Israel and Palestine: What is and What Could Be

Israel and Palestine: What is and What Could Be                                     Post Image

When looking at the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that is in some way or another known by international audiences today, it is easily understood that extraordinary hostility is at the heart of various factors constituting the ‘problem’ and is therefore relevant to any possible solution.

It has been observed in numerous precarious state relations so far that the manipulation of facts and events, as well as how they are conveyed to the public makes a great impact on the public perception and the progression of conflicts throughout the world. While this particular case has produced lots of narratives due to the different perceptions of events by Israelis and the Muslims in the region, the use of polarizing rhetoric seems to remain constant. Similar to the American propaganda prior to Iraqi invasion regarding the Iraqi involvement with Al Qaeda, the facts do not seem to matter when masses are misled for politically convenient purposes. Leaders such as Ahmedinejad and Netanjahu are observed to contribute to the level of hostility and tension between the nations through extremism.[i] ‘The Iran leader is a ‘wolf disguised as a sheep.’’ By Netanjahu is only one of the phrases the two leaders used for each other.

Demographics in relation to politics is a leading factor in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As the question of ‘who is a Jew?’ came to be explored after the Israel’s independence, so was the political entity of the state. Many scholars today draw attention to the shortcomings resulting from Israel embracing itself as a ‘Jewish state.’ Lee argues that ‘‘… the consociational nature of Israeli politics requires government to win the cooperation and even support of the religious parties’’[ii]

Theodore Herzl, similarly, suggests ‘The Jews would bring cleanness, order, and the well established customs of the occident.’ in an arguably biased statement portraying the idea of superiority a number of officials possess. Considering religion cannot be relied on for the solution of the conflict, simply because Islam and Judaism seem to disagree on who the land is promised for, it is imperative that influential groups like the Gush Eminum drop provocative and expansionist statements/policies. Lee once again clarifies the dichotomization inherent in the Gush’s statement that ‘Israel’s seizing of the ‘West Bank from Jordan, the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and and the Golan Heights from Syria, constitued an act of God … and of the promised redemption of the Jews, the group said.’[iii]

Separate from religion, the fact that the Palestinians have a much higher population growth than Israelis causes concern in Israel that non-Jewish citizens could have the majority in the future. Arguably, a viable solution should seek to resolve this ‘threat’ as perceived by Israelis.

 

It is clear in world politics that the supply of excess aid to ally states eventually leads to aggressive, rather than coercive strategy. One-sided and inconsiderate military assistance by the US to Israel is no different. In fact, the threats of Israel to utilize its warheads and jets affect many states in the region, as the recent attack on Syria by Israel demonstrates. This factor is mostly compounded by indifference toward clear suppression and grievances of the Palestinians.

It is impossible to miss the ‘bias’ by the British, in their 1917 Balfour Declaration calling Palestinians ‘non-Jewish community,’ stripping them off any identity.[iv] Further reports by Amnesty conclude that the expansionist policies of Israel result in Palestinians’ inability to access their water supplies, let alone their homes.[v]

 

Overall, it is clear that any solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would require mutual understanding and collaboration. With regards to demographic qualities of the nations, it is fair to assume that the Palestinian youth, with the possible assistance of superior Israeli technology, can help boost the regional economy and thus benefit both nations.

As hostility is the most damaging factor, a non-intervention policy by third states is surely necessary, as well. Keeping in mind that the armed groups such as Hamas claim that the creation of Israel is part of a larger Western plan to subdue the Muslim world,[vi] a declaration by the Israeli administration stating Israel does not look to gain any more territory through military engagement, followed by actions that parallel their words, is likely to eliminate the reasons that lead Muslims to arm against ‘the Jewish state. Hamas and Hizbullah are significant  and hopeful players in the region in that both of them have proved willing for political predilections, and thus resolutions involving peace.

Even Herzl, who praises Israeli superiority, supports the idea of ‘a state of Jews’ over a ‘Jewish state.’ It is clear that the former has more room, tolerance and acceptance for non-Jewish communities.[vii]

 

It appears that the most crucial role the Western communities can undertake in this solution is the presentation of insight and historic knowledge especially by scholars and fellow community members. With western Jews pointing to the similarity of Israel’s deeds to those of the czarist rule in Poland, Russia and Nazi Germany, Israelis could be reminded of their ancestors’ grievances, ultimately choosing to avoid projecting the same sorrow on Palestinians. Western Muslim scholars, similarly, could remind the Muslim community of historic instances of alliance and understanding rather than conflicts between Jews and Muslims, such as when the oppressed Jews of Europe were given refuge by the Ottoman Empire, with a number of them still living in modern Turkey.

 

 

 

 

Harun Kerçek

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

  • Lee, Robert Deemer. Religion and Politics in the Middle East: Identity, Ideology, Institutions, and Attitudes. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2010.

 

  • Herzl, Theodor, and Harry Zohn. The Jewish State (Der Judenstaat). New York: Herzel Press, 1970.

 

  • Troubled Waters / Israel-occupied Palestinian Territories. London: Amnesty Internat. Publ., 2009.

 

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[i] Mahallati Class Lecture, November 18

[ii] Lee, 104

[iii] Lee, 106

[iv] Mahallati class lecture, November 16

[v] Troubled Waters, 58,59,47

[vi] Mahallati Lecture, November 18

[vii] Herzl, 21