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Israel-Palestine Conflict

Two weeks ago, suicide bomber attacked a building in Israel, at least 14 persons dead

A week ago, suicide bombing in a bus, 2 Filipinos killed

2 days ago, several rioting Palestinians killed, including children

Suicide bombing every two weeks

Israeli soldiers dispersing rioting Palestinians using rubber and real bullets

            Almost every day, people hear of violence happening in Israel and Palestine. It would seem that the Israel-Palestine conflict would be an unending battle. People all over the world are confused on whose side to take. Debates and peace processes have already come and gone, but the problem remains the same. The crisis in Israel and Palestine would be best described as an “Egg-Chicken problem.” No one seems to know how it started but everyone hopes that it will end.

            The problem has been deeply rooted in history. Maybe it would be best to start with historical facts to lay down the basic information to understand the problem. It all started when the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust sought refuge in Palestine in 1945. In this process, many Arabs were displaced. In 1947, the United Nations partitioned Palestine into separate Jewish and Palestine states but the Arab (Muslim) leaders rejected the division. A year later, the Jewish people founded Israel—displacing all Arabs from the region. Because of that, tension erupted between the Arabs and Jews. Several wars followed between Arabs and Jews which resulted to Israel capturing Golan Heights from Syria, West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt. Despite being outnumbered and out powered, Israel was able to survive many Arab attacks. Since then, Israel strengthened its defense and was never defeated by the Arabs despite its small size. But while Israel kept on winning the wars, its territory kept on increasing.

            Several years later, in 1978, Israel and Egypt signed a peace agreement where the Sinai Peninsula was given back to Egypt in exchange of a peace treaty recognizing the Israel’s right to exist. Israel also offered same agreement to all involved Arab parties, offering to give back their lost territories in exchange of their recognition of Israel’s existence.

            With that same peace policy, the leader of Israel at that time, Barak, offered the Palestinian’s sovereign control over the West bank and Gaza. The peace policy was advancing but unfortunately, Yasser Arafat, the Leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) demanded to change several items in the said peace agreement. Because of that, the peace treaty was never realized.

            Israel many times tried to persuade PLO in entering to a peace agreement with them. There was one instance where Israel supplied the Palestinians with weapons for their own police force but these weapons were later on used against the Israelis. The Palestinians believed that it would be incorrect for them to recognize the Israel because the lands being occupied by Israel belonged to them.

            While the peace process has been delayed because of unanswered demands, tension between the two groups escalated. Jews and Palestinians hated each others guts. A simple community tension would end into a national violence because each side would try to exaggerate their sentiments due to emotions.

            That is why every time one or two rioting Palestinians have been abused by the Israeli police, the Arabs would answer with a suicide bombing attack. Then Israel would fight back with aerial bombings or shooting Arabs who are protesting the attacks. Then the cycle of violence goes on and on and on.

            Now, would you still wonder why violence between Israel and Palestine would continue to rise? Would you still wonder why the Israel-Palestine conflict seems to be unending? Many people believe that the Israel-Palestine conflict is not only about disputes in territories but also conflict involving the pride of two nations in a discord. It is not only about Israel against Palestine but Arabs against Jews.

            Now, it seems that the problem is quite clear, but how about the solution? Many times the two nations tried to enter into agreements, but most of the time they end up killing each other more. One might wonder if there is still hope that the conflict will be resolved. Fortunately, there could be answers to this seemingly unending problem. The solution is NEGOTIATION.

            The two nations kept on entering into negotiations but they are doing it on the wrong way. That is why instead of finishing the problem, they end up finishing each other. The following steps may be done to have a successful negotiation.

            First, since the problem also involved pride of two nations, the people concerned should be separated from the problem itself. This only means that the Israelis and Palestinians should not be left alone to iron out their differences because they would only end up hurting each other, since the people entering into negotiations are occupied emotionally into the problem. As they get emotionally involved, solutions would be impossible to create. It is best that there is a neutral body that would serve as mediator between the two parties. A mediator is necessary if parties involved could not agree with each other simply because they hate each other, which is actually the case of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

            Second, the interests of the parties must be identified. This is important for creating “options” for the two parties. These options could be in the form of compromise agreements. This would discuss what the opposing parties may be willing to give up for the benefit of peace.

            Third, in case the mediator will introduce options, such options must be made using objective criteria so that the opposing parties will not allege any biases. It is important that the two parties be prevented to doubt the mediator because if that will happen, the problem will only escalate, as in the case of India and Pakistan.

            Finally, in case the two parties did not accede to any agreements, and it would look as if that problem is only becoming worse, the best thing to do is find alternatives which would minimize the damages that may be caused by the problem.

            These suggested solutions may not totally solve the conflict but at least peace has been given a chance. In giving peace a chance, violence may be stopped and many important lives will be saved.          It is not important to know how the problem started, but it is essential to know how it would end.    

 

    

 

           

 

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Last modified: 01/21/05                                                                                                                                                                                         Copyright© ADNU Institute of Politics 2002