Middle East Conflict

The Middle East conflict has centered on a small piece of land in the eastern Mediterranean littoral, called Palestine (filisteen) in Arabic and Israel (eretz israel) in Hebrew. For clarity, this entry will use “Palestine”—the name British authorities used until 1948—to refer to the land itself and “Israel” to refer to the State of Israel.

International, regional, and local forces have shaped the Middle East conflict since World War I. Since then, local dynamics have played an increasingly important role, despite the efforts of international actors such as the United States to mediate a peaceful resolution, an evolution that is evident in five phases: the founding of the modern Middle East (World War I to 1947), the Arab-Israeli Wars (1948–1973), occupation, resistance, and the land-for-peace framework ...

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