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Middle East Conflicts Essay


History about the conflict in the Middle East reveals that the close of the 1800s showed increasing concerns regarding how the Jews would prevail over the maltreatment and anti-Semitism in Europe. Global leaders agreed that the way out of the quagmire was the establishment of a Jewish nation in the Middle East. Studies show that the British Empire had created a territory in Palestine between 1920 and 1947.

This would have made it effortless to compel the Palestinians to accept the Jewish people in their land (Rowley and Jenis 78). The Palestinians are said to have been existing in calm and harmonious ways for many years. However, the migration of the Jewish to Palestine increased.

This raised tension in the Middle East since the Palestinians were awake to such developments. The British allowed the Jews to explore the land freely with the latter group gradually and steadily occupying the land. This has been viewed as a contributing factor to the instability in the region.

The impact of the immigration and policies used by the British Empire continues to be felt in the modern Middle East. The Palestinians are always at war with Israel due to the Israeli occupation of the Gaza strip.

Problem Statement

The bloodshed in the Middle East is a common phenomenon that has been felt for decades. In fact, in searching for an impartial solution, one must come to terms with the cause of the persistent conflicts that resulted in the deaths and suffering of the Middle East populations. The political and social instabilities in the Middle East appeared to be the creation of the British.

When we approached the end of colonialism, Britain coerced the natives to oppose the Ottoman Empire. This was founded on the fact that the Ottoman was receiving support from Germany with an assurance of the support to create new nations including Palestine. However, this was not realized as the British foreign secretary called Lord Balfour showed up the assistance for the formation of the Jewish state.

The Balfour Declaration facilitated the formation of a new Israel state. Besides, a significant number of academicians and researchers are inclined to believe that the Middle East disagreements are linked to Islam.

However, the truth is that the regal heritage, rising poverty, competition for natural resources and the compelling of the Jews on Arabs are the primary sources of conflicts in the Gulf and adjacent regions.

The conflicts between Israel and Palestine spill over to the adjacent states. Israel claims that Palestinians, majorities of whom are Muslims, are terrorists targeting Israel interests in many world locations. Israel landmarks in the country in the past have been a target of terrorism.

In recent months, tension has been growing in Africa as terrorists propagate terrorism acts to Israel landmarks in foreign countries. The most recent was the Westgate siege in Kenya where close to a hundred people were massacred and hundreds injured (Gettleman and Kulish 1).

Research verifies that the disagreements in the Middle East are correlated to the resource division and distribution of the Arab territory. Conversely, the international relations academicians in an effort to investigate the root causes of human sufferings have conducted extensive studies in the region.

The goal of the current study is to demonstrate through research that the conflicts prevailing in the Middle East are artificial. They can perhaps be unraveled through dedicated dialogue among leaders in the region as well as the international community. However, there are strong indications that the West is not interested in solving the ever-increasing tension in the Middle East particularly between Israel and Palestine.

When other countries attempt to occupy a neighboring state, the US is always in the forefront to resist and condemn such acts. In Israel case, the US appears to ignore the fact that Israel occupies a foreign land without justification.

Israel does not cave into demands by Islam states to abandon the urge to continue occupying the Gaza Strip. The fact that the international community is silent about the occupation that has been the source of conflict in the region raises eyebrows.

Rationale and Significance

This study explores some of the root causes of the conflict in the Middle East particularly those involving Israel and its neighbors. The conflicts in this region affect the performance of the neighbors even when they are indirectly involved in such conflicts. This study is critical as it sheds light on one of the global concerns that is associated with terrorism.

In fact, most people who are not informed about the causes of the Middle East conflict believe that terrorism is a doctrine for the Islamic faith. In essence, the extremism observed in the Middle East societies that often culminate in suicide bombing is a result of frustrations in the societies.

The Palestine population is frustrated and oppressed by the Israel occupation of the Gaza Strip, which has significant resources. Palestinians who do not possess land consider the occupation as aggression against the state. They claim that if Israel left the Gaza Strip, they would have a place to live in during their existence.

