World Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

World Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

World Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

World Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Excerpt

The issues involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict are among the most complex and emotion-laden historical problems of the twentieth century. Not only is the student of the period confronted with the conflicting claims of Arab and Jew, he must deal with the conflicting policies of the great powers. Indeed, perhaps no regional conflict in history has been so intertwined with world politics as the Arab-Israeli conflict. In the early stages of Arab Nationalism and Zionism, both nationalist movements sought the aid of the great powers to aid them in realizing their nationalist aspirations. Then, as conflict between the two movements arose, virtually all the great powers sought to exploit the opportunities created by the Arab-Israeli conflict to increase their influence in the Middle East. Finally, it was through the help of one of the great powers, the United States, that major steps were taken toward the peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the aftermath of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. The interplay between the Arab-Israeli conflict and world politics from the late nineteenth century to the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 will be the theme of this introduction. It will seek to provide the background for the remaining chapters of this book, which will discuss the ramifications of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the 1948-78 period.

The close relationship of foreign developments to the Arab-Israeli conflict is reflected in the growth of Zionism and Arab Nationalism themselves, because both nationalist movements were heavily influenced by similar movements in nineteenth century Europe. Although there had been periodic Jewish immigration to Palestine prior to the nineteenth century, Zionism, as a political movement to reassert Jewish sovereignty over Palestine, did not become an active force until the success of German and Italian nationalists in regaining control . . .

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