According to the former Vice President of the United States, Dan Quayle, “the global importance of the middle East is that it keeps the Far East and the Near East from encroaching each other.”
The Middle East has become a hotly contested zone with a majority of revolutions and regime changes finding its genesis in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Middle East that comprised the Arab Countries was under Ottoman rule prior to the World War 1, the Ottoman’s were German allies and after the defeat the question of territorial distribution became the nemesis for the Middle East.
A.J. Balfour the Foreign Secretary of Britain promised Lord Rothschild, Chairman of the British Zionist federation promising a Jewish State in Palestine way back in 1917, at the same time in order to secure Arab help during the war, Sir Henry McMahon the British High Commissioner for Egypt had written letters to Emir Hussein, the Sheriff of Mecca which promised to include at least a part of Palestine as an Arab state. Therefore it became obvious that the two undertakings contradicted one another.
Palestine became a British mandate after the war, and it accompanied a policy of Jewish immigration however to appease its Arab allies Britain limited the entry of Jews into Palestine. However the Second World War intensified this problem with large scale persecution of Jews by the fascist regimes, Britain was unable to cope with this situation and decided to partition Palestine as a Jewish state and also as an Arab state with defined boundaries.
This lead to the formation of Israel in 1948, with the Western Powers of USA, France, Britain recognizing it and guaranteeing its frontiers, in spite of serious protest by the Arab countries. Since then the two have always been in conflict either directly through wars like The Six Day war or the Yom Kippur War or through their proxies ie- Hamas, Hezbollah etc. However in spite of the simmering tensions and conflict the problem seems to have taken a dangerous precedent recently with the US president Donald Trump’s view on a one state solution to “solve” this muddle in the Middle East, as against a Status Quo of a two nation state agreed since then.
Israel also itself has heightened its ante since the coming of a more jingoist and conservative thinking Trump, also the Coalition government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel that is in a coalition for survival with the support of right wing conservationist has upped its claim, becoming more vocal of Israeli dominance over Judea and Samara which are biblical names of the West Bank. Trumps announcement of moving the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv has given them the salvo they need and shows the lack of political insights and diplomacy needed to come out with a comprehensive solution.
Israel too in its part needs to devise a responsible strategy without angering the Arab world and steering another Intifada, the United Nation has already vociferously condemned Israels grabbing of private land in Palestine to enhance Israeli settlement. With the war with the Islamic State and religious militants becoming offensive and in its last quarter, the last thing the world needs is this region becoming another theater and breeding ground for militancy and extreme religious intolerance and persecution.
As the famous Palestinian American writer, Susan Abulhawa, writes “For if life had taught her anything, it was that healing and peace, can begin only with acknowledging of wrongs committed.”
It is time the world undoes and absolves itself with this unbridled mess and create a truly “promised land” free to all humans to survive.
I have also referred to some standard History books to understand the genies of Arab Israeli conflict.