The Arab-Israeli Conflict

November 2, 2011

Political Theory, Uncategorized


The Arab-Israeli Conflict has been an issue of concern dating back to pre-modern times. However, it has not escalated to this level for quite some time. Arab leaders across the world have publicly denied Israel’s right to existence, while simultaneously threatening the Jewish people. Hassan Nassralla, Secretary General of Hezbollah, the militant group gaining traction in Lebanon, has made such recent virulently anti-Semitic statements as: “Our problem with them (the Israelis) is not that they are Jews, but that they are occupiers who are raping our land and holy places.”  Earlier in the decade, he said, “If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide,” and, “If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli.”  

Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that governs the Gaza Strip, espouse anti-Semitism at the core of their charter. Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, said this after the killing of Osama Bin Laden: “The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth, because they have displayed hostility to Allah.”  Another quote from a different Hamas leader: “Israel will pay a heavy price for its crimes against the Palestinians. Israel’s actions enhance our determination to pursue the path of resistance through all means available. … [Israel is] committing a holocaust as the whole world watches and doesn’t lift a finger to stop it.”  From the beginning, Israel’s statehood has always been an issue of contention. In this blog post I will show what is at stake with this conflict, and then illustrate how this topic relates back to topics we brought up in class such as pluralism and identity.

Occupation, historical injustice, and apartheid: Each of these words is commonplace in books, newspapers, and editorials regarding the Israeli Government and Defense Forces. However, how could Israel be guilty of occupation in its own rightful homeland? How could Israel be guilty of historical injustice when it has every moral, legal, and historic right to all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea? And how could Israel be guilty of apartheid when Arab citizens are granted the same rights as other Israeli citizens without discrimination of race, sex, or creed?

Unfortunately, critics of Israel have always had a habit of misconstruing facts. The typical anti-Zionist narrative reads as follows: a bunch of Jews from Poland, Germany, Russia, France, and a bevy of other foreign countries came to Palestine to escape persecution and to actualize their national aspirations. In so doing, they displaced the native Palestinians-a typical act of European colonialism and western imperialism in the Middle-East. The Palestinians are indigenous to the region and the Israeli’s are a white colonialist occupier. This is not what happened. As a matter of fact, the Jewish people are an indigenous Middle-Eastern people.  Before 1948, the Israelites were the last people to enjoy sovereignty in the land of Israel, until 70 CE, when the Romans destroyed their temple, burned their cities, and expelled much of their population to the Diaspora, as the Torah (or Bible) shows. Every conquering kingdom thereafter ruled it as part of a larger empire, from the Byzantines, to the Crusaders, to the Ottomans. It is typical of anti-Zionist rhetoricians to say that the Jews should leave “Palestine” and establish a homeland elsewhere. But after studying the dispiriting narrative of Jewish History, just about anyone with a brain would conclude that “elsewhere” didn’t work out quite so well for the Jews. They were expelled from nearly every country in Europe, regularly massacred by libelous Christian anti-Semites, and systematically murdered by the Nazi regime. But they never lost hope. As a matter of fact, a vital part of Jewish liturgy is prayer to return to Jerusalem, the Jewish national capital. After thousands of years, enduring some of the most disturbing episodes of genocide, persecution, and expulsion, the Jews finally returned and established a sovereign government in the land of Israel. The Palestinians are not a nation. Palestinian nationalism surfaced, for the first time, between the two World Wars in response to Zionist immigration and settlement.

Not only have Israel’s critics had this habit of miscomprehending facts in the past, but they are also doing the same now. In the article Israel and the Apartheid Slander, Richard J. Goldstone describes why Israel is viewed as pursuing apartheid policies, and why this accusation is wrong. The definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute is as follows: “Inhumane acts … committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” The thought that this exists in Israel is ridiculous. Apartheid existed in South Africa, where blacks did not have the right to vote, hold public office, use “white” toilets or benches etc.
In Israel, nothing even close to this exists. Israeli Arabs account for 20% of the Israeli population. They hold public office, occupy high positions in the Knesset, are treated as equals, and have the same exact laws as every other Israeli citizen. Looking at this objectively, there is simply no way to believe that apartheid exists in Israel.