This study brings into attention the causes of these conflicts. The research will offer a platform for the international community to seek ways in which the root causes of such tensions may be resolved in order to mitigate the resultant armed conflicts.

Research Plan

This research has been conducted in accordance with the Toulmin school of thought where the respect for other people’s views is paramount. Founded on this, the study focuses on examining the underlying assumptions on the general case as depicted in the Middle East conflict.

The assertions that the sharing of resources particularly land led to such conflicts will be supported through scholarly works of other scholars. However, this research does not dispute the fact that other factors also contribute to the persisting conflict.

Benefits of the Study

The study can be utilized effectively in understanding the ever-increasing Middle East conflicts. Based on this, the global policy makers are in a position to make informed decisions through reviewing the tenets of this study.

The study is of great interest since it disputes the common assumptions that Islam is to blame for the conflicts facing citizens in the Middle East. It opens the platform for other researchers to explore other factors that contribute to the conflict.


This study uses information as researched by scholars in conflict resolution and international relations. Majority of scholars have a perception that terrorism is an Islamic ideal. This may however be misleading. By avoiding articles, which already have radical positions on the cause of the conflict in the Middle East, this study will have limited pool of literature resources.

Since Islamic is associated with extremism, this study is likely to be criticized by scholars who advance the perspective. In fact, various other factors contribute to conflicts apart from the apparent competition for resources.

Literature Review

When the British Empire occupation of the Middle East region expired in 1948 leading to the subsequent declaration of the formation of the Jewish state in Palestine, the communities involved have engaged in the low-level disagreements and seven intensive conflicts (Rowley and Jenis 43). These inconclusive conflicts experienced since 1948 resulted in the territorial acquisition by Israel.

The remaining Palestine territory is continuously dismembered by Israel into West Bank societies. These societies live mainly under the shade of Israel military occupation. According to Charles Rowley and Michael Webb, the Middle East conflict emanate from more than soil alone. In fact, there is bitter rivalry between various divisions of Judaism and the adherent of the varied Islam.

This stimulated violence or conflicts most of which are directed by Arab to Arab. The Jews and Arabs direct some of the conflicts to the blameless non-combatant. Inherently, there is affable connection between religion and politics in the region. Religion hence becomes a hindrance to the long-lasting political solutions to the conflict in the Middle East.

There is a strong indication that within the contemporary Israel borders, there is intense conflict between customs and democratic politics (Gellman and Vuinovich 132). The Arab population is increasing at a higher rate than the Jews population. This is irrespective of the fact that the migration of Arabs to Israel has reduced significantly.

This presents a serious threat to the feasibility of a Jewish state in Israel when the principle of one-man one-vote is respected. In the years to come, a free and fair democratic vote would see the ouster of the Jewish regime considering the high birth rate and life expectancy of the non-Jewish communities.

The threat is real considering that by the year 2007, Palestinians already accounted for 20 percent of the population. The situation would get worse if Israel allowed Palestinians and their families to return as fully enfranchised citizens. The country once occupied by a majority of the Arab population will no longer be regarded a Jewish state. The Israel administration acknowledges this factor.

According to Cohn-Sherbok and El-Alami (2001), Judaism and Islam have common roots in the Abrahamic background. However, religion and tribe are the main sources of conflicts between the Jews and Arabs. This augments the fact that conflict in the region emanates from the division and distribution of resources. Typically, religions other than Islam embrace the spiritual views of others.

The Muslim doctrine does not tolerate other religions. The ethical concern or appeal is that non-Muslims are considered pagans. According to Islam, pagans should be exterminated (Gettleman and Kulish 1).

This is ethically wrong according to most scholars. This became apparent during the Westgate siege where non-Muslims were shot making it an inhuman act. However, individuals who could recite Muslim prayer were set free.


In the past evaluation of the road map to harmony in the Middle East, Tyler Cowen asserts that for any economist the fundamental issue in any alien conflict is why the Coase theorem fails to hold (Cowen 26). The theorem suggests that combat is improbable. Instead of going to war, the opponents should strike some reciprocally advantageous agreements.

