The building of a Zionist state culminated a long historical struggle to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The Zionist movement and its ideologies were under the influence of different circumstances and movements in Europe. Movements, such as colonialism, socialism and nationalism, which emerged in Europe, shaped Zionism to a certain extent. Therefore, depending on the countries of origin of the thinkers, propagating the ideologies, Zionism went through different perspectives. This means that no particular ideology can claim to be the underlying force in Zionism. Zionism is a national liberation movement for the liberation of the Jewish people. One of the most vocal tenets of Zionism was a cultural connection between the Jews and the land of Israel. In the late 19th century, the Zionist movement became a very vocal political movement that advocated the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Palestine. During the period of the British mandate for Palestine, the Zionist movement was more centered in Palestine, rather than in Europe and it was more focused on the settling, rescuing Jews from the holocaust and defending themselves against the Arabs.
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The formation of a Zionist Para-state was influenced by many factors in the international arena. One of such factors is connected with the interest of the European nations in the region. The interests of these nations from the west varied widely and included political, spiritual, cultural connection and colonialism. The spiritual connection between these nations with the land of Palestine and the historical connection of the Jewish people with the spirituality created sympathy for the Zionist movement, to campaign for the nationalism of the state of Israel. Due to this sympathy, the British allowed to increase the settlement of the Jews in the land and tolerated the Zionist movement to establish a homeland there. Historical events, such as colonization, led to the occupying by the British of the land of Palestine. Having given the sympathy and support, the British approved the Zionist movement and the Jewish people, and their powerful presence in the land meant the appearing of new settlements for the Jews. Consequently, the Palestinian Arabs took the British government as a supporter and companion of Zionist. On the part of Zionists, the presence of the British in Palestine gave them more power to propagate their nationalism ideologies. To counter this movement, Palestinians developed their own nationalistic ideologies, Palestinian nationalism. The formation of two parallel political and nationalistic ideologies marked the beginning of the conflict between the nations, which were trying to fight for its identity. The quest for statehood, which intensified and consequently led to the conflict between Palestine and Israel, was heightened by the tactics, employed by the British mandate in the region. On the one hand, the British mandate proclaimed its support for the establishment of the Jewish nation; while on the other hand, it secretly promised both the Arabs and the French a better future for Palestine. This made the two sides to be very optimistic and steadfast in advocating for their nationhood. Failure by either side to gain statehood would lead to resistance and aggression. The rise of Nazism in Germany and its spread to other countries triggered mass movement of Jews, who were seeking for refuge. The wide network of the Nazi regime left few places for the afflicted Jews to hide. Then it made the Zionist objective to establish a Jewish state in the Palestine appears both legal and morally sound.
The formation of the Jewish state was based on different ideologies, the chief of which was nationalism. Nationalism as an ideology is based on the claim that individual loyalty to state is more than any other personal or individual interests. Nationalism is usually perceived from two perspectives: primordialist and modernist one. The primordialist approach defines modernism as an ancient and perceived tendency of evolution, where people are organized into distinct groups, based on their birth affinity. Primordialist perspective considers modernism to be a result of human-beings coming together into ethnic groups, which eventually form the basis of a nation. On the other hand, modernist perspective views modernism as being associated with a central authority that maintains unity, a centralized language or many centralized languages, whose understanding is common to a community of people. From a primordialist perspective, the Zionist movement was working on the basis of a common ancestry of the Jewish people, who deserved to have a nation of their own. This was compounded with their historical attachment to the land of Israel. The modernist view also has some support to the objectives of the Zionist movement. The movement sought a Jewish nation with its own governing authority and defined boundaries. Colonialism ideology also played a big role to the building of the Zionist Para-state. The presence of colonial powers, such as the British mandate and the French in Palestine made the building of the state easy. Due to their colonial interest in the region, the British encouraged the Zionist state to continue with its campaign of seeking a nation for the Jews. Political ideologies also played a big part in the struggle for the establishment of the Jewish state. Political Zionism was of the opinion that any success in the establishment of a Jewish state lay in a political solution. Theodor Herzl was the main proponent of the ideology and waged several campaigns in the form of meetings with German Kaiser and the sultan of turkey. These campaigns were meant to persuade them through diplomacy to accept the importance of establishing the Jewish state. However, these efforts did not bear fruits, though they played a role in popularizing the notion of the Jewish state.