Many of Israel’s critics- and even some of its supporters- subscribe to the imperative of Palestinian statehood or a “two-state-solution.” However, few of them acknowledge the fact that a two state solution has already been perpetrated. The first state was Israel; the second was Jordan. Jordan was a river, not a country. Transjordan refers to the territory to the east of the Jordan River. It was designated by the British Mandate and the League of Nations to be an Arab state or part of a confederation of Arab states whereas Israel was to be a national homeland for the Jewish people (albeit a fourth the size of Jordan.) After successfully struggling for its independence from British occupation, the United Nations agreed to the Partition plan- a division of Israel (west of the Jordan) into two state, one Jewish and one Arab, with the Jerusalem-Bethlehem area being under special international protection. This Partition, similar to many of today’s proposed two state solutions, was accepted by the Jewish community in Palestine, but rejected by their neighboring Arabs.  Subsequently, Israel was attacked by the armies of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Iraq, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Holy War Army, Arab Liberation Army, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Israel was victorious. However, to this day, Israel is still constantly subject to threat by anti-Semitic groups all over the world such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

As I look over the facts of the case, it seems that there are a couple of points in specific that critics of Israel tend to look over. When the UN Partition plan was offered, Israel was more than willing to compromise and accept this solution.  The Palestinians, however, were the ones who declined this proposition. Due to this, and this alone, the Palestinians do not have a state. If they had agreed back then, a state of Palestine would be in existence today. Israel is still willing to compromise into giving up more of its territories in the hope for peace. For example, on September 1, 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the northern West Bank, handing over this plot of land to the Palestinians. Israel even had to forcefully evict many of its own citizens from the area.

In more recent talks, the aspirations for peace have not had much success. Many believe that after the exchange of over 1,000 prisoners for Gilad Shalit that it will be extremely difficult to continue peace talks. Only time will tell what will happen, but Israel is still taking the initiative in trying to make progress. A good sign, however, in the exchange was that Prime Minister Netanyahu was able to successfully negotiate with Hamas in this one instance. Hopefully there will be more successful negotiations in the near future.

As this case shows, with every debate there are always two sides. In class, we learned the idea of pluralism, where there are always multiple opinions to a certain issue. As many theorists state, people simply cannot agree on facts. There is never unanimity because everyone has his/her own biases and opinions. Therefore, what are the prerequisites to starting a debate over this heated issue? How can we start a reasoned argument when people cannot agree on anything and when there is so much hatred? While I am obviously somewhat biased in this situation, I understand that there is a different side to this argument where there could in fact be counterarguments. What are the other sides to this controversy, what are others’ opinions? Why are the prerequisites to debates so difficult to attain, as this case shows? Do people always try to convince themselves that they are right no matter what?

Another theme that this case can be tied into is the idea of identity. It can be said that one’s identity can bias one’s opinion and point of view. In this case, the aspect of identity that comes into play is ethnicity. Do all Palestinians feel as though Israel is illegitimate solely because they are Palestinians and that’s what all the other Palestinians are doing? If those same people, with the same brains, were transformed to Israelis, would their opinions be different? The same can be asked for Israelis; if any particular Israeli who is pro-Israel was to get his/her identity changed to a Palestinian, would his/her beliefs be the same, or would he/she now be anti-Israel? Finally, how can we approach a debate, and eventually a resolution, with these differences in identities?

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10 Comments on “The Arab-Israeli Conflict”

  1. ianbaker2041 Says:

    I’m so glad that someone finally brought up Israel and Palestine. It’s one of the most fascinating conflicts in the world today (right up with the corruption of the Saudi princes. Someone else who is awesome can write about that).

    I am not an expert on the area; I’m just a freshman. With that said, I’ve read quite a bit about it, and your analysis seem to fall deeply short. You are completely correct in saying that Jews didn’t just come as colonizers. I agree. The Jews used their wealth (not a stereotype; just a historical fact) to buy land from Palestinians living there in a completely legitimate, legal way. They weren’t colonizers along the British or French lines; they were escaping oppression in Europe and were trying to fulfill a divine obligation: get to Jerusalem. The problem is that you’re making Israel out to be a great, benevolent power based on the Jewish legitimacy to control the holy land; neither of these are true.

    Yes, the Israelites were in the area first, but that’s because Judaism was the world’s first great monotheistic religion. Muslims never had the chance to counter the Jews because Islam didn’t exist for another 600 years. It does not follow from the fact that since the Jews were there first, the Palestinians are not justified in having a share of the land. If you’re going to argue it that way, then you better start telling everyone white in America to pack their stuff and head back to Europe because the whites weren’t here first. I can understand that Jews want to get to Jerusalem; that’s not a problem. The issue is that the way you phrase it makes it sound like the Jews EXCLUSIVELY should have the area, and for Muslims who have lived there for generations, that’s not fair at all. Muslims are people, too, and to just say “ehh, Jews were here first, and they are religiously obligated to do this, so Palestinians, you’re out of your homes” doesn’t represent any form of equality or fairness.

