To follow up my last article about informing the residents of St. Petersburg of the religious and political complexities of the current situation in the Middle East, I would like to continue by examining the short history of the State of Israel.
Most experts agree that the relatively young State of Israel is the main problem facing the Middle East and the rest of the world today, and that the Levant poses the biggest threat for global peace in the years to come.
As I have mentioned before, after the First World War the old Ottoman Empire was carved into several British and French Protectorates. Following WWII, the battered and bankrupt British and French governments simply could not afford to maintain and govern these vast tracts of foreign land and peoples whom they knew very little about.
In 1947, the United Nations voted for a partition of the British-controlled region of Palestine, which called for an independent Jewish state, an Arab state, and an internationally governed city of Jerusalem. The plan was accepted by the Jewish representatives, but rejected by Arab leadership.
Faced with a diplomatic exercise in futility, the British planned a total withdrawal from Palestine by May of 1948.
With peaceful negotiations going nowhere, the region erupted in Civil War. On May 14, 1948, when the last British forces evacuated, the Jews in Palestine declared independence. The very next day, several Arab states including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen declared war on the tiny Jewish State. When the dust settled in 1949, the fierce Jewish fighting force had held firm, and had actually managed to gain an extra 18% of territory than the 1947 UN Treaty had proposed.
In this way, the Zionist Movement had finally succeeded in creating an independent Jewish State.
Since 1949, the new Jewish State of Israel has been attacked numerous times, including major conflicts such as the 1967 Six-Day War, (a decisive Israeli victory which resulted in the temporary occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula) and the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
In this conflict, the young State of Israel has fought valiantly (with US backing) for its right to exist. It currently finds itself surrounded by hostile Arab nations bent on its destruction and who repeatedly refuse to engage in diplomacy or even acknowledge its existence (maps exist which omit Israel altogether).
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the key. This small plot of land roughly the size of Massachusetts represents so much to so many people that entire nations are willing to eradicate one another for control of it. That is the historical background for this hatred we see today. As for religious consequences, that’s a story for another article…