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The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: History and Concept Research Paper


Historical Background of the Conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict refers to historical agitation and upheaval between Israel and Palestine over critical issues that characterize their existence as independent and sovereign entities. The struggle for recognition and acceptance as legitimate nations fuels the conflict (Tessler 12). Both countries have recurrent underlying issues that they seek to champion with regard to their relationship and engagement. They seek to entrench their positions, thereby escalating the already volatile situation (Tessler 12). In most cases, people use this term in reference to a long history of upheaval and unrest between Zionists and Arabs in the region. During this period, the region had fallen under British conquest.

Therefore, most people view this conflict as the epicentre of the wider and long running conflict between Arabs and the Israel state. It is important to draw a clear distinction between the two conflicts in order to understand various parametrical thresholds that manifest in each case (Tessler 16). This research undertaking seeks to analyze and evaluate the conflict between Israel and Palestine. It shall look at all aspects and circumstances that highlight various stages and milestones with regard to the conflict. To achieve the above objectives, it is crucial to develop and adopt a historical perspective regarding issues that precipitated the unease between the two state entities. This shall include various acts of commission and omission that played a role in initiation and development of the conflict (Tessler 17).

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is complex and unique because it entails a raft of sensitive issues that require candour, dedication, and goodwill from all parties involved. The complex nature of this conflict has made it difficult for them to find and guarantee a lasting and favourable solution. There have been numerous attempts to secure peace and tranquillity between the two states (Tessler 21). However, this has not materialized because of the historical aspect of the conflict. Historical factors have had a role to play in escalating the conflict. Both states anchor negotiations on ultimate resolution of real and perceived historical injustices.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine traces back to final years of the 19th century (Tessler 22). This period witnessed unprecedented emergence of extremist entities that swore allegiance to Arab and Jewish communities. Both groups struggled to secure independence for their supporters in the region. This precipitated a battle of interests that culminated into a supremacy battle between the antagonists. The opposing interests of these groups led to a full-blown struggle between Israelis and Palestinians. This struggle created ground for a conflict that pitted Israel against the Arab fraternity (Tessler 26).

Another historical aspect of this conflict was the subtle invasion of Palestine by a radical group of Zionists who hoped to assert their influence by creating a Jewish entity within Palestinian territory. This friendly but cunning invasion by Zionists created a state of apprehension and unease among the indigenes of Palestine (Tessler 29). They felt aggrieved by the apparent occupation of their territory by foreigners. This reality precipitated agitation that eventually heralded violence and outright hostility against each other. After Hitler’s ascension to power, many Jews sought refuge in Palestine, thereby escalating tension and hostility. Due to events that followed, there was need for intervention by the United Nations.

They exercised an old institutional practice that allowed a third party to prescribe solutions for a problem in foreign territory (Tessler 32). This practice negated the principle of sovereignty and self-rule. This issue complicated the conflict because both parties felt aggrieved by the mediation process. There was widespread confusion with regard to certain underlying complexities that manifested in the conflict. There were popular sentiments that the United Nations acted under duress from the Zionist movement. After long consultations with stakeholders and other interested parties, the United Nations decided to that Palestine should cede 55% of its territory for creation of a state predominantly comprising Jews (Tessler 35).

They made this decision regardless of Jews being a minority within the Palestinian nation. According to experts, the decision by United Nations led to escalation of the conflict because Palestinians felt aggrieved by the decision articulated by the mediation process. The nature and complexity of the Israel-Palestinian conflict gives credence to arguments that attribute the conflict to historical injustices and realities that characterized relations between the two states (Tessler 38).

There have been numerous attempts to diffuse conflict through mediation efforts by various entities including the United States of America. However, these efforts have borne minimal progress due to opposing interests and coercive stunts of interest groups. One of the most prominent attempts to draft a solution was the Oslo accord that took place in 1993 (Tessler 42). This involved a delegation comprising Israeli and Palestinian negotiators who sought to devise a permanent solution with regard to the conflict.