    The other problem is that Israel got a great deal from the start and never acted benevolently. When Israel was formed in 1947, the UN resolution authorizing the state of Israel gave it defined boundaries which were already unfair. In “Quicksand: America’s Pursuit of Power in the Middle East,” Geoffrey Wawro writes that “though there were half as many Jews as Arabs in Palestine-625,000 Jews versus 1.3 million Arabs-the Jews nevertheless received the bulk of Palestine from the UN. The Jews got 5,700 square miles; the Arabs 4,300” (Wawro 102). The Jews also got the better areas-land that could be farmed versus the largely desert-dominated lands left for the Palestinians. Although I personally think this is bogus from the get-go, it only got worse thanks to Israel’s actions. When the first Arab-Israeli War started, Israel cleverly made itself out to be the David under attack by Goliath. In reality, the IDF was far more powerful than the combined Arab armies even from day one. With huge support from the Americans and British (among others) in both training and material, the IDF was an organized, efficient, well-equipped force that should never have been seen as an underdog. The numbers are telling: Israel mobilized 115,000 troops to the Arab coalition’s meager 55,000. When you add in the tanks, planes, bombs, and training of the IDF, it begins to look like a landslide victory for Israel, and that’s exactly what it was. But the world bought the bluff, and as Israel expanded out from the 1947 boundaries, the world turned a blind eye. During the war, Ben-Gurion remarked that “we put new immigrants into Arab houses,” a statement directly showing just how rapidly the Palestinians were being pushed out of their homes by the Israeli advance. Given that Israel got the far better deal from the get-go, it’s just selfish and cruel of the IDF to continue to push Palestinians out of their homes just months after the 1947 UN resolution.

    In the years since the war, Israel has never made a serious effort to give back a substantial amount of land. In fact, the Jewish expansion has been so profound since 1948 that within the next twenty or so years, it’s plausible to believe that Israel will have more Muslims than Jews within its borders. How you can have a Jewish state without a Jewish majority remains to be seen. It’s true that Israel has come to the drawing board a few times and claimed to be interested in a two state solution, but when moderating powers propose that Israel go back to something closer to the already very unequal 1947 UN boundaries, Israel strikes back and refuses. Disengaging from the Gaza Strip and genuinely seeking a two state solution are very different things, and while no one can ever know the truth of the matter, I suspect that it’s just out of personal interest that Israel wants to keep all that land. They don’t need it, and they have displaced thousands of Palestinians, yet they just want to keep it all. How is that fair, just, or good in any way?

    As to how to discuss this issue, I think that the only way is for Israel to unconditionally come back to the drawing board. It all hinges on the US: if America puts pressure on and follows through on threats made to the Israeli delegation regarding Palestinian statehood, the Israelis will buckle. They need the US; the problem is that they know they can get what they want without giving the US much because the Jewish lobby in the US (which has, historically, proven influential and powerful) will simply vote candidates who are overly pro-Palestine out of office. There’s money to be had in the game of American politics, and I’ll go as far as to say that no group has exploited that more at home than Jewish voters. Unless the US can be drawn more towards the Palestinian side (or at least to a more moderate position), I don’t see there being much hope of a solution. The problem is bad and needs to be addressed more seriously immediately, but unless Israel is forced to cede land, I don’t see that they will do so in any significant quantity.

    As a final note, it’s almost in Israel’s interest to give up the Gaza Strip. It’s one of the poorest places on earth and is really of little use to Israel. It just sucks money from them and causes problems when Palestinians attack Israelis in the area. Add in to this the fact that it’s tiny and not profitable, and I can’t help but ask myself “why would Israel WANT to keep this anyways?” They wouldn’t.

  2. benjishanus Says:

    Just as you acknowledged that your somewhat biased towards the situation, I think that is the case with just about all of us. The Arab-Isreali conflict is arguably the most heated political conflict the world has ever known. Regardless of what light the opposing side may be able to shed, I think it is very unlikely that it will alter any of our own predetermined opinions. This has been a very sensitive issue for a very long time and that is not about to change.

