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The Israeli Palestinian Conflict Essay

2094 words - 9 pages

Just as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “not an ‘age-old’ conflict,” neither is the acceptance of a two-state solution as the remedy for the turmoil it has spurred (10). Instead, this notion has slowly developed over time from a litany of factors. In the context of Israel, Alan Dowty flags three notions as especially impactful. First, Israeli acceptance of a two-state solution stems from the First Intifada, which “created for the first time an apparent majority among both Palestinians and Israelis in support of,” this remedy (119). This “shaking off” spurred Israeli acceptance of a two-state solution primarily in that it pacified public opinion of the Palestinian cause. While many ...view middle of the document...

This reinterpretation, thus, was the catalyst to put down arms and move to diplomacy. Second, Israeli acceptance of a two-state solution was driven by a rise in Islamic fundamentalism as “it made Yasir Arafat look much less radical than before, or, at least, the lesser of two evils” (120). This idea matters for both policymakers who were attempting to secure Israel’s national interests from radical groups like Hamas and for the public whom, as seen in the First Intifada, were looking for accommodation from the Palestinian public. The a priori concern of Israelis was peace during Oslo and noticing that Arafat choose diplomacy over terrorism mattered as a confidence building measure. Sure enough, “following conclusion of the agreement, 58 percent of Israelis stated that they supported the peace process, and another 15 percent said they were "in the middle,” which shows that Israelis were willing to sacrifice territory to feel secure (129). Arafat’s willingness to be this broker of peace even in the face of massive Islamic fundamentalism, thus, guided Israeli willingness, publically and governmentally, to compromise and accept a two-state solution. Finally, Israeli diplomacy was guided by a shift in PLO posture. Dowty argues that PLO acceptance of the Partition Plan of 1947, UN Security Council Resolution 242, and resistance to terror incentivized Israeli compromise (120-121). In a sense, because Israeli leaders witnessed a pacification of Palestinian politics, they felt certain enough that the risk compromise was diminished to a point where they could diplomatically engage Arafat. Moreover, typical suspicions of “lying” by the Palestinians could be ignored given how impactful the economic isolationism and diplomatic sanctioning of Palestine by the West after the Persian Gulf War was multilaterally (120). With this new Palestine willing to “to consider political and diplomatic options rather than an armed struggle,” Israel faced a lower cost to compromise, and it had the domestic political will to do so (121). In these three ways, Israel’s resistance to compromise was erased for a majority of citizens. This conclusion is not to say that pockets do not still oppose a two-state solution or that these sentiments have not ebbed and flowed. Instead, over time these factors have caused Israeli posture to arc towards compromise.

Many of the same factors drove Palestinian acceptance of a two-state solution. That said, many of these influences did so in a different manner. First, as with Israel, the First Intifada drove a compromise of a two-state solution with mutual recognition of one another’s right to be a state. Instead of spurring public pacification, though, this event inspired the Palestinians. It affirmed a public “sense of pride and the perception of being; finally charge of their own destiny” (113). Additionally, though, this chapter of history brought back Palestinian “pride and self-reliance” (119). Just as with the Intifada in the...

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