Abstract and Keywords
This chapter traces and analyzes the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict from its early days to the present. What began as a Jewish-Arab conflict in and over Palestine developed in 1948 into a larger conflict between Israel and the Arab world. The conflict festered in the 1950s and culminated in the war of June 1967. That war had two major contradictory results. First, it provided Israel with bargaining chips for negotiating peace with Arab countries that lost territory in the Six-Day War. Most significantly, this led to the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty in 1979. But second, it also encumbered Israel with the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the lingering control of a large Palestinian population. To a great extent the larger Arab-Israeli conflict was telescoped into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in its present form. In recent years two other contradictory developments have been shaping the Israeli-Arab landscape. The return of Iran and Turkey into the Middle Eastern arena has added an important Islamic dimension to the conflict. But Iran’s quest for regional hegemony and the exacerbation of Sunni-Shiite tensions in the Middle East have had a moderating effect on the attitude of the Sunni Arab states toward Israel.
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