As the UAE and Israel established official relations for the first time in history, mixed reaction has come from several nations. The recent decision also adds a new chapter to the strained relationship between Israel and the Arab world. Let us have a look at the history of Arab nations with Israel.
Crux of the Matter
Arab countries and Israel have been engaged in conflict since the British left, with the conflict mainly occurring regarding territory occupation and the Palestine case. Israel and Palestine have been engaged in conflict since the independence of Israel, with the Arab countries supporting Palestine in the dispute.
- 1948-49: Israel declared its independence as the British mandate of Palestine was divided between the Jews and the Arab nations. However, a war erupted soon between Israel and five Arab countries (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt), where Israel won the control of major portion allocated to Palestine except Gaza and the West Bank.
- 1956: Egypt nationalized the Suez canal and banned the entry of Israeli ships, with the canal being under the control of the British and the French till that point. Israel invaded Egypt and annexed Gaza and most of the eastern part near the Suez canal, with British and French troops later joining Israel. However, the war ended with all the troops withdrawing from all Egyptian territories.
- 1967: The six-day war happened. By 1966-67, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan increased support to Palestine militant groups and increased their attacks on Israel. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon then also formed an alliance to attack Israel. This mobilization of the allied troops was observed by Israel, which launched a “pre-emptive” assault on Egypt and destroyed 90% of its Air Force on 5 June 1967. The war then started and Israel captured Gaza and most of the West Bank within 3 days. Israel then captured the Golan Heights from Syria after the latter kept attacking Israel even after the UN declared a cease-fire.
- 1973: Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on 6 October on the holy day of Yom Kippur for Jews. Israel again won and a cease-fire was declared in January 1974.
- 1979: The Camp David Accords were signed, after which Egypt and Israel established official diplomatic relations, with the latter returning all of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.
- 1982: Israel invaded Lebanon after the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), operating from Lebanon, increased its attacks on Israel. The PLO fled the country, and Israel withdrew its troops by 1985.
- 2006: Hezbollah, a radical Shiite group from Lebanon, killed and captured several Israeli soldiers to pressurize Israel to release Lebanese prisoners. Israel launched an operation to bring back the captured soldiers, which 34 days, and more than 1,000 Lebanese people were killed.
In recent times, the relations between the Arab nations and Israel have improved significantly. The UAE allows Israeli athletes in the country and recently allowed the AFC Asian Cup 2019, held in Dubai, to be telecast in Israel for the first time in history. Israel was also invited to the Dubai Expo 2020 fair.
However, several experts have claimed that both the countries have united in recent times along with the US only to act against Iran, which is seen as a growing threat by all the three countries.
- The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt. It is often considered to define the border between Africa and Asia.
- The AFC Asian Cup is the second oldest continental football championship in the world after Copa América. The winning team became the champion of Asia and until 2015 qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup.
- “Hatikvah” is a 19th-century Jewish poem and the national anthem of Israel. The theme of the romantic composition reflects the Jews’ 2,000-year-old hope of returning to the Land of Israel, restoring it, and reclaiming it as a free and sovereign nation.
- The Indian Express – After Israel-UAE-US deal: gainers and losers, and key takeaways
- The Print – Why UAE chose to normalise diplomatic relations with Israel
- Al Jazeera – How the world reacted to UAE, Israel normalising diplomatic ties
- BBC – 1967 war: Six days that changed the Middle East
- The Guardian – Turkey threatens to suspend UAE ties over deal with Israel