Politics

Israel vs. Palestine (2): “After” the War

This is where it gets interesting like I said. After Nakba, Israel, the new state, within a year, signed armistice agreements with its neighbours – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The war ceased, but for how long?

The inevitable sequel was on its way. There was, of course as always, a build-up to the next big one. More hilarious is the length of this next one. The build-up: the truce was signed by the neighbouring countries; the “co-occupants” did no such thing. Old habits die hard.

After the signing, the two parts of the Palestine state – Gaza Strip and the West Bank were taken under the administrative control of Egypt and Jordan respectively in 1950. It was reasonable – these two countries were directly beside the parts they govern, what was left of Palestine could not control anything after Nakba, and these countries were allies.

It didn’t take so long, as you can imagine. There was a fight for the Suez Canal, the strategic waterway connecting to the Mediterranean, in 1956. Egypt nationalized the canal and suddenly had to battle with France, Britain and Israel coalition.  Israel was using this as an excuse to execute the Palestine armed force in Gaza which had been conducting raids in their land. The attackers did win the fight but had to forfeit the spoil due to international pressure from the US and Soviet Union. I guess it’s safe to assume the armistice agreement expired here. To be fair, there were massacres in multiple villages.

Egypt aided the creation of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1964. PLO was dedicated to winning back Palestine by the ancient way rather than the lengthy and frankly unfruitful meetings going on and on about rights. The organisation would be abandoned in 1993 after it was labelled a terrorist organisation. By the way, there was another massacre perpetuated by the Israeli military in as-Samu of the West Bank in 1966 in response to a land mine that killed three Israeli soldiers on border patrol.

1967

We’re here now. It called the Six Day War and I think it speaks for itself. In June 1967, Israel launched its occupation into the Gaza Strip, West bank, Sinai of Egypt, and Golan Heights in the far north. Egyptian forces had advanced to the Sinai Peninsula south of Israel a month earlier and blockaded access to the port of Eilat claiming it was in Egyptian territorial waters. Israel, fearing annihilation, attacked Egypt and Syria and finished the mission in hours. Uninvited Jordan joined in late as the cavalry but were defeated as well, establishing Israel as the military might of the region much to the discredit of the Arab League. The whole ordeal lasted six days as thusly named.

Map showing Israel and the surrounding Arab League

Following the war, the United Nations put out Resolution 242 which due to the two official languages of the UN (English and French) meant two different things. The English version called for withdrawal from “territories” while the French said Israel was to withdraw from “the territories”. Palestine rejected the entirety of the resolution while Israel and the US weaponised the English version to defend their rights to the lands owned before the Six Day war and simply forfeit the lands conquered. Eventually, the whole resolution was ignored.

1973

Concerning the lands Israel seized back in ’67, Egypt made another diplomatic attempt to regain them by informing the UN she is ready to sign an armistice agreement with Israel in exchange for the seized lands of the Sinai Peninsula. Israel and her godfather, the USA disagreed.  Posterity records that Egypt tried.

In October, 1973, Egypt and Syria joined forces to attack Israel on two ends – the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Height – on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. Israel caught off guard, the attackers secured early victories. US responded promptly with military aid to Israel and repelled the attack.

After the war, the US under President James Carter aimed to broker peace between the Arabs and Israel over the seized lands while excluding the original situation of Gaza and the West Bank. Five years, a few strikes, uprisings, and a couple of gestures later, the first Egyptian-Israeli treaty was signed. The treaty won the signatories the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize. A second accord was attempted concerning Palestine governance but was shut down – PALESTINE WOULD NOT BE RECOGNIZED AS A STATE OF ITS OWN.

You are probably wondering where this lead. Stay tuned, the full picture is closer than you imagine.

Oyesola Oluwasegun

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