Middle East Report

Essay by mazzarocks October 2007

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Geography Report - Middle EastThe Middle East is the geographic area where Europe, Africa and Asia meet. It is an unofficial and imprecise term but generally consists of the south-eastern countries around the Mediterranean Sea - Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria - as well as Iran, Iraq and the countries on the Arabian Peninsula. Afghanistan, Libya, Turkey, and the Sudan are sometimes included. The difficulty in pinpointing this area is not only due to its geography but also to its culture and ethnicity. Religion also must be added to the mix. Israel's religion is predominantly Judaism whereas the remaining countries named above are Muslim. This area is just one of the political conflicts the United Nations are involved in. Even after several wars, the partition of Palestine into a Jewish State and an Arab State, has not led to peaceful co-existence and still requires the presence of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).

On 29 May 1948, the Security Council called for an end to the fighting and decided that the truce would be supervised by the UN Mediator with the support of military observers. These people soon came to be known as UNTSO and their main task then was to supervise the Armistice Agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbours - Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. Following the wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973, the functions of the UNTSO observers changed and they now act as mediators between the hostile parties and to contain isolated skirmishes, preventing them from escalating into full-scale battles.

In mid-2006 there was an escalation of hostilities by Israeli forces against the Palestinians. Such information is the stuff of news headlines. The effects of the bombing are often hidden. This offensive began with Israeli military bombing the facilities of the...