This convention was monumental because President Arafat gave credence to existence and propagation of the Israel state. In his written presentation, Arafat claimed that Israel and its people had a right to pursue their interests in a serene and free environment guaranteed preservation of their rights and privileges. During the convention, both parties recognized their role and responsibility in enabling peaceful and harmonious coexistence between them. Other efforts to solve the conflict include Camp David Summits and Taba summit (Tessler 47).

The Concepts of Sovereignty and Nationalism

Sovereignty refers to a situation where individual state entities bear authority and willingness to manage internal affairs in absence of external interference. Under this premise, state entities expect other entities to desist from all forms of aggression and undue interference (Handelman 22). Sovereignty is a very important aspect in governance because it accords states a favourable environment to undertake various internal affairs devoid of excessive scrutiny and supervision from external forces. This principle enables countries to uphold and entrench their regional and global positions by articulating issues that have a direct bearing on their positions (Handelman 22).

However, sovereignty requires states to recognize and respect inherent rights and privileges of other states. According to scholars and experts, this school of thought offers room for various considerations that create impetus for action whenever states feel aggrieved with regard to their sovereignty. There are numerous instances where nations have gone to war in order to protect and guarantee their right to conduct internal affairs in absence of interference and external aggression (Handelman 27). All regional and international treaties recognize the universal principle of sovereignty because it forms the pith of nationhood for all independent state entities. On the other hand, nationalism refers to a situation where citizens bear love and recognition for their country to the extent of foregoing their comfort for the sake of its wellbeing and existence. In such cases, individuals are willing to undertake actions that enhance and guarantee progress for their countries (Handelman 29).

The concept of nationalism is very vital because it inspires a sense of patriotism and nationhood among citizens who owe allegiance to a particular state entity. This school of thought impresses upon the superiority of a person’s cultural orientation and essence of nationhood. Under this premise, individuals are willing to engage in undertakings that guide collective duty towards their country. Nationalism also refers to recurrent feelings that characterize desire for self-determination among citizens of a country that experiences external dominance and interference. Such citizens engage in various activities that seek to secure independence from external governance and interference (Handelman 32). Nationalism also embodies all doctrinal inclinations that articulate overall desire for state entities to pursue their ideals and aspirations with regard to issues that affect national interests. However, it is important to appreciate that nations cannot operate in isolation (Handelman 35).

They must forge alliances with other state entities in order to facilitate pursuit of regional and international interests. The Israel-Palestine conflict revolves around the principles of sovereignty and nationalism. Both countries seek to defend and actualize their aspirations and interests regarding preservation and sustenance of their ability to conduct their internal affairs devoid of interference and external aggression (Handelman 39). This makes it difficult for mediators to broker peace because both nations have high regard for their sovereignty and nationalism. In fact, the gist of the conflict lies in individual desire for control over territories that lie within their jurisdiction. Palestinians felt aggrieved by the decision articulated by United Nations during creation of the state of Israel (Handelman 43).

They strive to ensure that Israel does not continue to patronize them within their territorial borders. On the other hand, Israel feels that Palestine has encroached on their territory. They claim that God gave the land to them because they were his chosen people. The issue of territorial boundaries is contentious because it precipitates conflict and animosity between the two state entities (Handelman 47). Both countries struggle to retain and uphold their sovereignty and nationalism through hard line moves that do not complement overall desire for peace and tranquillity in the region.

Observers and experts predict escalation of conflict between Israel and Palestine because both entities have strong sense of nationalism and sovereignty. None of them has willingness to cede ground or alter their positions because of the eternal desire to protect national interests and ability to conduct internal affairs in absence of external interference (Gelvin 65). Evidently, sovereignty and nationalism have a role to play in propagation and sustenance of the conflict. In most cases, state entities find it difficult to compromise on issues that centre on self-determination. The conflict between Israel and Palestine has numerous inherent complexities that characterize the inability to find a lasting and favourable solution (Gelvin 65).

