Israel Explanation Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3097 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Israel


With both sides of the equation being labeled as both victim and perpetrator, it becomes difficult to propose sensible national security policies.

The securitization process of Israel has been recently built on the labeling mechanism. Labeling Palestinians with the blanket term of "terrorist" has become the major means by which Israel garners domestic and international support through the media and popular culture. As Finkelstein (2003) puts it, Israel "has defined Palestinian terror as an existential threat to the survival of the Israeli state and society," (p. 3). The speeches of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echo the existential threat theory that permeates Israeli public consciousness. As a direct method of promoting right-wing security strategies, propaganda such as this helps to establish an ethnocratic regime under the guise of need.

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The perception of its own national security problems has been a major force in shaping Israeli domestic and foreign policy. A low point of paranoia was in 1999, when only 58% of Israelis surveyed felt that they or one of their family members were at risk of a violent terrorist attack (Arian, 2003). That number fluctuates considerably; in 2002, 92% of Israelis surveyed felt afraid that they or a loved one was at risk of a terrorist attack (Arian, 2003). The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has been the subject of Israeli security policy, used to protect the citizens against terrorism.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Israel Explanation of the Issue: Assignment

Another way Israel has dealt with its national security problem is a classic use of strength in numbers. As Yiftachel (2007) points out, Israel is a "settler society," that pursues "a deliberate strategy of immigration and settlement that aims to alter the country's ethnic structure," (p. ix). The settler society model is not just a feature of social and political engineering, but it is also a powerful national security strategy. By changing the demographics of the region through increasing settlements that encroach further on Palestinian land, Israel is colonizing, infiltrating, and aggressively altering the political, social, cultural, and economic landscape of the entire region. The resulting ethnocracy is therefore a security response to the underlying problem of being located in a region surrounded by resentful residents. In fact, the Palestinians are also using a high birthrate as a political tool and a national security measure. As Arian (2003) points out, a "soaring Arab birthrate" on both sides of the green line has proven threatening for Israel. "As of 2003, one quarter of a million Jews lived alongside three million Palestinians in the territories, while Arabs totaled some 20% of Israel's citizenry," (Arian, 2003, p. 11). With greater numbers, the Palestinian point-of-view has been to point fingers at an apartheid regime.

The Israeli settlement issue was once just a matter of populating the newly created state developed by the Balfour Declaration. However, now the settlement issue relates to the new developments encroaching on Palestinian land. A considerable number of Israelis view the settlements themselves as threats to national security, even as the settlements are proposed as a means to strengthen Israel. Arian (2003) states that about half of all Israelis have a negative view of the settlements and view them as a threat to peace and national security.

Israeli armament, and the development of one of the world's most advanced military intelligence programs has been the primary response to Israeli national security concerns. Devoid of the type of funding available for Israelis, the Palestinians have not had the opportunity to take a sophisticated approach to military intelligence. Therefore, the Palestinians have resorted to old school terrorism as methods and means; whereas the Israelis have the power and ability to launch targeted attacks for assassinations and predict incursions.

Securitization theory, as it has been proposed by the Copenhagen School, is not about raw militarization. It takes into account culture, context, politics, and sociological issues. According to the securitization theory, "security refers to a concept that is more about how a society or any group of people designates something as a threat," than measurable or quantitative threats (Coskun, n.d., p. 2). The Israeli-Palestinian issue is best viewed with the lens of securitization theory. Both sides of the conflict contend with real and imaginary threats. Propaganda is a common political tool used both in Israel and in Palestinian territories. The purpose of propaganda has been to create political succor for right-wing organizations on both sides of the line: including Netanyahu as well as Hamas. Propaganda also serves to mold public opinion, creating a culture of fear in which residents of either side are willing to scapegoat, demonize, and stereotype the Other. Moreover, propaganda has incurred both wrath and support from the international community on both sides. Securitization theory offers a perspective that is nuanced and multidisciplinary.

