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Arab-Israeli Relations

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The Arab-Israeli Relations
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The Arab-Israeli Relations
Part 1: The Conflict The Arab-Israeli conflict started way back after the end of the Second World War. Since then, it has become one the most violent regions when viewed in a global scope. The conflict has been characterized by some catastrophic inter-state wars within the region, and it has been a matter of concern for most global powers. The conflict is one of the most profound and prolonged conflicts in the recent times and has been the major cause of wars in the Middle East. Though most people view it as an Arab-Israeli conflict, others see it in two dimensions namely; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The conflict can be traced back to that time in history when the Zionist movement came up with the idea to build a home for the Israelis in Palestine (Bickerton, 2012). The idea was met with opposition on the part of the Arab population in Palestine. The conflict attracted the neighboring Arab countries who took the Palestinian Arab side.

In 1948, the state of Israel was established, and the existing conflict between Arabs in Palestine and the Israeli shifted from the local context to the inter-state level (Bickerton, 2012). Since then, the Israeli relations with the Arab world has taken different directions. The shifting process has been based on new and broken relationships between single Arab states and Israel. It has also taken shifts based on a long-lasting solution, and the Israeli continued aggression against the Arab Palestine. Some Arab countries have shifted their focus from the Israeli-Palestine war and their conflict with Israel is based political affiliation, foreign policy or weapons aspirations. For instance, Iran’s nuclear aspirations intensified the conflict they had with Israel. Saudi Arabia has also shifted some focus on the Gaza conflict because of its relations with the US. Given that Israel is an ally of America, Saudi Arabia has had a light stand against Israel. Egypt on the other hand, is a country was known to have had a poor relations with Israel which even transpired to war. However, lately, it has been at the forefront of those nations spearheading a peace deal between Israel and Palestine. Their relationship with Israel has changed because they have taken a new turn in ensuring peaceful negotiations (Sela, 2012).

From a realism point of view, both parties have had a strong interest in negotiating and coming up with ways that could help in stopping their conflict. The interest in changing the status quo by negotiating can be attributed to the changes in the balance of power. Nonetheless, being ready for negotiations does not necessarily translate to being prepared for conflict resolution. As much as both parties are ripe for conciliations, there remains disparities on how they feel about a perpetual solution. The main issue is not only the mere acknowledgment that a problem exists but also how the concerned individuals interpret the resolutions into an actual description of their needs (Sela, 2012). Liberals presume that a mutual acknowledgment of the problem would automatically mean the parties can come to a permanent settlement. They argue based on the belief that a mutual recognition would only mean that interests of both parties have been met, and are, therefore, hypothetically compatible. In addition to that, they also assumed that the recognition invalidated the zero-sum relationship between the two parties. This would then act as an assurance that neither party was against the other and finally, would build trust between them that would ultimately lead to a permanent reconciliation.

Nevertheless, the optimistic nature of the liberals is downsized by the Oslo process that entailed a negative uncertainty that concealed the existing differences in either party’s understanding of what common recognition is, in reality. Instead of giving a reassurance of an end to the zero-sum relationship, the negative uncertainties were increasing the tension between the parties, thereby, destroying the trust between them (Sela, 2012). A sense of insecurity has thus developed between the parties as they are suspicious of each other. Israel officially acknowledged the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), as the solitary authentic leader of the Palestinian citizens and the Palestinians, in turn, acknowledged Israel as a republic in the 1993 Oslo agreement (Iranprimer.usip.org, 2016). The Palestinians did not, however, acknowledge Zionism as an authentic state association. Israelis on the other hand, failed to accept formally the fact that the Palestinians were entitled to statehood. Some Israelis supported the Oslo accord since they wanted to uphold their identity as a Jewish and autonomous nation, and to promote security, but not because they were fighting for Palestinians’ interests. The Israelis were, therefore, oblivious to the fact that persistent agreement created tension in Palestine, as they felt that they would not get a practical neighboring nation, but instead a chain of Bantustans. Although the fear was defensible concerning Israel’s intentions, the hesitancy of Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak to end the agreement heightened the tension among Palestinians.

The liberals further feel that the downfall of the Oslo process is not to be described as a failure of the liberal plan, but instead a consequence of the improper implementation of the plan. To start with, they claim that the shared trust was broken due to the ‘ineffective’ governance and reconciliation approaches implemented by respective leaders of both parties. The failure could also be attributed to the failure of implementing assurance building strategies implied in the original settlement. Israel has received criticisms for accepting agreement construction to proceed. In so doing, Palestinians confidence in Israeli’s readiness in arriving at peaceful negotiations has been damaged. Critics further argue that the ‘bazaar’ conciliation approaches implemented by Israeli’s Prime Minister, Ehud Barak (1999- 2001), further destroyed Palestinian’s confidence in them (Sela, 2012). The disrespectful and arrogant manner in which the then Prime Minister treated the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, further destroyed the mutual trust. Conversely, the liberals say that the slipups from the governance could account for the failure to get public acceptance of Oslo. Yasser is criticized for not putting much effort in fighting against Palestinian terrorists and for not ending the incitements. The issues destroyed Israel’s trust in Palestinian ripeness for conflict resolution, and conversely flagged support for a permanent settlement.

