The Arab-Israeli Conflict
Israel has existed as a nation for the past 58 years, established by the Jewish Provisional State Council after World War II and 11 years after Great Britain proposed the idea of a split nation in front of the UN (Kjeilen, 2006). The Arab nations voiced immediate opposition to the UN’s 1947 plan, joined soon after Israel’s foundation by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, in a struggle that continues to this day.
The clash between Israel and the Palestinians is one of the longest unsettled battles in history. The 1929 Massacre in Hebron and other cities shows that Palestinian terrorism predates the 1948 beginning of the state of Israel. In the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority agreed to end all provocation against Israel, Israelis and Jews (“Terrorism” 2006), yet beginning with the declaration of the state, for more than 55 years the conflict has cost thousands of lives, involved neighboring countries in major wars, and unsettled the politics of the entire region.
At the opening ceremony of the Syrian-Israeli peace talks on December 11, 2000, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara stated, “It goes without saying that peace for Syria means the return of all its occupied land. Those who reject to return the occupied territories to their original owners in the framework of international legitimacy send a message to the Arabs that the conflict between Israel and Arabs is a conflict of existence in which bloodshed can never stop” (Israeli-Palestinian Pro-Con 2004). The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, at the 2002 Arab League summit in Beirut, said, “I propose that the Arab summit put forward a clear and unanimous initiative addressed to the United Nations Security Council based on two basic issues: normal relations and security for Israel in exchange for full withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories” (Israeli-Palestinian Pro-Con 2004). Iran’s Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, in a September 21, 2002 Washington Post interview entitled “The War and Iran,” stated “We do not recognize Israel as a government. We believe that eventually Palestinian refugees have to return to their homeland” (Israeli-Palestinian Pro-Con 2004).
Although a few countries have consistently supported Israel’s actions in the UN, such as the U.S. and Australia, Israel has particularly few supporters in the United Nations. This is due, in part, to the large Muslim contingent (57 countries) and their influence: in terms of sheer voting strength in the General Assembly, this block represents about one-fourth of the delegates, though no Muslim country holds a permanent seat on the Security Council. The United States has frequently found it necessary to use its veto to protect Israel from condemnatory Security Council votes. In fact, this is a significant factor in the large number of vetoes the United States has enforced in general (“Israel and the United Nations” 2006).
World governments at least as is represented at the U.N., either are ambivalent to the situation or wish the destruction of the Israeli State. Arab nations openly and widely support violent Palestinians. Many Europeans, still vastly sympathetic of the Holocaust, yet deny the right of an Israeli state as do many Americans whose government supports sovereignty of Israel. This type of open hostility even in the offices of the United Nations wherein all of these conflicts and differences are supposed to be aired out and peacefully resolved has proven a stumbling block to finding a solution to the problem of Israel. Without a clear voice in the decision-making arena, the country has little option but to accede to the dictates of the Arab-dominated UN deliberations or to resort to violence or open disobedience.
“Israel and the United Nations.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. February 27, 2006. May 31, 2006
Israeli-Palestinian Pro-Con. “What are the Official Policies of the Surrounding Arab States and Iran Regarding Israel?” Israeli Statehood. December 23, 2004. May 31, 2007
Kjeilen, Tori. “Israel: History.” 2006. Encyclopedia of the Orient. May 31 2007
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