chapter  1
14 Pages

The Arab–Israeli conflict: Ways of war

For the best part of a century the Arab-Israeli conflict has been a complex problem with important ramifications for the international community. As other chapters in this book will highlight, this conflict has embroiled other actors, such as the USA and the former Soviet Union, into, on one occasion, near nuclear confrontation. It has had a major impact on the international and more specifically capital-based economies of the international order, and promoted extravagant, wasteful and profligate spending on arms to the point where Kalashnikovs are apparently more valued by many of the region’s political leaders than a decent standard of living for its citizens. How then does one begin to make sense of this bitter feud between the Jews and the Arabs, the state of Israel and the Arab (and other) states of the region, between religious cousins and territorial neighbours? In our first two chapters we aim to analyse this problem by making a distinction on the one hand between the wider Arab-Israeli conflict – marked by the wars of 1948, 1967, 1973, 1982 and 2006 as well as the peace treaties of 1978 between Israel and Egypt, and 1994 between Jordan and Israel – and on the other the more narrowly focused Palestinian-Israeli dispute that resulted in the Arab revolt of 1936 to 1939, the wars cited above and the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising (Intifada) in 1987, as well as attempts at peacemaking between the two parties from 1993 onwards.