Enemies of Israel: In the heart of the Middle East, a nation stands resolute, surrounded by both historical significance and contemporary challenges. Israel, a land marked by a rich tapestry of culture and history, has navigated its existence against a backdrop of geopolitical complexities. As we delve into the intricate dynamics of the region, it becomes imperative to examine the entities that, for various reasons, have positioned themselves as adversaries to the State of Israel.
“Enemies of Israel,” aims to shed light on the multifaceted relationships, historical rivalries, and geopolitical tensions that have shaped the narrative of Israel’s adversaries. From neighboring nations to non-state actors, each entity plays a role in the intricate dance of power, ideology, and historical legacies.
Let’s unravel the stories behind the adversaries of Israel and gain insights into the ongoing struggle for stability and peace in this historically significant region.
Enemies of Israel: Nations With a History of Hostility Towards Israel
Numerous nations, along with political and militant factions, have openly declared their enmity towards Israel. Since its establishment as a distinct homeland for the Jewish people in 1948, Israel has consistently faced persistent hostilities, ranging from overt to subtle, from various countries across the globe. A considerable number of these nations pose significant security threats to Israel, openly acknowledging their status as adversaries.
Below, we have curated a comprehensive list of countries that explicitly consider themselves enemies of Israel. Explore the details to identify these nations.
Egypt stands as one of the numerous adversarial nations encircling Israel. The interaction between these two countries has proven intricate and subject to ongoing evolution. Similar to other Arab states, Egypt vehemently rejected the establishment of Israel as a sovereign state on Palestinian territories in 1948. Subsequently, nearly two decades unfolded with Egypt actively opposing this development in a host of adversarial encounters.
A History of War:
Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Egypt has been a historical protagonist in the narrative of Middle East conflicts. The Arab-Israeli wars of 1948, 1956, and 1967 saw Egypt as a key player, with hostilities rooted in territorial disputes and geopolitical tensions. The animosity reached its peak during the Six-Day War in 1967 when Egypt lost control of the Sinai Peninsula to Israel.
Restoration of Relations:
In a historic turn of events, the late 1970s witnessed a remarkable shift in the dynamics between Egypt and Israel. The Camp David Accords in 1978, facilitated by U.S. President Jimmy Carter, led to the signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in 1979. This groundbreaking agreement marked a significant departure from decades of hostility, establishing diplomatic relations and normalizing economic and cultural ties.
While the peace treaty brought a period of relative calm, the two nations have faced challenges in maintaining stable relations. Issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and regional geopolitics have periodically strained ties. In recent years, fluctuations in diplomatic discourse and occasional disagreements highlight the delicate nature of the relationship.
While Iran does not share a direct border with Israel, it stands out as one of the most steadfast adversaries among states hostile to Israel. The historical interaction between these two nations can be delineated into four key phases.
Period of Initial Hostility: 1947-1953
In 1947, during the formation of Israel as part of the British mandate, Iran was among the early nations worldwide to cast a dissenting vote. Additionally, Iran refrained from voting in favor of Israel’s inclusion in the UN in 1949. Despite this, in 1950, Iran became the second Muslim nation to openly acknowledge Israeli sovereignty.
Period of Cold Peace: 1953-1979
The ascent of the pro-Western Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to power as the Shah of Iran in 1953 ushered in a phase of relative peace in Israel’s foreign relations with Iran.
Period After Iranian Revolution: 1979-1990s
The Iranian revolution in 1979 led to the establishment of a staunch theocratic government, with Supreme Leader Khomeini declaring Israel as ‘the enemy of Islam.’ Subsequently, Iran refused to recognize the legitimacy of Israel, leading to the cessation of all diplomatic relations and the closure of embassies.
Period of Open Hostility: 1990-onwards
Following the Gulf War in 1991, Iran openly declared itself as an enemy of Israel. Over the past two decades, both nations have been involved in multiple proxy wars and covert operations against each other. Iran has been accused of supporting and training militant groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah to act against Israel.
Israel’s lengthiest border is situated in the east, where it shares a boundary with Jordan. Following peace agreements in 1994, the foreign relations between these neighboring nations have generally been amicable.
Despite this, tensions have arisen since the Arab Spring revolts of 2011. In 2019, Jordan made the decision to assert its sovereignty over the Naharayim Enclave, a region that had been shared by both countries for the preceding 25 years. Israel strongly opposed this move.
It’s noteworthy that Jordan, aligning with the stance of many other Muslim states, has consistently supported the right of Palestinians to have a distinct homeland.
