The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Israel is the only Jewish state, whose location is found on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. Palestine on the other hand is an Arab population that also claim ownership of the land that the Israelis currently occupy as they refer to it as Palestine. Their hope would be fulfilled when they establish a state of Palestine on the entire land or part of it. The conflict of the Palestine’s and Israelis stems from the misunderstanding over how to share the land in dispute and how it will be controlled (Hameiri, Sharvit, Bar‐Tal, Shahar, " Halperin, (2017).

            Although both the Arab Muslims and the Jews trace their ancestral origin of the land a couple of thousand years ago, the ongoing political unrest started at the commencement of the 20th century. The Jews who were escaping persecution in the European territories wanted establish and rebuild their homeland. However, the land was by then under the control of the Arab-Muslim in the days of the Ottoman and British Empire. As was expected, the Arabs resisted because they knew the land rightfully belonged to them. after the failure by the UN’s plan to allocate each group a section of the land, a protracted war between the Israelis and the neighboring Arab nations erupted over the territory. The most memorable and impactful wars occurred in 1948 and 1967. The 1967 war had a lot of ramifications because it gave Israel control of the larger portion of the land and also the control of Gaza strip and the West Bank despite the two territories being largely occupied by the Palestinian populations (Hameiri et al., 2017).

            There have been attempts at solving the current stalemate but all of them have received profound hostilities from the two warrying sections. The most appropriate approach of ending the conflict was to be a two-state solution. The approach is premised on the need to establish an independent state of Palestine in the West bank and Gaza and leave the Israelis to control the rest of the land. However, the two sides cannot find a way of making the proposal practical. The two-state solution has an alternative of a one state solution where the entire land either becomes Israel or Palestine. Nonetheless, many observers see the solution as a source of even more problems and it seems unlikely (Alon " Bar-Tal, 2017).

Reasons for the Conflict

Justice as a Barrier to the Resolution of the Israeli-Palestine Conflict

            The Israeli-Palestine Conflict has lacked a satisfactory solution because of the long-perceived problem of injustice. The Palestine have for long begrudged the Israelis since the commencement of the conflict and more so in 1947-1949. Majority of the Palestine believe that the long-standing dispute cannot be resolved until Israel accepts the following demands from the Palestine: Full acknowledgement of its role in the expulsion of the Palestinians from their rightful land in 1947-1949.The also demand that the Israelis accept a just demand of reaching a solution for the problem of the refugees by implementing and facilitating the return of the Palestinians to their homes that are currently in the land occupied by the Israelis. The return of the Palestine to their previous homes would mean that the Israelis currently living in such places would be rendered homeless or they have to relocate to other places. Therefore, finding a lasting solution with such demands from the Palestine even contributes to the prospects of harming the peace process negotiations that have been in existence (Bar-Siman-Tov, 2010).

            Israel on its part has declined to accept the demands from the Palestinians that they have set as preconditions for the settlement of the conflict. The Israelis also accuse the Palestine’s and the Arab nations of instigating the 1947-1949 war that led to the Palestinian refugee problem. The Jews argue that the refusal of the Arabs to recognize the Partition Plan of November 1947 and the instigation of the war, was a wider scheme to use force to prevent the Israelis from establishing their state. The Israelis have for many years viewed that as an act of ill will from the Palestinians. Therefore, it strengthened their resolve to act tough on the Palestine’s by perpetuating what many observers perceive as historical injustices against the Palestine. Moreover, the Palestine’s know for a fact that their demand for the implementation of the right to go back to their perceived lands signifies an end the state of Israel as a Jewish state. Their insistence to have the right if return honored is thus a perpetual barrier to the settlement of the conflict (Bar-Siman-Tov, 2010).

The Issue of the Historical Narratives

            The issue of denial of justice is deeply rooted in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Each side of the warrying factions is certain that the opposing side committed injustice against it at the height of the conflict. Such deep-rooted anger has led to the development and cultivation of a collective narrative that has historical connotations and reflect the its view of the dispute and the image of the other. The contradictions and gap evident in the narratives are too vast that they cannot be easily bridged at this stage by the two sides (Bar-Siman-Tov, 2010).

