Palestinian Israeli Peace Process: Was It Designed To Fail?
This research study will adopt qualitative data research techniques in specific secondary sources of data to collect information on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This paper is divided into four parts. The first part is the introduction offering a brief overview of the conflict. The second part involves a research design that the research will utilize in the study. Literature review is the third section and it identifies and analyses key issues that play a critical role in the conflict. The final part is the conclusion and it offers a summary of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The national identity of Israeli is anchored on two key factors including modern political realization and historical longing. Palestinian sense of neighborhood on the other hand is based on ethnic settlement. Ghanem in his opinion suggests that even though the Palestinian sense of peoplehood originates from a generation after “Christian, Muslim, and Zionism, Arabs identify with Palestinian nationality from centuries of generational habitation of the land they refer to as Palestine while Jews call it Israel” (12). The Israeli-palestinian conflict has been going on throughout the 20th century and it has extended to the 21st century. The conflict originates from contradictory land claims that led to mistrust and loss of blood on both sides (Ghanem 14).
1.1 Research Objectives
This paper will intend to analyze the different reasons as to why Israeli-Palestinian conflict has continued despite the numerous peace initiatives. The objectives of this research will therefore seek to
- Determine where the establishment of Israel in 1948 led to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
- To find out the reasons behind the ongoing violence even with peace efforts
- To determine how lack of partners from Palestine in the peace process has prevented achievement of peace in Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and
- To determine how occupation of Israeli in the disputed regions as well as separation wall has continued to generate the conflict
The researcher in this study will adopt a qualitative research method. The research will use the strategy to establish participant’s feelings in regards to the topic being investigated.
The researcher in this study will utilize a non-experimental research design. This will enable him or her to collect enough information from participants in their natural setting.
Additionally, the study will utilize multisage sampling method to tester the collected information. This form of sampling will help the researcher to reach a manageable sampling size for investigation. The researcher will also use purposeful sampling in the study. Purposeful sampling will help the researcher to choose ten scholars from ten higher institutions of learning offering related courses to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
From the selected institutions, the researcher will settle for stratified sampling. This form of sampling will offer the selected scholars an opportunity to respond to the subject under investigation equally.
2.3 Data Collection
Questionnaires will be used by the researcher to gather information from selected scholars and to get data from secondary sources such as periodicals, journals and books among others. Questionnaires are ideal based on the fact that they can be used for future reference.
Secondary sources of information are also ideal because they can be accessed with ease and they help a researcher to design questions for the study in the most ideal way.
2.5 Data presentation
Charts and tables will be used by the researcher to present and interpret the information because they are easy to use especially in comparison
3.1 History of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The Britain got the right to establish the fate of Palestine from European power in the aftermath of the First World War. In a desperate move to separate conflicting Jewish communities and Arabs, Britain proposed the separation of Palestine state into two independent countries in 1937 namely, Arab and Jewish.
The proposal was rejected by Arabs because they were not willing to surrender what they considered as Arab land hitherto another colonial imperialist. The Holocaust also increased the number of refugees of Jewish origin fleeing European and Arab lands while streaming into Palestine. As a result, it intensified the Arab-Jewish conflicts (Scham, Benjamin and As’ad 7).
When the second proposal for partitioning was made in 1947, it marked the beginning of United Nations support of Israel state in 1948. Palestine and other Arab states in the area were willing to get back what they had lost in the war. Jews at this time made up a third of the total population in the newly developed Israel and were willing to defend their newest state.
The consequential independence war saw an escalation of more about 700,000 Arab refugees fleeing the place into Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Beinin in his writing claims that while the traditional Arab narratives suggested that leaders of Arab origin advised their supporters to seek refuge in foreign countries, of course with a promise of victory upon their return, recent studies reveal that Jewish fighters in some cases forcefully evicted Zionists (52).
Jordan Arab monarch eventually conquered the region that was purposed for Palestinian sovereignty. As a result, an independent Palestine was never achieved and to date, Jerusalem is still the focal point of Palestine-Israeli conflict with the two countries claiming ownership of the land.
The intensified conflict between Israel and Palestine in 1967 exploded for the second time when soldiers from Israel took over Jerusalem capturing the Gaza strip and the West Bank. According to Coskun, the ‘Green Line’ terrorists took over in the Six Day War that remained to be a ‘‘key cause of conflict between Israel and Palestine’’ (284). The aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War also resulted to a debate as to whether Israel should be content with the acquired territories.
Israel finally allowed and in some instances encouraged its constituents to settle in some of the strategic and historic places in the region. Many of those who settled in these regions, ethnically known as Samaria and Judea strongly believe the whole of Palestine land belongs to them based on the promises made to them by the British in 1917 (Coskun 297).
The religious factor that defines the Palestinian-Israeli conflict create a new twist into the dispute as well as a debate on who are the rightful owners of the city of Jerusalem, a region that is attached on religious significance and the Temple Mount. For the Israelites, Jerusalem is the site of the ancient Jewish Temple and it was constructed by King Solomon. Jerusalem to the Arabs is the original place of the two great mosques and the religious center of Palestinian Muslims.
