Arab-Israeli conflict

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Conflict and Peace

Arab-Israeli conflict

Israel and members of the Arab League
     Arab League      Israel
     Have been at war with Israel      Gaza Strip and West Bank
Date Early 20th century-present
Location Greater Middle East
Result Ongoing

Arab nations
Arab-Israeli conflict series
  • History of the Arab-Israeli conflict
  • Views of the Arab-Israeli conflict
  • International law and the Arab-Israeli conflict
  • Arab-Israeli conflict facts, figures, and statistics

Israeli-Palestinian conflict · Israel-Lebanon conflict · Arab League · Soviet Union / Russia · Israel and the United Nations · Iran-Israel relations · Israel-United States relations · Boycott of Israel

Peace treaties and proposals

Israel-Egypt · Israel-Jordan

Arab-Israeli conflict
Riots (1920) – Jaffa riots (1921) – Riots (1929) – Arab revolt (1936–1939) – Arab-Israeli War (1948–1949) – Suez Crisis (1956) – Six-Day War (1967) – War of Attrition (1968–1970) – Yom Kippur War (1973) South Lebanon conflict (1978) – Lebanon War (1982) – South Lebanon conflict (1982–2000) – First Intifada (1987–1991) – Gulf War (1990–1991) – Second Intifada (2000–ongoing) – Lebanon War (2006)

The Arab-Israeli conflict (Arabic: الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي, Hebrew: הסכסוך הישראלי ערבי) spans about a century of political tensions and open hostilities. It involves the establishment of the modern State of Israel, as well as the establishment and independence of several Arab countries at the same time, and the relationship between the Arab nations and Israel (see related Israeli-Palestinian conflict).

Scope of the conflict

Some uses of the term Middle East conflict refer to this matter; however, the region has been host to other conflicts not involving Israel (see List of conflicts in the Middle East).

Despite involving a relatively small land area and number of casualties, the conflict has been the focus of worldwide media and diplomatic attention for decades. Many countries, individuals and non-governmental organizations elsewhere in the world feel involved in this conflict for reasons such as cultural and religious ties with Islam, Arab culture, Christianity, Judaism or Jewish culture, or for ideological, human rights, strategic or financial reasons.

Because Israel is a democracy with a free press, the media have access to the conflict which also increases media coverage. Some consider the Arab-Israeli conflict a part of (or a precursor to) a wider clash of civilizations between the Western World and the Arab or Muslim world. Others claim that the religious dimension is a relatively new matter in this conflict. This conflict has engendered animosities igniting numerous attacks on and by supporters (or perceived supporters) of opposing sides in countries throughout the world.

History of the conflict


Jewish immigration into the Land of Israel/ Palestine under the Ottoman rule and later under British mandate increased tensions between the Jewish population and the Arab population in the region.

By the end of World War II, the conflict became a major international issue. The United Nations, the United States, and the Soviet Union were determined to initiate a two-state solution. The UN mandated partition was put into effect in 1948, but was rejected by the Palestinians and many Arab states.

Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948. Almost immediately, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan, and Iraq declared war on the nascent nation. By the conclusion of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Israel had greatly expanded its borders, and signed ceasefire agreements with all its Arab neighbors.

1949-June 11, 1967

In 1949, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, and blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba, in contradiction to the terms of the Constantinople Convention of 1888. Many argued that this action also constituted a violation of the Rhodes armistice agreement. On July 26, 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal Company, and closed the canal to Israeli shipping.

Israel responded on October 29, 1956, by invading the Sinai Peninsula with British and French support. During the Suez Canal Crisis, Israel captured the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula. The United States and the United Nations soon pressured it into a ceasefire, which secured open shipping in the region, complete Israeli withdrawal from Egyptian territory, and the total demilitarization of the Sinai. The United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) was deployed to oversee said demilitarization.

On May 19, 1967, Egypt expelled UNEF observers, and deployed 100,000 soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula. It then closed the straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, catapulting the region back to the pre-1956 status quo. On May 30, 1967, Jordan entered into the mutual defense pact between Egypt and Syria. President Nasser declared: "Our basic objective is the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight."

In response, on June 5 Israel sent almost all of its planes on a preemptive mission in Egypt. The Israeli Air Force (AIF) destroyed most of the surprised Egyptian Air Force, then turned east to pulverize the Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi air forces. This strike was the crucial element in Israel's victory in the Six-Day War.

June 12, 1967-1973

In the summer of 1967, Arab leaders met in Khartoum in response to the war, to discuss the Arab position toward Israel. They reached consensus that there should be:

  • No recognition of the State of Israel.
  • No peace with Israel.
  • No negotiations with Israel.

In 1969, Egypt initiated the War of Attrition, with the goal of exhausting Israel into surrendering the Sinai Peninsula. The war ended following Nasser's death in 1970.

On October 6, 1973, Syria and Egypt attacked Israel on Yom Kippur, overwhelming the surprised Israeli military. The Yom Kippur War accomodated indirect confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union. When Israel had turned the tide of war, the USSR threatened military intervention. The United States, wary of nuclear war, secured a ceasefire on October 25.



Following the Camp David Accords of the late 1970s, Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in March, 1979. Under its terms, the Sinai Peninsula returned to Egyptian hands, and the Gaza Strip remained under Israeli control, to be included in a future Palestinian state.


In October, 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement, which stipulated mutual cooperation, an end of hostilities, and a resolution of other unsorted issues.


In June, 1981, Israel successfully attacked and destroyed newly built Iraqi nuclear facilities in Operation Opera.

During the Gulf War, Iraq fired 39 missiles into Israel, in the hopes of uniting the Arab world against the coalition which sought to liberate Kuwait. At the behest of the United States, Israel did not respond to this attack in order to prevent a greater outbreak of war.


In 1970, following an extended civil war, King Hussein expelled the PLO from Jordan. The PLO resettled in Lebanon, whence it staged raids into Israel. In 1981, Syria, allied with the PLO, positioned missiles in Lebanon. In June, 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon. Within two months, the PLO agreed to withdraw thence.

In March, 1983, Israel and Lebanon signed a ceasefire agreement. However, Syria pressured President Amin Gemayel into nullifying the truce in March, 1984. By 1985, Israeli forces had mostly withdrawn from Lebanon, and Israel completed its withdrawal in May 2000, leaving behind a power vacuum which Syria and Hezbollah soon filled.


In 1987, the First Intifada began. The PLO was excluded from negotiations to resolve it until it recognized Israel and renounced terrorism the following year. In 1993, Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords, and their Declaration of Principles, which, together with the Road map for peace, have been loosely used as the guidelines for Israeli-Palestinian relations since.


As a response to the al-Aqsa Intifada,in which hundreds of Israeli civilians were killed, Israel raided terrorist facilities in major urban centers in the West Bank in 2002. Violence again swept through the region. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began a policy of unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2003. This policy was fully implemented in August, 2005.

In July, 2006, Hezbollah fighters attacked an Israeli convoy, kidnapping two soldiers and killing eight others, and setting off the 2006 Lebanon War. A UN-sponsored ceasefire went into effect on August 14, 2006, officially ending the conflict.

Some has argued that the charge of antisemitism is being misused as a way to silence critisism of Israel. After Jimmy Carter published his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid he was labelled an antisemite.

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