    When you asked if people try to convince themselves that they’re right no matter what, I would answer yes to that to a certain extent. It is human nature to be stubborn and favor your own beliefs or those of others. That is why this issue has been at a stand off for such a long time. Personally, I believe that the Israelis have been extremely mistreated for a very long time, for all the reasons that you mentioned. However, clearly Arabs are not going to succumb to those beliefs anytime soon, leading me to unfortunately believe that there truly is no quick solution to this problem.

  3. springsteen1 Says:

    Insightful, informative post.

    I was in Israel this summer. For ten days – ten days too short. This is a place where people live differently – and besides the 3/4 pants Europeans call “capris”, the sandals, and various other pop culture type references, the eternal fear these people live in is something which is unparalleled. Every political science Professor in America can discuss the conflict, can relate to other countries, and can make historical anecdotes. Some, like I did, can travel and attempt to understand through empathy this concept.

    But they have not lived it. And that is something that can only be done or not done – but there is no middle ground.

    The Israeli people go to the supermarkets, to the beaches, the shopping malls, in incessant fear of their lives, many with guns on them, the rest with people with guns on THEM within reach – this is not an attempt at being more like The Godfather, this is life.

    There will always be terrorism and there will always be people who hate Israel and the Jews. However, the issue of a Palestinian state only with elimination of terrorism altogether is, unfortunately, too ideal. Palestinian hatred against Israel is at an all-time high. With an independent Palestinian state, terrorism will not diminish completely. However, it will decline immensely. If even ten percent of the Palestinians who hate us now change their views when they have a state, then it is worth it, because then one day that 10 percent can turn in to twenty percent, and then it has the ability to grow even more from there.

    I do not think that building a security fence is illegal. However, I do not think it is a good idea. It will just inflame the Palestinians, as well as others who rely on traveling back and forth for economic reasons.

    Not all of the settlements have to go,but some, such as settlements in Gaza, as well as ones in which there are very few people living in them. One of my professors in Israel, while on a recent reserve duty, was given the job of transporting four settlers with six soldiers in two armed vehicles to piano lessons in a nearby settlement. Situations such as those are a drain on the Israeli economy, hard-working soldiers, and the peace process.

    Israel needs our help – what can we do today? What level of involvement would the gang (Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, etc.) say we should have, why, and HOW would they say we go about this?

  4. jonkeren Says:

    The Arab- Israeli conflict is one of the longest and painstaking conflicts of this time. Firstly, I want to say that you have a very good background of the conflict and you know exactly what you are talking about. Most people today don’t have any idea about the history of the conflict and therefore speak from a biased point of view. The most important thing to understand from this conflict is that the Palastinian’s can only blame themselves for losing all of the land of israel. In the 1920’s the head of the Supreme Muslim council who ran all the affairs of the Palastinians in the British mandate of Palastine was Hajj Amin Al-Husseyni. Husseyni was extremely stubborn and did not want to agree to any compromises. In 1937 he rejected the British Peel Commissions plan to partition the Mandate 75% to the Palastinians and 18% to the Jews. Furthermore, Husseyni and the other palestinian officials rejected the 1939 Mcdonald White paper which would have made the Palastinian mandate a single nation with the majority of the population Palastinians. Eventually When the United Nations made Resolution 181, which partitioned the mandate 55% to the Jews and 45% to the palastinians ( the Palastinians got by far the better land) the Palastinians started a civil war with the Jews. After they lost the war, which they started, they lose most of madate which was given to them in the Resolution. How can you blame the Jews for taking land in a war that they didn’t start? The Jews were anxious to live in peace among there arab brethren and all they received was hatred and violence. Israel were forced to become very militaristic because they were forced to fight for survival. Additionally, Israel was not willing to give back the lands that they took during the war of independence aka “al Nakba” because the arab states refused to recognize Israel as a state of its own.
    To this day the Arabs still display a tremendous amount of hatred to the Jews. An example of this is how Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to wipe Israel off face of the world. Additionally, the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah have a common goal of driving the Jews into the sea and taking back the land that is ” rightfully theirs.” Sadly, I do not see a large peace agreement being made any time soon because these two terrorist groups will never agree to stop fighting against Israel. They are taught to abhor Israel and Jews and I don’t see this changing anytime soon.
    I love how you mention that arabs living in Israel share the same rights as every other citizen because not only is it true, but arabs in Israel have more rights than most arabs in many Arab countries! Women in Israel are not treated as second class citizens and cannot be beaten by their husbands. Additionally, Arabs in Israel or not forced to live under the harsh rules of shariah law, like they are in various arab nations.