Policy Prescriptions

The policy prescriptions all center on the creation of a two-state solution that evolves and manifests organically, in ways that are acceptable to both Israel and Palestine from a win-win conflict resolution perspective. Easier said than done, a two-state solution goes against many Israeli policies, which do not allow for a two-state solution in fear that such a solution would itself pose a threat to Israeli security. However, securitization theory shows that the perception of threat can itself be a cancerous undermining of national security.

As Yiftachel (2006) points out, the principle of self-determination is central to the resolution of the conflict. The United Nations General Assembly agrees that Israel has demonstrated gross infractions on human rights and civil liberties. Focusing on unfair trials of Palestinian political prisoners, the United Nations General Assembly shows that the first thing Israel needs to do is conform to the tenets of human rights that can be universally agreed upon. This can be done without sacrificing the Israeli understanding of the situation as revealing systematic and nefarious plots to destroy the nation of Israel. While there are certainly genuine national security threats at stake, the use of a human rights-based approach is one that will be met with great success. If for no other reason, a human rights approach will eliminate any cause for terrorist activity against Israel by Palestinians and will garner more support for Israel in their legitimate need for self-preservation.

The state of Israel was founded on the premise of providing a democratic homeland for a people in diaspora. As a democratic state, Israel has proven itself capable of following most, if not all, the principles of freedom and democracy within its borders. The weakness in the Israeli model is, as Yiftachel (n.d., 2006) frames it, ethnocracy. Whether ethnocracy is the best term to use or not remains debatable but the Israeli suggestion for an apartheid regime over a two-state solution is not a tenable one for either party. Analysts also need to take into account the fact that Israel is a veritable island in the middle of an Arab cultural sea. The Arab spring has given rise to democratically elected conservative religious movements that themselves threaten to undermine peace and national security in the region. As anti-Israeli rhetoric reaches a deafening tone, Israel faces the manifestation of its greatest concern of self-annihilation, which is why the current conflict in Gaza is important.

Therefore, policy suggestions cannot be targeted at Israel alone. It is not up to Israel alone to address the conflict, which impacts the entire globe. Moreover, it cannot continue to fall upon the United States only. The onus of resolving the conflict is one that must be done with a large, broad, and diverse coalition of stakeholders. Israel has a role to play in curbing its settlements and paving the way for the creation of a legitimate Palestinian state, while from its side, Palestinians must create a state that lives in harmony with its neighbors rather than under the continued perceived threat of ethnocratic rule. The Arab allies of Palestine also need to step up and offer the type of support that the United States offers to Israel. Palestinian economic improvement cannot be earned only by being able to enjoy liberalized borders with Israel. For economic, political, and social improvements, Palestine must be able to count on its Arab neighbors. A natural dialogue will ensue that will assuage Israeli paranoia, as well as curb Palestinian victim consciousness, neither of which are constructive means of resolving the conflict. Therefore, the national security of Palestine will evolve as an ongoing relationship between it and Israel and it and its neighbors as the two-state solution becomes real.


Arian, A. (2003). Israeli public opinion on national security, 2003. Jaffee Center. Retrieved online:

Bakan, et al., (2001). Israel/Palestine, South Africa and the "One-State Solution": The Case for an Apartheid Analysis. Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies.

Coskun, B.C. (2007). Hegemonic securitizations of terrorism and the legitimacy of Palestinian government. Political Perspectives 1(1).

Coskun, B.B. (n.d.). Power of the words: Securitization of the "Other." In the Israeli Palestinian Conflict. Retrieved online:,71742,en.pdf

Finkelstein, N.G. (2003). Image… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Israel Explanation.  (2012, November 18).  Retrieved September 18, 2021, from

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"Israel Explanation."  18 November 2012.  Web.  18 September 2021. <>.

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"Israel Explanation."  November 18, 2012.  Accessed September 18, 2021.