The increased immigration of the Jews to Palestine and the rigorous activities of the Zionist movement made the Arabs uneasy. They started resisting the immigration of the Jews and the presence of the British mandate in the region. This resistance included the possibility of partitioning of the region, as the Britons were planning the way they should exit rather volatile region. After detailed planning, regarding the partitioning of the region, the Arabs rejected the proposal, while the Jews accepted it. After the British withdrawal and the United Nations portioning, there was a tremendous change in the state of affairs in the Palestine region. A conflict arose between the Jews and the Arabs. The conflict had initially started even before the withdrawal of the British. In defense, the Jews formed small underground armies that worked to disperse. Immediately, when Israel declared its independence, several Arab armies started a fight with Israel. The conflict from any observer favored the Arab armies because they were armed better and well trained. The notion that the Arabs were better positioned to win the war made them more relaxed. Moreover, they accepted a cease fire that enabled Israeli defense forces to re-organize and train more men. This first war led Israel to acquiring more lands, than it had been apportioned by the United Nations. This had the consequence of making more Palestinians free from the lands they had previously occupied. In return, the outcries to the international community over the condition of the refugees increased. The war ended in 1949 with the defeat of the Arab armies. Israel was insistent on a permanent peace treaty that would ensure enduring peace with the Arabs. However, the Arabs refused to sign the treaty. The lack of permanent peace treaty spilt into the consequence that Israeli territory was not recognized to be legal by the international community. Moreover, lack of a permanent treaty meant the fact that future confrontations were not ruled out.
In 1967, the Arab countries were at war with Israel again. The war escalated and led to acquisition of more lands by the Israeli defense forces. This war again had several consequences to the Palestinians. Many of them were conformed to the rules of Israel; in the newly acquired territories their presence in Israeli territory meant that they faced the problem of identity. Although the Israeli authority might have treated them fairly, the fact that they were in a foreign territory made them feel aggrieved especially because Israel had taken over the land that was formerly theirs. After the occupation of Israel in the Palestinian territory, Palestinians developed several means of expressing their disapproval of this occupation. One of such means was the establishment of Palestinian Liberation Movement that acted as a representative of the Palestinians. This movement was later recognized by the united nation. Further it complicated the relationship between Palestine and Israel. One aim of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was to terminate the existence of the Jews. On its part, Israel did not acknowledge PLO because of its terrorist activities. By 1977, when Likud party took office, the settlement made an official policy. Many Jews were settled in areas that had been acquired through the war. Each successive occupation of Israeli citizens in occupied territories meant that the conflict between the two sides was getting severe. The war of attrition involved Israel and Egypt. Moreover, the scale of the war indicated that the consequence of building of the Zionist Para-state had aggregated the conflict in the Middle East to world scale. The presence of Russian pilots in the war was a clear indication that this conflict was not confined to the Palestinians alone.
Later, Israel went to another war against Syria and Egypt-Yom Kippur. This war inflicted heavy losses on both sides and a cease fire was reached as a result. Saudi Arabia led other Arab countries to imposing an oil embargo on such countries as the United States and the Netherlands. The Arab countries deemed these countries to be great supporters of Israel. This embargo marked another consequence of building of the Zionist Para-state. Oil prices went up and, consequently, made the Arabs aware that they could use this commodity as a means of political bargaining with the western powers. Due to the oil problem many diplomats from Europe made conciliatory moves towards the Arab countries. These efforts later led to the invitation for PLO to make a public address at the United Nations. Moreover, a permanent observer member was given to PLO at the United Nations. This status made PLO agitate for more recognition by the United Nations because they saw the move as a legitimate recognition of their right to statehood. Another consequence of the oil embargo was the passage of the United Nations’ resolution that illegalized Zionism. This resolution termed Zionism as racism. Building of the Zionist Para-state in Palestine generally led to the instability of the whole Middle East region. After the formation of PLO in Palestine, its members were spread to different countries in the region, such as Syria and Lebanon. These members have caused insecurity in these countries, where they have engaged in fights with Christian militias.
