Israel and its Arab Neighbors

Israel and its Arab Neighbors

On May 15, 1948 the British mandate over Palestine expired. Citing the UN partition resolution of November 29, 1947, by which Israel would have covered 15 100 km 2 (56.5% of the total area) and the planned Arab Palestine 11 600 km 2 (42.9%) as well as Jerusalem (176 km 2) a special international status had been created, D. Ben Gurion proclaimed the independent state of Israel in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948 (Ijjar 5708 Jewish calendar) on behalf of the “Jewish National Council” in Palestine.

Immediately after the withdrawal of British troops on May 15, 1948, Arab forces from Egypt, Transjordan , Syria , Lebanon and Iraq tried to prevent the division of Palestine and the emergence of Israel by invading Palestine; thus the question of Palestine escalated to the Middle East conflict. In this 1st Israeli-Arab war (from the Israeli point of view “War of Independence”) Israel gained a considerable amount of land, v. a. western Jerusalem and Galilee , added. The bilateral armistice agreement of 1949 confirmed the expansion of Israel beyond the UN partition plan to 20,700 km 2. On May 11, 1949 Israel was admitted to the UN. Between 600,000 and 1 million Arab residents fled or were displaced from Israel during the war. Those Arabs who stayed in the country and mainly lived in Galilee were placed under an Israeli military government between 1950 and 1965. Although the UN in its resolution 194 of December 11th, 1948 granted the refugees a right of return, Israel refuses to recognize this to this day. On the other hand, the Knesset passed a “law of return” on July 5, 1950, which guarantees every Jew the right to immigrate to Israel. Check homeagerly for Israel democracy and rights.

In the elections in January 1949, the social democratic Mapai (Israeli Labor Party) won and became the strongest political group in the Knesset (first met on February 4, 1949; according to the 1st Basic Law of February 12, 1958, the highest state authority); this designated Jerusalem as the seat of government (from 1.1.1950). From 1948 to 2000 the (Israeli) Labor Party also provided all state presidents (C. Weizmann , I. Ben Zwi , S. Shasar , I. Navon , E. Katzir [their candidate], C. Herzog , E. Weizman) ; until 2000, a candidate for the first time Likud voted (M. Katsav).

Until 1977 the Mapai provided the government (partly in coalitions with smaller parties): 1949 under Ben Gurion , 1953 M. Scharett , 1955 again D. Ben Gurion , 1963 L. Eschkol. The strongest opposition party in the 1950s and early 1960s was the right-wing Cherut (chairman M. Begin).

Israel had a difficult starting position in the Israeli-Arab wars (1948/49, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982), as all neighboring Arab states denied its right to exist and tried to weaken its viability. This situation worsened after the Egyptian revolution under G. Abd el-Nasser (1952/54) and brought about the war against Egypt in the Suez Crisis of 1956 (also the 2nd Israeli-Arab war) in close military cooperation with France and Great Britain to open and temporarily occupy the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. Due to pressure from the USA and the Soviet Union , however, it was forced to withdraw again.

In the Six Day War (also third Israeli-Arab war, the fifth-06.10.1967) Israel occupied after defeating Egypt, Jordan and Syria, the West Bank (the West Bank, the Israeli government terminology – according to the biblical language – “Judea and Samaria «), The Gaza Strip (until 8/8), the Golan Heights (9/10/6) and the eastern part of Jerusalem (with the Old City and the Arab suburbs) and again the Sinai Peninsula. East Jerusalem was annexed to Israel (by law in 1980) and all of Jerusalem was declared the capital. Minister Y. Allon presented a plan on 6/26/1967 along the Jordan provided for the establishment of a belt of strategic settlements to secure the West Bank against Jordan. In the years that followed, the Allon Plan served as a guideline for the government to build Jewish settlements in the occupied territory. The Palestinian liberation movements (especially the Palestine Liberation Organization , PLO) and their fedayeen began their terrorist, guerrilla-based actions in September 1967 from neighboring Arab states, to which Israel responded with targeted counterattacks. The USSR and the other communist states (except Romania) broke off diplomatic relations with Israel after the Six Day War; it was not until 1989/90 that many of them took in October 1991 the USSR resumed diplomatic relations with Israel. Israel received extensive aid (arms, money) and diplomatic support from the United States.

In 1965 the Rafi split off from the Mapai under D. Ben Gurion and M. Dayan , Cherut and the Liberal Party merged to form the Gahal and Gachal; In 1967 Mapai, Achdut ha-Avoda and Rafi merged to form the workers’ block (Maarach). Under L. Eschkol, immediately before the Six Day War on June 2, 1967, including almost all opposition parties, he formed a government of “National Concentration”; In 1969 G. Meir continued this coalition as Prime Minister. After their disintegration (1970) G. Meir and I. Rabin formed (Prime Minister 1974–77) Maarach coalition government with smaller parties. In 1973 the Likud Block emerged from the Gachal.

In the Yom Kippur War (also 4th Israeli-Arab War, October 6-22/25, 1973) Egypt and Syria were initially able to use the Israeli holiday rest for their military advance; In the course of the war, however, the Israeli troops succeeded in penetrating in part as far as the Suez Canal and in conquering other parts of the Golan Heights. The ultimately undecided outcome of the Yom Kippur War destroyed the myth of Israeli invincibility and strengthened Arab self-confidence. In the treaty with Egypt of January 18, 1974, Israel gave a strip on the Suez Canal, in the agreement with Syria of May 31, 1974. the area around Kuneitra in the Golan Heights, which has been controlled by UN peacekeepers since then. Israel sought to counteract guerrilla actions by the PLO through military commandos against Palestinian bases (especially in Lebanon). After the elections on May 17, 1977, the conservative Likud bloc took over the government for the first time (Prime Minister until 1983 M. Begin , then Y. Shamir ). Under this government, the settlement policy in the occupied territories (up to then 4,000 settlers in 19 settlements) took on different traits. a. the West Bank, called “Judea and Samaria” by Israel, will become part of “Erez Israel”.

A partial turn in the Arab-Israeli relationship occurred as a result of the visit of Egyptian President M.A. as-Sadat to Israel on November 19-20, 1977 and his speech to the Knesset. This speech initiated intensive Israeli-Egyptian negotiations, which – via the Camp David Agreement (September 17, 1978) – resulted in a separate peace treaty on March 26, 1979. The conservative M. Beginprevail domestically because he did not have to fear any opposition from the Labor Party, while a left-wing government with such a treaty would have failed due to resistance from the conservatives. Negotiations on the autonomy of the Palestinian Arabs broke off in April 1980. By April 1982 Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula completely to Egypt (Taba only in February 1989).

During the Lebanon campaign (5th Israeli-Arab war, June 1982), in which Israel sought to eliminate Lebanon as a Palestinian base for attack and forced the PLO to withdraw to Tunis , the national consensus on security policy in Israel broke because of the fact that the Israeli armed forces saw the country the Forces Libanaises committed massacres of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila camps. The “now peace” movement emerged, which v. a. directed against the settlement and planned annexation of the occupied territories.

The early parliamentary elections on July 23, 1984 led to the grand coalition of the Likud Bloc and the Israeli Labor Party, first under S. Peres (Labor Party, September 1984 to October 1986), then under Y. Shamir (Likud).

Israel and its Arab Neighbors