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Arab, Israeli Conflict Essay

1. Why are both Arabs and Jews willing to take such extreme measure as those described in the sources to further their causes?

I think that some Arabs and Jews are willing to take such extreme measures because some of them feel their opinions so strongly. They each believe they have right on their side.

Both Islamics and Hamas have carried out suicide missions.

The Arabs feel frustration, as there has been very little progress towards the return of occupied land. They also want the return of refugees and need the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Israelis do not want to give back territory such as parts of The West Bank and Gaza Strip and particularly East Jerusalem. This because they are key defensive positions and they cannot afford to lose them. They also believe that Arab States can solve the refugee problem.

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The Israelis defence forces have missile-firing helicopters. The Palestinians want improved security against terrorist attacks, especially from Jewish settlers on occupied territories.

Palestinian efforts ended in terrorist attacks on Israel and international targets. This is in the hope that the world will hear of their cry for freedom and listen to their case.

2a. It seemed possible that peace might be achieved in the early 1990’s. A Peace Treaty had been signed in 1978 between Israel and Egypt and then the Oslo Accord in 1993 and the Sharm El Sheikh Accord in 1993. General peace has not been achieved.

King Hussein of Jordan felt that Jordan could declare peace with Israel in 1994. Israel signed the Peace Treaty so they could gain security to the East.

During Camp David 11 between 11th and 26th July 2000 serious talks took place. It was hoped this would be the end of fighting and the beginning of peace. The talks seemed too long and people began to lose patience. President Clinton played a key role in these talks. It was an attempt to redeem himself after being caught having an affair. The role of the Norwegians was crucial in promoting secret talks, which led to the 1993 Oslo Accord. Israel now recognised the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) as the voice of the Palestinian people. The willingness of Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and PLO leader Arafat to talk peace was largely due to economic pressure from America and International criticism of Israeli ruthlessness. The USA had gained huge influence over the two parties since the collapse of the U.S.S.R. as there is now no rivalry for influence in the Middle East. The political party in power in Israel was willing to make peace and surrender some of the land.

During the Gulf War Arabs were on the side of the Americans. The Gulf war was due to Saddam Hussein of Iraq invading Kuwait and attempting to take control of the oil fields. America took sides with Kuwait in order to protect the world’s major oil supplies. The United Nations tried to prevent Iraq from invading Kuwait.

The PLO supported Saddam Hussein and this will not have helped their case with America and Iraq will be a supplier of arms to the PLO.

Due to the break up of the U.S.S.R the Russians had no money to fund the Arab States.

American pressure is still growing on both parties as recent efforts of the Bush administration has shown a desperate concern after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon to stop the ongoing feud between Israel and Palestine.

2b. It has proved impossible to implement agreements like the 1993 Oslo Accord and the 1999 Sharm El Sheikh Accord. The progress towards peace was constantly affected by incidents that derailed progress. The Arabs have experienced great frustration, as there has been little progress towards the return of occupied territories such as the Golan Heights and the West Bank. The Arabs want these areas to be returned by the Jews or at least their expansion halted. The Israelis do not wish to give these areas back to Palestine as they are key defensive positions. The Palestinians want the chance to be able to set up their own independent Stae of Palestine with East Jerusalem as it’s capital rather than Ramallah

Palestinians are also angered by the ongoing problem with refugees and feel they should be allowed to return to their homes from refugee camps Over half of the Palestinian Arab population are believed to have been terrorised out of their homes and farms by the Jews. Most notably at Hebron because it is the site of the tomb of Abraham. Occupied territories have been the key issue since the founding of Israel. 726,000 Palestinian Arabs left in 1948. The Palestinians think this was done so that the Jews could establish a new Jewish state. The Israelis believe that the Palestinians left of their own free will.

On 25th February 1994 another disaster struck, some Israelis argued that Jewish settlers should not be evicted from any West Bank or Gaza Strip settlement as stated in the Peace Agreement. A Major in the Israeli army, Baruch Goldstein entered the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and killed 29 Palestinians with his gun. After this act by a Jewish extremist riots began in the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, Nablus and Ramallah. 33 Palestinians were killed in these riots and Rabin decided to seal off the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Over 100,000 Palestinians were punished to ensure the safety of 450 Jewish settlers in the area. In reprisal Hamas responded by killing Israeli security officers. Two months later a Hamas suicide bomber exploded a car bomb and 8 Israelis were killed. More attacks followed on January 22nd, 1995 in Netanya a double suicide bombing killed 21 Israelis. This made it clear that Palestinians would not remain quiet if there was no progress towards the return of territory.

Hamas stated that they would stop their terrorist attacks if Israel:

1. Withdrew to their 1967 borders

2. Released the Palestinian prisoners

3. Allowed an election for a Sovereign Body as representative for Palestine.

The Israeli Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated in November 1995. He was shot dead by an Israeli student Yigal Amir, who did it because he was angered that land was surrendered to the Palestinians. He like many others Jewish extremists believe that the whole of the West Bank is part of ‘Eretz Yisrael (The Promised Land)

Throughout the talks at Camp David 11 the question of Jerusalem remained a problem. Both countries wanted it and neither side would give way. The negotiations began to crumble.

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