Conflicts have existed since the establishment of societies. However, in history, the Israeli-Palestine conflict is the oldest of all time. The events of the conflicts in early years bore less parity until the segregation of the Palestine region into three states namely Israel, Gaza, and West Bank. The separation took effect after Israelites successfully defeated Britain hence declaring their independence. At this particular time, the Palestinians were the majority. However, Israel armies pushed Palestinians out of their homes. Globally, Jews were being persecuted and dwindled significantly.
The creation of Israel thus made a safe haven for them. However, Palestine refused to accept the Jewish state of Israel. This is the main cause of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. However, other factors have been encompassed in the conflict. To justify the conflict, the respective societies have developed narrations of the events. Whereas the topics are the same, the societies have different versions. The current paper discusses the impact of the gap between Israeli and Palestine narratives in perpetuating the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
Conflicts are the oldest events that have defined human existence. Most of these wars revolved around territories, freedoms, food, sex, wealth, and prestige. Wars over territories, freedom, and wealth have been the most aggressive in human history. In the 17th and 18th centuries, for instance, colonization involved powerful kingdoms expanding their territories by acquiring weak kingdoms. The latter surrendered after violent encounters. The dominant forces at that particular time were Britain, France, Portugal, and Spain. Territorial wars were mostly driven by wealth. Virgin lands were seen as the resources, its people, and labor. Afterwards, colonization wars were greatly replaced by wars for independence. The colonized entities fought their masters to regain freedom. Examples of freedom wars include the American civil war of 1861 and the wars among African countries in the 1900s. After these conflicts, peaceful coexistence prevailed with masters retreating and newly created free countries developing their paths. However, one war prevails to date. This is the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. The current paper discusses the impact of Israeli and Palestinian narratives promoting the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
Description of the Conflicting Nations
Israel is named after a biblical country following the story of Jacob. As a country, Israel was legally established in 1948 following the portioning of the Arab area. Before, the separated area existed as a colony of Britain. According to Hammack (2010), the area was internationally known as Palestine. However, after the battle, it was portioned into Israel for Jews, and Gaza Strip and West Bank for Arab Palestine. This eventually led to the creation of Arab and Jewish states. Israel is a country in the Middle East bordering the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, and Lebanon. It has a land mass of 20,770 km2 and a population of 8 million people. The majority of the citizens are Jews. A quarter of the population is Arabs. The main religion practiced in Israel is Jewish and Muslim. However, Israel is considered as a Christian artifact globally. The country hosts some venue greatly valued by Christians such as Bethlehem and Jerusalem where Christian leader Jesus preached. Economically, Israel is a technology power house. Equipment and pharmaceutical products are the main exports there (CIA 2016).
The context of defining Palestine nations remains elusive because Israel dissects the State of Palestine. The area occupied by Israel existed as one Arab country until the United Nations portioned it into Arab and Jewish States. The dissected Palestinians States include Gaza Strip and West Bank (Hammack, 2010). The Gaza Strip has had many control powers including Britain, Egypt, and Israel. Today, Gaza is controlled by a transitional constituted government. Gaza has a land mass of 360 km2 and a population of about 2 million people. The nationality of the citizens remains undefined though the majority is Arabs of Palestine origin. The area is war torn and does not have any established economic events. On the other hand, West Bank shares similar history with Gaza. The country has about 3 million people mainly composed of Arabs who are Sunni Muslims. West Bank has no established government like Gaza. However, West Bank is more economically stable than Gaza. It borders Israel, Jordan, and Syria (CIA 2016).
History of the Conflict
According to Masalha (2012), the Israeli and Palestinian conflict started after the Second World War. The British withdrew their presence in the Palestinian region, which enables the creation of separate states. The creation of Jewish and Arab states was strongly rejected by the Arabs. This resulted into many wars that have lasted to date. The orchestration of the conflict is derived from the Bible. According to Boyle, Mitchell, and Pinder (2012), the creation of Israel began 6 decades earlier. The main aims of the portioning were the return of the messiah and Israelites to the Promised Land. This separation was effective in 1948, when the Israeli army defeated the British. At this particular time, Gaza was governed by Egypt. Israel captured Gaza later in another war against Egypt in 1967. However, the area sought for autonomy between 1994 and 1999 under the Oslo accord. This led to the transfer of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority based on the Oslo agreement. However, the Gaza destabilized the situation an internal strife in 2001. The situation further disintegrated with the death of Palestinian Authority leader Yasir Arafat.
