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Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

By Mr. Eisenman

Table of Contents
Introduction to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Geography Israel Palestine Christian Ancient timeline UN Partition Plan 1967 War 1973 War Camp David Accords Rise of the PLO First Intifadah Oslo Accords Second Intifadah The Issues Links

Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: Introduction

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is one that is: Extremely dangerous Long-lasting Complicated Animated by religious fervor

US Interests: Why should we care?

This conflict is destabilizing and could lead to a major world war. Many wars have already been fought Israel possesses nuclear weapons and its enemies would like to develop such weapons to gain a military advantage Many in the Middle East perceive the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as the most important issue which makes progress in other areas impossible. Unless peace is reached, the US is perceived as biased, and it is difficult to get cooperation from other countries in the region America has oil interests in the region The War on terrorism The Iraq War Promote Democracy: Israel is a democratic, capitalistic state US citizens have close ties to Israel and Arabs.

The Geography
Israel is at the crossroads between Asia, Africa, and Europe. Today, it is in the heart of the Arab Middle East The areas small size limits its capacity to be a homeland for all the people who want to live there.

Israel: Land for Jews

Israel is a modern, democratic nation created in 1948. It was conceived as a homeland for Jews who had experienced discrimination worldwide. Israel includes Jews and Arabs, who have rights of citizenship. Israel was the historic homeland of the Jews first promised by God to Abraham around 2000 BCE. Israel was the site of several kingdoms and independent states until the Romans finally exiled the Jews in 135 AD. During the Diaspora, Jews remembered their homeland and dreamed of returning to it.

Israel: The Western Wall

Jerusalem is the site of the holiest site in Judaism, remains of the earliest Temples. The Western Wall is part of the retaining wall supporting the temple mount built by Herod in 20 B.C. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D., Jews were not allowed to come to Jerusalem until the Byzantine period, when they could visit once a year on the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple and weep over the ruins of the Holy Temple. Because of this, the wall became known as the Wailing Wall. ( )

Palestine: Homeland for Palestinians

Palestinians are the Arabic speaking people that live in Palestine. Most Palestinians practice Islam which came to Palestine around 638 AD, although some are Christian. Jerusalem is one of the most holy cities for Islam because Moslems believe that Muhammad ascended to heaven here

The Holy Land for Christians

Israel and Palestine has been a major site for Christian pilgrimage and crusades Jesus is said to have been born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth. He is said to have been crucified and resurrected in Jerusalem

Timeline of Events: A short history which doesnt mention all 28 nations that occupied Palestine
1250 BC: Israelites began to conquer and settle the land of Canaan 961-922 BC: Reign of King Solomon and construction of the first Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon's reign was followed by the division of the land into two kingdoms. 586 BC: The southern kingdom, Judah, was conquered by the Babylonians, who drove its people, the Jews, into exile and destroyed Solomon's Temple. After 70 years the Jews began to return and Jerusalem and the temple were gradually rebuilt. 333 BC: Alexander the Great's conquest brought the area under Greek rule. 165 BC: A revolt in Judea established the last independent Jewish state of ancient times. 63 BC: The Jewish state, Judea, was incorporated into the Roman province of Palestine. It remains under Roman rule until 638 A.D. 70 AD: A revolt against Roman rule was put down by the Emperor Titus and the Second Temple was destroyed. This marks the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora, or dispersion. 118-138 AD: During the Roman Emperor Hadrian's rule, Jews were initially allowed to return to Jerusalem, but after another Jewish revolt in 133 - the city was completely destroyed and its people banished and sold into slavery. 313-638 AD: The Byzantine Christian Era. Palestine was ruled by the Byzantine Emperors in Byzantium. 638 AD: Conquest by Arab Muslims ended Byzantine rule (the successor to Roman rule in the East). The second caliph of Islam, Omar, built a mosque at the site of what is now the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in the early years of the 8th Century. Apart from the age of the Crusaders (1099-1187), the region remained under Muslim rule until the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th Century. 1897: First Zionist Conference agreed to work toward establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Jewish immigration to Palestine picks up pace. 1920-1947: British Mandate period. Britain administered the area and promised a homeland to both Jews and Palestinians 1947-48: United Nations controlled 1948: Israel is given its independence. Arab nations attack. At the end of the war, territory that would have gone to Palestinians is claimed by Egypt and Jordan.

