Today in Middle Eastern history: the Camp David Accords (1978)

A few days ago we passed the anniversary of the Oslo I Accord, US President Bill Clinton’s attempt to foster a durable Israeli-Palestinian peace accord that turned out instead to be a lopsided, unworkable framework that’s fostered nothing but many years of failure and frustration. Today we mark the anniversary of Oslo’s closest antecedent, the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Camp David Accords (1978)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Six-Day War begins (1967)

Today is the anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War, Israel’s militarily decisive but politically confounding rapid defeat of armies in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria (Iraq and Lebanon were involved as well) that has done as much as any other single event to help shape the modern Middle East. Your perspective on how the war started … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Six-Day War begins (1967)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Sabra and Shatila massacre (1982)

Of all the atrocities that took place during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, and of all the atrocities that have been blamed on the Israeli Defense Forces, or on American meddling in Middle Eastern affairs, over the past several decades, what happened in the Sabra neighborhood of west Beirut and the neighboring Shatila refugee camp between September … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Sabra and Shatila massacre (1982)

Politicizing Ethnic Cleansing

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video on YouTube. A video that may shock, anger, and possibly horrify you. Here it is, and please don't say I didn't warn you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ1BltDU4iM Oh wait, no, that was a campaign ad from last February. Still, horrifying. This was last week's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8CUFSHB114 Netanyahu's attempt … Continue reading Politicizing Ethnic Cleansing

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Lebanon War begins (1982)

The 1982-85 Lebanon War can also be treated as the third phase of the 1975-90 Lebanese Civil War, following its first (the Lebanese National Movement and the PLO against the Christian Phalanges) and second (the Phalanges against the intervening Syrian army and the PLO against Israel) phases. But as it does involve a discrete event—the invasion … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Lebanon War begins (1982)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Faysal-Weizmann Agreement (1919)

As World War I was wrapping up, and the Ottoman Empire was collapsing, the question of what to do with all that soon-to-be-former Ottoman land loomed large. Most Ottoman territory outside of Anatolia was predominantly Arab, and the 1916-1918 Arab Revolt had done much to advance British war aims in the Middle East, so the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Faysal-Weizmann Agreement (1919)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the First Intifada begins (1987)

In contrast with the Second Intifada, which then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon deliberately provoked when he and 1000 Israeli police officers marched on to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in September 2000, the First Intifada ("popular uprising") began almost by chance. On December 8, 1987, an Israeli Defense Forces truck crashed into a line of cars stuck at the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the First Intifada begins (1987)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Balfour Declaration (1917)

It was on November 2, 1917, when British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour sent a relatively brief letter to Walter Rothschild that would wind up becoming one of the most consequential letters in modern Middle Eastern history. If you’d read it at the time, you probably wouldn’t have envisioned the importance it would come to … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Balfour Declaration (1917)