MIDDLE EAST EDUCATION

Both Sides of the Story

What is really going on in the Middle East?

The Arab-Israeli Conflict. What are the causes, solutions?

The three Abrahamic religions: differences, similarities

Latest News from the Arabian Peninsula

This page will be updated regularly, and Sami Hussein will be available to come to your school to enlarge on the summary below:

Jerusalem

On May 14th 2018, 70 years after the establishment of the modern State of Israel, the U.S. The U.S. Embassy was opened in western Jerusalem, thereby recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital city. Guatamala did the same two days later, and four European countries have said that they will follow suite.

The Palestinians, who want the capital of their to-be-established State to be in eastern Jerusalem do not accept this. The Palestinians also remember this date as the 'Nakba' (catastrophe) of the Palestinian people, the day that many Arabs living in what became Israel left their homes, settled around the world, and became refugees in neighbouring Muslim Arab countries, where they and their descendants have been kept in refugee camps ever since, They claim the 'Right of Return' to Israel.

Gaza-Israel Border

On Fridays for the past 7 weeks, tens of thousands of Gazans have been gathering at the Gaza-Israel border. Hamas leaders claim that they are innocent unarmed civilians marching for the Right of Return to the homes of their grand-parents in Israel, and against the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. The UN and most world leaders believe this to be the case. Injured Gazans questioned by reporters did not mention the US Embassy move. Israel say that among the civilians who have been organised to go to the border fence, breach it, and kill Israeli civilians, 80-90% of those killed by Israel were Hamas members armed with Molotov cocktails, sling shots, mechanical catapults and other weapons, as well as wire cutters.

On May 14th and 15th, incendiary devices were placed along the border, and kites carrying inflammatory objects were flown into Israel, causing destruction of crops and animals in Israeli fields.. Israel reported on May 14th that two Hamas members arrested after infiltrating into Israel, said that their new instructions, in Arabic, were to supply civilians with tyres to burn (the smoke from this would hide the damage being done to the border fence), give them wire cutters with which to cut the fence and instructions on how to do so, show them how to attach incendiary devices to kites and to send them into Israel. and instructions to 'tear down that border' go to the Jewish villages, and to 'tear out their hearts from their bodies'. (Hamas leader Yahyah Sinwar); to avoid being killed themselves. Maps showing the nearest Israeli villages and towns to the border were placed on social media by Hamas. Israel claims that they reported that each injured participant receives $100 and that Iran is funding the whole project.

Israel has been condemned worldwide for using live ammunition, which killed 63 Gazans and injured 2,500 on May 14th. Israel says that its soldiers were ordered to shoot to prevent infiltration into Israel not to kill, but to aim at the legs This could explain the large number of leg injuries. Independent observers stated that Israel warned the people through social media, phone calls and leaflets, that live ammunition would be used against anyone approaching within 100 metres of the fence, and that Hamas members encouraged children to go to the fence and remove security cameras. A 14 year old boy was injured in this way. Hamas leaders continue to claim that the 'unarmed demonstrators' have been peaceful. Israel says that they were armed' rioters'. On May 16th a Hamas leader announced that 50 of the 63 dead were Hamas operatives, and that it was not a peaceful demonstration.

The world including Israel mourns the unnecessary tragic loss of Palestinian life.

Kurds

The Kurds, who want their own state or autonomous region, and who were the major factor in driving IS out of Iraq and Syria feel that they have been let down by the West.

Iran Deal

US president Trump pulled the US out of the deal with Iran, whereby sanctions were lifted on Iran in return for Iran giving up its plans to develop nuclear weapons. The UK, France and Germany do not want to pull out of the deal. They want to continue to trade with Iran.

Iraq

Iraq has just held elections. Some of those who lost say that there was corruption and rigging of votes.

Lebanon

Lebanon has recently held elections. The result is that Hezbollah, backed and supported by Iran, continues to control Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia

The crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in a meeting with Jewish leaders in the USA said that the Palestinians missed so many chances of peace during the last 40 years, and that they should now come to to peace talks or 'Shut Up'.



Previous Items

Gaza-Israel Border

Organised events have been occurring on the Gaza-Israel border on Fridays for several weeks and Hamas has announced that they will continue until May 7th.

