To what extent do you believe war is inevitable in today??™s world
By: Arianna Lu
*Presented to *Mrs. Antonuk & Mr. *Klukas*
Sir Winston Churchill High School *
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for History 30/35 IB
*October 23, 2007
To what extent do you believe war is inevitable in today??™s world
War has always been a major part of our history, for it is within human nature for conflicts to arise when opposing personalities meet, when these opposing forces are nations of the world, war is an effective foreign policy method used to achieve what the state wants based on their ideologies and world views. To what extent is war inevitable in today??™s world It is important for our generation to examine the evidence of past struggles in human history to gain an understanding of how the world can be best run, how it may become the utopian society that everyone dreams of, if it is possible. The Arab-Israeli conflict which has had a span of nearly a century is a case study that effectively demonstrates the extent of the inevitability of war in today??™s world. Soon after World War II, on May 14th of 1948, the Mandate of Palestine created by Britain after the first World War was terminated and Israel declared its independence; over the next five days, nine existing states officially recognized the provisional Jewish Government.1 This independence movement was not supported by the surrounding Arab Nations, much of the land in Israel was occupied by Palestinians and war was declared on the state of Israel by the Arab League, the newly formed nation was invaded the next day. This caused the dormant tension between the people to resurface, and even today, the fighting within the area fails to cease. If the endless hostility between these two nations is only everlasting because of the theory that war is inevitable, then the suggestion made here is that there is no true reason for this war to be continuous, because the root of the problem becomes indistinct in the eyes of the second, third, and fourth generation; it doesn??™t take a genius to realize that the people who fight in wars are not necessarily the ones that start them.2 Within the case example of Arab-Israeli relations, we can find supporting arguments for the inevitability of war, such as the consequences resulting forming of the State of Israel, the Six Days War of 1967 in which Jews fought to enter the city of Jerusalem after the independence of Israel, and the assassination of the Israeli ambassador to Lebanon by a Palestinian which eventually led to the invasion of the country by Israel. On the other hand, generation after generation of Israelis and Palestinians have engaged in warfare for the past fifty-nine years, enemy troops on opposing frontiers engage not only in fighting, but mostly in conversing like friends, they have lost sense of what it is they??™re trying to gain from this war, it is possible to stop the fighting. I believe that war is inevitable to the extent that it is necessary in building the foundation of nation-states and in keeping their sovereignty when threatened2; we, however, as humans, are capable of resolving our conflicts diplomatically, therefore not every dispute must result in a war, under certain circumstances, they can be avoided.
The declaration of independence made by Israel in May of 1948 led to the invasion of the nation by the Arab league, this war of independence may be the longest yet in the history of the world, yet no one is positive that the war being fought today is based on this ancient foundation. In this case example, we are able to see that the cause of war is the creation of a nation-state; Gwynne Dyer once said, ???war builds the foundation of nations, it is to get what we want and keep what we have.??? From the Israeli perspective, war could gain them what they want, independence; from the Arab perspective, war may allow them to not lose what they have. Everything valuable comes with a cost, Israel was able to successfully establish their statehood with the superficial victory of this war; in order to gain independence, war was inevitable.
The Suez crisis of 1956 led Egypt to a political victory, Israeli troops were pressured to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula by the United States and the Soviet Union diplomatically. The United Nations stationed the Emergency force along the borders of Egypt and Israel to keep the region demilitarized and to prevent the invasion of guerrillas. This demilitarized zone caused much tension between Israel and Syria because the communities in north-eastern Galilee were claimed by both nations. A military alliance was formed between Egypt and Syria in 1966, and due to the on-going conflict over the land claimed by both nations, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran, Israel??™s only seaport at the time, and called for action on the nation along with unified Arab states. Jordan attacked western Jerusalem in attempt to gain back the city that was taken from the Jews in 1948 with Israel??™s independence, but the tactics were ineffective, and in the end, Israel maintained its original territory, it also gained control of eastern Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and other strategic areas such as the Sinai Peninsula. This case study demonstrates that war is inevitable in the sense that the Israelis had to defend what was theirs once they??™re threatened.
In the later years of the ongoing conflict, the Israel ambassador to Lebanon was murdered by a Palestinian, this led to a series of air raids on Lebanon by Israel, and in return, the Palestine Liberation declared war on the State of Israel. The Palestine Liberation Organization was formed by the Arab League in 1964, it was initially chartered to bring destruction to the State of Israel and reinstating the principle of the Right of Return for the Arab people. The Israeli people once again defeated the PLO by sending troops and tanks into Lebanon, this forced the majority of the PLO members at the headquarters in Beirut to relocate. This case example displays the inevitability of war in that once more, the State of Israel had its sovereignty threatened, and it was necessary for them to defend what is theirs.
From another perspective, we are able to look at the situation as a whole and say that this conflict has been extended to the point that soldiers today has lost sense in what they are fighting for, is it liberty, or freedom, or just to prove to the opponent that they can be the last one standing. ???War produces no absolute winners, it only harms both sides.???2 This Gwynne Dyer statement represents the Arab-Israeli situation perfectly, after fifty-nine years of continuous fighting, it is almost impossible for the reasons behind this war today to be the exact mirror image of the problem half a century ago when this all began. If it is so, then war is not completely inevitable, it only takes both sides to come to the realization that what they??™re fighting for is not clear anymore, and any further hostility will only cause more problems, and not resolve them. Wars are a means of finding a resolution to problems, are they not
In my opinion, war is inevitable to the extent that it is necessary in the formation of a nation and in the occupation of its sovereignty, but certain issues can be resolved by diplomacy, not all conflicts must result in armed fighting. As long as there is a nation-state system there will be war and all nations??™ basic foundations are built through warfare2, this is demonstrated through the case studies in which Israel was forced to build the basis of its state and to protect it through warfare; The case examples of the Israelis war of independence, the six days war, and the invasion of Lebanon all display the essentiality of war. On the other hand, war is not inevitable in the sense that the relationship between the Israelis and the Arabs has been predominantly based one archaic problem, one that may be resolved diplomatically and will only grow to be more misunderstood if the foreign policy used to address the conflict is war. In conclusion, I believe that war is inevitable under certain circumstances, but under others, it may be avoided.
Israeli Science and Technology Directory. (1999 ??“ 2007). Arab-Israeli Conflict ??“ Basic Facts. Retrieved October 20, 2007 from the World Wide Web: http://www.science.co.il/Arab-Israeli-conflict.asp#Nationhood
Dyer, G. (1983). The Deadly Game of Nations. Retrieved: The National Film Board of Canada ??“ Series: War
U.S. Department of State. (2007). Background Note: Israel. Retrieved October 20, 2007 from the World Wide Web: http://www.science.co.il/Arab-Israeli-conflict.asp#Nationhood
Citron, S. (2006). The Indictment: The Arab-Israeli Conflict in Historical Perspective. New York: Gefen Publishing.
Gelvin, J.L. (2005). The Israel-Palestine Conflict: 100 Years of War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press