ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN PEACE PROCESS – ARAB PERSPECTIVE

by MAIS MASADEH, Boston, MA
Wellesley College

The constant conflict between Israel and Palestine has been going for 60 years. At the heart of this conflict relies an idea that Israelis believe that they are entitled to the land now known as Israel, while the Palestinians believe that they are entitled to the land they call Palestine and both of these primary sides claim the same land due to religion believes.

The Author of this article attended conference Promoting Peace Through Dialogue, 30 July – 3 August 2008, (Amman – Jordan), organizer – Global Majority, Monterey Institute of International Studies and UN.

By the end of World War I and the start of the Ottoman Colonization of Palestine, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration 1917 supporting the founding in Palestine as a national home for the Jewish people.

The reaction of the Arabs was mixed while many Arabs opposed the Zionists and conquer of their Holy Land-Palestine. In 1920s when Palestine was under the leader Haj Ameen Hashem, Arabs adopted a non-compromising approach, not accepting a balance of power from Israelis; they even organized rounds of programs to attack Jews in Jerusalem and other places in later years.

Due to the increasing numbers of Jews coming and settling of what they think their Promised Land after Balfour Declaration, and the oppression on the Palestinians that time, it forced many of them to deport and migrate to neighboring countries. In 1948 the problem of refugees has come to light, refugees were victims of political unrest, civil strife or terrorism caused by Israelis ttacks. Their ever increasing numbers and the conditions in which they arrived to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt posed serious threats to the social and economic integrity and stability of those countries and since then Jordan has been an open gate for Palestinians immigrants, displaced people and refugees who fear they will never be able to return to their native countries and are looking for a new place they could eventually call home.

Through the 60 years of conflict that the region has gone through, why there was no uprising solutions to this case? What obstacles prevented peace in the region? One of the main reasons which comes to light is the Palestinian division, they failed to come together with a common strategy therefore it has emasculated the Palestinian leadership besides the two parties, Fatah versus Hamas regard certain aspects has proven a failure on agreement thus its impossible to think of an Israel as a partner at this point.

On the Israeli side, in the last 6 or 7 years, the government hasn’t come up with any solution regard solving the conflict or constructively contributing toward peace, even the security Wall has its pros and cons regard peace process and it was perceived negatively by the Palestinian government, moreover the non stopping Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories is considered one of the most eminent threat to peace Regarding United States taking part in this conflict issue, Bush administration failed miserably and has had a negative role in the peace process. The war on Iraq and Afghanistan added more tension to the region additionally new problems has emerged like possible possession of Iran to nuclear power and this caused a threat to Peace Process from a US and Israel point of view.

Another challenge to peace process is the Status Quo: lack two real states solution. Israel expansion, more settlements as securities and excuses, the support of radical Israelis to push all the time to make a “larger Israel” while Israel at the same time still believe in disengagement, not self-determination of Palestine, all of this clash the idea of two real states existence furthermore the right wing party has a vast interest in keeping up the Status Quo to strengthen Zionism in the area subsequently achieving a democratic Jewish state, seeking an Israeli political majority and by the year 2020 15 million people from Mediterranean to the river of Jordan, 8.7 million Palestinians will be in a one state solution.

The power dynamics are deeply imbalanced, the European Union seems to not have the same weight as before- this represents a structural impediment to peace. The role of US to change this imbalance can be seen clearly by adjusting its policy and administration. Another way to reach this balance is when Palestine must realize its nationalist aspiration.

So what some recommendations or solutions can be provided to this case? As both parties Israel and Palestine seems not to reach an agreement and peace is in US interests then the international role of the US has to be more important than it used to be. Since the US policy is seen as an American policy so this means that no dictate influence from Israeli lobby on the US government, but at the same time it has to be defined so it will not be accused of being influenced by Israel Some presidents invested in the peace process and pushed it a head indeed like Bill Clinton at his time, nowadays everyone seems to pay the price for Bush’s international policy-failure to capitalize on diplomatic openings.

Oslo has failed and Annapolis process has failed too, any peace process that lacks presidential participation, no one can take it seriously, Bush has a hand off strategy and too little investment, instead he has to look for exposed openings, seek out opportunities for peace making, be creative, proactive for new ideas solution, and think of comprehensive strategy not incremental steps. Time is also an important actor in this process and not a factor, time can help; regional actors need to be more involved in peace making. US have to quit its unilateralism, expand diplomatic, must ensure compliance, and conditionally must introduce this quid pro quo.

Analysis of Israeli and Palestinian conflict due to religious issues.

In order to bond two different groups, a lot of changes have to be done regard social, cultural political and economic changes, and this may involve conflict of some sort. Many of the constructive changes in world history occurred as a result of conflict, for example Independence of Ireland. The clue for some organisations to solve conflict once appears is to avoid its violent expressions.

Many of the conflicts today tend to be referred to social or religion conflict where there are some cross borders actions which happen. For example the battle between Palestine and Israel about Jerusalem to be the capital is due to religion believes, with each side emphasizing claims over the city. Christianity, Islam and Judaism include Jerusalem as an important setting for their religious and historical narratives. Israel asserts that the city should not be divided, and should remain unified within Israel’s political control. On the other hand Palestinians claim the parts of the city which were not part of Israel prior to June 1967.

Common understanding of the conditions under which a conflict of interest leads to its violent expression, is a useful working analysis to know which better ways to follow in order to solve. The everyday scene of struggle between Israelis and Palestinians can be referred to many points, mentioning a few, the bitterness which Palestinians feel toward Israelis because of the assault over their lands, Jewish settlements over Palestinians farms and lands therefore they suffer of malnutrition and disease as well as overcrowding and violence, education opportunities are meagre and the level of desperation is high, practically their protesting and throwing stones at Israeli soldiers are their only way to speak out and call for freedom. One of the most important religious spots for Muslims is the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem; it is the third holiest spot in Islam. Muslims believe that prophet Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Night Journey. Islamic traditions say Prophet Mohammad led prayers there before ascending to heaven. However Jews claim that their holiest site for Judaism lies under where Al-Aqsa Mosque stands, so here again raise more disagreements between the two parts. It is said that there have been some attempts to deconstruct Al-Aqsa by some fundamental Jews to let Solomon temple out.

Wellesley College, 2008.