The first source which will be evaluated in depth is “The Israel-Soviet/Russian Relations” an article published in the Lebanese Army Command, April 2004. The origin of this source is valuable considering it comes from the Lebanese Army whom are hostile towards the Israeli state, thus an indication of a different perspective. Furthermore, the publication of this source, 2004, came after the start of the Lebanese-Israeli conflict which began 1948. This is valuable due to light shed on reason for hostility by Lebanon to Israel as well as a more ideal analysis on Soviet/Russian relations as the publication includes a comprehensive range of sources dating back to the time of the cold war.
However the origin is limited as the publication comes from a article directed towards the Lebanese public, thus could be considered bias in favor of the Lebanese perspective against Israel. The purpose of the document is directed towards the Lebanese Citizens in order to gain the support of the citizens and to explain how “Bolsheviks were opposed in principle to Zionism in every shape a form”. This is valuable for it explains the content regarding the Soviet relations with Zionist movements while allowing connections to made for historians. However the fact that the author has covered decades of content of the Soviet Union and the Jewish community of Palestine limits its value to a historian studying within a shorter period of time.
The Second source evaluated will be an excerpt on “How the USSR planned to destroy Israel in 1967”, published September 2003. The origin of this source is valuable because it was published in the Meria Journal, Middle East Review of International Affairs thus determining Soviet relations in regards to Middle Eastern countries referencing several perspectives. Additionally the date of the excerpt, 2003, indicates is is a valuable source for information on Soviet instigation in 1967 around the time of the cold war. However the date is also a limitation as the source only references that time period rather than dating back to the earlier years of the cold war suggesting there may be some information looked over thus it is likely there is a failure of extensive analysis. In terms of origin, the source within itself can be a limitation as it is a digest of media and significant interviews. The excerpt cites numerous sources to show how “the USSR would intervene to support the Arab side against the “aggressor.
“” The purpose of the document is to show ideas on how the USSR instigated the war in 1976. The address portrays valuable insight on the Soviet military and governmental plans as well as “deliberate disinformation, part of a plan approved at the highest level of Soviet leadership”. However limitations are suggested through the obvious idea shown that such a matter may be conspired during the time of the cold war.
Section 2: InvestigationOn May 17, 1948 the Soviet Union became the second country, after the United States to legally give de jure recognition to the jewish state of Israel. The conflict between Israel and the Arabs is one of the most profound and protracted which took place in the middle east during the twentieth century. The origins of the conflict date back to the end of the nineteenth century when the Zionist movement had the idea of building a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. It is argued by historians of the engagement of the USSR and US being the most prominent reason of the Arab-Israeli War, through three pivotal moments in the region’s recent history; The Six Day War of 1967, October War of 1973 and Palestinian Civil War of 1948. Consider a conducted study during the period 1955-1967 by Fawaz Gerges comes to a conclusion: “the superpowers were rarely able to impose their will on the smaller states of the Middle East” (Gerges 6).
However it cannot be stressed enough the need for the Super Powers for diplomatic support, and economic as well as militaristic aid. Yet no account of the Arab-israeli wars’ origins are to be complete if disregarding the role played by the Superpowers. Similar, to cases of many global clashes, the Six Day War of 1967 was built on foundations of several previous issues. This assurley began when the Soviet Union became allies with both Syria and Egypt following the Suez debacle, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Soon after a defense treaty between Egypt and Syria was formed as if one country declared war on Israel the other would get involved. Soviet-Israeli relations lessened, due to political differences, leading to the deviation of support by the Soviets for Syria during the numerous clashes between Syria and Israel along the Syrian-Israeli border (Laron p168). However, the main problem followed the closing of the Tirant Straints to Israeli ships, (Bose 92) by Egypt after receiving a report of the gathering of Israeli troops along the Syrian border, (Golan 58) later disproved by the Egyptian President, Nasser.
The role played by the USSR between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries is highly debated amongst scholars. Many argue of the involvement of Moscow in attempt to further its position in the area, as well as the Soviet’s intent to perseu military presence in the Middle East (Golan 59). The Six Day War gave evidence to the involvement of the USSR linking it to reason on the grounds of the Arab-Israeli War.
