With what could turn into a full-scale regional followed by an actual world war beginning to take shape in the Middle East, I thought a map of the ME and a brief synopsis of the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict would be in order. It's difficult to understand the news reports every night without at least a cursory knowledge of the overall geography, disputed territories, and the region's history.
-Click on the map and it will open in a larger window so you can find the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, West Bank, and East Jerusalem. These are the disputed territories about which everybody is fighting. Israel won all these territories in the Six Days War but has been forced by international pressure and idiotic land-for-peace deals to incrementally return it to the various Arab states from whom they won it.
As I understand it...
The state of Israel was formed on May 15, 1948. It was then that the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry proposed the immigration of 100,000 Holocaust survivors to the land of Palestine. A group of the United Nations, specially formed to work on this area, suggested on May 15 of the same year, to separate Palestine into different Arab and Israeli states.
The day after the State of Israel was formed, the surrounding Arab states met and attacked. The war was won by the barely formed Israeli army, but took about a year. This was known as the War of Independence. It ended with 6,000 Jewish deaths, both civilians and soldiers.
1967 Arab-Israeli War, Six Days War, or June War, was fought between Israel and the nearby Arab states of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria. The war was initiated after the Israeli response to Egyptian aggression. This aggression included the Egyptian blockade of Israeli shipping in the Straits of Tiran, the removal of the UNEF peacekeeping forces from the Sinai, and the deployment of a large military force in the Sinai which borders Israel. In repsonse, Israel launched a preemptive attack against Egypt. Jordan in turn attacked the Israeli cities of Jerusalem and Netanya. At the war's end, Israel had gained control of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. The results of the war affect the geopolitics of the region to this day.
So, I can sort of see the beef on behalf of the Palestinians, getting kicked off their land and all, but historically, does Israel not belong on that particular land? I read an article by Hal Lindsay in which he observes that the Palestinians are descended from the Philistines from the Bible. The Jews and Philistines have been waring for over 2000 years at least. Israel has suffered weekly terrorist attacks since their reclaiming of their historical homeland in '48. Why shouldn't they be allowed to fight back, keep land that they conquered in battle, and defend themselves and their territory the same way any sovereign nation would be expected to do when under attack? If Canada decided to lob a few missiles into New York every week or so, the U.S. would tolerate it for about a month and then Canada would cease to exist as a nation. Should Israel not have the same sovereign right of self defense?
I'm getting sick of people urging restraint and moderation. I'm glad Israel has finally committed to destroying Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran, an avowed Jew-hating, Arab nation, finances the operations of Hezbollah to the tune of $350 million annually, as well as long-range rockets and other modern weaponry with which to slaughter the eeeviiil jooooos. If the Palestinians would stop hating Israel for one minute and look around, they would see the economic opportunities afforded them and could rapidly lift themselves out of squalor and misery to become an economic haven...but they can't stifle the hate long enough. Instead they keep on blaming Israel for all there troubles because it's easier than accepting responsibility for themselves.
Feel free to add to the historical picture any bits of insight you might have. Use the comments section and I'll address them as they come in.