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Date Created: 01/18/16
Israeli – Palestinian impasse: irresolvable conflict? Jacob P. Magrane email@example.com POSC 1020 Section 001 Fall 2015 Group D Dr. Tannenbaum Due: 18 November 2015 The situation the in the Middle East is an enormously complex one, with no definitive solution. Many have proposed possible ways to end the conflict, but so far none have been able to satisfy the needs of both sides. Many of these proposed solutions can be broken into two schools of thought; the One State Solution and the Two State Solution. The biggest issue, the core problem that is leading to all this conflict, is how to divide the territory that two groups of people both claim are theirs. Both sides, at this point, have been unable to compromise on a solution, so there has not been much progresses. Many moderates on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides favor the Two State Solution, but the extremists are unwilling to budge, wanting the entire country for themselves (Tannenbaum, 2015). With the current situation, both groups claim that the territory of Israel rightfully belongs to them. Ever since Israel was granted the land after WWII, the displaced Palestinians have tried to reclaim it, often through use of military force. The rise of Hamas to power in the Palestinian government has done nothing to help the situation, with three missile attacks since their rise to power (Tannenbaum, 2015). With both solutions, there are pros and there are cons, but in order for there to ever be peace in the region, a solution will have to be embraced. One of the solutions that has been proposed is the Single Sate Solution where, to explain it simply, the entire region would fall under one government, with equal representation and citizenship status for all the occupants of the region. This binational state method was first proposed in 1920’s, and has only been suggested a few times since then, with no serious action (Farsakh, 2011, p. 56). The problem with this method is that the Palestinians and Israelis each want their own government to be the one in charge of the state. Farsakh sees potential for this method, but not without some major challenges. Her main issues are changing the mindset of the Palestinian people. Her focus is on addressing methods for changing that mindset of all or none to one of best of both worlds. She sees the three main challenges as getting the Palestinians to fight for equal rights rather than a definite state, to view the solution as a “realistic” one rather than one that solves everyone’s problems all at once, and to get this solution implemented by the people through “grassroots activism,” rather than starting with the leadership that has been unable to make any changes since the crisis began (2011, p. 5657). These changes are not to make the Palestinian people feel as though they did not lose terribly, but rather to make it feel as if both sides won. That is part of the premise of the One State Solution; that if neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians can give up any territory, then they can share it equally as one nation. By overcoming these key challenges, it will allow both sides to feel as though they got everything they wanted, not just part or none of what they wanted as a Two State Solution might lead too. The rather large problems these challenges pose however, is that they completely overhaul the way in which the Palestinian people currently view the conflict; that the land is all theirs, and the only way to win is to end with the state of Palestine on that land. This is in direct conflict with the first challenge. Farsakh would like to see the Palestinians fight for equal rights within the one state of Israel, rather than trying to make their own state and oppress the Israeli citizens (2011, p. 57). Each side has their own idealistic versions of how they want this to end, but Farsakh sees these as unrealistic, and therefore unobtainable, and therefore the Palestinian in that sense must also be changed. You cannot win when the winning scenario is impossible. Farsakh says these mental changes should not come from the leadership, but from the people (2011, p. 56). The leadership of both the Israeli and Palestinian governments have been unable to settle the conflict politically or militarily, so it is up to the public to either change the minds of the leadership, or to change the leadership, if they ever want the violence to end. The One State Solution is a good solution, if the Palestinians can accept keeping all the land, as long as they share it and live alongside the Israeli people and government. The other possible way to end this conflict is to use the Two State Solution, where two separate states are created, one of Israeli Jews and one of Palestinian Arabs. The Two State Solution is usually the stronger contender of the two solutions, having been seriously considered and somewhat implemented through the Oslo Peace Accords (Milestones). The Peace Accords were able to stall the fighting for a little while, but violence did begin again, and there was never a lasting peace. It was the closest we have ever come to peace though, and many see potential for it to work on a more lasting basis. In fact, given the current situation and trends, David Unger sees the Two State Solution as much more probable than the One State Solution. As we discussed in the previous paragraph, in order for the One State Solution to ever become a reality, there would have to be a major shift in the way the Palestinians viewed the Israeli population. They would have to perceive each other as equal, or else we would get a situation that has happened in other parts of the Middle East. With the increasing population of Arabs in the region, it is very likely that the balance of power will swing their way. If this occurs, and the shift in thinking has not occurred, then they will take revenge on the Israelis, oppressing them the way they feel they have been oppressed. Once they are in control, they will be able to impose rules and sanctions on the Israelis, the way the Israelis have imposed them on the Palestinians. They could even limit Jewish immigration to the territory, further controlling the growth of the Jewish population, and allowing the Palestinians to gain further control (Unger, 2008, p.63). Just as there were challenges to the One State Solution, the Two State Solution has its own issues. There are Israelis who feel that they are more powerful than the Palestinians, that Palestinian is not even capable of being a player in negotiations. There are opponents to the Two State Solution outside of the region, who feel that states based on religion and ethnicity can only lead to problems (Sussman, 2004, p. 89). Again, it appears that for any real moves to be made in the direction of peace, the mindset of the different parties involved have to be drastically changed. In this case however, it is not the Palestinians who must think of everyone else equally, but everyone else who must find equality with the Palestinians. They should not think of each other as better than one or the other, nor should they consider one religion or ethnic group more deserving than the other. They need to recognize that thinking on those terms will only cause division, rather than the unity they need in order to reach an agreement. Morton Kaplan also points out some of the other factors involved in deciding which solution would be most appropriate for the situation. He says that one of Israel’s main concerns is its security. Already, Israel has been attacked multiple times by Palestinian forces, and they fear that eventually Palestinian forces may succeed in wiping out Israel (2008, p. 4748). Israel’s hold over the Gaza and West Bank regions has given it a certain level of control in the region, and to give up that control in favor of the Two State Solution is not likely. Both solutions have their up and their downs, but there is a common string across both; a major shift in thinking is required. It is widely accepted on both sides of the argument that if the conflict continues in the direction it is going, there will not be any peace any time soon. Both sides, Israel and Palestine have to be able to accept and commit to the chosen solution, or it will fall through like all attempts before have. All previous attempts at peace have been in an effort to force a compromise between two parties that are unwilling to compromise. There are many factors affecting the decision, and the decision itself will not be up to one person, nor will it be cut & dry, one decision that satisfies all parties, which is all the more reason to convince people that their version of a “win” is impossible, but a solution that can at least satisfy the majority of people is not impossible. Bibliography Farsakh, L. (2011). The OneState Solution and the IsraeliPalestinian Conflict: Palestinian Challenges and Prospects. The Middle East Journal Middle East J, 5571. Kaplan, M. (2008). WHY PLANS FOR A TWOSTATE SOLUTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST HAVE FAILED. International Journal on World Peace, 25(1), 4357. Retrieved December 7, 2015, from JSTOR. Milestones: 1993–2000. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2015, from https://history.state.gov/milestones/19932000/oslo Sussman, G. (2004). The Challenge to the TwoState Solution. (231), 815. Retrieved December 7, 2015, from JSTOR. Tannenbaum, A. (2015, November 1). Israel Palestine. Lecture, Clemson. Unger, D. (2008). The Inevitable TwoState Solution. World Policy Journal, 25(3), 5967. Retrieved December 7, 2015, from JSTOR.
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