Israel Recent History Part II

By | December 22, 2021

Despite the massive repression and vigilance put in place by the government of Israel and in particular by the Minister of Defense Israel Rabin, and the relevant costs incurred (in two years, one billion dollars), it was impossible to impose a return to order, and the Unified National Command of the intifāḍa, in agreement with the PLO, he actually managed to change an issue that had dragged on for decades. The price in terms of image for Israel was very high, with lacerations and conflicts in Jewish communities around the world and with the looming prospect of extremists and Israeli settlers willing to do justice to the Palestinians. Nor did the political elections held at the normal deadline on November 1, 1988 bring significant changes: 40 deputies to the right, 39 to Labor, a notable dispersion, especially towards the minor right-wing and religious parties. The formation of a broad coalition government led by Shamir and with Peres at the Ministry of Finance was therefore obvious.

The proclamation of the Palestinian state which took place on November 15 in Algiers by the Palestinian National Council, with the acceptance of all the UN resolutions on Palestine, including that of November 1947 relating to the partition, then confronted Israel alternatives also for the support gained by the PLO on an international scale and for the US intention, under the presidency of G. Bush, to move towards a constructive solution. To try to give an answer to the requests coming from all sides and to try to solve the problem of the intifāḍa, the government approved (May 15, 1989) a peace plan based on the formation of a Palestinian representation through elections to be held in the occupied territories. Despite the questions and protests about the limitations of this plan, an intense, official and unofficial discussion developed between all the parties, which on the one hand led to the sharpening of the contrasts between possibilists and intransigents in the Likud ranks themselves, on the other. it fostered contacts between PLO members and Israeli representatives. For Israel military, please check

The depth of these talks and the extent of the possible consequences led the Israeli army to order the spectacular kidnapping in Lebanon of Sheikh Abd al-Karīm ῾Ubayd, leader of the Shiite movement of the Ḥizb Allāh. This action seemed aimed at forcing the United States to take action of force on the chessboard or to camouflage the developments of the dialogue that had just begun.

At the government level, in the meantime, the possibility of stable agreements with the Labor Party with whom the legislature had begun faded and, especially starting from the ministerial crisis of June 1990, right-wing executives were formed under the leadership of Shamir and with the contribution of minor nationalist groups. The validity of this formula was confirmed during the Gulf War, in particular when Baghdād in January 1991 launched a missile offensive against Israel.

It was in those circumstances that the US intention emerged to impose its global strategy also in Tel Aviv, requiring Israel not to intervene directly in the conflict. This strategy continued in the postwar period, not without bitter conflicts with Tel Aviv, with Washington’s commitment to promote peace dialogue between Israel, the Arab states and the Palestinians. And in fact, albeit without apparent results, the conversations between Israelis, Palestinians not officially linked to the PLO and exponents of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon began with the meetings in Madrid on October 30th.

In December, the United States urged the UN repeal of the resolution that on November 10, 1975 had defined Zionism as a racist ideology, but, hostile to the multiplication of settlements in the territories occupied since 1967, in March 1992 it blocked the guarantees for loans to Israel for 2 billion dollars destined for the absorption of new immigrants, especially from the former USSR.

After the exit from the coalition (January 1992) of the far-right parties opposed to the Madrid peace negotiations, Israel started early political elections. In February Israel Rabin returned to leadership of the Labor Party, while Shamir was confirmed leader of the Likud. Labor won the elections of 23 June by winning 45 seats, while the Likud he obtained 32. The elections saw the defeat of the religious parties. The Labor victory appeared as a harbinger of real détente in the Middle East while Rabin, even before being appointed prime minister, confirmed this optimism by promising elections in the occupied territories and the cancellation of tax breaks for settlers. In August, the peace negotiations reopened in Washington, where Israel said he was ready, in principle, to accept UN resolution 242 which provides for the return of the occupied territories in exchange for peace, and proposed elections generals for rapid self-determination in the West Bank and Gaza, while he proposed to Syria the return of a large part of the Golan Heights, with a buffer zone manned by a UN or multinational force.

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