1947: UN Partition Plan

In 1947, the UN proposed a partition plan for Palestine which would create an Arab and an Israeli state. Under the plan, Jews (who accounted for 33% of the population) would receive 55% of the land. This plan was rejected by the Arab states and 5 nations attacked Israel when it declared independence according to the UN plan on May 14, 1948. Israel won the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and expanded its boundaries from the UN partition plan. War created Jewish and Palestinian refugees Egypt took control of the Gaza Strip and Jordan annexed the West Bank.

1967 War: The Six Day War

Fearing attack by Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan, Israel launched a preemptive strike Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.

1973 War
Iraq, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan attacked Israel to regain lands lost in the 6 day war. The Arab nations were initially successful as the Israelis were celebrating Yom Kippur and had not anticipated an attack. After several weeks, Israel recovered its occupied lands and a cease fire was reached. Both Arabs and Jews gained confidence as a result of the war

1978 Camp David Accords

The first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab state This historic agreement led to Israel returning the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in return for diplomatic relations An agreement was signed for negotiating a settlement of the Palestinian claims, but this was not successful. Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization, pursuant to a religious decree by Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing

Rise of the PLO

The Palestine Liberation Organization is an umbrella organization for many groups which represent the Palestinian people. Currently, its officials control many positions in the Palestinian Authority which governs Palestinian territory. Its most famous leader was Yassir Arafat, who died last year. This organization was founded in 1964. In 1974, the PLO was recognized by the United Nations as the representative of the Palestinian people. The PLO has also fought militarily against Israeli occupation of its land and has been involved in numerous terrorist acts against Israeli citizens.

First Intifadah, 1987-1993

In 1987, Palestinians became frustrated with their living conditions and lack of progress. They maintain that the Intifada was a protest of Israel's brutal repression which included extrajudicial killings, mass detentions, house demolitions, indiscriminate torture, deportations, and so on. ( ) Often Palestinians fought the Israelis with low tech weapons like rocks, but over time, they gained access to guns and other explosives. By 1993, 1,162 Palestinians and 160 Israelis had died.

Oslo Accords
In 1993, the PLO and Israel signed a peace agreement to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The agreement included the following: Withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank Palestinian right to self-government through the creation of the Palestinian Authority. The parties agreed to negotiate a final and permanent peace settlement in the near future. Permanent issues such as Jerusalem, refugees, Israeli settlements in the area, security and borders were deliberately excluded from the Accords and determined as not prejudged. The Israeli government recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people The PLO recognized the right of the state of Israel to exist and renounced terrorism, violence and its desire for the destruction of Israel.

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Intifadah, 2000-Present

The Oslo Peace Accord failed to achieve a final settlement despite great efforts by Bill Clinton in the last months of his presidency. Israel and the US claimed that Israel made historic offers for peace which Yassir Arafat rejected. Palestinians claimed that they could never sign an agreement that didnt give complete Palestinian control over the Temple Mount and holy sites in Jerusalem. The Second Intifadah, or uprising, began in September 2000 following the visit of Israeli politician Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount. The second Intifadah has been far bloodier than the first as suicide bombing has become a common tactic. Israel has responded by assassinating leaders that order the suicide attacks and entering Palestinian towns with tanks and strong force to search for terrorists. Death tolls are estimated at 4,000 Israel believes that Yassir Arafat was not a true partner for peace as it has gathered evidence that he has been involved in terrorist activity. His forces have refused to arrest Islamist militants like Hamas members. Palestinians have grown frustrated by the lack of progress and continuing brutal occupation.

The Issues
The right of Israel to exist as a nation on land previously occupied by Moslems Refugees and the right of return The building of settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip Status of Jerusalem Terrorism Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights and the West Bank. Water rights Defensible and safe borders. Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails International and Arab recognition of Israel and normalized relations

An excellent site on the Arab Israeli conflict. This contains primary documents and a wealth of excellent resources and links. A diversity of perspectives is represented. e_palestinians/default.stm BBC site PBS special stm