            The Jewish-Zionist Narratives. The basic fundamental historical narratives place emphasis on the right of the Jews to attaining political independence and having a free hand in establishing their independent state in the fulfillment of their dream of self-determination. In view of the narrative, the Jewish people dislodged from their homeland and country and persecuted throughout the course of history. Further, the narrative goes ahead to state that they have returned to their native and ancestral place of residence even if the land has been occupied by other people. The Zionist did not see the occupation of their land by other people as a deterrent to their return because they knew that was their original place of residence (Mitchell, " Sachar, 2017).

The inability to find a satisfactory solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict also lies in the historical perspective of the Jewish people of having close ties and a greater longing to return to the place where their national and religious identity was forged. Such desire to rebuild their state is justifiable and supported by the principles of compensatory and restorative justice. Furthermore, it would be difficult for the Zionist crusaders to reach a solution with the Palestinians that would lead to part of their land being given to the Palestine people because of the oppression and persecution they suffered in Europe under the rule of Hitler that reached its peak during the Holocaust. Such oppression and injustice towards the Jewish people necessitated the UN to remedy the injustice by facilitating their coming back to their homeland and the establishment of an independent Jewish state. Therefore, with such tight connections to their historical backgrounds and claims to their ancestral land which also has religious attachments, it makes it very difficult for the Israelis to engage in any sincere and meaningful peace process that would lead to a lasting solution for the conflict (Mitchell, " Sachar, 2017).

            The Palestinian Narratives. The Palestine narratives in relation to the Israeli-Palestine conflict is also making the prospects of reaching a lasting peace deal very difficult. The fundamental and basic narratives of the Palestinians is founded on the principles of restorative, distributive and compensatory justice that grants them right of self-determination. The Palestine leaders have collective had the following arguments in regard to the elusive Israeli-Palestine peace deal. They hold unbreakable conviction that the Palestinians are people of ancient times whose historical attachments to the land in dispute goes far beyond the emergence of the Zionist movement. They further claim that Palestine is original and exclusive native land of the Palestine Arab country whose borders were set by the British Mandate (Mitchell, " Sachar, 2017).

            Moreover, the Palestine people believe that it’s the Zionist enterprise that stalled their growth as a nation. Under the British Mandate, Palestine would have developed into the state of Palestine. Additionally, the Palestine still hold the view that if the Jews truly had the right to become an independent state under self-determination initiative that was spearheaded by the Zionists after the Holocaust, they should have realized that outside the territories of Palestine because the land belonged to the Palestinians.

            Up to today, the Palestine authorities still hold on to the narrative that in the 1947-1949 war, the major powers such as Britain perpetuated injustice against them by facilitating the establishment of the Jewish state at the very core of the Arab world. That there is no moral excuse for the establishment of the state of the Jews at the detriment of the Palestine residents. They further opine that all Palestine is for the Palestinians and they should not share even an inch with the Jews.

            Further historical narratives that have proved to be a barrier for a peaceful end to the ever-present conflicts between the Palestinians and the Israelis stretches back to the presence of the Jews in what the Palestine people call their land. They claim that even during the first and Second Temple, the presence of the Jews was negligible and marginal and that ended 2000 years ago. Moreover, the Palestine residents still view Judaism as just a religion and not a nationality and thus the Jews don’t qualify as a nation that merits a state (Mitchell, " Sachar, 2017). Additionally, the Palestinians are making peace prospects seem very difficult because they have vowed never to recognize Israel as a Jewish nation even when the conflict has been resolved and the state of Palestine established. Their grievances run so deeply because they believe that there can never be legitimacy to establishing a Jewish state in the homeland of the Palestinians. The Palestine’s will never accept the demand by the Israelis for the conclusion of the conflict because once they reach that agreement, they will not be in position to bring up the issue of justice again and that will be detrimental for their quest for justice. Therefore, that implies, the conflict will continue for an unknown time to come.

