To what extent was Israeli foreign policy from 1949 to 1967 only reactive?

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Emilie Sønderup

History HL

October 10th

To what extent was Israeli foreign policy from 1949-1967 only reactive?

In 1949 Israel and the surrounding Arab countries started negotiating armistices after the 1948 war, or the war of independence as the Israelis named it. In the time between this armistice and the ceasefires ending the Six Day War in 1967 Israeli foreign police went from being reactive developing into a more and more active policy.

During the 1948 war around 550-600,000 Arabs fled from Israel (Gilbert, page 47). Around 280.000 of those into The West Bank and became refugees. The following years the refugees made guerilla forces called the fedayeen. The fedayeen groups attacked Israel during the night with the aim of harvesting fields, reunited with family, or to make sabotage. October 14th 1953 Ben Gurion reacted to the fadeyeen attacks with the Quibya raid where 69 people were killed including kids and women. The raid was very aggressive and it was denounced by the US, but it was still part of the reactive foreign policy in Israel, it was a reaction to the continuing fadeyeen raids. Also the Gaza raid in 1955 was an example of the reactive Israeli foreign policy; this raid was retaliation for the Egyptian killing of a Jewish cyclist.

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The first activist move from the Israeli government was the Lavon affair in July 1954, where Lavon the defense minister in Israel behind Prime Minister Moshe Sharett’s back organized a covert action in Egypt. The idea was to bomb the British and American embassies in Egypt, and blame the Egyptians for the attack. This would then prevent the British forces in the Canal Zone from withdrawing. The plot was detected, Lavon dismissed and the Egyptian Jews involved brought to trial. Because of the fact that Israel engage in covert actions without having a concrete reason to justify their actions ...

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