The Web of Relationship

This text is the Chapter 8 of The Lingering Conflict: Israel, the Arabs, and the Middle East 1948-2011, Brookings, November 2011. It is here published with the permission granted by the Brooking Institution, Washington DC.
The ebb and flow of Israel’s relations with the Palestinians are linked organically to its complex relationship with Arab countries. Broad trends have applied across the region. The Arabs collectively rallied against Israel in 1948, participated in the conflict when it festered and swelled, were devastated by the defeat of 1967, condemned Egypt’s Sadat in 1977 for moving toward peace, and adopted his formula only a decade later. But under the umbrella of unity, there have always been exceptions, rivalries, and tensions within the Arab world—and those differences have applied to relations with Israel. This paper explores the web of relationship between Israel and Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, and Iraq.