The Arab-Israeli conflict is a hotly contested issue both in the Middle East and the broader global community.1 The modern conflict is essentially a dispute over the area known up until 1948 as Palestine, which is considered holy to all three major monotheistic religions.2 The primary parties in the conflict are Israeli (formerly Zionist) Jews and Palestinian Arabs (who are predominately Muslim).3 It is one of the unresolved problems bequeathed to the region by the British and French imperialist powers following the division of the Ottoman Empire between them at the end of World War 1.4 There are many features of the Middle East, specifically Palestine, that account for the interest and rivalry it has evoked among the world superpowers.19 Palestine is strategically significant as it is located on the southern rim of Russia, and at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. Its proximity to vast oil reserves of the Middle East make it exceptionally valuable.13 The initial involvement of Great Britain in Palestine, and the subsequent mismanagement of the region during the mandate period was a direct cause of the modern Arab Israeli conflict.
2.1 World War I
There are many features of the Middle East that motivated Britain to assert her influence in the region. In the lead up to World War 1, Palestine’s close proximity to the Suez Canal, which is the closest trading link between the East and the West was especially crucial.18 Following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of World War 1, Britain exploited both the Arabs’ and the Zionists’ hopes for an independent nation the by forming pacts with both parties.6 In 1915 Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner in Egypt, c...
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...i conflict. California: University of California Press
16. Palestine 1918 to 1948. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/palestine_1918_to_1948.htm
17. Papp, I. (1988). Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1948-51. London: Routledge.
18. Suez Canal Authority. (2008). Importance & Advantages of the Canal. Retrieved from http://www.suezcanal.gov.eg/sc.aspx?show=10
19. Brown, C. (1984). International Politics and the Middle East: Old Rules, Dangerous Game. New Jersey: Princeton.
21. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affirs: Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel. (1948). Retrieved from http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/peace/guide/pages/declaration%20of%20establishment%20of%20state%20of%20israel.aspx
22. Pitot, G. (2002). The Mauritian shekel: the story of the Jewish detainees in Mauritius, 1940–1945. Munich: Rowman & Littlefield.
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