Understanding of the processes that occur in the Modern Middle East requires a critical approach to the various theories that lie behind the creation of the state of Israel. Perceived as the only democratic country in the region, Israel is the primary ally of the Western nations in the Middle East. This notion leads to the conclusion that the establishment of Israel has been contemplated very carefully, keeping future perspectives in mind.
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Although the complexity of the region with its mixture of cultures, languages, and ethnicities rejects the obvious approach that takes into consideration only interests of the limited number of groups. This paper examines the anti-Semitism and pre-World War II Zionism movement, consequences of the Holocaust, and ignoring of the Arabs’ interests as the major factors for the creation of the state of Israel.
The Jewish people have been experiencing discrimination for a long time. This process has not started during the Second World War but originated before. In the 19th century, pogroms and brutal attacks on the communities of Jews were widespread throughout Eastern Europe. These violent actions contributed to the growth of Zionism, a movement, which emphasizes the importance of the Holy Land as a place of origin of all Jewish people. The movement justified the necessity of the Jewish state based on the arguments for the protection of Jews.
Began as an unorganized movement, during the First Zionist Congress, held in Basel in 1897, Zionists unified the organization by acceptance of “a program stating that the objective of Zionism was to secure a legally recognized home in Palestine for the Jewish people” (Cleveland and Bunton 229). Thus, Zionists considered the land populated by the Arabs as a future state of Israel. The blend of political and religious interests led to specifying Palestine as the Holy Land.
The ratification of the Balfour Declaration by Great Britain, which administered Palestine at that time, gave the Jewish people hope to move to the land regarded by the movements as a home. Although the Declaration directly supported the Zionists, it stated the avocation of the “rights and privileges of the “existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,” a dismissive way of referring to the Arab inhabitants” (Cleveland and Bunton 233). Starting as a movement of the protection with a dream about the Holy Land, Zionism became the influential political power that stood up for its interests, ignoring or not properly contemplating the concerns of other groups such as the Arabs.
The Second World War and Holocaust intensified the process of the creation of Israel by looking at the annihilation of the Jewish people as a reason to establish a state where all Jews can be protected, and any similar disaster as Holocaust cannot have a chance to be developed and implemented. The foundation of the state as an apology for “the horrors Western civilization had inflicted upon them [Jews]” (Cleveland and Bunton 247), has an unpredictable effect on the Middle East stability.
While the Jews got the territories, the Arabs lost the land inhabited by them for centuries. The example of the Zionist movement demonstrates how the significant political power and resourcefulness, along with the atrocious events of the 19th and 20th centuries, inclined other influential nations to change the allocation of the population in the Middle East. The Arabs interests have not been recognized, which led to serious problems and instability within the region.