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Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict in a Nutshell

Special Jerusalem Report

December 2, 2002

To answer questions from some of our newer subscribers and to review the essentials with long term subscribers, here is a summary of the Arab-Israeli conflict which will give you the historical facts.


1) Israelite rule in the Land of Israel [Eretz Yisrael] started with Joshua’s conquests in about 1250 BCE [Before the Common Era].


2) From 587 BCE onward, the region came under the control of a long sucession of Imperial Superpowers. 587 BCE — Babylon 538 – 333 BCE — Persia 333 – 63 BCE — Greece-Assyria 63 BCE – 313 — Rome The resident Jewish population was nearly destroyed by the Romans, who renamed Judea Palestina in order to eradicate all signs of Jewish identification with the Land of Israel.


3) It is believed the word “Palestine” is derived from the Phillistines, one of the ancient Sea Peoples of Greek origin, who settled the southern coastal plain of Canaan in the 12th century BCE.


4) 333 – 636 CE [Common Era] — Byzantium 636 – 1099 CE — Arabis The Arabs conquered Palestina more than two millennia after Jews began living in the area.


5) 1099 – 1291 CE — The Crusaders 1291 – 1516 CE — Mamluks 1516 – 1917 CE — Ottomans 1917 – 1948 CE — Great Britain During all these turbulent times, to this very day, there has always been a Jewish presence in the area.


6) Over this entire time (from 587 BCE until today) there has never been any distinctive Palestinian culture or language, and there has never been a country called Palestine governed by Palestinians. For millennia, the region known as Palestine was a neglected area of deserts and malaria-infested swamps, with little cultivated land and few inhabitants. After the Arab invasions of the seventh century, Arabic gradually became the language spoken by most of the area’s inhabitants, although it was never an exclusively Arab country. NO independent Arab or Palestinian state has ever existed in the region.

7) November 1947 — After the British gave away all of the Palestinian Mandate east of the River Jordan to the Hashemites, the United Nations decided on a partition plan for what was left of the land between Palestinian-Jews and Palestinian Arabs. Over 80% of the area offered for the Jewish state was desert, while the Palestinian-Arabs were offered large tracts of fertile land in Judea and Samaria [West Bank], (areas that became fertile after Palestinian-Jews drained swamps and introduced irrigation and modern agriculture), and in the northern Galilee.


8) If the Arab states had accepted the U.N. partition plan, an independent Arab-Palestinian state would now have celebrated its 54th anniversary. Why it didn’t happen? Acceptance of the U.N. partition plan by the Arab states would have meant recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign state. This was not acceptable to the Arab states. The Arab decision to invade and destroy the newborn State of Israel in 1948, and the war that followed, created the refugee problem. The responsibility for solving the refugee problem should also rest on the shoulders of those who caused it.


9) After the 1948 war the Arab states could have rehabilitated the refugees by integrating them in the various Arab states, from which hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees were forced to leave and fled to Israel. 260,000 from Morocco 14,000 from Algeria 56,000 from Tunisia 35,000 from Libya 89,525 from Egypt 50,552 from Yemen and Aden 4,500 from Syria 129,290 from Iraq


10) Why didn’t it happen?


The Concept – A wound that is treated will heal — and will be forgotten. An untreated wound will fester and grow.


The Arab states have perpetuated the refugee problem in order to preserve a focus of hatred towards Israel that will never fade. Between 1948 and 1967 the Palestinian-Arabs living in Judea and Samaria and in the Gaza Strip were governed by Jordan and Egypt, respectively. The Palestinian-Arabs never demanded their independence from Jordan and Egypt –nor was there any willingness on the parts of the Arab states to give them independence. WHY? The Arab states formed The Arab League, one of the aims of which was to find a solution to the Palestinian issue. Yet, for 20 years, they did nothing to actively seek a solution to this problem. WHY?


11) The PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) was formed in 1964 — three years before the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and the Gaza Strip were captured by Israel during the 1967 war. Since these areas were under Arab rule, what was the purpose of this organization — to liberate Palestine from whom?


12) Starting the cogwheels of the Peace process moving


March 26, 1979 — Israel and Egypt sign Peace Treaty


April 26, 1982 — Israel completes withdrawal from Sinai, in accordance to the Peace Treaty.


October 30, 1991 — Middle East peace conference in Madrid between Israel and Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinians. The negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians were based on a two-stage formula: 5-year interim self-government arrangements, to be followed by negotiations on the permanent status issues.

September 13, 1993 — The Oslo agreement signed by PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Israel eventually agreed to withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip and the Arab regions of Judea and Samaria, apart from Khevron [Hebron], and agreed to Palestinian self-government in these areas. In the accompanying “Letters of Mutual Recognition”, the PLO was recognized by Israel as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian-Arabs, and the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist. Yet, Palestinian terrorists targeted public buses and other public places filled with civilians by sending in homicide bombers from 1993 until today.


July 25, 1994 — Israel and Jordan sign peace treaty. While Israel was preparing for the 1996 election between Labour’s Shimon Peres and the Likud’s Benyamin Netanyahu, a series of lethal ‘suicide’ bombings was carried out by Hamas in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities. After six years of trying to make peace and yet to have terrorist attacks on-going and progressively becoming worse, Israel’s peace camp felt totally betrayed. The Likud came to power, and the Oslo process came to an end.


The Palestinian leadership, Yasser Arafat in particular, bears the responsibility for the breakdown of the Oslo process — violating terms of the Oslo agreement by importing arms, by having much bigger security forces than had been agreed to, and by not laying down the foundations for a democratic regime. Not to mention an inability to maintain law and order and a proper justice system, as well as not condemning the terrorist attacks.


October 23, 1998 — The Wye River Memorandum signed between Israel and the PLO.


September 4, 1999 — The Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum was signed by representatives of Israel and the PLO, restarting the commitment of the two sides to full implementation of all agreements reached since September 1993. By now the Palestinian-Arabs were under self-rule in the cities of Beit Lekhem [Bethlehem], Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Tulkarm, parts of Hevron [Hebron], and 450 villages.


July 11-26, 2000 — The Camp David 2000 Summit – Israel offered the Palestinian-Arabs the best offer ever — A Palestinian State. Arafat refused! Peace is within reach if the Palestinian-Arabs come to terms with two basic notions:

1) ALL OR NOTHING contradicts the basic concept of NEGOTIATION!