Joelle Hageboutros, Political Science & French and Francophone Studies

Locating the Borders of the Middle East

This thesis identified the factors accounting for stability and instability along Israel’s borders with its immediate neighbors (Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan). The project assessed border policies and realities from the Israeli and Arab perspectives through three historical periods representing border creation, contestation, and consolidation: 1920-1948; 1948-1985; 1985-2015. The discussion assessed the influence of national identity, international, and domestic third parties on border relations. The research showed all four Arab states have generally pursued conciliatory policies towards Israel, while Israel has consistently pursued expansionary policies. This dispels the prevailing myth regarding Arab aggression. Additionally, international third party intervention was not necessarily linked to border stability. These findings contribute to the discussion on the fate of the nation-state today where borders simultaneously matter less and more.