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Foreign Policy Blues - Egypt and Israel

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Essay title: Foreign Policy Blues - Egypt and Israel

Foreign Policy Blues:

Egypt vs Israel

Hasan Suleman Rizwan


SS239 Comparative Politics of

Developing Economies

Arifa Noor

The History of the conflict in the Middle East is long and well documented. To both sides, and to many biased observers the history of the Egyptian/Israeli conflict is very one sided, with one government, or one people causing the continued wars between the two neighboring states. But, as any social scientist of any reputation will state, all international conflicts have more than one side, and usually are the result of events surrounding, and extending over the parties involved. Thus, using this theory as a basis, we must assume that the conflict between Israel and Egypt is more complicated than a partial observer would see it. For the purpose of this paper, we are going to examine the basic factors of Egypt’s Involvement and conflict with Israel, with some emphasis on the involvement of the United Stated, and the Western Nation in this conflict. Also, I wish to pay particular attention to the question of who, or what brought these countries into conflict. Were they both victims of their situation, or did they become actively involved in promoting conflict, or perhaps a third party source, such as the US pushed them into conflict?

In 1948, the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel was read by David Ben-Gurion in Tel Aviv. The Egyptians, like most of the Arab states saw this as a creation of a Western State, backed by the British Empire, and thus an imperialistic entity in the Arab homeland. Considering the past 20 years of the Egyptian state, and of most of the Arab nations, was a continual conflict again imperial powers, the Egyptian were naturally weary and afraid of any new imperialistic powers developing in the Middle East. In September 1947, the League of Arab States decided to resist by force the plan for the partition of Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish State, and when the Jewish state was created, the armies of the various Arab states entered into Palestine to save the country for the Arabs again "Zionist" aggression. The Arabs were defeated and the Arab Countries saved a small amount of land, the Trans-Jordon, and the West Bank. Similarly Egypt saved strip of territory around Gaza.

The causes of this war, and Egypt’s involved can be examined in several ways. Obviously, the creation of the State of Israel by Ben-Gurion and his supporters provided an excuse for the Arab Nations, and Egypt to attack the Jewish population in Israel. As mentioned, the Egyptians saw the formation of Israel as an Imperialist state, and they were defending the land for the Palestinians, and more importantly for the newly developed Arab unity. While the United States was not actively involved in the war, either by providing arms or providing much assistance, their actions did create an interesting and volatile atmosphere. As soon as the state of Israel was created, the United State quickly recognized the state and started diplomatic relations with the newly formed government. At the same time, the USSR recognized Israel, not wishing the US to be seen as the champion for the newly found state. Although there is no definitive proof, one can assume that Egypt, and the rest of the Arab nations felt the need to quickly react to the situation, in almost a type of fear that powers outside their Arab influence, such as the United States were quickly impeding on their territory, by using Israel as a means of their peaceful aggression.

Still, Egypt was clearly the main aggressor in this instance, and was not defending their own territory, but instead attempting to obtain territory, which they did succeed in acquiring, through the Gaza Strip. The Egyptian actions quickly set the tone of conflict in the Middle East, giving the Israelis no option but the take an initial purely military response in defense of their newly formed state. In the minds of the Israeli leaders, Egypt was nothing but a threat to the existence of the Jewish state, and thus, perhaps rightly, should only be dealt with as an enemy.

From the outcome of this poorly prepared war emerged Jamal Abdul Nasser, who commanded an Egyptian Army in Palestine. He organized a clandestine group inside the army called the Free Officers.

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