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A Quick Summary of the Arab Israeli Conflict


In 1917 the British issued the Balfour declaration, in which they supported the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The League of Nations confirmed a British Mandate on Palestine, after World War I, based on the British pledge to establish a Jewish homeland. In 1947 in the aftermath of the holocaust in which 6,000,000 Jews were killed by the Nazis, and continued fighting in Palestine, the United Nations approved a plan for the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. Jerusalem was to be internationalized. The Jews accepted the plan but the Arabs did not. A war then ensued, the first part taking place between the Jews and Arabs of Palestine. During that period the Jews gained control over most of the areas given to them by the League of Nations. It was during this period that the first Palestinian Refugees were created. Many left of their own volition, or from a fear of what the Israelis might do to them, some were no doubt encouraged to leave by the Israelis and some expelled. During the second stage of the war after the State of Israel was declared on May 14th 1948 the neighboring Arab states attacked Israel, all were eventually repulsed. In 1949 cease-fire agreements were signed between Israel and its neighboring Arab states. Trans-Jordan (the West Bank and East Jerusalem including on the Old City) annexed the Arab areas of Palestine and the Gaza Strip by Egypt. An uneasy peace was maintained for 18 years punctuated by violence terrorism and a war with Egypt in 1956 , until 1967. That year after the Straits of Tiran was closed to Israeli shipping and Egyptian troops massed on Israel's borders, Israel launched a preemptive strike that began the Six-Day War. During that war Jordan despite Israel's request that it stays out, began attacking Western Jerusalem. Israel responded by capturing the Old City of Jerusalem and all of the West Bank. Israel went on to capture the Golan Heights from Syria. In 1973 Egypt and Syria attacked an overconfident Israel. Israel sustained heavy initial losses, but rebounded and succeeded in defeating both the Syrian and Egyptian Army's. The effect of the war was to convince both sides that the conflict could not be resolved by war. Both sides negotiated interim peace accords. The Syrian Accord has been effect since then. The Egyptians Accords were superseded after the visit if Egyptian President Sadat to Jerusalem by the Camp David Accords which led to a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.
In 1993 an agreement was reached between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel. This agreement which became known as the Oslo Accords, resulted in the majority of the Gaza Strip and the major Arab cities in the West Bank coming under Palestinian control. It called for reaching a final accord within seven years. That accord has proved elusive to reach. After the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Rabin, a series of bombing in Jerusalem convinced many Israelis that peace was unlikely and they voted in Israeli opposition leader Prime Minister Netanyahu. He was followed by Prime Minister Barak. Barak attempted to reach a peace agreement. Prime Minister Barak and Palestinian Authority head Yassir Arafat met at Camp David. At that meeting Barak offered to give up almost all of the West Bank That conference broke down over two central points- The Right of Return of Palestinian refugees to their pre 1948 homes, something which Israel has claimed would ultimately result in the creation of two Palestinian states and the question of who would control the mount. To Jews the mount represents the location of the First and Second Temples. Following the breakdown of talks the Israeli opposition leader of the time Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. That visit was used as an excuse for the Palestinians to resort to violence. That violence became known as the Second Intifada, and included repeated suicide bombings on Israeli buses, restaurants and other public faces. Ariel Sharon became the Prime Minister after defeating Barak in an early election. After a particularly deadly bombing on Passover eve Israel reoccupied the major cities of the West Bank and brought an end to he terror wave.

With the terror wave stopping Sharon engaged in a two fold strategy, building a security fence between Israel and the West Bank and engaging in a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. After the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza the Hamas a Palestinian opposition group who refused to recognize the agreements between the Palestinians and Israel seized power in Gaza. They intermittently fired rockets into Israel resulting in two short wars with Israel. In the first in 2008 in which Hamas rocket fire caused consider damage and injuries, which forced Israel to send ground troops into Gaza. During the second round in 2012 Israel had deployed an missile defense system called Iron Dome. This limited the effectiveness of the Hamas missiles and as a result Israel was able to limits its response to air attacks.