewish territory the translocation of Palestinians to the neighboring states was also seen as a possible means. The implementation of these plans provided the means for the formation of independent Israel, even though it led to separation of the Palestinian people and causing the hostility with the Arab world, which has led to a lot of bloodshed. "The Zionist movement and subsequently the state of Israel failed to develop a positive approach to the Palestinian presence and aspirations." (Zionism and Its Impact)

Pan-Arabism is the name given to the movement that aims at the unification of the Arab people and nations of the Middle East. It has a strong relation with Arab nationalism. Pan-Arabism has had a leaning towards socialism and secularism and has a negative stance to Western influence. (Pan-Arabism: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) From the 1930s onwards the need to thwart the Zionist aims in Palestine became the rallying point for Arab nationals. The forming though mostly short lived basis of the union of different Arab states on different occasions was an expression of this Arab nationalism. "These unions include the Arab League, the Arab Federation, the United Arab Republic, the Arab Union, the United Arab Emirates, and the Arab Maghreb Union." (Pan-Arabism: Encyclopedia.com) the Ba'ath party became the principal instrumrnt of Pan-Arabism from the 1960's onwards and most of the Arab states including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen were the areas of their activity. The Pan-Arab cause suffered two severe setbacks in the defeat fo the Arabs in the 1967 war eith Israel and in the demise of President Nasser of Egypt in 1970. The 1973 war with Israel saw the return of the Pan-Arabism in strength and the willingness of Arab states to use oil as a tool in furthering their economic and political aims. The accord between Egypt and Israel and the Iran-Iraq war saw Pan-Arabism go into decline. "Despite all the Pan-Arab rhetoric of Sadaam Hussain prior to the Persian Gulf War many Arab countries were part of the coalition that fought against Iraq." (Pan-Arabism: Encyclopedia.com)

An analysis of Pan-Arabism shows that the Arab states showed a symbolic political manipulation towards Pan-Arabism and this gradually waned into a Westphalian state system based on soveriegn states. "The Arab regional system has been fragments with the GCC in a position to have a strong say in matters because of their economic clout and Egypt also because of its military might." (Regional Responses to Conflicts: the Middle East) Iraq made a strong but vain bid to become the leader of Pan-Arabism but its war with Iran as well as the later wars with the West have left it in a totally weakened position. The palestinian cause was used by many of the Arab states just as a cause for their leadership, but with Egypt opting out after it's accord with Israel, no other state has shown the willingness to take on the Israelis in the cause of the Palestinians. This has been the cause of the weakness of Pan-Arabism and the inability of the Arab League or any of the Arab states to intervene with effect in any of the regional conflict or in favor of the paletinian cause. (Regional Responses to Conflicts: the Middle East)

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Israeli Settlements in Occupied Palestine consist mainly of large housing projects that Israel built without legal sanction on the lands that they confiscated from Palestinians. These settlements are located in the West bank, Jerusalem and then Gaza strip. These settlements are linked to one another and to Israel using roads that cannot be used by the Palestinians and are meant for the exclusive use of Israelis. The roads were also built on what was previously privately owned of the Palestinians that were confiscated by the Israelis. These Israeli settlements have an impact not only on the daily life of the Palestinians, but also on the long-term developmental… [END OF PREVIEW]

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