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What The Syllabus says...
A7 ­ Conflict and the Quest for Peace in the Middle East, 1948 ­ 95
Through the content specified below, candidates should develop an overview of the following:
· The significance of the establishment of the state of Israel
· The causes and consequences of conflict between Israel and its neighbours
· The attempts to find a lasting peace.
Specified content
· Declaration of the state of Israel in 1948 and its consequences.…read more

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Introduction: The background to the setting up of the state of
In 1896, Theodore Herzl organised a conference to discuss the idea of Zionism. It was not a new idea,
but it was the first time that it was organised.
Herzl stated that the Jews were a people who deserved their own homeland. He gave as his reasons
the fact that Jews were often persecuted. In Russia in the 1890s, 20,000 Jews were killed in attacks
called Pogroms.…read more

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The Sykes-Picot Agreement
In the same year as the McMahon letter, an agreement was drawn up by Sir Mark Sykes, who was British
and Charles Picot, who was French; this was kept secret until 1917. This was a draft of how Palestine could
be divided after the war. This became known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement
Britain and France are prepared to set up and to protect an Arab state in Palestine. The two
countries are prepared to negotiate the boundaries of the Arab state.…read more

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In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the process of consulting the present
inhabitants of the country. The four Great Powers are committed to Zionism, whether it is right or
wrong. Zionism is far more important than the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit Palestine.
Together, these statements created a situation in which the British government had committed itself to
two completely different policies.…read more

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In other words, the British government had decided to set up a state in which Arabs and Jews were equal.
The impact of the Second World War
Before the British plan could be put into practice, the Second World War broke out. During the war,
6,000,000 Jews died in the Holocaust.…read more

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The Declaration of the state of Israel and its consequences
In August 1947 a UN committee recommended dividing Palestine between Arabs and Jews.
The plan was accepted by the UN on 29 November 1947. The General Assembly of the United Nations
adopted a Resolution requiring the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
Accordingly we hereby proclaim the state of Israel. It is the natural right of the Jewish people to lead, as
do all other nations, an independent existence in its sovereign state.…read more

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Relations between Israel and its neighbours: The Arab-Israeli
Wars 1948-73
The war of 1948-9
The Arabs expected to destroy Israel very quickly. In theory they outnumbered the Israelis 80 to 1, but
the differences between the armed forces of the two sides were much less significant.
In fact the Arab armies were stopped and then driven back. Israel occupied all the territory of Palestine.…read more

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New settlements were begun to house the new immigrants. Many of these were in areas that Israel
had occupied in 1948-9. This was a further source of anger for Arabs.
In Israel the war had very profound effects. There were no peace treaties after the war, so it was clear
that this was no more than a cessation of hostilities. Another attack could be expected at any time.
6,000 Jews had been killed during the war.…read more

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What were the results of the war for the Arab states?
Palestinian Refugees
The most lasting problem created by the war was the Palestinian refugees. Altogether about 800,000
Arabs fled from Palestine to neighbouring countries, where they lived in squalid refugee camps.
These refugee camps became the training grounds for the freedom fighters or 'Fedayeen'.
The Palestinians began attacking Israeli targets immediately. In 1951 137 Israelis were killed and in
1955 238 were killed.
The most important guerrilla group was Al Fatah, formed in 1956.…read more


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