The Conflict Over Jerusalem

            The conflict over East Jerusalem has spanned for decades between the Jews and the Muslim Arabs. The conflict has been escalated by the announcement of the president of the United States Donald Trump of his plans to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In doing so, they will recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisibles capital of the Jewish people (Cherkaoui, 2017). The move has attracted vicious criticism and protests from the Palestinians and the neighboring Arab countries. The Palestinians and the entire Arab community living in the East Jerusalem, see the Old town of Jerusalem as their future capital of the state of Palestine. Therefore, anything that seeks to disposes them of the east side of Jerusalem is unwelcome (Cherkaoui, 2017).

            The Israelis also do not want to cede the east side of Jerusalem to Palestine. After the capture of the old town of Jerusalem in the 1967 war from the Muslim Arabs, the Israelis have remained in control of the city up to now. Despite allowing regulated occupancy of the east side of the city by the Palestinians, the Israelis have continued to advance their settlement scheme right inside the city. Some have even displaced the Palestine from the regions they had occupied. Furthermore, the Palestinians have continued to raise alarm over the continuous encroachment of the east Jerusalem by the Israeli settlers to a point that it has led to their residency of permits being revoked by the Israeli authorities. Therefore, such state of affairs creates suspicions between the two groups and that makes the conflict to endure (De Vries et al., 2017).

            The presence of the religious and holy sites in the East side of Jerusalem that are extremely significant to the lives of the religious lives of the Jews and the Muslims, also makes it very difficult to easily end the conflict. The Western Wall is significant to the Jews because of the attachments it has to the Temple Mount and the religious history of Judaism. Apart from being the holiest site in the Jewish history, it is also the only remaining religious monument that reminds them of their ancestors of old such as Solomon and David whose history shaped the current story of the Jewish people. The old town is also sacred to the Palestinians because it has the Noble Sanctuary where the Al Aqsa Mosque sits and the Dome of the Rock. These are sacred places to the Muslims. The presence of the holy sites to both groups has proved to be a constant source of conflict. No side will ever let go of the east Jerusalem because of the religious significance it holds for them (De Vries et al., 2017).

The Conflict over Water Resources

            The Palestinians put claims to all the water that is found within the territory of the West Bank. Such ownership claims according to the Palestinians is informed by the principle of full sovereignty over what they possess under the ground or on the ground. The Palestine residents in the West Bank ownership of 500-560 million m3 of water as well as in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, they also claim to have rights to the Jordan River that amounts to 150-200 million m3. The Palestinians support their claim in view of the Johnston Plan. The Johnston Plan came into being in 1955 when the Palestine people living on both sides of the Jordan river were under the rule of the Jordanian Kingdom (Zeitoun " Mirumachi, 2008).

            In contrast to the adverse position taken by the Palestinians over the water resources in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the experts from the Israeli territories have discounted their claims while arguing that the historical rights of the water found in West Bank cannot be detached from the Israelis. The Israeli expert argue that water found in the aquifers in West Bank were first developed and used by the Israelis. The coastal cities of Israel derive their water from the sources emanating from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The water supplies serve two million people in Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Metropolitan areas and other places. The specialists from Israel also argue that failure by Israel to control these water sources even if they are found in the Palestine territories, the water sources will be prone to pollution and all the rivers that enter the land of Israel will be contaminated (Zeitoun " Mirumachi, 2008).

