One of the most important historical events that shapes modern geo political relations is the Arab-Israel Conflict that lasted from 1948 to 1973. Indeed, many could rightfully claim that this conflict is ongoing. One could even go so far as to suggest that the modern war of the West vs ISIS has historical roots in this conflict. This essay will not go so far as to suggest this, but rather will just point it out to stress the importance of this conflict. Prior to the onset of this conflict the Middle-East was a relatively peaceful place. Yet, since this conflict began the Middle-East has been mired in conflict. It is important then to understand who was the major cause of this conflict.
If one hopes to achieve peace in the Middle-East one must understand how this conflict began. This essay will argue that Germany must ultimately be responsible for the conflict. This accusation comes from linking the Arab-Israel Conflict to World War II. It is generally accepted that Germany was responsible for World War II. Thus, it was from the turmoil of the war that the Arab-Israel Conflict was born. This paper will demonstrate how this link played out in history.
History of World War I and II
It is worth briefly discussing Germany’s role in both the first and the second World War’s. The first World War is generally not well understood in terms of causes. However, it can be seen that it was the German Chancellor Bismarck that initially began the alliance system in Europe. The alliance system was ultimately what started the first World War. This system forced certain state actors to respond to small historical events by other state actors. For example, the assignation of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand resulted in responses from other state actors that escalated until full out war was declared.
The period after World War I was seen at first to be a period of relative stability in the global system. The 1920s saw strong economic growth and prosperity in Europe. However, the Great Depression destroyed this prosperity and gave rise to radical nationalism in Germany. This radical nationalism was to a large degree intertwined with World War I as the many Germans were still not happy with the defeat and wanted to see Germany return as one of the great super powers in the world. This lead to the election of Adolf Hitler and the Second World War. It is still in many ways not clear exactly why Hitler sought to exterminate the Jewish populations in Germany and surrounding countries. Many attribute it to the desire for Germany to regain control over its economy. There was the prevalent belief that the Jewish population controlled the banking system. Many others saw it as no more complicated that Hitler’s own deep seated hatred of the Jews. Regardless it was the mass execution of the Jewish population in Germany that had the most important direction influence on the Arab-Israel conflict. After World War II was over and the extent of the Holocaust was understood international relations became focuses on finding a home for the Jews. This was the direct effect that lead to the Arab-Israel conflict. IT was out of a desire to find a home for a group of people that went through immeasurable cruelty in Germany during the Second World War.
The Establishment of the State of Israel
The official start of the Arab-Israel conflict began on May 14th, 1948 given a British mandate over Palestine expired . In this date the Jewish People’s council congregated in Tel Aviv to hear to the news that a proclamation was enacted that would establish a Jewish State. The state was to be known as Israel. It was at this time the fighting began over the land that is present day Israel. Many Arab countries turned the conflict into a military battle when British and other foreign troops sought to seize lands that they felt belonged to the Arab world and the country of Palestine. The initial conflict was rather short with Israel declaring victory and maintaining much of the land that is present day Israel.
The area became very tumultuous and there was constantly outbreaks of violence and terrorist acts. However, for the most part large violence did not erupt again until 1967. At this time a groups of Arab countries meet to discuss their recognition of Israel. It was agreement that they did not recognize the state at all. There was no belief that the state of Israel had any right to exist. A war broke out which sought to end the state of Israel. The war cumulated in an attack by Syria and Egypt on Yom Kippur, a holy day on the Jewish Calendar. The conflict was further escalated by an agreement by many Arab countries who were in OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) to increase the price of oil. The conflict resulted in a ceasefire with little change in the borders of Israel.
A further escalation in the conflict was in 1956 when Israel, followed by France and England, invaded Egypt to gain control over the Suez Canal. The conflict was ended when the United States strongly urged Britain and France to withdraw troops. The war signaled a revival of tensions in the area. A further aggression by Israel took place in 1967 in what became known as the 6-day War. Israel mobilized troops on the border with Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula. The goal for Israel was again to reach the Suez Canal and retain control of it. This goal was accomplished in only a few days; the reason it was called the 6-day War. The war also saw Israel seize more land including the West Bank. This war was very important moving forward as it further created tensions in the region. Specifically, many states and international bodies now saw Israel as the primary aggressor in the region.
The Link to World War II and Germany
The link should appear somewhat obvious. The state of Israel was forcefully created because many nations felt they needed a solution to the Jewish problem. The Jewish people were persecuted in Europe and it seemed the logical solution to stop this was to create a homeland for them. If not for the Holocaust there would never have been such a strong sentiment among Western nations that a Jewish state must be created. It was inevitably this sentiment that lead to the conflict between the Arab world and the state of Israel. This sentiment was solely an outgrowth of the horrible treatment the Jewish people suffered at the hands of Hitler during the Second World War. While many actors played many different parts afterwards it is clear that Germany was the initial instigator of this conflict. Many blame the United States, Britain, and other Western countries for forcefully creating the Jewish state. Furthermore, many blame the Arab states for not ceding this land and allowing the country of Israel to peacefully exit. The reality is though that it was Germany and their action during World War II that created a need for such an extreme solution that was going to lead to so much conflict.
The creation of a Jewish state ultimately leads to the Arab-Israel conflict and this creation was a direct outgrowth of the holocaust. Germany suffered great losses as it was ultimately defeated. However, many of the tragic events of the Second World War have a long shadow and deep seated effects into the present day. It is tragic that such a tragic event in its own right would lead to so many other tragic events. Sadly, though this is the case and it is only logical to understand that this event ultimately was to blame more than anything else for the further conflicts that occurred after the creation of the state of Israel.
The greatest responsibility for the Arab-Israel Conflict that lasted from 1948-1973 rest with Germany. It was ultimately Germanys blame for the creation of both World Wars that lead more than any other actor to the Arab-Israel Conflict. To be specific it was the holocaust that exterminated a great deal of the Jews in Europe. A plan carried about by German leader Adolf Hitler. This extermination lead to the sentiments by the many of the world power that power should be used to create a state of Israel for the Jewish people. This sentiment was a direct results of the perceived injustices of the Holocaust and the Second World War. If these injustices had not been perpetrated by Germany, then is more than likely that the Arab-Israel conflict never would have occurred. While all blame for all unrest in the Middle East can’t be placed on Germany. It is logical to declare they were the most responsible. While the Middle East and Jews of the world surely would have seen conflict and oppression at some point it was the direct oppression that Hitler put upon the Jews that lead to the direct desire to create a Jewish state.
- British Goverment. 1948. Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel. Isreal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.