The purpose of this article
is to provide a realistic framework for understanding the reality of the
Middle East and, in particular, the Arab-Israel conflict. No attempt is made
to suggest solutions. Rather, the goal is to present an accurate picture of
the true nature of the conflict and the politics and passions of the region.
The author has found that the vast majority of people outside the Middle
East who concern themselves with the region – media persons who report,
pundits who comment, politicians and statesmen who initiate actions – are
abysmally ignorant of the true character of the stage upon which the drama
is being played.
It must be understood that
the so-called Palestinian issue is not the root cause of the Arab-Israel
conflict and Middle East violence.
To understand the real nature
of the conflict, it is not necessary to reach back into the minute details
of history. There is enough information available in broad outline to paint
an accurate picture of the Middle East today.
Since the seventh century and
the establishment of Islam, long before the creation of the State of Israel,
the Middle East has been the scene of inter-Arab and inter-Moslem conflicts.
In particular, since the beginning of the 19th century and the active entry
of the European powers onto the Middle East stage, the endemic violence has
taken on new and international dimensions.
No realistic proposal for
resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict or for creating a more democratic and
peaceful Middle East can ignore the manner in which the present situation
came about. Today's harsh reality can only be understood against the
background of more than a millennium of history, and 200 years of political
and military interference by the European powers and, more recently, the
certain basic facts are clearly understood can practical solutions be
proposed. The exposition is not exhaustive; it does not completely describe
the phenomena discussed. The purpose is to present 13 basic facts as briefly
and broadly as possible to provide background. A limited number of sources
are quoted to provide a basis for the reader to delve further while, at the
same time, not converting this article into a purely academic dissertation.