In Contrast, there is, although little, evidence suggesting that the Superpowers hadn’t in fact affected the overall cause of the war and did not particularly instill such ideological perspectives. It may be possible to conclude that it is not explicitly true to suggest that the Superpowers had much involvement. The Palestinian refugee crisis and Israel’s failure to cope with the manner accordingly led to perturbation.In fact, “the powers simply did not comprehend the volatility of the Arab Israeli conflict”, or, “the propensity for escalation on both sides” (Golan). For this reason, it can be said that the standpoints by these countries were rather regionally generated. In fact, it is true that the sectarian conflict is attributed to the rise of Zionism, in addition to Arab nationalism in the 19th century. The peak of the war eventually shifted into the Palestine Civil War of 1997-98 which broke out after the British mandated Partition Plan for Palestine. Historians mark May 1948 the beginning of the Arab-Israeli War ending British Mandate and the birth of the state of Israel.
Once the war ended Israel gained over sixty percent of the occupied land originally proposed to the Arab State and other territories of the Palestinian Mandate were taken control by other Arab countries, nothing was left for the Arab Palestinians (Cragg). Thus the Palestinian Civil War could be argued was caused by more than just the involvement of the Superpowers as religious, nationalistic and bilateral expedition to the expansion of surrounding countries also took part in the rise of the Arab-Israeli War. The war of 1948 not only established a Jewish State, and thus redrew geographical boundaries of the state, but also,resulted in the displacement of many palestinians, whose cause would be embodied by resistance movements, specifically, Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO). This provides the factor of the 1967 war, which contrasts to the interference of the USA or USSR. The PLO’s leader, Yasser Arafat, led multiple border attacks against Israel immediately preceding the Six Day War, contributing to the already escalating tensions. The Palestinian Cause was embraced by Arab Nationalists, and was crucial in the alliance with the surround Arab countries.
The result of this period is littered with promises of avenging Palestine. Gamel Abdul Nasser showed fidelity in this, famously declaring, “We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand. We shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood” (Walt 205).
As for the Soviets, there are several controversies which can be said that pushed the Arab nations to war. For example, May 13, 1967 a Soviet parliamentary delegation, told Egyptian leaders of the concentration of thirteen Israeli brigades along the Syrian border in preparation for an assault within a few days (Gelpi 136). Professor Galia Golan, a historian of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, suggests that Nasser knew such information was false arising suspicion of Soviet encouragement of the movement against Israel. Additionally, Moscow’s refusal to co-operate with the American efforts to allow for UN forces to return to the Egyptian borders, which were asked to leave by Nasser, also proves that in fact waging war (Yehuda 67) It is thus feasible that Cold War interference of the Soviet Union would indeed affect the overall outcome or the war, and justify the aggressive Israeli response. In fact, the USSR further increased their involvement on diplomatic front when joint integration was proposed against France, Britain, and Israel (Yehuda 54)The role of Superpowers is considered alongside two other factors,- the Arab-Israeli conflict and inter-Arab relations and is justifiably understood why the Middle East is prone to violence and war. It is clear, that to an extent, both the US and USSR indeed intervened in the Arab-Israeli War, igniting the fire which did branch due to other factors. On a final note, the thesis of this investigation has been clearly introduced, and assurley represented the Middle Eastern Wars with justification through an evaluation of sources.
The Arab-Israeli Wars were the result, to an extent of the intervention of the Superpowers through the twentieth century. Section 3: ReflectionThe topic presented discusses the extent of the involvement of the superpowers during the Arab Israeli crisis between the years 1945 -1991. In my investigation I have used and compared various methods used by historians including evaluating sources used by different authors. I compared many author’s perspectives and used multiple mediums, such as print sources, databases, textbooks and interviews.I checked the sources to verify their validity and found that several of them were especially those I found from Universities. When examining the the authors backgrounds, I checked both publication dates and where they were from to confirm their experiences and perspectives therefore the bias present in their works. Upon extensive research it was made clear that the main limitation presented are the listed sources being mainly Pro-Israel. The sources which have been used come from a recent time period which thus be more viable as they have not been altered through time as other historical topics may have been.
However historians may argue of the sources being inadequate as information has not been as evaluated as possible since the information is fairly recent and is only now been understood. Other challenges facing the authors include having difficulty to find the right information which support their argument and narrow the scope of their research. I too, experienced similar problems. Beginning my research I found it difficult to put full blame of one country for the Arab Israeli war, and abide by documents to support it, in which case I phrased the question to a “to what extent” allowing me to argue the question. Although I was able to find extensive research, I found that I had too much. I believe that historians too have trouble with this as well. I found that I had trouble focusing on several arguments when it is needed to focus on one and find information which back that up.
I was able to find a main argument which revolved around my body paragraphs and adequate support them with the research which I found. Although the process was difficult, and narrowing my argument and topic proved to be challenging, when I finally selected the best information I learned from this experience how to improve my research skills for future means.