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Arab-Israeli conflict 1948-82

 

There are hundreds of ways of preparing this topic and approaching it as a narrative is not one of them. I think the talk has to be thematic and this morning I thought of several different ways. Here is one of them. If you have thought of other approaches don't bin them but send them in for comment.

I began by considering the present conflict. It is violent on both sides and there doesn't seem to be a way out despite the Road Map. How can Israelis and Palestinians, so different, live in such a small space? Whose territory is it anyway? What are the issues and arguments involved in the dispute? Well, they can be partly explained by looking at the period we have studied, 1948-82.

For instance, 1) where are the Palestinians supposed to live and how have we got to the present situation?

Originally, it was hoped that the area could be divided into two states, so there was an area designated for Arab Palestinians when Israel came into being.

But this area disappeared in 1948/9 after the attack on the Jewish State (Israel) by Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Note how part of the Arab state was taken by Israel while the West Bank was absorbed by Jordan and the Gaza strip by Egypt. Instead of turning these territories into an embryonic Palestine, however,  the Arab states preferred to work at the removal of Israel and it was not until three more wars had passed (1956, 1967 & 1973) that the possibility of creating a Palestinian State re-emerged. By then, the West Bank and Gaza were in Israeli hands (1967 war). What then led to the possibility of a Palestinian State was the success of Egypt in the Yom Kippur War and the subsequent Peace making of President Sadat which led to the Camp David accords in 1979. There, among other things, the setting up of a semi-autonomous state of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza was agreed by Israel, the two territories' occupying power. However, carrying out the promise took another twenty years by which time Jewish settlements had multiplied there. It is therefore no wonder that the State is so fragile. Israel showed that it was reluctant to establish Palestine and dissatisfaction has led to violence and repression.

This 'theme' - where is Palestine? - provides sufficient narrative framework for you to go on to other themes.

If you find it useful, write in. My next theme, also taken from the present conflict, but looking at its roots in 1948-82, would be to see whether terrorism has made the solution more difficult or whether without it Palestine would not even have progressed thus far......

 

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