Power and Statecraft in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Power and statecraft are integral components with regard to relations between state entities. It is important for them to recognize the role of such aspects in propagation and sustenance of various national interests. Power refers to various functions that embody national pursuit of interests and undertakings that define the essence of a state entity (Gelvin 68). Power allows states to savour benefits and opportunities that arise through engagement and cooperation with willing entities. Through power, state entities acknowledge their duty and responsibility as political, social, and economic players within the global arena (Gelvin 69).

They strive to secure room for engagement and participation in global affairs through various levels of political and diplomatic endeavours. Whenever states apply power and its related dynamics, there is likelihood for success and progress because they negotiate positions that favour their interests (Gelvin 73). Whenever there is jeopardy of interests, state entities ensure that power plays its role in coercing and offering justification for their position and interpretation of recurrent situations. On the other hand, statecraft refers to various engagements that seek to actualize capabilities that guarantee state entities an opportunity to negotiate and consolidate vital gains with regard to foreign policy and cooperation with other countries. Power and statecraft are important aspects because they facilitate and enhance regional commerce and diplomatic engagements between countries (Finkelstein 34).

In certain instances, state entities form federations that comprise regional partners in order to consolidate efforts towards realization of progress in common areas of interest. The conflict between Israel and Palestine revolves around dynamics of power and statecraft because both countries have authority and jurisdiction over respective territories (Finkelstein 34). They endeavour to guarantee their rights and privileges in relation to engagements with each other in pertinent areas of concern. The boundary dispute exhibits inherent motivations that make it difficult for them to condone external aggression and interference. For instance, Palestine opposes Israel’s occupation of its territory in West Bank (Finkelstein 34). They consider this action as an affront to their authority, sovereignty, and self-governance. Whenever there are peace talks, Palestine articulates its position in context of Israel’s decision to occupy its territory. On the other hand, Israel feels that Palestine continually make unrealistic demands regarding their occupation of West Bank territory.

Their argument alludes to the decision by the United Nations to award them a territory that they consider lawful and reasonable (Finkelstein 38). This is a major area of contention because it involves sensitive aspects of power and statecraft. According to political experts, state entities react whenever they feel threatened or aggrieved on matters that affect nationhood and ability to perform duties and responsibilities devoid of interference. This reality explains why Israel and Palestine continue to engage in grandstanding and hard line negotiation strategies. They do so in attempts to consolidate and enhance their image and demeanour as independent state entities (Finkelstein 44).

The Prisoners Dilemma in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The issues surrounding Israeli-Palestinian conflict are complex and require expertise in order to secure lasting peace. Numerous realities characterize the conflict in context of undertakings and efforts that manifest with regard to resolution of the stalemate (Caplan 54). Lack of political goodwill largely contributes to failure and inability to cede ground during negotiations. The conflict is reminiscent of a prisoner’s dilemma where negotiations suffice as a game of chances. There have been instances where both countries sign accords and fail to honour pledges as articulated in the final draft.

They agree to issues as a means to achieving dubious objectives (Caplan 54). They engage in backstabbing and coercion in order to consolidate their manipulative tendencies. This precipitates suspicion and mistrust between the two state entities. Such machinations are attributable to power brokers who engage in underhand deals that ultimately threaten to derail overall pursuit for peace. Each state entity strives to negotiate a fair deal in disregard of recurrent issues that relate to their opponent (Caplan 57). Such reckless manoeuvres seek to complicate the peace process and ultimately lead to minimal progress. Whenever either party backtracks on their commitment for peace, they disenfranchise their counterpart, thereby causing delays in realization of peace and tranquillity in the region. Realization of peace between Israel and Palestine requires candour, cooperation, and willingness to accommodate each other (Caplan 64).

Works Cited

Caplan, Neil. The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Contested Histories. Newyork: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Print.

Finkelstein, Norman. Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. New Jersey: Verso, 2012. Print.

Gelvin, James. The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War. London: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Print.

Handelman, Sapir. Conflict and Peacemaking in Israel-Palestine: Theory and Application. London: Taylor & Francis, 2011. Print.

Tessler, Mark. A history of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2012. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: History and Concept'. 29 May.

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