Building of the Jewish state is very important in understanding the advent of the Middle East conflict. This conflict was precipitated by the presence of the Jewish state in the Middle East. The absence of Israel in the Middle East equation could have had a great difference in the stability of the region. Many terrorist organizations that came up in resistance to Israel could not have been formed in the first place. At that time the formation of the state through Zionism was the only possible way to put up the resistance, faced from all the surrounding neighbors. No polite move to gain acceptance of the Arabs could bear any fruits, since even aggression was found to be extremely hard. The subsequent occurrences between the Arabs and the Jews defined the relationships that culminated in the current status of instability in the region. The current situation in the Middle East can only be understood from a historical perspective. Through the history, a better understanding of the reason, why instability is more serious, than it was in the recent past, can be found. The presence of Egyptian military in Sinai is a violation of the Oslo accords that was signed between the two countries to ensure a lasting peace. The presence of Egyptian military could only mean that the relationship between the two countries has deteriorated so much that Egypt decided to overlook the internationally recognized peace treaty. The significance of this move cannot be overlooked because nowadays these countries possess very sophisticated weapons that could do harm not only to the Middle East region, but also to the entire world. From the beginning of building of the state of Israel, the magnitude, with which the Arab countries fought with Israel, have played a very important part in demonstrating the extent, to which the countries in the Middle East can go to annihilate the Jews. Many powerful nations of the world, such as the United States, have realized that any threat in the Middle East against Israel cannot be ignored. That is the reason, why the politics of the United States are shaped to a great extent by the position the government takes on the Israeli security. The historical injustices, perpetrated against the Jews by the Nazis, made the world realize the importance of averting any threat that could lead to the termination of the Jewish people.
Theoretically, the conflict in the Middle East seems to be a concern of those in the region. However, the practicality of the issue demonstrates something very different. Any tension in the Middle East practically affects every person in the world. Economically, the oil market deteriorates and prices go up. There is no single nation in the world that does not use oil. Most of the oil, used in the world, is produced in the Middle East. Spiritually, the Middle East has a great significance to three major religions in the world-Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All three consider Jerusalem to be a holy city to their religions and they make pilgrimages quite often. Any destruction of the city of Jerusalem, therefore, could affect adherents of these religions. The peace process between the Palestinians and the Jews is a phenomenon that has become a very difficult thing to achieve. Any attempt to understand the stalemate that exists between the two warring sides, without any consideration to the historical perspective, is bound to be futile. Understanding the importance of people’s identity is crucial for understanding the reason, why Palestinians cannot confirm any treaty, identifying Israel as a legitimate nation in the Middle East. This is because of realizing the fact that the place, the state of Israel is currently situated in, is their genuine home. All the activities that led to either displacement or incorporation in the Jewish state are viewed as coercive and based on colonialism ideologies. They feel cheated and abused by the Jews, and any subsequent defeat of theirs makes things worse. From the Jewish perspective, religious and political factors led to their scattering among nations from their homeland Israel. They were taken to exile by other kingdoms, such as the Romans, where they suffered in foreign land. Religious factors legitimize their existence in the land. They view Palestinians as people, who came by after they were exiled and took over their land. These arguments demonstrate, how complicated and hard to resolve the conflict is.
In conclusion, building of the Zionist Para-state marked the beginning of both the identity of the Jewish people and a conflict, whose solution has been eluded for many times. The history, prior to the state- building, and the subsequent years are important in understanding the nature of the conflict and the effort, devoted to resolving it. The conflict is complicated and its solution lies in a compromise between the two sides, culminating in a genuine effort of both parties.
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