Thursday, August 16, 2007

Short Essay on the Arab-Israeli Territories After the 1967 War

The 1967 Arab-Israeli War gave Israel territories which were previously under the sovereignty of Egypt, Syria and Palestine. These include Golan Heights, Sinai Peninsula, West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Golan Heights was originally Syrian territory which was captured by Israel after Syria and other Arab nations lost to Israel in 1967. At present, the state of Israel has sovereignty over the territory even if most of the residents in the area are Druze – Syrian-Arabs retained their Syrian citizenship even as Israeli citizenship is also offered. Despite being in foreign Israeli territory, they are still offered Syrian benefits such as free education and accessible healthcare programs. However, the Golan Heights are still being claimed by Syria as part of its territory and is deemed a critical part of Israel-Syria peace talks as no long-standing diplomatic resolution has been achieved, especially in the context that many among the population in Golan Heights are essentially Syrian in origin and culture.

The Sinai Peninsula is now part of Egyptian sovereignty in the wake of the peace accords in the 1979 between Israel and Egypt. During the 1970s, Israel finally agreed to transfer control of the peninsula to Egypt which lasted until 1982 where military forces of Israel finally left and settlements were dismantled. The Israeli transferred control despite the discovery of oil deposits in the area. At present, the Sinai peninsula is now a vibrant part of the Egyptian economy especially the St. Catherine Monastery which has been flocked by tourists the world over, as though the area was never a site of intense military action between Israel and Egypt.

Nonetheless, of all of the areas occupied by Israel after the 1967, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, taken together, represents reality of continuing Israeli repression and occupation of disputed Palestinian lands. Both areas are the fountainheads of Palestinian resistance to illegal Israeli rule and denial of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. Ever since, Gaza Strip and the West Bank has been the site of relentless Israeli military offensives in pursuit of perceived Islamic militants who continuously terrorize Israeli installations and populations. Years of repression and denial by Israel has also paved the way for the founding of radical Islamist groups such as the ruling Hamas which vows to crush the state of Israel by utilizing all means possible, including armed struggle. Moreover, the areas have also been the scene of political infighting by Palestinian groups such as the Hamas and the discredited Fatah organization, which has links with the Palestinian Liberation Organization. In recent days prior to the convening of a unity government, scores have already been killed from both sides since a power vacuum erupted in the light of international aid boycotts to the poverty-stricken areas. While the Palestinians have nominal control over these areas, the Israeli security forces are relentless in pursuing air raids, bombing operations and commando tactics to further harass Palestinians into submitting to Israeli demands, especially the recognition of the latter’s right to exist as a state. Finally, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank has also been dubbed as a concentration camp as Israeli forces have tightened control over these areas especially in prohibiting travel between Gaza and the West Bank – crippling the movement of trade and the administration of government.


  1. Aloni, Shlomo (2001). Arab-Israeli Air Wars 1947-1982. Osprey Aviation.
  2. Bowen, Jeremy (2003). Six Days: How the 1967 War Shaped the Middle East. London: Simon & Schuster.
  3. Finkelstein, Norman (2003). Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. New York: Verso.

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