            In view of the fact that the aquifers that give rise to the water cannot be divided, the authorities from both sides saw the need to arrive at a compromise over the joint management of the water resources although it has been plagued with unending suspicions and mistrusts from both sides. The first alternative would be for the Israelis to assume full control of all the three aquifers. That would therefore have tremendous advantage for the water regime of Israel but it also comes with a heavy political and demographic price. The second solution is to cede the Nablus-Jenin aquifer, above which a huge population of the Palestine people live, and retain the eastern and western aquifers in the hands of the Israelis. The advantage of this approach to Israel is that the water used by the inhabitants of the Coastal Plain would remain at the hands of the control of the Israel authority. Moreover, the water consumed by the Jewish settlers in the Jordan valley would still be under the control of Israel. The demographic price that comes with the implementation of this approach would be tolerable. With this alternative, the control of water at their disposal would remain at the hands of the Palestine authority (Zeitoun " Mirumachi, 2008). The Nablus-Jenin aquifer, would provide 120 million m3 and a total of 250 million m3 of water will be available for their use which would be sufficient. The third alternative entails the transfer of the other two aquifers to the Palestine authority and Israel only remains in control of the western aquifer. With that, Israel will have to forfeit 360 million m3 from the total 670 million m3 they derive from the Judean mountains. The Palestinians on the other hand would receive 300 million m3 of water.

            Another approach exists but this also has both adherents and people who oppose in equal measure from both the Palestinians and the Israel. There has been a proposal for a joint administration of the water regime on the region of the West Bank. Joint administration necessitates both parties to come up with the initial agreements on the formula of sharing the water resources between the two populations. The Palestine authorities hold the view that the water can be allocated only to be used for domestic purposes and not for agriculture. Such a method of water allocation is known as Minimum Water Requirement (MWR). The method is based on the assumption that the water that serves the needs of the people will not be sufficient for all the water needs, thus the need to priorities domestic and other pertinent water uses (Zeitoun et al., 2017).

            The adoption of that alternative of joint water management would necessitate the Israeli government to resort to drastic curtailment and regulation of Israeli agriculture. Therefore, such a move would have costly effects on the thriving state of agriculture in the country apart from the crops whose irrigation water comes from the recycled water. In light of this context, the Israeli state would have to provide the Palestine residents with good quality drinking water and have to foot the expenses with the drastic changes to its economy. With the assurance of continuous supply of water, the Palestine Authorities may see the need to return their refugees and that would put a strain on the water used for domestic purposes. With massive water withdrawal from the natural water, its supply may be exhausted and that would necessitate the state of Israel to expand its supply of desalinated water to the Palestine. That would be too costly for the Israeli government. Therefore, the delicate state of balancing on the management of the existing water aquifers would still prove to be a source of conflict between the two groups if not managed well. Thus, finding a sustainable end to the conflict between the Jewish people and the Palestinians is not going to be realized soon considering the complexity of the issues that cause the problems (Zeitoun et al., 2017).

The Issue of Political Prisoners

            The conflict of the Israelis and Palestinians never ends partly because of the constant issue of political prisoners. The Palestine authorities have placed a raft of demands that they want satisfied before realizing any meaningful peace. Among their priorities is the emancipation of political prisoners, held hostage by the Israeli authorities. A fascinating evening that was held by the physicians for Human Rights in Tel Aviv underscored the role that the liberation of political prisoners can have the peace process. The message was delivered by the Prisoner Affairs minister of Palestine who spent 21 years in the prison walls of the Israelis. Therefore, message from such a person is loaded with vital undertones of hindsight that are crucial in the realization of peace through the release of political prisoners. Unfortunately, the message may not be well received by the Israeli government because of their considered opinion that freeing the political prisoners allied to the Palestinians would lead to the perpetuations of the problems for which they were arrested for. That further, complicates the peace prospects (Ben-Meir et al., 2017).

            Other issues that the Palestine people see as an impediment to the peace prospects are the settlement freeze especially in the West Bank and the East Jerusalem. Another issue of primary concern is an end to the targeted killings from both sides and the suspension of travel restrictions imposed on the Palestinians by the Israeli authorities by the proliferation of check points in the territories that have been occupied by the Palestinians. Moreover, complete cessation of violence would depend on the public perception of the Palestine people that there has been a significant improvement in their lives. Otherwise, the sporadic attacks from the Palestine’s against the Israelis may still continue to take place (Ben-Meir et al., 2017).