Both the Palestinians and the Jews are at liberty to autonomy in the historical area of Palestine. The constitutive aspects of a ‘people’ are a history of independence in identifiable land, a separate culture and the capability to recoup autonomy.

This view raises the hope that peace can be found in the region if the parties concerned have the goodwill to resolve it. However, given the close to two centuries of conflict in the region, there is no prospect for resolution in the near future.

The origin and evolution of the Middle East Conflict

Jews have a separate identity that entails the Hebrew language, Jewish religion, common culture, multifaceted legal code, national holidays, common historical narrative and people-hood (Sabel 408). Zionism in the 1880s sought to reconstruct the Jewish national home within Palestine.

The region was then an abandoned part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1880, there was large-scale immigration of the Jews into the area. They bought wasteland and settled. Almost half a million Jews immigrated with more than 50,000 Palestinians migrating to the nearby Arab states in search of employment.

Turkey relinquished the Ottoman Empire after the World War I to Palestine. The victors reserved the right to dispose the territory acquired from the Ottoman Empire. However, the allies did not annex any territory. Instead, they opted to govern the territories in accordance with the authority to be negotiated by the League of Nations.

In its mandate for Palestine, the League of Nations integrated a principle that established a Jewish national home under the 1917 Balfour Declaration (Sabel 410). The League of Nations under the mandate explicitly called for the establishment of the Jewish national home and gave recognition to the self-determination of the Jewish people in Palestine.

The principle stated that the mandate would ensure that it placed the region under appropriate political, governance and economic environment that will facilitate the establishment of the Jewish national home. This appeared as the beginning of the conflict that persists in the Middle East to date.

In 1938, Nazi Germany was murdering the Jews in Europe systematically through state-sponsored genocide. Many countries refused to accept ships carrying Jewish refugees from docking and had to return them to Europe. The emotional appeal attached to individuals suffering led to an international support for the establishment of the Jewish national home.

This was done in the Western Palestine. The east of Jordan River was not part of the Jewish allocation. There was growing tension between Arabs and Jews by 1947. Based on this, the British mandate returned the mandate to the United Nations. The UN assembly later recommended the partitioning of Western Palestine into a Jewish state, Arab state and Jerusalem (Han and Halim 618).

In 1948, the Jewish community declared independence as the State of Israel. The move was rejected by Arab states including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon who waged war against the creation of the Jewish state. As the Jewish state progressively gained acceptance in the region, it signed peace treaties that recognized borders between Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

This appeared as a logical move given that nothing other the peace treaties could end such conflicts. However, the stature of West Bank remained precarious. The signing of peace treaties with other states recognizes the borders of Israel as former demarcations by the British mandate (Shamir and Shikaki 187).

The growing population and resource interests by Israel in the West Bank region made Israel to enter gradually into Gaza Strip and adjacent areas in later days.

During the era of British mandate, the whole of Palestine west of River Jordan was assigned the area where the Jewish national home would be established. According to the UN 1947 Partition plan, the Eastern part and the Gaza Strip would form a sovereign Arab state. After the 1948 war, this area and East Jerusalem fell under Jordanian rule.

The entire area was consequently incorporated into Jordan under the name West Bank (of Jordan). The 1967 war was triggered between Israel and neighbor states namely Syria, Jordan and Egypt when Egypt imposed a blockade on the Strait of Tiran.

This closed the Gulf of Aqaba. By the time the war ended, Israel had acquired the control of the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, West Bank, Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. Successive Israel administration rarely gives an indication of returning the region to the original state of Jordan despite multiple interventions by interested parties.

The UN Security Council intervened through the adoption of Resolution 242. The resolution was non-binding and Israel took advantage of the provisions therein. The resolution called for an amicable solution, establishing just and lasting peace for the region.

However, Israel was to withdraw from the recently occupied territories. All parties were to respect the sovereignty, integrity and political independence of every state. People in the region were entitled to peaceful co-existence according to the resolution.

