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Why Does the Arab World Despise Israel?

Updated on May 3, 2017

Let's Go Back a Century

To understand the root cause of the Israel-Palestine conflict and why Israel is not recognized by most of the Arab world, we have to go back to 1915.

Amidst World War I, in which Britain sought to defeat the Ottoman Empire, British officer Henry McMahon and emir of Mecca Hussein Ali had a series of communications. It was agreed between the two that the British would guarantee the existence and protection of an independent Arab state in exchange for their opposition against the Ottomans in the war.

However, in a bout of double-dealing, the British failed to honor this agreement they made with Hussein: opting to negotiate in secret with the French and Russians, reaching the Sykes-Picot Agreement to break up the Ottoman Empire into British, French and Russian-controlled territories.

The three agreed that the British would preside over Kuwait, that the French would preside over northwest Syria and Russia would preside over Armenia, with the three presiding over Palestine. Iraq and southeast Syria were to be independent Arab states, guaranteed by the French and British, respectively.

Later, in contradiction to BOTH of these accords, Britain announced that it would instead grant Palestine to Zionists in order to establish a Jewish nation-state for Jewish nationalists in the Balfour Declaration. This Declaration was supported by the Allied powers and ratified by the newly-founded League of Nations in 1922. A series of Jewish immigrants would be brought into the region until 1948, against the will of the Palestinian Arabs.

Sykes-Pigot Agreement Map

The Establishment of Israel

Fast forward to 1946. The British Mandate of Palestine was nearing its expiration. In spite of the objections made by the ethnic Palestinians and the British, who wanted to establish neither Arab OR Jewish states in order to protect their national interests and maintain their relationship with Arabs in the region, United States President Harry Truman openly endorsed the partitioning of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. He actively began investigating the region and working with the Unoted Nations to make this a reality.

One year later, the United Nations passed Resolution 181, which would separate Palestine into Arab and Jewish states in May 1948, when the British would cede control of Palestine. May 14, 1948, following British occupation, the Jewish state of Israel was founded on the ceded territory and recognized by Truman that same day.

The foundation of Israel was condemned universally by the Arab nations of the region as a violation of the territorial rights of the Palestinian people.

Israel is Born


After the creation of Israel, the Arab nations within the region held Israel and the West in great contempt and refused to acknowledge them as the rightful governors of the region of land their state occupied. In their eyes, the land occupied by Israel was initially acquired under false pretenses: a breach of contract of sorts between the British and the Arabs of the region, and, as Palestine was not acquired legitimately by the British, by extension they had no right to give the land to Zionists.

Acts of violence and warfare, conventional and unconventional, between Israel and the Arabs have been perpetual. Israel has even been marked by the U.N. as a South Africa-style apartheid state for its' walling off of Palestinians from their land and creating settlements on historically-Palestinian land, against United Nations resolutions.

While negotiations to establish a two-state solution between the two have been on-going, they have been largely fruitless thus far. Without such an agreement, it would seem that the conflict within the region over the last 70 years will continue indefinitely.

Israel Then vs. Israel Now

In Conclusion...

While the Qu'ran does contain anti-Semitic elements within, to claim that disdain for Israel is based fundamentally on anti-Semitism is misleading and an oversimplification.The conflict within the region extends prior to the establishment of Israel and is phenomenally complex.

The Arab states within the region recognize the Hussein-McMahon correspondence and not the Sykes-Picot Agreement or the Balfour Declaration. They akin the Israeli state to receiving stolen property, the fundamental basis of a land dispute that cannot be resolved without the dissolution of Israel.

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