Egypt-Israeli Conflict And The West Essay

This essay has a total of 3660 words and 17 pages.

Egypt-Israeli Conflict and the West

The History of the conflict in the Middle East is long and
well documented. To both, and to many biased observers the history
of the Egyptian/Israeli conflict is very one sided, with one
government, or one people causing the continued wars between the
two neighboring states. But, as any social scientist of any reputation
will state, all international conflicts have more than one side, and
usually are the result of events surrounding, and extending over the
parties involved. Thus, using this theory as a basis, we must assume
that the conflict between Israel and Egypt is more complicated than a
partial observer would see it. For the purpose of this paper, we are
going to examine the basic factors of Egypt's Involvement and conflict
with Israel, with some emphasis on the involvement of the United
State, and the Western Nation in this conflict. Also, I wish to pay
particular attention to the question of who, or what brought these
countries into conflict. Were they both victims of their situation, or
did they become actively involved in promoting conflict, or perhaps a
third party source, such as the US pushed them into conflict?

In 1948, the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of
Israel was read by David Ben-Gurion in Tel Aviv. The Egyptians, like
most of the Arab states saw this as a creation of a Western State,
backed by the British Empire, and thus an imperialistic entity in the
Arab homeland. Considering the past 20 years of the Egyptian state,
and of most of the Arab nations, was a continual conflict again
imperial powers, the Egyptian were naturally weary and afraid of any
new imperialistic powers developing in the Middle East. In September
1947, the League of Arab States decided to resist by force the plan
for the partition of Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish State, and
when the Jewish state was created, the armies of the various Arab
states entered into Palestine to save the country for the Arabs again
"Zionist" aggression. The Arabs were defeated and the Arab Countries
saved a small amount of land, the Transjordon, and the West Bank.
Similarly Egypt saved strip of territory around Gaza.

The causes of this war, and Egypt's involved can be examined
in several ways. Obviously, the creation of the State of Israel by
Ben-Gurion and his supporters provided a excuse for the Arab Nations,
and Egypt to attack the Jewish population in Israel. As mentioned, the
Egyptians saw the formation of Israel as an Imperialist state, and
they were defending the land for the Palestinians, and more
importantly for the newly developing arab unity. While the United
States was not actively involved in the war, either by providing arms
or providing much assiezce, their actions did create an interesting
and volatile atmosphere. As soon as the state of Israel was created,
the United State quickly recognized the state and started diplomatic
relations with the newly formed government. At the same time, the USSR
recognized Israel, not wishing the US to be seen as the champion for
the newly found state. Although there is no definitive proof, one can
assume that Egypt, and the rest of the Arab nations felt the need to
quickly react to the situation, in almost a type of fear that powers
outside their Arab influence, such as the United States were quickly
impeding on their territory, by using Israel as a means of their
peaceful aggression.

Still, Egypt was clearly the main aggressor in this inezce,
and was not defending their own territory, but instead attempting to
obtain territory, which they did succeed in acquiring, through the
Gaza Strip. The Egyptian actions quickly set the tone of conflict in
the Middle East, giving the Israelis no option but the take an initial
purely military response in defense of their newly formed state. In
the minds of the Israeli leaders, Egypt was nothing but a threat to
the existence of the Jewish state, and thus, perhaps rightly, should
only be dealt with as an enemy.

From the outcome of this poorly prepared war emerged Gamal
Abdul Nasser, who commanded an Egyptian Army in Palestine. He
organized a clandestine group inside the army called the Free
Officers. After the war against Israel, the Free Officers began to
plan for a revolutionary overthrow of the government. In 1949 nine of
the Free Officers formed the Committee of the Free officers' Movement
and in 1950 Nasser was elected chairman. In 1952, the Free Officers
Movement led a revolution in Egypt and took power, under the newly
formed Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) , with Muhammad Naguib as
president and commander in Chief. Almost all leader in the RCC were
soldiers, many who had fought in the 1948 war and this seriously
affected the outlook of them towards Israel, and their policies
towards Israel as a state. Most of them had some type of conflicts
with the British and were totally, and completely against colonial
power in the Middle East, of any kind.

While Naguib was the head of the RCC and the government,
Nasser was the real power behind Egypt. Although the first 2 years of
the RCC's existence was a struggle of power, Nasser eventually won,
and the Egyptian foreign policy was dictated by him. Within a few
months Naguib officially began prime minister, minister of war,
commander in chief and the president of the RCC. Interestingly enough,
Nasser took no direct actions during the next few years against
Israel, but instead focused on internal colonization, by trying to get
the British out.