Irrespective of the pressure by adjacent states for Israel to vacate the region, Israel forces continue to oppress Palestinians. It administers the region according to the international rules of occupied territory.

The Palestinian population has been decreasing in the occupied territory with Israel not showing any foreseeable ceding of the territory. Thus, the solution to the Middle East conflict will be based on mutual agreement between Israel and neighbors who Israel demands must recognize its borders as was demarcated by the British mandate (Frederiksen 42).


The Kingdom of Jordan, which is an Arab state, was created in what was formerly referred to as the Eastern Palestine. A Jewish state was created in part of Western Palestine. The area between the two states called the West Bank remains undetermined.

The biggest population amongst the West Bank occupants is the Palestinian Arabs. According to natural justice, the population is entitled to self-rule. The undetermined area was embraced by the League of Nations in the region earmarked for Jewish national home. Conversely, an accord that established the Palestinian state dubbed Israel would be required to surrender any lawful claims in the West Bank.

The road to peace in the Middle East as developed in the Oslo 1 and 2 assumes that both Palestine and Israel have stakes in harvesting the benefits of a negotiated settlement.

Evidence indicates that none of the two sides is interested in such an arrangement. Considering that, Palestinian supporters are not likely to surrender their self-determination right or any part of the West Bank, Israel will remain without any place on the map of Middle East.

The competition for territories is a major cause of the conflict in the Middle East. The parties involved do not indicate strong religious position compared to the position taken in view of resources including land. The resolution of the Middle East conflict shall only be realized when Israel and Palestine lay aside their hard stances and hold peace talks.

Although the West Bank was included in the partition for the Jewish national home, Israel will have to relinquish any legal claims on the West Bank. On its part, Palestine will have to agree to the Jewish right of self-government in the State of Israel. This will pave way for other negotiations such as the status of Jerusalem, settlements, borders, water resources and security arrangements.

Works Cited

Cohn-Sherbok, Den and D. El-Alami. The Palestine-Israeli Conflict, Oxford: One World, 2001. Print.

Cowen, Tyler. “Response to Steve Plaut.” Public Choice, 118.2 (2004): 25-27. Print.

Frederiksen, Harald. “A Federation of Palestine and Jordan: A Chance for Peace?” Middle East Policy, XIV. 2 (2007): 30-43. Print.

Gellman, Mneesha and Mandi Vuinovich. “From Sulha to Salaam: Connecting Local Knowledge with International Negotiations for Lasting Peace in Palestine/Israel.” Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 26.2 (2008): 127-148. Print.

Gettleman, Jeffrey and Nicholas Kulish. “Gunmen Kill Dozens in Terror Attack at Kenyan Mall.” The New York Times, 21 Sept. 2013: 4. Print.

Han, Eulalia and Rane Halim. “Australian Public Opinion on the Israel–Palestine Conflict: Implications in the Context of Arab Revolutions. Australian Journal of Political Science, 46.4 (2011): 617-632. Print.

Rowley, Charles and Taylor Jenis. “The Israel and Palestine Land Settlement Problem: An Analytical History, 4000 B.C.E. – 1948 C.E.” Public Choice, 128.1(2006): 41–75. Print.

Sabel, Robbie. “International Legal Issues of the Arab-Israel Conflict.” II JEAL, 2.1(2010): 407-422. Print.

Shamir, Jay and Kay Shikaki. “Determinants of Reconciliation and Compromise among Israelis and Palestinians.” Journal of Peace Research, 39.2 (2002): 185–202. Print.

This Essay on Middle East Conflicts was written and submitted by user Zaladane to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Zaladane studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, with average GPA 3.47 out of 4.0.

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Zaladane. "Middle East Conflicts." IvyPanda, 20 Apr. 2019,

1. Zaladane. "Middle East Conflicts." IvyPanda (blog), April 20, 2019.


Zaladane. "Middle East Conflicts." IvyPanda (blog), April 20, 2019.


Zaladane. 2019. "Middle East Conflicts." IvyPanda (blog), April 20, 2019.


Zaladane. (2019) 'Middle East Conflicts'. IvyPanda, 20 April.

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