The reason I have not been posting for the past two weeks is that I have begun a class at the University of Victoria on the politics of the Middle East. I would like to ask my readers’ opinions on my research paper proposal. This is part of my mark and it is due on Monday, July 20th. I am asking for advice on the structure of the proposal, the proposed structure of the essay, the questions I am asking and any sources you can think of that may give me interesting perspectives on the subject. And if you can’t help with any of those, what do you suggest as a good title? Here is my proposal.
For my research paper, I will attempt to ascertain to what extent the Six Day War has shaped Israel’s official relations with Egypt, Syria, Jordan and the United States.
Middle East scholars agree that the Six Day War was a momentous occasion for the region, with ramifications far beyond the capture of territory. Perceptions of threats to security in the Middle East, including to Israel’s very existence, have been radically altered. Another way of framing this research question might be, what has happened since June 10, 1967, that has affected relations between Israel and its once most belligerent neighbours, and its now most loyal ally?
To answer this question, I will need first to determine the direct consequences of the Six Day War and then draw conclusions about what they have lead to. For the purpose of this paper, the term “official relations” means Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian and American government and military positions, decisions and actions that have influenced Israel, and vice versa. Some events that will feature prominently in this paper are the Yom Kippur War, the Camp David summit and peace accords, the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, perceptions of threats and border issues.
Secondary questions therefore include, did Israel’s acquisition of the Sinai lead to its peace accord with Egypt? How have leaders such as Anwar al-Sadat, Hafez al-Assad and Hussein bin Talal affected official relations? How has official blame for losing the war soured Israeli-Arab contacts and negotiations? How have pride and shame at the Six Day War’s outcome affected prospects for peace?
Though Saudi Arabia and Iraq played roles in the conflict, they were not humiliated in the way Egypt, Syria and Jordan were. My assumption is that their relations with Israel have been less affected than those of the countries on Israel’s periphery, and as a result will not be delving deeply into their relations with Israel. This paper will address the USSR’s influence in the region after the Six Day War but, as a defunct entity, Israel no longer has relations with it, and it is not central to this paper. The United States, on the other hand, has increased its strategic presence in the Middle East and its relations with Israel have affected its prospects for peace with its neighbours, for better or worse.
Finally, I will not be addressing terrorism, Jewish settlers or Palestinian refugees to any great extent, because they concern nonstate actors and thus are not directly related to the question I wish to answer.
In order to understand the Six Day War’s influence on Israel’s international relations, I will divide my essay into the following sections (which may change before the essay is complete:
1) The direct consequences of the war. This is the essential first step to knowing what this paper should be analysing. I will introduce perspectives on the war’s results.
2) Pride and shame. Pride among Israelis and shame in Egypt, Syria and Jordan have had consequences for official relations in the Middle East. This section may touch on public sentiment (including American Jewish influence on Israel) but will focus on interpreting Israeli and Arab leaders’ decisions since the war.
3) War. Interstate conflicts of various types involving Israel and its neighbours have arisen since 1967. How much did the outcomes of the Six Day War lead to such conflicts?
4) Peace. How effective have Security Council resolutions, the land for peace proposal and high level negotiations been in reducing the risk of war between Israel and Egypt, Syria and Jordan? Has the United States’s relationship with Israel reduced or increased the risk?