A Brief Historical Overview of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the longest and most intensive crises in the world. It has arisen after the declaration of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, and proceeds up to the present time. From the very beginning of the conflict, there was a need for the negotiation process between the Israelis and Palestinians; however, the dialogue between them has been introduced relatively recently. Thus, having endured several decades of wars and confrontations, the main opposing parties of the Arab-Israeli conflict were involved in the difficult and contradictory peace process. Over the past few years, there were extremely important events that created rather favorable circumstances for the conflict arrangement or temporary easing of the intensity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The purpose of this research paper is to consider the various components of the conflict in the Middle East between the Israeli State and the Palestinians and determine its possible resolutions.
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Any conflict is based on the “egalitarian discourses such as ‘freedom’ and ‘equality’ – the same discourses used to justify the legal formalism of liberalism (e.g. natural law). These discourses are often employed to justify military action against already marginalized groups”. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is determined by the claims of two nations for the same territory – Palestine. The historical links, the features of the cultural heritage and language originality represent the possible arguments, which are put on the scales to prove unprovable and define who has more rights to this land. The military opposition supports the arguments of both sides.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, giving way to the Israeli-Arabic contradictions and remaining their element, systemically and structurally differs from the attitude of Israel and the Arab states. It is not the interstate conflict, characterized by the strongly expressed ethno-territorial and political components, except the main reasons of the Israeli-Palestinian opposition. However, regardless of the nature of war conflict, it brings harm to the masses as represents organized crime. According to Mills, “the personal problem of war, when it occurs, maybe how to survive it, or how to die in it with honor; how to make money out of it; how to climb into the higher safety of the military apparatus; or how to contribute to the war’s termination.”
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Structurally, the conflict is asymmetric. The parties, which are comparable neither by power nor by the influence or mobilization opportunities, participate in it. The asymmetry of the conflict was revealed by the fact that both the regular army and the irregular armed groups, representing the military branches of different national movements and parties, are involved in the conflict. As a rule, the irregular armed troops and formations are much more irresponsible. Being deprived of heavy equipment and powerful weapons, they adopt terrorist and diversionary methods. At the same time, the participation in the conflict of the modern regular Israeli army cannot but lead to the excess of limited control and the unjustified victims.
The Causes and Consequences of the Conflict
The historical roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are deep, and its emergence in the Middle East in 1948 when the Arab-Israeli contradictions developed into the open struggle was determined by the preceding period. At the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century with the claims to Palestine, when it was a part of the Ottoman Empire, Zionism – the movement of the Jews living in Europe – provoked the negative moods in the society. The emergence of Zionism was in many respects caused by the need for the unification of all Jews in the face of the numerous anti-Semitism acts all over Europe.
David Barash and Charles Webel state that the psychological essence of war is revealed in the intensive hostile relationships of two or more groups. From the very beginning of the conflict, the Arab-Jewish contradictions reflected not only the struggle for the territory, but also for history, myths, traditions, and religion connected with this land. In other words, a small area became a marker of the national identity both of the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs. The struggle for “primogeniture”, in an ethnopolitical context is much stronger than the standard logic. The major role is played by symbols, emotions, but not by reason.
At the present, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict includes four parallel processes, including the peace-making negotiations between the Arabs and Israel, the tendency of the gradual destruction of the state of Israel, the strengthening of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the process of the global opposition of the Muslim civilization to the rest of the world. In the best traditions of modern political correctness which is not allowing operating with such concepts, all these processes were replaced with a synonym – “peace process.” The conflict has not been solved yet. Neither the problem of refugees nor the territorial disputes are settled.
The Role of the States
Israel is the Bible country with a 4000-year history. Located in the tiny territory in 20 thousand square kilometers on a joint of Europe, Asia, and Africa, Israel represents the meeting place of the western and eastern civilizations. At the same time, Israel is the zone of the geopolitical instability located on the threefold confessional borders of the cultures. The relationships between civilizations always potentially conflicting as the value and belief compose the cornerstone of their distinctions, which are more difficult to reconcile than the economic and political interests.
Palestine is the historical region in the Middle East. Initially, the Palestinians were categorically against the creation of the state of Israel in the territory of Palestine. The radical political and terrorist movements, as well as the governments of some countries, essentially deny the right of Israel to exist. The opponents and critics consider that the policy of this state in the occupied territories turned into racism and apartheid, gradually depriving the Palestinians of their land and roughly violating their rights.
The Role of Powerful Individuals
The fact that the discussed conflict has been existing for so long time can be explained by its unique status given by the international public. The concrete historical situation, human characteristic of the national leaders, public opinion, and size of the possible economic benefit define the policy of the certain countries during particular periods of the increase or reduction of the level of the Arab-Israeli opposition.
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The presidency of Barrack Obama extremely amplified the international pressure upon Israel. However, the entire military-economic power of Israel is not able to prevent the adoption of the agreements infringing on the interests of the Jewish state. Under the present global political conditions, the U.S. interest in Israel is significantly lower, and the American initiatives in the field of peaceful settlement create more problems than advantages to Israel. The role of Obama in the conflict is essential, as he tries to impose the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “two states for two peoples” on Jerusalem. Under the pressure from the side of Obama, the prime minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu declared the recognition of the principle “two states for two peoples,” meaning the de-facto recognition of independent Palestine in its present borders though limited by a number of severe conditions. The main conditions included the demilitarization of the new state and the recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.
The Israeli-Palestinian problem represents the classical example of the conflict which cannot be solved by the forces of its participants. In particular, the international community is responsible for the settlement of the conflict. The regional economic confederation is one of the possible resolutions to the discussed conflict. It provides the two-stage process in which the national self-determination does not depend on economic viability. Such a process will allow neutralizing its consequences, compensating the territorial concessions by the social and economic benefits for the Palestinians. Unlike the principle “two states for two peoples” offered by Barack Obama, which does not solve the main problems of the conflict, the two-stage approach is focused on the restoration of the trust, economic development, and formation of civil society. Therefore, the first stage includes the creation of the Palestinian state near Israel, as the Palestinian requirement about self-determination is the main cause of the conflict. The second stage represents the establishment of the regional confederation.
After the formation of the State of Palestine, the international community will render assistance to the creation of the regional confederation including Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Over time, Egypt and other countries can join the confederation. The key moment of this approach is the right of any citizen of these countries to live and work in any place within the borders of the confederation. It will allow ceasing the isolation of the Palestinians and distributing the burden of the economic responsibility on the whole region instead of overwhelming the small states with the responsibility which they cannot assume. Moreover, the problem of refugees would be solved. Thus, the confederative decision does not require the termination of the occupation; it would simply neutralize it.