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Why is Israel perpetually at war?

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Israel is a small nation with more adversaries than allies. Nestled within a region teeming with formidable and unfriendly neighbours, Israel’s history is marked by decades of conflict and complex geopolitical dynamics.

The birth of Israel following the Declaration of Independence dates back to May 14, 1948, in the aftermath of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust.

However, the birth of Israel was far from peaceful. It set in motion a series of wars and conflicts in the region. Arab states like Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq vehemently opposed the establishment of Israel and launched military campaigns to thwart its existence. This led to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the War of Independence. The conflict was marked by battles and ceasefires, as Israel defended its newly declared sovereignty. In 1949, armistice agreements were signed, delineating borders between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

The war resulted in a significant exodus of Palestinian Arabs from their homes, creating a protracted refugee crisis, known as the Palestinian Nakba or “catastrophe.” Temporary ceasefire lines were established through these armistice agreements.

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Since its inception, the IDF has operated on multiple fronts, facing challenges from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq in the north and east, and Egypt in the south. Remarkably, it has managed to secure Israel’s borders against overwhelming odds.

Subsequent conflicts, including the Suez Crisis in 1956 and the Six-Day War in 1967, further shaped the Arab-Israeli conflict and the modern Middle East. Despite efforts at peace and negotiations over the years, a comprehensive, lasting resolution remains elusive.

The IDF has played a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s security, with a history marked by notable operations:

Suez Crisis (1956): A joint operation with the UK and France aimed to regain control of the Suez Canal, though international pressure forced Israel to withdraw.

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Six-Day War (1967): A preemptive strike against the mobilized forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, which resulted in Israel’s capture of territories like the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights.

War of Attrition (1967-1970): A period of sporadic conflicts along borders with Egypt and Jordan.

Yom Kippur War (1973): A surprise attack by Egypt and Syria on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, leading to heavy casualties for Israel.

First Lebanon War (1982): An invasion of Lebanon to counter the threat posed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), eventually leading to a security zone in southern Lebanon.

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First Intifada (1987-1993): A Palestinian uprising marked by mass protests and clashes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Second Intifada (2000-2005): A renewed wave of Palestinian violence, met with military operations from the IDF.

Second Lebanon War (2006): Sparked by Hezbollah’s abduction of Israeli soldiers, resulting in a major military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Gaza Conflicts: Multiple military operations in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket attacks from groups like Hamas, including operations like Cast Lead (2008-2009), Pillar of Defense (2012), and Protective Edge (2014).

Also Read: Hamas attack and Israeli intelligence failure

In the 75 years since its establishment, Israel’s population has surged tenfold, with nearly 75% of its 8.5 million inhabitants being Jewish immigrants who arrived often with nothing to their name. However, only two of the twenty-two Middle Eastern states, Egypt and Jordan, have signed peace agreements with Israel.

Israel’s challenging geopolitical position, with more adversaries than allies, can be attributed to various factors:

Displacement and the Nakba: The founding of Israel in 1948 on land once part of the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate of Palestine led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, creating a lasting refugee crisis. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with regional powers backing opposing sides, complicates resolution efforts.

Occupation and Human Rights Concerns: Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories since 1967 has led to accusations of human rights abuses against Palestinians.

US-Israel Alliance: Israel’s close alliance with the United States, including significant military and financial support, generates resentment from many Arab and Muslim nations.

Nuclear Weapons Program: Concerns regarding Israel’s nuclear weapons program add to regional tensions.

Support for Authoritarian Regimes: Accusations of supporting authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia, have fueled anti-Israel sentiment.

These challenges have profound implications for Israel:

Vulnerability to Attacks: Israel is encircled by hostile neighbours committed to its destruction.

Complex Peacemaking: The involvement of various regional and global players makes peace negotiations arduous.

Regional Threats: Iran’s hostile stance and nuclear ambitions, Hezbollah’s military capabilities, the Syrian civil war, and various terrorist groups pose constant threats.

Security Investments: Israel has a world-class defence apparatus but must adapt to evolving challenges like cyberattacks, missile proliferation, and climate change.

In conclusion, Israel faces persistent security challenges in a volatile region. While the prospect of peace remains, it hinges on addressing core issues, including the right of return for Palestinians and the status of Jerusalem. Israel’s security establishment, including the technologically advanced IDF and intelligence agencies like Mossad, plays a crucial role in navigating these threats. As a resilient nation, Israel continues to invest in its security apparatus and collaborate with allies to counter these challenges.

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Neeraj Mahajan
Neeraj Mahajanhttps://n2erajmahajan.wordpress.com/
Neeraj Mahajan is a hard-core, creative and dynamic media professional with over 35 years of proven competence and 360 degree experience in print, electronic, web and mobile journalism. He is an eminent investigative journalist, out of the box thinker, and a hard-core reporter who is always hungry for facts. Neeraj has worked in all kinds of daily/weekly/broadsheet/tabloid newspapers, magazines and television channels like Star TV, BBC, Patriot, Sunday Observer, Sunday Mail, Network Magazine, Verdict, and Gfiles Magazine.


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