Essay Questions





Essay Questions

Question 1:

Britain had a high desire to control a section of Palestine after the First World War. However, such would contradict the terms and conditions provided in the Sykes-Picot. This agreement made in 1916 provided for international control of the Ottoman Empire after its defeat to the Triple Entente. British success in the ottoman provinces such as Palestine played an important role towards influencing the French to take part in the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. A Jewish state was formed because of this agreement on June 1917. In addition, there emerged the issue of the Balfour Declaration on November 2 1917. The Balfour Declaration enhanced the agreement between the Allies in dividing the Ottoman Empire. This declaration was later integrated into the Treaty of Sèvres, established between the Allies and the Ottoman Empire after the war.

Such agreements have formed the current boundaries that were established in the Ottoman Empire and its Arab provinces. The aim of the Triple Entente (Britain, Russia and France) was to defeat the Central Powers, which was inclusive of the Ottoman Empire. A meeting held in the year 1920 at San Remo saw Britain, Japan, France, United States and Italy that made up the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers deliberate on their respective mandates in the Middle Eastern territories in the defunct Ottoman Empire after it was defeated by the Allies. This meeting was the point of birth of Israel.

It is evident that the Balfour Declaration brought about the emancipation of the Arab nations or provinces from the Ottoman rule. Hence, the Allies played a significant role towards the freedom of the Arab nations from Turkish rule. It is assumed that if the Ottoman Empire and the other members of the Central Powers had won the war, the Arab nations would be subjected to Ottoman rule rather than self-rule as independent states with the exception of Palestine. Palestine considered itself as part of Syria with its identity influenced by it interactions with the Arab states and the threats of Zionism. A Palestinian identity is attributable to the presence of a Jewish state given that Palestine considered itself as part of Syria.
Question 2:

Iran has a relatively complex political system that is headed by the president. The presidential office is the highest elective position or post in Iran whereas the office of the Supreme Leader is the highest office of an un-elected official. Iran is a predominantly Persian ethnic state with a small number of Shiite Muslims, which makes it an outcast among its Arab and Sunni neighbors in the Middle East. Israel is also considered as an outcast in the Middle East given that it is the only religious and ethnically Jewish state in the Middle East. Such ethnic and religious factors have had a large influence on the development of political systems in the two countries.

The elective positions in Iran’s political system include the president, members of cabinet, assembly of experts and parliament. Other un-elective and influential positions and bodies in Iran’s political system include the armed forces, head judiciary, the expediency council, the guardian council and the supreme leader who is the most powerful unelected official in Iran. On the other hand, Israel develops its government solely parliamentary democracy. The Prime Minster assumes the position of the head of government through a multiparty system. The executive powers of the country are exercised through the government whereas legislative powers rest with the Knesset. The Knesset is tasked with passage of all laws in the country and the election of the Prime Minister and President, with the latter being a ceremonial position. The judiciary is independent from interferences by other bodies such as the executive and legislature.

Iran and Israel have similar political systems in the sense that they both have provisions for religious influences in their political processes. The Knesset was formed in accordance with the Jewish traditions. It refers to the great synagogue or assembly that was traditionally comprised of 120 sages, scribes, and prophets. On the other hand, Iran has an influential body similar to the Knesset named the Guardian Council, which is considered as the most powerful entity in Iran.

Such strong political bodies in both Iran and Israel provide an avenue for formation of rigid policies towards domestic and foreign interactions. The Guardian Council is made up of conservatives who have a large influence in legislative activities that are initiated by parliament. New laws are developed by parliament and approved by the Council if they are deemed fit in accordance with the traditions of Iran as a Shiite Muslim country. Israel develops its policies based on its interactions with its neighbors to ensure maximum benefits for its people in terms of security and economic prosperity.

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