Turkey holds the distinction of being the first Muslim-majority nation to openly acknowledge and establish amicable foreign relations with Israel. Over several decades, both countries collaborated in military, diplomatic, and financial endeavors.
However, this once-cooperative relationship has witnessed a decline due to the rising tide of nationalism and fundamentalism in Turkey over the past decade. The turning point occurred in 2007 when Turkey openly opposed Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, a significant military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Tensions escalated further when, in 2009, nine Turkish citizens were killed by Israeli forces aboard a freedom flotilla attempting to break the Gaza blockade. In response, Turkish President Erdogan labeled Israel a ‘terrorist state,’ leading to a significant diplomatic and military downgrading of ties between the two nations in 2011.
Pakistan, the sole Islamic nation possessing nuclear capabilities and boasting the sixth-largest army globally, maintains a robust anti-Israel stance despite the absence of a geographical border between them. This hostility dates back to 1947 when Pakistan refused to recognize the legitimacy of Israel. The refusal to establish any form of relationship persists, with Pakistani citizens unable to visit Israel, and the two states lacking diplomatic or any other foreign relations. The prevalent anti-Israel sentiment is widespread across major and minor political parties in Pakistan, stemming from the country’s non-recognition of Israel as a sovereign state in the United Nations.
Involvement in the Arab-Israeli Conflict is also notable. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) engaged Israeli fighter pilots in the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War of 1967 and 1973, respectively. Post the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1973, Pakistan signed a treaty with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to provide military training to PLO fighters in Pakistani institutions.
Additionally, Israel has actively opposed Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program since its initiation in the 1970s. Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, has reportedly undertaken covert operations to impede Pakistan’s nuclear progress. In the 1980s, there were alleged plans for an Israeli attack on the Pakistani nuclear base in Kahuta, and Israel sought India’s assistance as a launch pad for its fighter jets.
Israel, despite its geopolitical challenges, faces threats not only from neighboring nations but also contends with various formidable organizations dedicated to its destruction and elimination. Here are some of the most influential among them.
#1. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
The establishment of the state of Israel, the occupation of Palestinian territories, and the subsequent Arab-Israeli conflict resulted in a significant displacement of Palestinian refugees in the neighboring Arab nations.
In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was established as an overarching entity to represent these displaced Palestinians and advocate for their right to reclaim their homeland. While Israel and its allies later classified the PLO as a terrorist organization, the PLO self-identifies as freedom fighters.
From its inception, the PLO’s manifesto has been to challenge the legitimacy of Israel’s existence, reclaim Israeli territories, and establish a unified nation for Arab Palestinians. The organization gained prominence and momentum under the leadership of Yasser Arafat.
The PLO actively participated in all Arab-Israeli conflicts and conducted extensive guerrilla warfare in Israel throughout the 1970s and 80s. Despite peace negotiations between its leaders and Israel in the 90s, the PLO continues to engage in anti-Israel activities and propaganda.
Hamas, the Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, stands as a radical organization with a firm commitment to the ‘eradication of Israel,’ and it was established by extremist elements in the 1980s.
In 2005, Israel relinquished control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. Subsequently, Hamas rose as a formidable political entity, surpassing the secular Fatah party to establish a government in the strip.
From its inception, Hamas has consistently ranked among the most significant adversaries of Israel, frequently launching missile attacks almost daily. Since 2014, there have been escalating and intense conflicts between Hamas and the Israeli armed forces, reflecting a deepening severity in their engagements. Hamas is attacking today on Israel.
In conclusion, the geopolitical landscape surrounding Israel has been marked by a complex web of historical events, political ideologies, and regional conflicts. Several nations have maintained a consistent history of hostility towards Israel, contributing to the intricate dynamics of the Middle East.
From the initial period of the formation of Israel when regional powers expressed dissent, to the Cold Peace era with Iran, and the evolving relationships with neighboring countries like Jordan and Turkey, the tensions have been multifaceted. The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict has further fueled animosity, with organizations such as the PLO and Hamas actively opposing Israel’s existence.
Despite diplomatic efforts and occasional peace negotiations, the deep-seated animosities persist, impacting not only political relations but also shaping the socio-cultural fabric of the region. As Israel navigates its path in this volatile environment, understanding the historical context and the positions of nations with a history of hostility remains crucial for grasping the broader dynamics of the region. The challenges and complexities faced by Israel underscore the intricate nature of international relations in the Middle East.