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The Arab-Israeli Conflict

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The Arab-Israeli Conflict

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to split the Middle Eastern land called Palestine into two independent nations, one Arab and one Jewish. On May 14, 1948, a new nation was born: Israel. However, with Jews from all around the world returning to Israel, the Arabs residing in this land were forced into exile. The rebirth of Israel marked the beginning of conflict, violence, and peace treaties between the Arabs and the Jews of the Middle East.

The fundamental cause for conflict between the new state of Israel and its Arab neighbors was that both the Jews and the Arabs claimed that Israel/Palestine was their homeland. Nationalism was another cause for conflict. Zionism was an ideology and national movement that grew in Europe during the 1800s, proclaiming that all the Jewish people had the right to exist in a safe homeland of their own. The Jews also believed that Israel was their homeland, because Jerusalem had never been the independent home and capital of any other people but the Jews.

On May 14, 1948 the state of Israel was established. Less then twenty-four hours later, Israel was invaded by its Arab neighbors: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. The War of Independence had begun. For more than fifteen months Israel fought a fierce battle. Israel was poorly equipped and its defense forces were not professional soldiers. On July 18, 1948, a truce was accepted by the Israelis and Arabs. Nonetheless, this truce was often broken. Finally the United Nations appointed a mediator to arrange an end to the hostilities. By July 1949, the War of Independence was over.

In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was created. Three years later the Six-Day War between Israel and the Egyptian and Syrian armies occurred. In six days, Israel defeated Egyptian, Syrian, and Jordanian forces, gaining Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank. After the Six-Day War, the Arab states refused to recognize Israel's existence, negotiate with

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