    The last point i want to make is that this long and tiring conflict can be summed up in two sentences. If Israel said to the world that they had enough of the constant warfare and the ongoing conflict, it would be attacked by the Arabs. If the Palastinians and Arabs said that they had enough of the conflict, there would be peace.

  5. bmazus Says:

    Although I too am biased on this topic I agree with many of the points you make. Granted you do not really highlight many points that favor the Palestinian side of this argument, I still believe that many of their complaints and accusations are unfounded.

    One of the points that I find most interesting in your post is when you discuss the proposal for a two state solution. Throughout your post you stress how the goal of the Palestinian people is to establish their own sovereign state. You also point out how in situations when a two state solution was proposed, and even accepted by the Israeli’s, they turned down the offer. This is obviously extremely contradictory to the goals of Palestinians. What more are they asking for? Do they think they can kick all of the citizens of Israel out of Israel and create a new nation from scratch? That’s a pretty irrational idea to even think of if you ask me. It is just not possible. In my opinion the most sensible option, for both Israel and the Palestinian people, is to go through with a two state solution. While nobody knows what the actual ramifications of a two state solution could be, but I believe it is worth the risk considering the current situation has only produced violence and hatred.

  6. dkap7 Says:

    Since the Jews took statehood of Israel there has been brute conflict between these two parties. Although I am biased, the Palestinians seem to be more violent in these conflicts than the Israelis are. This may be the case because the Israelis are the people that are occupying the holy land that the Palestinians are after. However, I feel that the Palestinian violence stems beyond their interest in taking over the state of Israeli. Although it is a very small proportion of the Palestinians that are violent, many of the terrorist attempts and threats are sourced back to the Palestinians. This post illuminates on a quote by the Hamas immediately after Bin Laden’s death stating, “The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth, because they have displayed hostility to Allah.” The Hamas has a record of terrorism towards the United States and Israel. This quote blames the Jews for the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. This makes no sense because the United States was responsible for his death, and the United States is maybe 1% Jewish. This shows that Hamas is looking for reasons to go after the Jewish people. Also, the General Security of the Hezbollah acknowledged that the lebanese were not against the Jewish people, but instead against their occupation of Israel. He states that if they were to give up Israel, that the lebanese would not have search around the world for Jews. This is a cover up for the conflict that has been brewing for hundreds of years. I am biased because I am Jewish, however, both of these sides see each other in disgust.
    This conflict arises because the land that Israel lies on is seen as holy land. Not just for the Jewish people, but for all religions. Therefore, all religions are interested in claiming pieces of this land. With the Jewish state of Israel being completely surrounded by opposing countries. They are ganged up on. This has led to Israel’s recent giving of The Gaza Strip to the Hamas. If this pattern continues to occur, Israel may be split in half.
    This conflict started off as tension over a holy piece of land, but has spiraled into a conflict fought over religion. Although the holiness of the land stills plays a role in this conflict, these two religions hate towards each other has grown since the birth of Israel back in 1948

  7. #jasonschwartz Says:

    I think that another major theme going on here is the theme of a community. Despite being surrounded by enemies on all sides, Israel has stood strong and united in its beliefs and support for each other. Despite the fact that this tiny country is no bigger than the state of Florida, It has been in over seven wars during its brief 60 year existence. Because of the constant threat of destruction (a la hobbes) the Israelites display a strong sense of unity. This unity in the face of almost certain destruction has caused this tiny country to spring itself to become one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.
    What really scares me about this conflict is the fact that since its enemies Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Jordan, Iraq, and Iran (with a total population of over 500 million at least) have not been able to conquer Israel (7 million people), they have resorted to firing rockets over the border into the Israeli country side and the hiding under schools and hospitals. As a result of this strategy, when the Israeli’s retaliate, they tend to cause more collateral damage to the Palestinians. This collateral damage has caused the world to have a more negative attitude towards Israel and labeling them the aggressors (despite the massive disadvantage).
    Anyways, I applaud you for seeing which side is and forever will be the true aggressor in this hostile feud between two peoples and two ideologies.

  8. goldman13 Says:

    Your last question hit me pretty hard, and i think it reflects the nature of society as a whole. You pose, “how can we approach a debate, and eventually a resolution, with these differences in identities?” In other words (or, i guess, in my words) “how can we solve a problem with people who are different than us?”

