The Middle East Essay
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The Arab Israeli relations generally fell during this period, although this does not mean there were not improvements in relations, as the end of the period generally marked a turning point. However, at the start of the period, relationships were poor. At the start of the period, in 1948 the Israelis were able to utilise their superior army to push back the Arab nations so that they now owned over 80% of former Palestine. The Arab states were bitter in defeat, vowing to destroy Israel in future and refusing to accept the state of Israel.
Hence one can argue the First Arab Israeli war was significant as it served to provoke the Arabs into doing everything they could to harm/destroy Israel. Indeed, this was the case as evidenced by the Suez Crisis of 1956. Although the initial attack was launched by Israelis, the British and the French, the actions of Nasser were a key cause. Firstly, Egypt closed of the Straits of Tiran to Israel in an attempt to damage Israeli trade, and this marked a further fall in relations. Relations were worsened by super power involvement as both the USA and USSR sought to improve the strength of Israel and Egypt respectively.
The USA gave Israel $65 million between the First Arab Israeli War and the Suez Crisis which was invested in the IDF; this gave the Israelis a sense that they were ready for war. Likewise, the USSR also supported Egypt, giving them the impression they too were ready for war as they were given weapons whilst Soviet advisors even arrived in Egypt in an attempt to help improve the infrastructure. The superpowers therefore used both Egypt and Israel as a means of furthering their own conflict, which equally worsened the situation in the Middle East.
The Israeli attack, aided by the British was stopped by the Americans and Soviets although Israel did make gains in territory- yet the super power involvement meant that the situation felt “unfinished” and another attack seemed imminent. I think this event was one of the most significant factors in the fall of relations, due to the superpower involvement as well. The Six day war of 1967 occurred arguably as a direct consequence to the Suez Sinai conflict although there were other factors. When UN peacekeeping troops were removed following the Suez crisis, Israel felt threatened and attacked.
On the 5th of June, Israel launched a primitive strike destroying 90% of the Egyptian air force in six hours. Israel was then able to overpower the Arab nations, taking the Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights within six days. This escalation in violence shows that the relationships had fallen further: they were characterised by the “Three NOs”- A refusal to negotiate, accept or maintain peace with Israel. This led to the outbreak of the Yom Kippur war which the Israelis eventually won destroying lost 700 tanks and 1600 soldiers whilst Israel had lost 2800 soldiers whilst there were still territorial disputes.
Yet the sheer speed and strength of the Egyptian advance had shocked the Israelis who suddenly felt more exposed, whilst the IDF, by the end of the war, were only 100km from Cairo. The damage that was evident following the war forced both sides into adopting an approach to improve their relations, as war was no longer an option. Hence, there was a period of improved relations, as both sides sought to improve relations. The USA was critical in this, acting as a medium for both sides to negotiate. Kissinger, particularly helped the negotiations through Shuttle diplomacy.
America also held discussions with Israel, to try and prevent a war so that the war would not spill over into battle between the super powers. It was also in the USA’s interests to hold discussions with Egypt so that the oil supply to the USA would not be disrupted. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1945-1991 section.