Israelis and Palestinians are a dispute between these states caused by territory claims. In 1947, when the United Nations approved a partition plan for what was then a British mandate, the Zionists realized that they had gambled on the right horse. The Jews would have their state.
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The Palestinians, under their leader Hajj Amin el-Husseini, rejected the UN plan. They believed the entire land belonged to them and could not see any justification for sharing it with a usurper from abroad. They managed to drag the neighboring Arab states into the caldron, only to realize, too late, what a mistake they made. The Palestinians lost their land and the chance they had had no longer to be a stateless people.
The war of 1948 became the finest hour for the Zionists and the Hashemites. Both sides achieved their most important aims in May when the State of Israel was born and withstood a joint Arab invasion that included Jordan’s impressive, British-led Arab Legion (Frykberg et al 376). Abdullah’s legionnaires, although fighting through the year, had tacit limits to their ambitions and were truly interested only in the Arab sector of Palestine as delineated by the UN.
They made no serious effort, unlike the other Arab armies, to seize the land apportioned to the Jews. So as to avoid a similar fate, the grandson, King Hussein, did not talk to Israel at first and insisted on secrecy and slow progress when he later did so. His loss of the West Bank and his half of Jerusalem in 1967 prompted him to deepen his contacts with the Israelis, so as to maintain some Jordanian influence in the occupied territories.
Once again, the Palestinians found themselves, as they did nineteen years earlier, squeezed in the middle. Despite Hussein’s announcement in 1988, as a response to the Palestinian uprising, that he was dropping all claims to the West Bank, he does want the land back—especially the mosques in Jerusalem. The peace process, however, needs a major push. There is talk of convening an international conference, to bring all parties in the conflict to the negotiating table. There is the rapid growth in Palestinian nationalism growing to a crescendo, which Israel and Jordan ignore at their peril (Keating 25).
The true requirements are face-to-face negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, with Jordanian participation, to find a solution to live together in whatever agreed structure may emerge. It could be a Jewish state alongside an Arab confederation, or even three independent states if that is the wish of the parties involved. Direct negotiation is preferable, but if another forum for discussion is needed—with the involvement of the two superpowers or other international sponsors—let it be. Security guarantees, the main Israeli demand, should not be impossible to devise, especially in light of what Israel and Jordan have already accomplished in their secret diplomacy (Moore and Weiss 44).
The United States eventually accepted the reality of the Middle East, that there was no way to ignore the agreement as to the representative of the Palestinian people and their desire for a political entity of their own. The message, though, was not getting through to the Israeli leadership.
Both the Likud and Labor halves of the government, in their new National Unity Coalition led by Yitzhak Shamir after the 1988 election, refused to consider any form of negotiations in which Israel might be pressed to reciprocate the agreement new recognition of the Jewish state. The Israelis, in a sense, believed in the Jordanian option more than Jordan did. They were more Hussein-oriented than was Hussein himself (Moore and Weiss 65).
In 2000, Bill Clinton organized a peace summit for these two nations in order to solve territories problems and establish peace in this region. President Arafa, Israelis leader, ignored this proposal. In 2002, The Road map for Peace was developed by the four international agents: Russia, the USA, United Nations, and European Union. This plan did not touch on religious and ethical issues but proposed a negotiations plan for conflict resolution. Israeli rejected this plan again.
The most recent document concerning this conflict is the Arab-Peace Initiative developed by Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (Moore and Weiss 82). Thus, Israel did not join this Initiative and rejected all proposals concerning conflict resolution.
A peace treaty was never very close, with any positive developments through the years more than negated by negative events in the region. International political leaders continued to meet with Israel’s leaders, except in the years of Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir’s first term, when the king believed that dialogue would do no good at all. The Israelis tried, from time to time, to bring the talks out into the open, but Hussein always insisted on keeping them secret. It was a huge, even ridiculous fiction, for all other Arab leaders knew that Hussein was in touch with Israel (Shuval 33).
The conflict has had a negative impact on both nations heated national, ethnic, and religious envy between them. Critics admit that even if most Arabs knew most of the truth, the king would never have to admit that he had a long and valuable dialogue with the Zionists. The secrecy may also have reflected Hussein’s doubts that the contacts were helping, for he came to the conclusion that the passage of time was working against his interests. The Israeli occupation was becoming better and more firmly established (Moore and Weiss 82).
The construction of Jewish settlements signaled the possibility of eventual annexation. Israeli politicians increasingly called for “transfer” or “expulsion” or “encouraging” the Palestinians of the West Bank to leave. Jordan’s population, already with a Palestinian majority, might lose whatever Hashemite character it had.
Hussein feared that Ariel Sharon might put on his general’s uniform again and lead an invasion of Amman. It would seem only logical for both the Jordanians and Israelis to try a different way: perhaps instead of fighting the Palestinians, attempt to accommodate them between the existing borders. The choices confronting all three corners in the troubled triangle of Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians were matters of life and death, questions of national existence (Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 2008).
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I suppose that this conflict vividly portrays that ethical and religious factors and principles dominated the Arab world and prevent its people to establish peace in the region. In spite of territorial claims, the core of the conflict is the religious l difference between these states and their ethnic envy. The Israelis would have to choose whether to annex the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And if they did so, they would have to decide whether to grant full civil rights to the Palestinians, in light of the projections by statisticians that they would constitute an Arab majority in the Jewish state early in the twenty-first century (Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 2008).
What had seemed a problem of “the territories” threatened to become a crisis for the very existence of Israel and Zionism. It seemed that Israel was losing the power to decide whether to absorb the occupied lands because they were absorbing Israel. Israel, in securing that achievement, would lose others that had been hard-won. A “Complete Land of Israel,” as sought by the Likud and most of the Jewish settlers, would in due course cease to be a Jewish, democratic state. Extending from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, an enlarged Israel would lack social cohesion at home and certainly would not enjoy peace with its neighbors.
- Keating, M. The Barriers to Peace. Geographical, 76 (2004), 25.
- Frykberg, M. Pots & Kettles: The Middle East, 76 (2007), 376.
- Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. 2008. Web.
- Moore, D. Aweiss, A. Bridges over Troubled Water: A Comparative Study of Jews, Arabs, and Palestinians. Paeger, 2004.
- Shuval, H. I. A Proposal for an Equitable Resolution to the Conflicts between the Israelis and the Palestinians over the Shared Water Resources of the Mountain Aquifer. Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ), 22 (2000), 33.