History of The Arab–Israeli Conflict - Gulf War of 1990-1991

Gulf War of 1990-1991

The Gulf War, 1990–1991, began with the Iraqi invasion and annexation of Kuwait and did not initially involve direct military engagement with Israel. An international coalition led by the United States which included Arab forces was assembled to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. To draw Israel into the confrontation and thereby make it difficullt for Arab regimes to remain in the coalition, Iraq launched 39 Scud missiles on Israeli cities and on Israel's nuclear facilities near Dimona. However, under strong pressure from the US, which feared direct Israeli involvement would threaten the unity of the coalition, Israel did not retaliate against Iraq and the multinational coalition ousted Iraqi forces from Kuwait. During the war, the PLO and King Hussein of Jordan supported Iraq's invasion of Kuwait (Yasser Arafat had received $100 million from Saddam Hussein).

The defeat of Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War "was a devastating blow to ... the Palestinians." Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and other Persian Gulf Arab monarchies then expelled just under 400,000 Palestinian refugees and withdrew their financial support from the Palestinian cause due to the Palestinians' support of Saddam Hussein. It was this political environment that allowed for the PLO to begin talks with the United States and Israel.

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