Israel is a geopolitical time bomb with more enemies than friends. Israel is a small country surrounded by many big, powerful and hostile enemies. Immediately after the declaration of independence on Friday, May 14, 1948, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) comprising three services: the Israeli Ground Forces, Israeli Air Force, and the Israeli Navy was formed as the sole military wing of the Israeli security apparatus headed by the Chief of the General Staff.
The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel was a pivotal moment that led to a series of wars and conflicts in the region. The surrounding Arab states, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq opposed the establishment of Israel and launched military operations to prevent its existence.
The invasion by Arab states marked the beginning of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the War of Independence. This conflict saw a series of battles and ceasefires, with the Arab states seeking to prevent the establishment of Israel, and Israel defending its newly declared sovereignty. The war ended in 1949 with the signing of armistice agreements, which established the borders between Israel and its neighbouring Arab states.
During the conflict, a significant number of Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes, leading to a refugee crisis that persists to this day. This period is referred to as the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe). Armistice agreements were signed between Israel and its neighbouring Arab states, resulting in temporary ceasefire lines.
Ever since it was formed the IDF has operated on three major fronts—against Lebanon and Syria in the north, Jordan and Iraq in the east, and Egypt in the south and managed to secure Israel’s borders against all odds.
The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel was a pivotal moment that led to a series of wars and conflicts in the region. The surrounding Arab states, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq opposed the establishment of Israel and launched military operations to prevent its existence
Subsequent conflicts, such as the Suez Crisis of 1956 and the Six-Day War of 1967, further shaped the Arab-Israeli conflict and the boundaries of the modern Middle East. Peace efforts and negotiations have taken place over the decades, but a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the conflict remains elusive.
Some of IDF’s notable IDF operations and conflicts include:
Suez Crisis (1956): Israel, in collaboration with the United Kingdom and France, launched an operation to regain control of the Suez Canal, which had been nationalized by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. IDF managed to capture the Sinai Peninsula but was forced Israel to withdraw due to international pressure.
Six-Day War (1967): Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq mobilized more than 250,000 troops for a full-scale invasion, blocked Israel’s access to international waters and expelled UN peacekeeping forces. Israel preempted the invasion and managed to capture the West Bank from Jordan; Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt; and the Golan Heights from Syria. Israel managed to gain control of the Sinai Peninsula, West Bank, Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem. This had a profound impact on the Middle East and its ongoing conflicts.
War of Attrition (1967-1970): Following the Six-Day War, the IDF faced a period of sporadic conflict along the borders with Egypt and Jordan, known as the War of Attrition. It involved artillery duels, air battles, and limited ground operations.
Yom Kippur War (1973): Israel faced a surprise attack from Egypt and Syria on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. The IDF ultimately managed to repel the Arab forces, but the initial surprise attack resulted in heavy casualties.
First Lebanon War (1982): The IDF invaded Lebanon to counter the threat posed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The war eventually led to the establishment of a security zone in southern Lebanon.
First Intifada (1987-1993): The IDF faced a Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which became known as the First Intifada. It involved mass protests, civil disobedience, and clashes between Palestinian civilians and Israeli forces.
Second Intifada (2000-2005): The Second Intifada saw a renewed wave of Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians and security forces. The IDF conducted military operations in response to the attacks.
Second Lebanon War (2006): This conflict erupted when Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers. The IDF launched a major military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon. It was characterized by heavy fighting and missile exchanges.
Gaza Conflicts: The IDF has conducted multiple military operations in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket attacks and hostilities from Hamas and other Palestinian groups. Some notable operations include Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012), and Operation Protective Edge (2014).
In the last 75 years, Israel’s population has grown tenfold. Israel today has a population of 8.5 million people almost 75% of them are Jews. It is a country of immigrants who came to the country without anything in their possession.
Only —Egypt and Jordan – two of the twenty–two Middle Eastern states have signed peace agreements with Israel.
Why Israel has more enemies than friends
There are several reasons why Israel has more enemies than friends.
- Israel was founded in 1948 on land that was part of the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate of Palestine. The establishment of Israel led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, who became refugees. This displacement is known as the Nakba, or “catastrophe” in Arabic. The Palestinians have been fighting for their right to return to their homeland ever since the Nakba. The Israelis have refused to allow the Palestinians to return, arguing that this would threaten Israel’s existence. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been complicated by the involvement of other countries in the region. The Arab states have supported the Palestinians, while the United States has supported Israel. This involvement has made the conflict more difficult to resolve. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has had a devastating impact on the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict has caused widespread death and destruction. It has also led to a deep sense of hatred and distrust between the two sides. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the longest-running conflict in the Middle East and the source of much violence and bloodshed.
- Israel has occupied the Palestinian territories since 1967, and it has been accused of human rights abuses against Palestinians.
- The United States is Israel’s closest ally, and it provides Israel with significant military and financial assistance. This support has made Israel a target of resentment from many Arab and Muslim countries.
- Israel is believed to have a nuclear weapons program, which is a source of concern for many Arab and Muslim countries.
- Israel has been accused of supporting authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, such as the Saudi Arabian regime.
The impact of having more enemies than friends
Israel having more enemies than friends has several negative consequences. It makes Israel more vulnerable to attack. Israel is surrounded by hostile enemies who are determined to destroy it. It makes it more difficult for Israel to make peace with its neighbours.
Iran has been a significant concern for Israel. Tehran has been making hostile statements against Israel and supporting militant groups like Hezbollah. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities has raised alarm in Israel. Hezbollah – a militant Shiite group based in Lebanon and supported by Iran, has posed a significant threat to Israel. Hezbollah has launched attacks on Israeli territory and has grown into a formidable military force in the region.
In the last 75 years, Israel’s population has grown tenfold. Israel today has a population of 8.5 million people almost 75% of them are Jews. It is a country of immigrants who came to the country without anything in their possession. Only —Egypt and Jordan – two of the twenty–two Middle Eastern states have signed peace agreements with Israel
The civil war in Syria has created instability in the region, with potential spillover effects on Israel. The Syrian government has long been in a state of hostility with Israel. Israel faces terrorism threats from various groups, including those from within its borders and from neighbouring regions. Groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad have launched attacks on Israeli civilians.
Several countries in the region do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, and their governments have been openly hostile towards the country. This has contributed to a sense of insecurity in Israel. Israel faces missile threats from various sources, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israel has invested in missile defence systems, such as the Iron Dome, to counter these threats.
Israel is often seen as a bully and an aggressor. This damages Israel’s ability to build relationships with other countries.
Conclusion: What can Israel do?
Israel has been at war for one reason or another. Despite the many challenges, Israelis and Palestinians have engaged in peace talks in the past, and there is a possibility that they could reach a peace agreement in the future. However, any peace agreement would need to address the core issues of the conflict, including the right of return for Palestinians and the status of Jerusalem.
To navigate these security challenges, Israel has developed a robust defence establishment, including a technologically advanced military and intelligence agencies like Mossad. Israel’s security apparatus is one of the best in the world, and it has been successful in thwarting many of these threats. However, Israel remains a vulnerable country, and it faces several serious security challenges.
In addition to the threats mentioned above, Israel also faces several other security challenges, such as cyberattacks, missile proliferation, and climate change. Israel is constantly adapting its security apparatus to meet these challenges.
Israel is a resilient country, and it has overcome many challenges in its history. However, the security challenges that it faces are real and serious. Israel must continue to invest in its security apparatus and work with its allies to counter these threats.
-The writer is a seasoned media professional with over three decades of experience in print, electronic, and web media. He is presently Editor of Taazakhabar News. The views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Raksha Anirveda