    If we can’t solve an issue with different types of people, then we, as a society, have a major problem. In elementary school, children are taught to work with others, to appreciate the differences that we are all born with, and to make compromises. If two people want to play with building blocks, either they split the toys or they play with them together. Of course, this is an extremely simplified view and can’t be applied to the Arab-Israeli conflict, but what does it say about us as a race?

    As your argument implies, there may be no end to the conflict in the middle east. Opinions (on both sides) are too strong to allow for compromise, and deeply rooted hatred and racism (on both sides) prevents any significant progress from being made. I cannot imagine any situation or agreement that leaves both sides satisfied.

    Hobbes might say that we should just give up, let the fighting continue, and see who wins. Rousseau may have a more optimistic idea of attaining peace in the middle east. If solving the issue was up to me, i wouldn’t even know where to start. But, what i do know is that the longer it continues, the worse it makes us as a species look.

  9. bmschmid Says:

    The point you bring up is very controversial. This debate has been one that has been talked about for decades, without resolution. The idea you brought up regarding identity is very interesting. I think that all Palestinians do in fact only side with the majority due to their ethnicity, and if they were transformed into Israeli’s they wouldn’t be on the same side. This is a big point because it shows that the way you are raised, and the people and ideas you are raised around influences you greatly in the way you think.

    With every debate it is always tough to reach a resolution because each side will always have different opinions. In this case, the difference in opinions is so big and because of this, it has taken over 50 years for the two sides to make peace. Hopefully some time soon they will.

  10. rmwells3 Says:

    I too agree, and understand that a conflict of this magnitude is impossible to surmise into a short succinct 500 word article, that certain aspects of this controversy were vastly understated. In fact, I personally believe that religion and self identity didn’t actually play a major role until Britain began to influence the region.

    Britain’s foreign policy promoted the idea of a national identity for the Jewish immigrated population into the region and a pro-zionist attitude from the early 1910’s up to the 1930’s. The British sought to use their support for the first and second aliyahs as a means of protecting their self interests. Britain desired the end of the Ottoman Empire and then during World War I to occupy the territory under a provisional government. In return, the British promised Zionist’s who led to the economic growth of the region after the fall of the Ottoman Empire more land even that of Jerusalem which Arabs had a religious claim to. The British saw the Suez Canal, trade with India, a cushion from the rising power of Germany, and the economic value of oil within the region as more important than protecting religious domains and so were willing to ignore Arab claims to their religious Holy lands. This attitude soon drastically changed from the 1930’s on with the British support of Faisal and his Transjordan ambitions during the Arab Revolt in 1936-39. They implemented the Balfour Declaration and the White Paper of 1939 both of which restricted Jewish entrance into the territory which as a result, brought, counterintuitively, a rise in both the nationalist goals of Zionists and Arabs. Zionists initially saw a reason to grow as a way of achieving independence and removing the British provisional Government. This then spurred a growth in the population and economics in favor of the Jewish people. The Jewish brought more of a Western Capitalist approach which gave them a stronger foothold in purchasing land and property and eventually culminated in a majority of the wealth going to them. Because of this, an Arab anti-Zionist sentiment flourished within the Arab locale that were being evicted from their homes. In the end, the animosity between the two growing nationalisms inevitably led to the present day events of the conflict. This factor of identity brewed into something much more violent than anyone ever would’ve imagined, but all throughout the conflict, both sides have agreed to terms protecting these differentiated identities. They were willing to recognize A Palestinian identity which culminated from a mix of Jews and Arabs. However, the more radical a role that religion has played in the conflict the less likely a resolution has become and the more of “whose land is it really” has become a focal point of contention. Therefore, the extremists attitudes that argue the other side should be ousted have begun to strengthen as no realistic resolution seems to near. As this resolution dissipates, the more people begin to identify with certain groups and the more violent. At this point, it seems like there will never be an end to this conflict and no understanding of differences in religion in realistic. The idea of a separate Palestinian identity and the sharing of Holy properties within Jerusalem also seem to have become unfathomable.

    As a result of the British playing both sides and entitling both to overlapping territories, there has become an existence of pluralism. Both sides began to believe they were entitled to lands and territories agreed through negotiations with the British. This entitlement led them to promote their own self-interests and protection of what they thought was rightfully theirs and thus, the inevitable clash of heads. Zionists and Arabs then, and rightfully so, used violence to protect what they thought was their’s. Nonetheless, all courses of actions became justified to a degree and because of an increased of violence have come to where we stand today. Unfortunately, a peaceful, fair and agreed outcome is very unlikely.

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