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Final Paper

1304 words - 6 pages

The Israeli Palestinian conflict can be looked at through a number of different lenses. In Political Science, theoretical lenses are usually considered to be important tools for understanding or generalizing conflict through a constant point of reference. The problem itself extends back to the 1948, when Israel declared its independence form Mandatory Palestine, a British protectorate. The Jews within Israel, Judaism's ancestral homeland, wanted to establish a Jewish state, and would grant citizenship to Jews from anywhere in the world in Israel. This policy, known as the “Law of Return,” came at the expense of the Arab Palestinians, who represented the majority of Mandatory Palestine's population. Many Palestinians fled Israel during the Arab Israeli War, when Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, and Iraq, invaded Israel in order to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state in the Middle East, and to ensure the sovereignty of the Palestinians. However, these Palestinians, after Israel won this war and secured its independence, were forbidden to return to Israel, and their property became occupied by Jewish refugees from the Holocaust, the Soviet Union, as well as much of the Middle East. The problem was further metastasized, when in 1967, after Egyptian provocation, the Israelis launched preemptive strikes against Jordan, Egypt, and Syria. This conflict demonstrated a clear Israeli military superiority, and the Israelis annexed the Sinai peninsula, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. Incidentally, this resulted in Israel annexing many of the Palestinian refugees it had denied access to twenty years prior, many of whom were living in these territories, especially the Gaza Strip and West Bank. This outraged many Palestinians, and eventually led to the formation of the PLO, who's ultimate goal is to form a Palestinian state. The PLO, who were eventually joined by more radical organizations like Hamas, led guerrilla style raids into Israel, and increasingly attacked civilian targets, often with brutal Israeli reprisals. Starting in the 1970's, the PLO began to advocate for Palestinian statehood through non-violent means. In the early 1990's, under the guidance of the Americans, the Oslo Accords were signed by Israel and the PLO. This gave an outline to what would hopefully eventually lead to Palestinian statehood, and were considered a major step towards peace. However, a number of major challenges remained unresolved, such as the status of Jerusalem, the repatriation of political prisoners, the status of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the continued Israeli presence in the areas, under the banner of border security.

This is truly a unique political conundrum, and is not easily explained. However, using theories of political violence, we can explain, or at least attempt to better understand, why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict happened, why negotiations between the two sides have often ended in disappointment,...

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