Subsequently, the peace process worsened in 2005, when Israel withdrew its citizens and soldier leaving a security vacuum in Gaza. This was followed by the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, which captured major seats in the Palestinian Legislative Assembly in 2007. Consequently, the win culminated in neighboring nations including Israel imposing trade restrictions on the Palestinian community. Regionally, Hamas and Palestinian Authority failed to agree on how to govern Gaza. This led to a split between Hamas retaining Gaza and the Palestinian Authority governing only West Bank. Whereas relative peace was reached, the stability in Gaza has never been realized due to continued disagreements. The disagreements have led to internal wars that have split Israel directly or indirectly. The main wars were in 2007 and 2008 (Boyle, Mitchell, & Pinder 2012). In 2014, another war erupted between Israel and Gaza. According to the United Nations (2016), the Gaza will become derelict in the next 15 years. The recent wars have displaced more than a half million of people. The chronology of these wars depicts deep rooted tension between the nations. The stand of each is thus critical in evaluating this tension.
To put the Israel narrative in perspective, the Palestinian narrative follows. Rotberg (2006) notes that the Israeli-Palestinian narratives are the case of reports with two competing stories of the same topic with divergent views. The stories account for a similar event from different angles.
The Creation of Israel
According to Rotberg (2006), the perpetrators of the Palestinian narrative argue that the creation of Israel is illegal. Therefore, Israel lacks the legitimacy to occupy the current land mass. Leading scholars propagating these opinions include Nadim Rouhana and Saleh Abdel Jawad. The authors argue that history has been distorted by Israeli and European scholars to make Israel legal. According to Palestinians, occupying their land by Israelis is considered as an original sin. The ideologies also discard the existence of the Promised Land and Jerusalem as argued in the biblical descriptions. If the assertions of the promised are to hold, the Palestine has the right as well because Ishmael, the forefather of Arabs, was also a son of Abraham. Palestine considers the land theirs since they lived there for hundreds of years and were the majority until 1948. Further, Jerusalem has an important role in the history of Islam that closely relates with Palestine world. As a result, the Palestine world has refused to safely coexist with Israelites (Hammack, 2010).
Israeli – Palestinian Relationship
In reference to the Palestine narrative, the relationship between Israelites and Palestinians has been defined by an aggressive Israel. Rotberg (2006) notes that Israel is a culture of force towards Palestine. Therefore, the narrative finds use of force as a way of Israel relating with Palestine. The use of force is validated by Israel not wanting to share land with the Palestine. The insertion of violence is an attempt to push out the people of Palestine from the areas they inhabit. Further, Palestine accuses Israel of forcefully acquiring such its territories as the section along Gaza and West Bank. It is considered by Palestine as a political move with economic foundations. For instance, the strip in Gaza facilitates easy movement of goods and services for Israel. This drives wars for freedom. Israel has turned down calls for freedom by Palestine and branded the forces driving the freedom agenda as terrorists. Within Israel, the culture of fear is promoted, whereby a person has lost or has had an injured relative from these attacks. Israel is therefore obligated to protect itself (Hammack, 2010).
According to Oren, Nets‐Zehngut, and Bar‐Tal (2015), Israel prevents the Palestine from its national identity. During the war, Israeli troops ordered Palestine to vacate their homes. This led to Palestinians moving to camps in other Arab countries. The inhabitants have continued to stay there; it rendered them into stateless. Two of these camps later become countries such as Gaza and West Bank. Historically, Palestine sees Israel as its home country, and, periodically, refugees in other countries come to check the ruins of their homes. The citizens who remained see themselves as second class people undermined by the country’s laws.
The Creation of Israel
The Israel narrative holds a different school of thought. Israeli allied scholars promote two thoughts, namely the biblical one and natural existence. According Rotberg (2006), Israel is a divine country that preexisted as Zion. The land was promised to them and had existed as the Israel and Judah kingdoms. Before the declaration of Israel republic, the inhabitants of the country (mainly Jews) had been exiled. However, following continued global persecution by the Nazi, Russians, and Arabs, it was evident for Jews to return to their country. This story relates to the biblical view of the Promised Land for the chosen community. The theory emerges with the natural existence where they argue that there were no Arabs in the current Israel State in 1948. By the time the Israelites came back, the Arabs had fled from the area.
