Term Paper: Israel Palestinian Conflict

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Middle East Simulations

From the beginning, the situation in the Middle East was contentious, with historic actions creating divisive issues between Palestinians and Israelis. In 63 B.C., Rome conquered Judea, the ancient Jewish homeland, and renamed it Palestine. Palestine was later conquered and inhabited by Arabs for over a millennium. At the end of the 19th century, Arabs and Jews lived together in Palestine under Ottoman Empire rule. As pogroms worsened in Russia and Europe, significant numbers of Jews emigrated, but remained only 10% of the population. At the same time, the Zionist movement was created to make Israel a Jewish state.

During World War I, Great Britain backed an open revolt by the Arabs against the Ottomans, who supported Germany and Austria, in return for British support of Arab independence. To gain Jewish support for the Allies and encourage the U.S. To enter the war, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and pledged support of a homeland for Jews in Palestine. After the war, the League of Nations gave Britain and France mandates to govern the previous Ottoman Empire until independence was possible.

Meanwhile, Jewish immigration increased considerably, especially with the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany. The Arabs resented the Jews taking their land. Under the leadership of Grand Mufti Hajj Amin El Husseini, they revolted and deepened the enmity between Jews and Arabs. Britain stopped Jewish immigration to Palestine.

After World War II and the German Holocaust, Britain turned Palestine over to the United Nations, which established independent Arab and Jewish states. Jews accepted the partition, but the Arabs did not. They argued that the Jews were a minority in Palestine and the inequitable plan left many Arabs within the Jewish state but nearly no Jews in the Arab state. War broke out and the Jews, who were the victors, expanded their state. This created hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees. The Arabs refused to recognize the state of Israel. Wars broke out in 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982, and there have been many terror raids and Israeli reprisals. Since the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel has occupied the West bank and Gaza Strip, an area of 2,200 square miles; about 220,000 Jews settled in this area of about 2 million people. Gaza, a small enclave that abuts the Mediterranean Ocean and Egypt, has close to 1 million people. Palestinians demand withdrawal from this land. In negotiations at Camp David and Taba, Israel offered to return 90% of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and Arab sections of Jerusalem. Palestinians turned this offer down, because it did not face the refugee issue and Jews continued to settle on the West Bank. Following suicide bombings in 2002, the West Bank has been under continual siege. In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Israeli security barrier violates international law and must be destroyed. Israeli evacuation of Gaza settlements and four West Bank settlements was completed in 2005. This year, the radical Islamist Hamas won the Palestinian elections. Violence continues to erupt. The Arabs and Jews now believe different versions of the same history.

The individuals included in the simulation from a Palestinian perspective cover a wide range of backgrounds, involvement and political action: students, professors, mothers, business owners, and writers -- non-active persons to those willing to bomb and die for the cause. An interesting thing occurs when eliminating the extremes on both sides of the individuals, such as Yosef, who supports the bombings and Gasshan, who does not consider himself politically active and only recently has been giving serious thought to how this impacts him and his family.

When excluding these individuals, something is found in common with all the Palestinian supporters. They are not so much lambasting Israel as they are their situation in general and the fact they are not respected for their heritage, their commitment and concern for the future, and their input on something that impacts them enormously.

Most of the individuals are concerned about not being given any power, not being given an opportunity to have a say about their own future, having others make decisions for them, not being seen as the long-term victims which they are and not being recognized by the United States and other Western nations for being a major player in this situation.

In many cases, it is as if the Palestinians do not exist. In fact, these comments are like deja vu from the historic past when they were promised a homeland but then overlooked. It is not only Israel who is ignoring their needs. It is also other Western nations and other Arab nations. The Palestinians in the simulation feel like everyone is deciding their futures except for themselves. Instead, they get shuffled from one place to another as if they are still nomadic people who can easily alter their lives for others.

The word that arises again and again in these simulations is "humiliation." The Palestinian people feel humiliated and angry because they are either ignored or treated as second-class citizens. In most cases with these scenarios, the people are not asking (as are the fundamentalist and reactionary groups) for Israel to be pushed into the sea or for war against the Arabs and Israelis. Instead, they are asking for what individuals in their situation anywhere in the world need and want: A safe home for their families, food and water, a job and a better future for their children. Their lives could be made much better if they have economic security, education and the ability to improve their daily life. The majority of Palestinians want to find a resolution to the conflict, but the majority of these people has been disenfranchised, fallen petty to external fears and hatreds, or do not have access to the political process.

Marwan, for example, is a 24-year-old who lives in Ramallah. Seven years ago he came to the United States and participated in a program called "Seeds of Peace," where Israeli and Arab young people came together to learn about each other and explore ways of living peacefully together. He found the program to be very positive, because he was treated like an equal and was able to share hopes and fears with Israelis.

The comments from the Israelis also are similar, but more emotional with fear and anger being the strongest feelings. This is much more difficult to address, since many of these feelings have been instilled since childhood or when the individuals came to Israel for various reasons from other countries. The fear -- be it real or not does not matter -- is that the Arabs want to see the end of Israel.

The fear is also difficult to address, because of the innate territorial imperative that humans have. Instinctively, people will do all they can to save their home if they feel there is a threat -- and these Israelis do. This, as Rachel states, "has made Israel a bully too often." Although she is one of the most positive roles in the simulation, she also sees how difficult it is to find an answer. Others, such as Yoram, do not like the extreme use of the Israeli military, and the way the Palestinians are treated, but do not have answers either.

Even the more positive of the individuals have lost hope, because they do not see progress. Or, headway is made and then it once again goes back to ground zero. The other concern is that many of these individuals do not make a distinction between the radical Palestinians and those who wish to resolve the issue peacefully. Those that understand the Palestinian plight, such as Simona, also comes across very strong in protecting Israel.

All of these individuals have something in common: That is, the frustration of a situation that has gone on for so long that they are tired and losing their impetus for making positive change. They have seen friends and family members hurt and killed and have seen too many deceits on both sides. Some still have hope, but it is difficult to maintain. Others are so strong with their ideals, they will probably be impossible to change.

They recognize this is a situation that requires support from the United States and other countries, if these countries are able to put politics aside and help the countries work toward conciliation. A few also understand the essential need that economics play in this scenario. They express that the Palestinians need to have an economic base if they are going to be able to build and grow. Similarly, those who already have jobs and businesses note how difficult it is for them to maintain these companies in these violent times.

Another thing in common is that although many of these individuals are trying to approach this concern scholarly or openly, they all have their emotional base -- be it anger over being humiliated or fear of being destroyed -- underlying their thoughts.

Most of the individuals also speak… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Israel Palestinian Conflict.  (2007, January 2).  Retrieved June 17, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/israel-palestinian-conflict/44032

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/israel-palestinian-conflict/44032.