Free Custom «Transformation of the Palestinian Struggle Analysis» Essay Sample
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The Six Day War of 1967 gave Israel dominion over the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Golans Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula. It is worth noting that the defeat of Arabian States during the war led to their withdrawal of the struggle against Israel hence leaving Palestine to handle the matter on its own. Therefore, the international community becomes more interested in the situation, as Arab States had left after their loss in the Six Day War. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that came into place in 1964 on initiative of Arab States tried to use guerrilla war tactics, but this did not help Palestine in its course for self-determination. Nevertheless, several events led to the change of tactic from armed struggle to peaceful negotiations. One of the events that led to this alteration was the change in the Middle East political environment and evolving interests of different parties. Other factors included willingness of Palestinians in occupied territories to participate in the two-state negotiations, ability of Fatah to control the PLO and unite other fragmented guerrilla movements, and signing of the Oslo Accords that led to the recognition of both Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. It is also crucial to appreciate the view that Yasser Arafat was a change agent, and not a mere responder to changes.
Palestine was obliged to change its tactics from armed struggle to diplomatic negotiations, as this was the only way to achieve self-determination and international recognition.
Events that Led Palestinians to Reexamine Their Goals and Methods
The first significant event that led to the reexamination of Palestinian goals and methods was the changes that occurred in the Middle East political environment and the interests of the parties. Khalidi (2006, p. 192) is of the view that after the Six Day War in 1967, there were tremendous changes in the political environment that made it easier for Palestinians to review their objectives and methods. For instance, the concept of the two-state state solution became popular in the political environment hence demonstrating the need for peaceful negotiations. They understood that diplomatic talks were the most effective and the best ways to liberate Palestine and facilitate the establishment of the Palestinian State in Gaza and West Bank. Ben-Ami (2006, p. 204) reiterates that the PLO went ahead to accept the resolutions presented by the United Nations Organization in the need to follow a diplomatic path in the resolution of the problem, as this would ensure everything is achieved within the required time. The two-state formula was not an easy approach, but would have been more effective in attaining of the goals of Palestine. Such events as the Egyptian-Israeli treaty set the ground for the success of similar two-state negotiations between Palestine and Israel. Additionally, international organizations and countries such as the United Nations Organization and the United States of America supported these significant events to ensure Palestine is liberated in the best way possible.
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The second significant event that contributed to the change of goals and methods was the ability of Fatah to control the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and unite other fragmented guerilla war movements. Smith (2012, p. 241) points out that Fatah was founded in 1959 under the leadership of Yasser Arafat. However, it played an instrumental role in controlling PLO’s overreaction in e protection of the rights of Palestinians. This organizations ensured that the guerrilla war tactics employed by PLO and other guerilla movements were effectively controlled for the attainment of peaceful negotiations. In February 1969, Fatah aimed at redefining the interests of Palestinians in a manner that would maintain their dignity and protect their interests in the best way possible. According to Khalidi (2006, p. 199), the ability of Fatah to control PLO and other guerrilla outfits was vital in alleviating tension between Israel and Palestine hence leading to successful development towards Palestine’s self-determination. With such domination over PLO and other guerilla movements, Fatah was able to come up with effective objectives aimed at promoting unity while avoiding fragmentation and separation in the region. The goal was to keep Israel off by avoiding confrontations that would have affected the position of Palestinians in the entire matter. Palestinians and their leaders realized that nationhood would only be achieved through unity and avoidance of confrontation with Israel.
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The third vital event that led to the reexamination of goals and methods among Palestinians was the need for recognition motivated by the Oslo Accords. The end of the 1980s led to generation of interest for recognition from both Israel and Palestine. Smith (2012, p. 248) asserts that the Oslo Accords were favorable for both parties because they were going to ensure that a peace-treaty is brokered in tandem with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and 243. Both parties were convinced that they would gain self-determination and more recognition from the Oslo Accords what led to the change of their tactics. It is important to understand that the Oslo Accords gave Palestine authority over the West Bank and Gaza and went further recognizing PLO as a partner of Israel. All these events ensured that a calm approach is taken for resolution of the overall problem. Ben-Ami (2006, p.205) agrees that signing of the Oslo Accords in Washington D.C. in 1993 promoted the journey to Palestine’s self-determination. This process strengthened the country’s interest to embrace diplomatic negotiations over guerrilla tactics that would have stopped them from attaining these goals.