According to Hammack (2010), the Israeli narrative finds Palestine as naturally opposing the existence of the Israeli State. As a result, the Palestine increasingly seeks to eliminate the presence of the Israeli. In this context, the Palestine favors violence. Israeli scholars argue that their country is peace loving and has promoted in different occasions various peace accords that have been rejected or broken by the Arab world. Consequently, Israel holds that it clamps a legal claim on the stretches of land along Gaza and West Bank. The country further claims that there are terrorist organization supported by sections of Palestine that operate within Gaza and West Bank, and their aim is to destabilize the area. As a result, Israel has the right to defend itself. Consequently, the Palestine is the reflection of the Nazis and anti-Semitism groups targeting Israelites. Thus, for Israel, the Palestinians are the modern Nazis.
According to Oren, Nets‐Zehngut, and Bar‐Tal (2015), Israel challenges the original existence of Palestine. The scholars argue that Palestine lacks national identity and cannot exist as a nation. It existed as part of the British colony that became Israel in 1948 after gaining independence.
Analysis of Gaps
Legality of the States
The two narrations deny the existence of either state. The gaps presented in either story are justification of the existence of the respective entity. In other words, the warring nations acknowledge the existence of the other parties as an appendage of their societies. There is lack of consensus over mutual coexistence. As a result, both parties continuously claim and argue that the other party lacks legal claim to the land. According to Rotberg (2006) and an inference of Mark Tessler, the rejection of Israel by the Arab world and Palestine places the area under constant conflict. The Palestine always seeks to regain control of the area since history placed them there. The Israeli react with opposite force to defend their territories based on their ideology. This relationship results in confrontations. However, since Israel has a stabilized government and fourth strongest army, they are often able to strategically manage Palestine attacks with minimal consequences.
Gaps in the Relationship
Israeli narrative presents Palestinians fighting for their freedom as terrorists, while the Palestine narrative argues that Israel is a terrorist company seeking to unjustly expand its territory. As a result, Israel wants 100% control of the original Palestine region. The Israeli explanation fails to capture the right of the Palestine for the land. In the course of history, fights for freedom have been often violent. However, the context defies the colonization tag. It is documented that the Israelites fought the British to liberate the country in 1948. The role of the Palestine is not defined but portrayed as a victim of the war. The Palestinians were exiled by the war. This, therefore, presents a civil strife where inhabitants of the same land are fighting over it. The narratives present Israelis as benefactors of a stabilized nation and Palestinians as victims of Israeli freedom. Today, Israel argues that since Palestine cannot maintain peace within its territory, it harbors terrorists that attack the former. Thus, the gap revolves around freedom and terror activities to promote war (Pilecki & Hammack, 2014).
Finally, the gap between Israeli-Palestinian conflicts that persistently lead to war is the fear of victimization. Globally, Jews have been targeted by anti-Semitism. They were specific targets during the era of Nazis. During the period, the Jews were almost wiped out from the surface of the earth. The creation of Israel made a place that Israelites could call their home. In fact, in its policies, every citizen is guaranteed citizenship upon return. Any attack on a Jew is viewed through these lenses. The Palestine, on the other hand, suffers under the general Arab terror tag (Pilecki & Hammack, 2014). Islam phobia links Muslims to terror, and this is an easy sell for Israel. Since the allies of Israeli are often victims of terror attacks and the political instability in the Arab world due terror, the Palestinians have lost their bargaining chip over what they perceive as their land. Therefore, innocence of the cause of Palestine has been lost and continued wars are seen as terrorism. In other words, in ancient times, settlers were attacked with crude weapons. Today, the Palestinians hurl grenades and rockets to Israeli residents. Therefore, no matter the tag is, the Palestinians seek for what they perceive as theirs (Ron & Maoz, 2013).
Israeli and Palestine narratives present denial, distortion, and outright hatred to perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Denial captures both nations with refusing to admit the presence of the other. The nations instead illegitimatize each other. Since these groups share some common features such as Jerusalem; it rightly indicates that they existed as a single community or neighbors. The Jews were exiled persecuted in Palestine and the Arabs were exiled from Israel. However, the acceptance of the right of each group to the area is critical to find peace. Nonetheless, the internal feuds within Gaza and West Bank establish another uphill task. It presents Palestinians as war lovers within their own country. Cessation of control towards militia as experienced in Gaza strengthens Israel’s position.
Thus, internal and external attacks weaken Palestine further and continue to distort its story within the region. Further, it strengthens Israeli’s argument that Palestine is not peace loving, and, therefore, Israel is a victim of outlawed groups seeking to expand their influence. Nevertheless, proper documentation holds the right key to present these narrations based on existing central points.