President Donald Trump recently announced a peace agreement with Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two nations will work together on many issues, and Israel won’t try to annex any more land from the Palestinians. Israel hasn’t had many positive relationships with the Arab nations until now, but why?
Israel and Palestine: A Primer
The conflict between Israel and Palestine has been going on since World War II, though the origins can be traced a little farther back. In 1917, the British captured Palestine from the Ottomans and declared a “national home for the Jewish people.”
European Jewish migration increased exponentially, but the British government eventually limited migration to Palestine to 10,000 people per year. Following World War II, the United Nations recommended Palestine be separated into Jewish and Arab states. But in 1948, Israel declared its independence.
The battle between both sides is based on who gets what land. The Palestinians, the Arab population in the area claimed by Israel, want to establish their own nation and refer to the land as Palestine. But Israeli Jews say the land is theirs.
When Israel declared its independence, the new nation took over more territory. Egypt occupied Gaza, and Jordan annexed eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank. About 750,000 Palestinian Arabs fled, while more than one million Jewish refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority nations settled in Israel.
Since then, the Israelis and the Palestinians have been engaged in a constant armed struggle over land.
Major Events Since 1956
Suez Crisis (1956 to 1957): Israel partnered with Britain and France to invade Egypt during the Suez Crisis to reopen the canal for Israeli shipping and dismantle armed infiltrations by Palestinians.
Six-Day War (1967): The Six-Day War was a bloody conflict that took place from June 5 to June 10, 1967, between Israel and the Arab states of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.
Camp David Accords (1978): In September 1978, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed political agreements that were negotiated at Camp David with the help of President Jimmy Carter. These two arrangements were described as “A Framework for Peace in the Middle East” and “A Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel.”
Oslo Declaration (1993): Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Oslo Declaration that officially established the Palestinian Authority. It resulted in Israel conceding most of Gaza and the West Bank in exchange for peace.
Gaza Conflict (2008 to 2014): Israeli forces launched a full-scale attack on Gaza to prevent Hamas and other terrorist groups from launching rockets into Israel. Both sides engaged in continued attacks for the next several years.
Trump Era (2017 to 2020): President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and declared that the U.S. no longer believes Israeli settlements on the West Bank to be illegal. The White House brokered long-term peace treaties and ceasefires between Israel and other countries in the region to stop the violence and facilitate peace.
Progress in the Middle East?
A lot of President Trump’s critics thought that his administration would fail to make any progress in the Middle East, particularly after the U.S. relocated the embassy to Jerusalem. While the world is likely still far away from witnessing peace in the Middle East, the latest announcements of normalized relations between Israel and countries in the region have been incredible.