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The last significant event that led to the reexamination of goals and methods was the willingness of Palestinians in occupied territories to participate in the two-state negotiations that would have led to their own self-determination. According to the video by Unite4Peace (2007), they realized that the journey to self-determination would be negated in instances where they would have resorted to armed struggle over peaceful negotiations. There was an understanding that there were Palestinians living on their historic land and they had the right for self-determination and their own independence. Israel’s control of Gaza and West Bank did not deter these individuals from agreeing to be part of the two-state negotiations hence leading to their own independence as a nation. Palestinians in occupied territories set the example for the rest of their compatriots hence ensuring their goals are realized at the best time possible. They believed that it would have been easier to be protected in such territories compared to the participation in armed struggle as part of their strategy.
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Was Yasser Arafat an Agent of Change or a Mere Responder to Events?
The question on whether Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, was a change agent or a mere responder to events raises different views among individuals. In the course of trying to find peace for Palestinians, Arafat shifted from being a pariah to a partner in peaceful negotiations.
Arafat was an agent of change and not a mere responder to events. This is exhibited by his activeness in formation of Fatah and the later control of the Palestine Liberation Organization. He was not satisfied with the prevailing opinions and came up with vital strategies that would have ensured everyone accepted the Palestinian course. For instance, Ben-Ami (2006, p. 207) opines that his Fatah party joined hands with PLO and he became the leader of the movement. He was a change agent, as he focused on the shift from armed struggle to diplomatic negotiations. In the period 1973-74, he set the ground for the international recognition of PLO, as the main promoter of the rights of Palestinians. In fact, he got the opportunity to address the United Nations General Assembly in 1974 because of his active role in influencing the changes for the security of his own people. The only way to realize this was through peaceful negotiations that he focused on in his mission.
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More so, Arafat was an agent of change rather than a mere responder to events, as he pushed the PLO to take part in negotiations leading to the Oslo Accords. Accordingly, Israel was only responsible for involving Palestinians from the occupied territories to participate in the negotiations that would have led to their self-determination. However, Arafat did not take this easily, as he played the instrumental role in organization of negotiations between Israel and PLO in the 1991 Madrid Conference. Smith (2012, p. 252) states that this was the first time that open negotiations were held between Israel and PLO, and it led to agreements that would allow Palestinians self-determination over Gaza and Jericho. He also exchanged letters with Yitzhak Rabin, The Israel Prime Minister at the time. In tandem with the video from Unite4Peace (2007), this push is indicative of his desire to insist on change instead of following the decisions that have already been made. It would not have been appropriate for him to follow some of the decisions that Israel had taken with individuals in the occupied states. His zeal to act as a change agent is represented by the fact that he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to give Palestinians independence that had eluded them over a long period.
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On the other hand, opponents could argue that Arafat was not a change agent, but a mere responder to events. They reiterate that he was just a responder to change, as can be seen in his decision to stop attacks against Israel. The intervention of the United Nations Organization ensured that he put an end to terrorist attacks against Israel in 1974. Khalidi (2006, p. 200) asserts that he did not take this decision on his own, but acted under the directions of the United Nations Security Council. He would not have followed these instructions in case he was a true agent of change that Palestinians wanted. It would have been better to maintain the force that the PLO had stood with when it started the push for Palestinian self-determination. Overall, he could have stood the ground in case he was a true change agent.
In conclusion, the end of the Arab-Israel conflict exposed Palestine, as there was no other country to defend its course. This event is significant because it defines explanations for the long-term strained relations between Israel and Palestine. These agreements did not settle the matters, as had been expected. War broke up immediately in 1994 after the Oslo Accord had been signed to recognize both Israel and Palestine. More so, this event is significant because it helps explain occurrences leading to Arafat’s death. It has always been argued that he was killed by Israel with the aim of eliminating him from the picture and continuing with their attacks in Palestine. Nevertheless, Israel has always denied this claim. It directly relates to the long-term conflicts between Gaza and Israel. Israel has had problems with the Hamas accusing it of rapid terrorist attacks on its territory. Both Israel and Gaza have been actively involved in the course of fighting exchanging attacks from time to time. Overall, the change of Palestine’s tactic from armed struggle to diplomatic negotiations is still being felt as most people in Gaza continue to suffer bomb attacks from Israel.
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