The other party argues that the failure to acquire backing for the conflict resolution process among the Palestinian citizens was hugely influenced by Israel’s rule of cessations as a means of ending terrorism. On the same note, the financial state of Palestinians in the region further depreciated between 1993 and 1996, but showed a positive difference between 1999 through to 2000 (Science.co.il, 2016). Others also felt that Arafat did not truthfully make efforts towards peaceful reconciliation, as agitations against Israel continued in the Palestinian Authority (PA). Lastly, the basic initiatives were neither officially established in Annex 6 of the 1995 provisional settlement, nor implemented on a variety of sectors that could enable it to give rise to desired outcomes. Certainly, the majority of the sections in the Oslo agreement that were concerned with citizen collaboration and the public were not effected.

Part 2: Egypt’s Role and Goals in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Egypt’s role in the Arab-Israeli war can be traced back from the time it ended its thirty years of war with Israel. A peace agreement was signed between the two countries, a matter that angered other Arab countries. The agreement was marked by controversies since Israel was never considered as an ally of other Arab countries. Since the treaty, Egypt has always been a major player when it comes to negotiating peace deal in the Middle East. Taking a major role could be attributed to the treaty and the fact that it is geographically well placed and the largest Arab country. For instance, the country’s leadership has always intervened and negotiated a peace deal between Israel and Hamas. In 2009, former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak brokered a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas (Dickstein, 2015). In 2012, former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi initiated another cease fire deal between the two countries that each party from firing. Egypt’s position on the conflict could also be as a result of its political and ideological difference it has with Hamas. The current Egyptian government has viewed Hamas as part of Muslim Brotherhood group that it has termed as extremist.

The Arab-Israeli war is much more aligned to the war between Israel and Gaza. Tensions between Israel and Iran could also be attributed to the fact that Iran was in support of the Hamas group. Therefore, the position Egypt has taken and its relationship with Israel is one that is based on a common interest. Both have a goal to weaken the Hamas group and end the long war that has been the cause of conflict in the whole region. The push by Egypt to make Palestine an independent country has also attracted Western allies, for instance, the US, who has hailed its action against Hamas (Dickstein, 2015). Closing its border with Hamas to prevent the flow of aid to Gaza has also given Egypt some feeling of power that it can use to negotiate with the group. It is part of a solution that is also seen by Israel as a way to destabilize the group and initiate a long lasting peace program. By closing the border, it prevents the flow of aid and weaponry that is shipped from Iran. Doing so would weaken the Hamas group which could go a long way in ending the war between the two groups. The end of Gaza war is also seen as a way of easing the tension between Israel and some major Middle East countries.

Egypt’s position and its relation to Israel have sparked an uproar from other Arab countries, for instance, Iran. It decision to close the border and partner with Western allies in the conflict matter has could have an effect on its political and economic development. Politically, the country aims to take back its position as the leader of the Arab world. Taking that position could make Egypt regain its leadership status, more so, through a successful long-term peace deal. Apart from having a political role in the Middle East, Egypt change of mindset regarding Hamas could also give it an edge to stop the Muslim Brotherhood influence in the country. Being involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict could also trigger support from the West, who are said to have political influence in the country. Therefore, the country’s position as a negotiator in the Arab-Israeli conflict is deemed to have a political effect within the country and in the Middle East.

Egypt position in the conflict could also affect its economic development by fostering trade agreements with the west. Egypt already enjoys aid from western powers due to its role and relation with the countries, for instance, the USA. Recently, the country signed a 6.25 trillion cubic feet of a natural gas trade deal with Israel to enhance the supply of natural gas to Egypt (Dickstein, 2015). With additional support from the Western nations, the country is expected to gain economically courtesy of its role in the conflict. On the hand, the country is also expected to reduce its trade activities within Middle-East. Country’s in support of Hamas are likely to reduce trade with Egypt, which my hinder its economic development. Its relations with Israel could also make some countries within the middle to cut ties with the country, and that could also affect its economic development.

Egypt’s role in the Middle East and a role as a negotiator has shifted over the years since the start of the conflicts. At some point in history, was seen as a strong ally of Syria and was at war with Israel. The mindset to form relations with Israel and stop the conflict between Israel and Palestinians was not the same when they were at war with Israel. There was less action taken by the previous governments to regain their leadership position in the region. The shift of role is seen as a change in what they had initially held and is now seen as a way of initiating peace.

References

Bickerton, I. (2012). The Arab-Israeli Conflict. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Dickstein, E. (2015). A New Role for Egypt: Sisi's Government and the Arab-Israeli Conflict - Harvard International Review. Harvard International Review. Retrieved 13 February 2016, from http://hir.harvard.edu/a-new-role-for-egypt-sisis-government-and-the-arab-israeli-conflict/
Iranprimer.usip.org,. (2016). Iran and the Palestinians | The Iran Primer. Retrieved 13 February 2016, from http://iranprimer.usip.org/resource/iran-and-palestinians
Science.co.il,. (2016). Arab-Israeli conflict - Basic facts. Retrieved 13 February 2016, from http://www.science.co.il/Arab-Israeli-conflict.asp
Sela, A. (2012). The decline of the Arab-Israeli conflict. New York: SUNY Press.

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