Hamas has said that these are spontaneous peaceful demonstrations by the people of Gaza, demanding their 'right of return' to Israel, which their grandfathers left after the war of 1948-9.

Some Arab journalists report that these events are, in fact, riots, as among the picnicking families are many Hamas members, whose aim is to destroy the border fence, invade Israel and kill Israelis.

There are many photos and videos showing young men throwing Molotov cocktails, burning missiles, and rocks, rolling burning tyres towards the border fence, cutting it and putting explosives next to it. Israel announced that it would use live ammunition against anyone going within a specified distance of the fence. It has killed 32 Palestinians of whom 26 were Hamas fighters and supporters. Hamas claims that they were all unarmed civilians. Fatah (West Bank) has urged Hamas to stop using its civilians as human shields.

Syria

The war in Syria has been going on for over seven years and thousands of civilians have died. Russia and Iran have been helping Syrian President Assad to rid the country of terrorists, and to stay in power against the will of his people. Extremists (IS, Muslim Brotherhood, al-Nusra), and democrats, human rights groups are againstagainst the regime.

The Syrian city of Dhouma was recently attacked by what the West claims were chemical weapons. Over 70 civilians died as a result. The Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad denies that chemical weapons were used in its successful efforts to remove IS and other 'rebels' from the area. International inspectors were not allowed in for several weeks.

Iran, which has declared many times its intention to destroy Israel, has built military installations in Syria. An Iranian drone was recently brought down over Israeli territory. It later was announced that it was carrying weapons and that, had its mission been successful, it would have caused much damage and loss of life in Israel. Israel then sent missiles and damaged an Iranian military installation.

Iranian troops have entered the No Man's Land adjoining Israel, and have launched a drone carry weapons into Israeli territory.

The USA, UK and France sent missiles and damaged three chemical weapons installations in order to send the message that use of chemical weapons is against international law, is immoral and will not be tolerated by the West. It is not known how much damage was actually inflicted. Although international inspectors were later allowed to enter the area, the Syrian regime still continued to deny that they were involved.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman has recently declared his intention of modernising the country, and improving its financial situation. He is taking control even though his father is still alive and is making many changes. He has lifted the ban on women driving, going out without a male escort, or going to football matches. Cinemas are now being built for the first time in the country.. He has made contact with some Western Church leaders, leading to hopes that freedom of religion will now be tolerated in Saudi Arabia.

Yemen

The Yemeni people are suffering terribly from a war which has gone on for several years. Ever since the 'Arab Spring' the Yemenis revolted against their dictator Abdullah Saleh, who was supported by the Saudis, while Iran took the opportunity to advance their own agenda by supporting the Houthi tribes against the replacement of Abdullah Saleh. The Houthis are supported and well trained by the Iranians, fighting the Saudis in Yemen. The Saudis put together a coalition of 31 Muslim countries to fight the Iranian influence in Yemen. (This is actually a fight between Sunni and Shia as both sides use religion to justify their fight).

While the international community know about the abuse of human rights on both sides, the Saudis continue to use western weapons.

USA President Trump visited Saudi Arabia.

January 2018

Iran

Millions of its citizens demonstrated in the streets against their leaders. It was violently put down.

During the last few years, a proxy war is being fought in Yemen between Iran which supports the Houthi tribe, and Saudi Arabia, which employs Pakistani mercenaries.

Syria

President Assad continues his war against ISIS (DAESH) who are controlling civilian areas. His attacks kill vast numbers of his own people, destroy their homes and infrastructure, and prevents humanitarian aid for the suffering people from going in.

Turkish soldiers are in Syria, fighting against the Kurds who have been the West's main ally in fighting ISIS. Turkey wants to control the Muslim world. It says it is fighting ISIS.

Iranian leaders have repeatedly expressed their intention of destroying Israel, and Iranian troops are building military bases in Syria, and are moving near the border with Israel to help facilitate their attacks on Israel.

Extremist militia are fighting for power and control. Each side considers that the other are mercenaries.

Israel

The USA's recognition that Jerusalem is Israel's capital is considered by the Palestinians as the end of the peace process. Israel and the USA consider it a big step towards peace.


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