This posting is motivated by the United Nations Security Council condemnation of Israel’s decision to build new housing in Israel occupied West Bank.
The story is old but people reading this blog need to understand how Israelis and Palestinians have come to this sorry place in history. This is not a complete history of all the wars fought between Arabs and Israel. Nor is there any reference to Hamas and Hezbollah in this discussion, who are both sworn enemies of Israel.
- When the state of Israel was created by an action of the United Nations in 1948 the Arab population in that area refused to recognize the creation of a Jewish state. Immediately after Israel declared itself a state the surrounding nations attacked. Arabs lost that war.
- In 1967 the Arab nations surrounding Israel gathered armies on the borders of Israel in preparation to invade. Those countries were Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. The Israelis actually started the war before the Arab countries attacked. Israel won that war driving the Syrians out of the immediately adjoining area, pushing the Jordanians to the east of the Jordan River and taking all of the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and occupying all the land of Egypt to the Suez Canal. In the process Israel also occupied parts of southern Lebanon.
- Israel reached an agreement with Egypt to withdraw from all of the land they had won in the 1967 War in exchange for Egyptian recognition of the State of Israel. The Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C., United States on 26 March 1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords.
- The Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty was signed on October 26, 1994, at the southern border crossing of Wadi ‘Araba. The treaty guaranteed Jordan the restoration of its occupied land (approximately 380 square kilometers), as well as an equitable share of water from the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers. Moreover, the treaty defined Jordan’s western borders clearly and conclusively for the first time.
- Israel remains in control of what was part of Jordan, the area west of the Jordan River, and Gaza, a small strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea that had previously been controlled by Egypt, and the Golan Heights that were previously part of Syria.
- Israel withdrew its settlements in Gaza in 2005. That amounted to about 8,500 people being relocated in the hopes of bringing some peace to that area. Repeated missile attacks from Gaza into Israel’s pre-1967 territory has resulted in repeated bombing of the area by the Israeli Defense forces. The most recent bombing occurred in 2014.
- Efforts to create a two state solution between Israel and the occupied Arab territories have been unsuccessful primarily because the leadership of the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
- Israelis take the position that the spoils of war is they get to decide what happens in the areas they occupy. Thus building Jewish communities in areas that are primarily Palestinians is a fair consequence of the wars they have won. The rest of the world through the United Nations disagrees.
- Neither Israelis nor Palestinians trust their opponents to honor their words.
Hatred makes a peace agreement an unlikely outcome in the next few years. New leadership for both Israel and the Palestinians is the only hope for a settlement and permanent peace.
Happy New Year