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A Conflict of Idealogies: Pan Arabism V Zionism

 
 

The core of the Zionist idea appears in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel (14 May 1948), which states, inter alia, that:

"The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.
After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom."


Zionism Today

The establishment of the State of Israel marked the realization of the Zionist goal of attaining an internationally recognized, legally secured home for the Jewish people in its historic homeland, where Jews would be free from persecution and able to develop their own lives and identity.
Since 1948, Zionism has seen its task as continuing to encourage the "ingathering of the exiles," which at times has called for extraordinary efforts to rescue endangered (physically and spiritually) Jewish communities. It also strives to preserve the unity and continuity of the Jewish people as well as to focus on the centrality of Israel in Jewish life everywhere.
Down through the centuries, the desire for the restoration of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel has been a thread binding the Jewish people together. Jews everywhere accept Zionism as a fundamental tenet of Judaism, support the State of Israel as the basic realization of Zionism and are enriched culturally, socially and spiritually by the fact of Israel - a member of the family of nations and a vibrant, creative accomplishment of the Jewish spirit.

Source - Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Zionism


Arabs in the Twentieth Century:

In the 20th cent., Arab leaders have attempted to form an Arab nation, which would unite the whole Arabic-speaking world from Morocco on the west, across the Middle East, to the borders of Iran and Turkey. Since 1945 most of the Arab nations have combined to form the Arab League, its purpose being to consider matters of common interest, such as policy regarding Israel and colonialism. With 22 member states in the Arab League by the mid-1990s, attempts to forge a unity among the Arabs have continued. Perhaps the most significant economic factor for the Arabs has been the discovery and development of the petroleum industry. Since World War II a continual problem for the Arab states has been their relations with the Jewish state of Israel; hostility towards Israel has resulted in four Arab-Israeli wars.

Pan-Arabism:

Pan-Arabism is the general term for the modern movement for political unification among the Arab nations of the Middle East. Since the Ottoman Turks rose to power in the 14th cent., there have been stirrings among Arabs for reunification as a means of reestablishing Arab political power. At the start of World War I, France and Great Britain, seeking allies against the German-Turkish alliance, encouraged the cause of Arab nationalism under the leadership of the Hashemite Sherif Husayn ibn Ali, a descendant of Muhammad. As ruler of Mecca and a religious leader of Islam, he had great influence in the Arab world, an influence that continued with his two sons, Abdullah and Faisal (Faisal I of Iraq). From the 1930s, hostility toward Zionist aims in Palestine was a major rallying point for Arab nationalists.

The movement found official expression after World War II in the Arab League and in such unification attempts as the Arab Federation (1958) of Iraq and Jordan, the United Arab Republic, the Arab Union (1958), the United Arab Emirates, and the Arab Maghreb Union (see under Maghreb). The principal instrument of Pan-Arabism in the early 1960s was the Ba'ath party, which was active in most Arab states, notably Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen. Gamal Abdal Nasser of Egypt, who was not a Ba'athist, expressed similar ideals of Arab unity and socialism.

The defeat of the Arabs in the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 and the death (1970) of Nasser set back the cause of Pan-Arabism. In the early 1970s, a projected merger between Egypt and Libya came to nought. However, during and following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the Arab states showed new cohesion in their use of oil as a major economic and political weapon in international affairs. This cohesion was fractured by the signing of the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel and by the Iran-Iraq War. Pan-Arabist rhetoric was used by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in an attempt to stir opposition the UN coalition forces during the Persian Gulf War, but many Arab nations joined the anti-Iraq coalition.

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"At the end of the process [Camp David 2000], it is impossible not to form the impression that the Palestinians don't want a solution as much as they want to place Israel in the dock of the accused. More than they want a state of their own, they want to denounce our state. That is why, contrary to the Zionist movement, they are incapable of compromising. Because they have no image of the future society that they want and for which it is worth compromising. Therefore, the process, from their point of view, is not one of conciliation but of vindication. Of righting a wrong. Of undermining out existence as a Jewish state."

[Extract from an interview with former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami who was part of the Israeli negotiating team at Camp David]

 

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