Term Paper: World War II

Pages: 7 (2281 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Israel  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] While Israel had shown a willingness and desire, even, to negotiate for peace and normalized relations in the region, its neighboring aggressors were focused simply on the annihilation of the Jewish state. American sympathy to the Zionist cause, then, was regarded with disgust by Arab authorities. It incited hostility that was greatly exacerbated when, following the humiliating six day defeat of Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian troops at the hands of the powerful Israeli army in 1967, Arab shame bubbled over into speculation that American assistance had been a substantial factor in Israeli victory.

It was true that, at this juncture in history, America began to provide a great deal more financial support to Israel. And as illustrated by the aforementioned circumstances of the 1973 War, it was not long before the United States became heavily involved in weapons support, and even military training assistance. But the United States has also proven its willingness to assist Arab nations who are active participants in the peace process. Animosity between the United States and Egypt under the rule of its fiercely nationalist head of state, Gamal Abdel-Nasser, had all but dissipated after his death in 1970 and a consequent reversal in Egypt's heretofore eternally hostile position. The alteration culminated in the groundbreaking peace agreement of 1979 that was most directly responsible for both Anwar Sadat's assassination and an increased American support of the Egyptian economy. Likewise, Jordan's peace agreement with Israel in 1988, brokered by the United States again, resulted in a large increase in American financial aid to Jordan. And after the Oslo Peace Accords that witnessed a historical handshake between Yasser Arafat and Yitzchak Rabin, America became the top provider of financial aid to the Palestinian relief effort. There is much evidence, throughout the course of Israel's existence, and the implications therein for American-Arab relations, that those nations willing to strike peace agreements are those most likely to receive support from the United States. Unfortunately, so few in the region have been able to maintain these agreements, either due to malicious and divisive governmental tactics or a fundamental inability of central power to reign in radical factions of its state. So Arab protest that the United States is not evenhanded in its pursuit of interests in the Middle East are robbed of credibility when one considers the consistent Arab refusal to play by diplomatic rules that are almost universally accepted.

If this perspective is somewhat ethnocentric, it may be appropriate. Because the disparity in American to Arab and American to Israeli relations is inextricably tied into cultural tendencies. Particularly, the commonalities that draw America and Israel together so warmly are the same characteristics that alienate both nations from the Arab world. Israel has found root for its existence and support, throughout its young life, in American public opinion. Israel's derivation from European and western influence aside, its struggle for independence in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds strikes a chord of identification for many Americans. The pioneer attitude and a population comprised almost entirely of immigrants make Israel a projection of the United States to some degree. In a part of the world where western culture had not achieved full pervasion, Israel became a bastion for values similar to those held dear in America, such as democracy and capitalism. Lands most often governed by tribalism were now an arena for free elections and parliamentary procedure. Free speech became the law in a territory formerly of religious regulation. When Arab detractors of the United States lament that they've been dealt unevenly when compared to America's close personal ally, Israel, they are probably not wrong. However, the general approach that Arab countries have taken historically both toward Israel and international diplomacy have consistently placed them at odds with American goals. So while an argument can be made that America has been far more generous to Israel, there is no credible case to suggest that America has acted unfairly toward the Arab states in its favoritism.

Bibliographies:

1. Aburish, Said K., Arafat: From Defender To Dictator, New York, NY, St. Martin's Press, 1998.

2. Ashton, Nigel, Eisenhower, Macmillan, and the Problem of Nasser: Anglo-American Relations and Arab Nationalism, 1955-1959, New York, NY, St. Martin's Press, 1996.

3. Berkowitz, Michael, Western Jewry and the Zionist Project, 1914-1931, Cambridge, MA, Cambridge University Press, 1997.

4. Jacobson, David and Abdel-Malik, Kamal, Israeli and Palestinian Identities in History and Literature, New York, NY, St. Martin's Press, 1999.

5. Maisel, David, The Founding Myths of Israel: Nationalism, Socialism, and the Making of the Jewish State, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1998.

6. Rabinovich, Itamar, Waging Peace, New York, NY, Farrer, Straus and Giroux, 1999.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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