Development of Israel Since 1948by Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
Describe the development of Israel Since 1948.
On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly agreed to divide Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state and to place Jerusalem under international control. The Jews in Palestine accepted this plan, but the Arabs rejected it. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs heeded the call of Arab states to temporarily abandon there homes in preparation for the onslaught against Israel. These Arabs settle as refugees in parts in Arab countries, primarily Jordan.
Israel officially came into formal re-existence on May 14, 1948, under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion. On May 15, Arab armies, chiefly from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, attacked Israel, aiming to destroy the new nation. By early 1949, Israel had defeated the Arabs and gained control of about half the land planned for the new Arab state (which the Arabs had rejected). Egypt and Jordan held the rest of Palestine. Israel controlled the western half of Jerusalem, and Jordan held the eastern half. Israel incorporated the gained territory into her new country, adding about 150,000 resentful Arabs to its population. By mid 1949, Israeli had signed armistice agreements with Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. But formal peace treaties were not signed because the Arab nations refused to recognize the existence of Israel. Israel held its first election in January 1949. In February, the Knesset elected Chaim Weizmann president. He officially appointed Ben-Gurion prime minister.
Warfare has long torn this country apart. Border clashes between Arab and Israeli troops occurred frequently in the early 1950’s. In the mid 1950’s, Egypt began giving financial aid and military supplies to Palestinian Arab Fedayeen (commandos). The Fedayeen raided Israel from the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian occupied part of Palestine. The Israelis raided the Gaza Strip in return. Egypt also blocked Israeli ships from using the Suez Canal. In July 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, which at the time was owned mainly by Britain and France. In response to the Egyptian actions, Israeli forces invaded Egypt. Britain and France attacked Egypt two days later. Soon the Israelis occupied the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, and the British and the French controlled the northern entrance to the Suez Canal. The United Nations ended the fighting and arranged the withdrawal of foreign troops from Egyptian territory. The UN also set up a peacekeeping force in the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.
In May 1967, the UN removed its peacekeeping force from the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula in response to demands by Egypt’s president. Egypt then sent large numbers of troops into the Sinai. He also announced the closing of the Strait of Tiran to Israeli ships, thus blocking the Israeli port of Elat. Knowing that Arabs would soon attack, Israel launched a surprise pre-emptive air strike against Egypt on June 5, 1967. Syria, Jordan and Iraq joined in the fighting. In one day, Israeli planes almost completely destroyed the Arab air forces. Israel’s ground forces then defeated those of the Arab states. The UN arranged a cease-fire, ending the war after six days. At the end of the war, Israel held Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip. It also occupied the West Bank, which had been claimed by Jordan. Israel vowed not to withdraw from these territories until the Arab states recognized Israel’s right to exist. In June 1967, Israel officially made the eastern half of Jerusalem part of Israel finally bringing religious toleration to multiple holy sites. The Six Day war again proved the superiority of Israel’s military forces, but did not end the continued Arab-Israeli problems. The occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank placed Israel in control of about 1 million hostile Palestinian inhabitants that had lived in squallered Jordanian controled refugee camps for nearly two decades.
Israeli and Egyptian forces engaged in intense border fighting along the Suez Canal between ’69 and ’70. The Soviet Union provided military assistance to Egypt in the conflict, which was ended by a U.S. sponsored cease fire. On October 6, 1973 a full scale war broke out again when Egyptian and Syrian forces attacked Israeli positions along the Suez Canal and in the Golan Heights. The attack occurred on Yom Kippur, the most sacred Jewish holy day. Israel pushed back the Arab forces. It recaptured the Golan Heights and some additional Syrian territory as a buffer from continued missle launches. A cease-fire went into the effect on October 25.
Tensions between Israel and the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) escalated in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. In 1982, a large Israeli force attacked southern and central Lebanon in retaliation for PLO attacks on northern Israel. Israel withdrew most of its forces from all of Lebanon except a security zone along the Lebanon-Israeli border. In August 1990, Iraq started the Gulf War, which was ended by allied forces. During the war, Iraq fired missiles at Israel without provocation and Israel refrained from retaliation. There were many peace talks between 1991-94. At first the PLO did not join in the negotiations, but after 1993, Israel and PLO recognized each other and signed an agreement that included steps to end their conflicts. In 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty that formally ended the state of war that had technically existed between the countries since 1948.
[To be continued...]
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