It should be mentioned that around this time, the great
contracts against the USSR were formed and implemented. The North
Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Southeast Treaty organization
were supposed to contain the Soviet Union in the west and east. The
Baghdad pact, brought Britain, Turkey, Iran, Pakiez and Iraq to form
a barrier on the USSR's south borders. It seems that Nasser failed to
see this importance, even when Britain initially refused to talk about
leaving Egypt until Nasser agreed to an alliance. This decision
affected him later, when he sough foreign aid.The United States seeing
the growing cold war conflict in this region sought to use the
conflict between Israel & Egypt to its advantage. While they didn't
wish to offend either side, at the time, they couldn't yet pledge
allegiance to either side.

When in 1955, after the British had agree to eventually leave
the Canal Area, Nasser started to become convinced once again that
Egypt had to arm to defend itself against Israel. Still, the first
attack in 1955 was Israel, when they attacked Egyptian Military
outposts in Gaza. Quickly, realizing his possible situation, Nasser
sought western aid only to find that neither the U.S., France or
Britain was willing to help. Because Nasser had refused to join an
anti-USSR alliance, he was seen as a threat, especially by people such
as the Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Nasser, then turned to
the USSR and accepted soviet weapons, which put them directly against
the western push for influence in the Middle East. This decision
effected Nasser influence on the Western powers for it made sure than
in later years that Israel, and not Egypt would get assiezce from
the United States or Britain. Yet, they he had no choice, except to
arm himself in this manner.

In Secret Britain, the United States and Israel agreed to
allow Israel to attack the Canal from across the Sinai Desert. When
Israel neared the canal, Britain and France would issue an ultimatum
for an Egpytian and Israeli withdrawal from both sides of the Canal,
and Anglo-French force would then occupy the canal and prevent further
fighting, and keep in open for shipping. Israel did not agree to this
plan, unless first Britain and France agreed to destroy the Egyptian
Air Force. British Bombing did destroy the Egyptian Airforce and
Israel occupied Sinai. The United States was angered because it had
not been informed by its allies of the invasion, and realized that it
could not allow the Soviet Union to appear as the champion of the
Third World against Western Imperialism. Thus, the US put pressure on
the British and French to withdraw.

While France and Britain withdrew, Israel was very reluctant.
Eisenhower placed a great deal of pressure on Israel with withdraw
from all of its territorial acquisitions, and even threatened
sanctions if Israel did not comply. The Israelis did withdraw, but
carried out a scorched earth policy destroying everything they passed.
For the first time in a while, Egypt saw the United States as a
possible friend to their cause, and realized that the US would not
always support Israel. Nasser began to look at the United States as a
possible ally against Israel, if his connections with the USSR failed,
and saw the possible opportunity of gaining this through the
superpower conflict. Similarly, Nasser realized that his new found
status as the champion of the Arab nations against the Imperial powers
made him a more powerful figure than before.

During the mid-1960's the Tension between Israel and Egypt
increased. In November 1966, Egypt signed a 5 year defense pact, and
Israeli forces crossed into the West Bank of Jordan and destroyed the
village of As Samu. IN 1967 Israeli leaders threatened to invade
Syria, and serious Air Battle Begain. Soon after, Egypt attacked place
troops on the border, but did not strike (although Nasser's commanders
urged him to). Then, when in June 5, Israel launched a full-scale
attack and defeated all of Egypt's forces within 3 hours.

After the 1967 war, the first move of the Arabs was to hold a
summit in Khartoum in September 1967. At that meeting, Saudi Arabia
agreed to give Egypt the financial aid needed to rebuild its army and
retake land lost to Israel. At this conference the Arab leaders were
united in their opposition of Israel and proclaimed what became known
as the three "no's" of the Khartoum summit: no peace with Israel, no
negotiations, no recognition.

At the UN in November, the Security Council unanimously
adopted resolution 242 which provided the framework for the settlement
of the June 1967 War. This resolution called for Israel to withdraw
"from territories occupied in the recent conflict", for the
termination of the state of belligerency and for the right of ALL
states to exist in that region. In 1968 Egypt agreed to accept the
resolution if Israel agreed to evacuate all occupied areas. By
accepting this agreement, for the first time Egypt recognized the
State of Israel. The rest of the Arab nations, not agreeing with this
plan, saw the Egyptian government as being a sell out. Sadly, Israel
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