The Threat of the Hamas

            Another issue that is derailing the prospect of peace is the threat of the Hamas. The Hamas has seized control of the strip of Gaza. Therefore, there is no doubt that provided the territories of Palestine will remain politically divided, reaching an agreeable peace solution will still remain elusive. Perhaps the assistance of the Arab governments could help in creating a significant mediation partner that can lead to the resolution of the issue. The Arab states could consider imposing sanctions on the Palestine territories so that they pile pressure on the Hamas and force them to cooperate and submit to the Palestine Authorities. Once they cooperate with the Palestine Authorities, then it would be easier to engage the Israel government for meaningful talks of peace process. Unfortunately, the peace process efforts could still remain a mirage because of the violent take that the Hamas executed in the Gaza Strip by violently overthrowing the Palestine Authority in Gaza Strip.

            Although the Hamas terrorist organization was partly formed to respond to the grievances that the Palestinians had about the lopsided civilian attacks and killings from the Israeli forces, it must be acknowledged that two or multiple wrongs don’t make a right. The Hamas for instance have made the possibility of attaining peace seem difficult by aggravating the differences between the Palestinians and Israel by the coordinated violence they have been unleashing against the Israeli civilian since its inception. The Hamas have had been launching rockets towards the Israeli occupied territories and instigating indiscriminate firing towards the Israeli citizens. For to be a significant step towards peace, the indiscriminate firing must stop unconditionally.

            Throughout the course of history of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, the Palestinian terror groups and the Hamas have worked very hard in slowing down and derailing the possibility of having a promising peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis. During the Oslo process, the Hamas terror group blew up buses in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. They did this by sending suicide bombers to execute the attacks by exploding among the Israeli civilians. Such a painful and provocative act sent the late prime minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin to declare that his priorities had changed and the first thing would be to fight terrorism to its extinction before embarking on peace process negotiations again. Seeking peace in an environment laden with terrorism sounded like an exercise in futility.

United States’ Role in the Derailment of Peace

            America holds the veto power of the United Nations. There is a growing perception among the Muslim world and the Palestinians that the U.S. is being dishonest in its efforts to mediate peace between Israel and Palestine. The general feeling among the Palestine is that the U.S. is using its veto powers at the UN to forcefully enforce its will that often times goes against the interests of the Palestine people and at the same time side with Israel even when they are wrong. With the strong military the U.S. has, it can assist resolve the Palestine-Israel crisis if it chose to navigate the path of justice and equity. Such skewed support of one side of the conflicting sides could be some of the reason that push the Palestinians to form radical groups such as the Hamas to protest what they perceive as schemes to fight and decimate the Palestine people (Agena " Eze, 2017).

The Threat of Iran

            Iran supplies the weapons used by the Hamas by smuggling the dangerous weapons through the birders of Gaza and the West Bank. Therefore, ending the crisis between Israel and Palestine may not be realized until the smuggling of weapons from Iran to the Palestine territories stopes. Both Israel and the Palestine authorities need to find a way of ending the illegal entry of weapons that empower the terrorist groups like Hamas to continue causing mayhem and derail the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel. Fars news agency in Iran also reports that the Iranian government is determined in arming the Hamas group and the Jihadists in the Palestine territories with deadly weapons with the sole aim of destabilizing Israel. Such a threat from another country is not something to be taken lightly as it has the potential of stalling any of the avenues left to pursue the peace talks and get a lasting solution (Bandeira, 2017).

Disregard of the UN Resolutions

            Since the establishment of Israel as a nation, the UN has passed 42 resolutions against the state of Israel for going against the international law. Unfraternally, Israel has disobeyed some of the United Nations resolutions as well asked the U.S. to veto some of the resolutions that they find not favoring them. If both the Israelis and Palestinians abide by the resolutions of the U.N that seek to foster peace between the two groups by preventing actions that provoke violence and disagreements, then the possibility of achieving peace could become a reality.


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