Complicating issues even further after the Six Day War of 1967, Israel took over eastern Jerusalem and the government of Israel believes that this area is the focal point for its administrative and political reasons. Palestine on the other hand has continued to insist that East Jerusalem is the capital city of any Palestine nation in the future if it ever becomes possible (Nets-Zehngut 275).
3.2 Peace Attempts amid Ongoing Violence
The outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada (uprising) in 1987 lead to additional pressure on Israel to resolve the long time border conflict between the two countries. The Oslo treaties signed by the Israeli Prime Minister, Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman and Yitzhak Rabin in 1993 were a crucial step towards resolving the old conflict.
Israel under the second agreement agreed to withdraw its troops from different parts of Gaza as well as the West Bank. This was to be followed by a five year process aimed at empowering Palestine towards self-governance (Manna 86-89).
Even so, there were many challenges that have continued to characterize permanent peace process attainment, not least if the hurdles, was the assassination of Rabin in 1995 by an Israeli right wing extremist. The beginning of the 21st century saw the second gorier Palestinian Intifada in 2000. Whereas Palestinian youths stoned Israeli soldiers, defined the intifada of 1987, the 2000 intifada took a different twist characterized by terrorist attacks, guerilla warfare and armed conflicts.
Bartalargues, “Suicide bombing and its devastating impact on Israeli populace has increased the need to find an amicable solution to the continuing conflict” (29). Manna on the other hand claims that continued conflict between “Israelis and Palestinians has resulted in polarized and conflicting opinions on which solution should be adopted” (86).
Presently, there are people who still advocate for a West Bank settlement freezing and others suggest that land should be traded for peace in order to reach a long term solution to the conflict. Since the Israeli elections in 2009 where Benjamin Netanyahu was elected the country’s prime minister, little has changed. The ongoing war between Israeli and Palestine has made some Israelites both in Israel and abroad to question the Zionism anchoring fundamental principle.
These people are very skeptical about peace compatibility of Zionism and Palestinians. Beinin also believes that it is evident that the conflict between the countries is a “defining component of the Israeli society and that the conflict has no simple solution” (58).
3.3 Is the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process a circle of failure?
Different factors continue to play a significant role in the lack of success towards implementation of peace agreement between Israelis and Palestine. The Oslo accord of 1993 resulted from negotiation between Palestine Liberation Organization, PLO and Israeli state aimed at putting an end to confrontation and conflict. The accord also advocated for mutual recognition built on peace, long term and fair compromise as well as historic reconciliation as stated in the agreement.
The produced agreement in principle led to creation of Palestinian Authority, PA that had the duty of administering and government areas under Palestine control until the conflicting sides reached an amicable solution (Dajani, Mohammed, and Zeina 69). The period that was designed for Palestine to achieve inner self rule was extended into 15years with no significant progress towards a permanent, fair and all inclusive peace agreement because of many obstacles that includes Israeli occupation in disputed settlements, the separation wall as well as lack of a partner from Palestine in the peace process (Coskun 285).
3.3.1 Occupation of Israel in disputed settlements
Since the annexation and occupation of Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank by Israel in 1967, Tel Aviv has been focused on strengthening Israeli occupation in the region. Israel has continued to grow and to construct different settlements in East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank alongside building a wall separating Israeli and Palestine, leading to redrawing the borders between the two countries.
Settlement of Israel in disputed areas also continues to be a major factor undermining peace efforts since the creation of the state of Palestine which has increasingly become almost inconceivable (Scham, Benjamin, and As’ad 8).
3.2.1 The Separation Wall
The security barrier as defined by Israel or the apartheid wall as defined by Palestine is another factor that prevents realization of sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestine. The wall, measuring 700 kilometers extends from the North of the West Bank to the South along the Green Line that separates Israeli Territory from that of Palestine. The wall according to Israel is very important because it offers protection to its citizens from attacks by Palestine.
Even so, existing evidence points out efforts by Israel to annex more land from the West Bank region since it deviates into the territory occupied from the Green Line. As a matter of fact, Scham, Benjamin and As’ad contend “90 percent of the construction is carried out within the West Bank instead of in between the occupied territories and Israel” (9).
3.3.3 Lack of Palestinian Partner in the Peace Process
Israeli politicians in most cases argue that they do not have a representative in the peace negotiation process. Israeli as a result, employs this to justify why talks on peace have stalled. This emerged strongly during the era of Ariel Sharon, former Israeli Prime Minister because he continuously argued that there were no negotiators from Palestine in the peace process.
Israel however believes that the talks are impossible for as long the political system of Palestine remains divided. Tel Aviv in fact refused to negotiate with Hamas and instead opting to hold talks with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas (Scham, Benjamin and As’ad 10).
The conflict between Israeli and Palestine originates from land disputes. The conflict has been in existence for more than six decades emerged in the 20th century and it has extended to the 21st century following the creation Israeli state supported by the UN. A lasting solution to the conflict is not conceivable because of many factors including Israelis occupation of the disputed lands, the separation wall as well as lack of a partner from Palestine in the peace process.
The religious direction that the conflict takes at times complicates the process even further than offering a lasting solution. It is therefore clear that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a defining concept of the Israel society and that the conflict doesn’t need just a simple solution.
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