- Tormented by decades of conflict and repeatedly failed resolutions, achieving any substantive progress towards peacebuilding has been a distant dream.
- This crisis might unravel a set of far-reaching implications, not only for Palestine and Israel but also for the entire region.
- The current episode, unprecedented in the history of the Middle East, has the potential to spiral into a larger geopolitical crisis.
The recent attacks by Hamas, leading to a full-fledged war have become one of the most dreadful clashes in recent times, between Israel and Palestine. Heavy casualties, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives, most of them civilian casualties, have been reported. Perhaps it’s well known to the entire world that the Israel-Palestine conflict is a long-standing and complex dispute over the territory, sovereignty, and rights of the Israeli and Palestinian people. But the continuation of this long-drawn conflict, erupting in regular intervals has not just led to the loss of lives of thousands of innocent people but has also left a deep traumatic, and indelible impact on the people of this region leading to an irreversible antipathy between them.
Roots of the Conflict
There are deep historical roots to this conflict which has gone through various phases, with numerous attempts at resolution. This current region of Israel and Palestine has historical and religious significance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. It has been inhabited by various groups over millennia. The holy shrines, various sacred places of worship, and holy lands filled with fables of divinity all these places have flown down through tumultuous trials and tribulations, down the annals of history.
Let us briefly look at the developments since the late 19th century.
Late 19th Century:
Zionism, a political movement advocating for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, emerged in response to growing anti-Semitism in Europe. Jewish immigration to Palestine began during this period under the Ottoman Empire.
World War I and British Mandate:
After World War I, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate to govern Palestine. During this time, tensions between Jewish and Arab communities grew due to conflicting national aspirations.
United Nations Partition Plan (1947):
In 1947, the United Nations proposed a partition plan that would create separate Jewish and Arab states in Palestine, with Jerusalem under international administration. The plan was accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by Arab leaders.
1948 Arab-Israeli War (Nakba):
Following the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948, neighbouring Arab countries invaded, leading to the first Arab-Israeli war. Israel emerged victorious and expanded its territory, while hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs became refugees in the process.
Suez Crisis (1956) and Six-Day War (1967):
The Suez Crisis saw Israel, France, and the United Kingdom clash with Egypt. In 1967, the Six-Day War occurred, leading to Israel occupying the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, and Golan Heights.
Oslo Accords (1993):
The Oslo Accords were a series of agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), aiming to establish a framework for Palestinian self-governance in parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Second Intifada (2000-2005):
A violent Palestinian uprising known as the Second Intifada erupted, leading to significant casualties on both sides. As a result of this uprising, the longstanding peace resolutions took a backseat resulting in a diplomatic stalemate.
Gaza Disengagement (2005):
Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 but maintained control of its borders. Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.
The conflict had continued with sporadic violence, settlement expansion, and disagreements over key issues such as borders, refugees, and the status of Jerusalem being in doldrums, to date. Now it has emerged into a full-fledged war, with the Hamas faction of Palestine, in the Gaza Strip.
Camp David Accords (1978): The Camp David Accords were a series of negotiations hosted by U.S. President Jimmy Carter in September 1978. The primary parties involved were Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The negotiations resulted in two key agreements:
The Framework for Peace in the Middle East: This established a framework for comprehensive peace negotiations, including the recognition of Israel by Egypt and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Sinai Peninsula.
A Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel: This led to the eventual signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in 1979, which remains in effect today. It was a historic event as it marked the first Arab-Israeli peace treaty, and Egypt became the first Arab nation to officially recognize Israel.
Camp David Summit (2000): In July 2000, another Camp David Summit was convened, this time by U.S. President Bill Clinton. The summit aimed to address the core issues of the Israel-Palestine conflict and was attended by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. Despite intense negotiations, the summit did not lead to a final peace agreement. The most significant point of contention was the status of Jerusalem, and the summit ended without a resolution. This happened because, Israel was not ready to make concessions on giving up the Jerusalem region and neither were Palestinian Authorities, ready to accept the conditions laid down by Israelis, which led to an unequivocal stalemate.
The Camp David Accords of 1978 are often considered a historic diplomatic achievement, while the 2000 Camp David Summit serves as a reminder of the complexities and challenges involved in resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. And multiple rounds of negotiations, have been attempted but have not resulted in a comprehensive resolution.
The Roadmap for Peace 2003
The “Roadmap for Peace” is a peace plan that was proposed in 2003 to address the Israel-Palestine conflict. It was a diplomatic initiative endorsed by the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations, collectively known as the Quartet. The goal of the Roadmap for Peace was to outline a series of steps and a timeline for achieving a two-state solution, with Israel and a future Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security.
The Roadmap consisted of three phases:
Phase I (2003-2004): This phase aimed at ending violence and fostering a peaceful environment. Key elements included:
- A cessation of Palestinian violence and terrorism.
- Palestinian political reforms and institution-building.
- Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories and a freeze on settlement expansion.
- International monitoring of the ceasefire.
Phase II (2004-2005): This phase focused on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and the continuation of efforts to end violence and terrorism. Key elements included:
- Palestinian elections and continued reforms.
- Expansion of Palestinian territory.
- An international conference to promote Palestinian economic development.
Phase III (2005-2006): This phase aimed to achieve a final resolution of the conflict, including the establishment of a Palestinian state with permanent borders and an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Roadmap for Peace faced significant challenges and obstacles, including ongoing violence, political disputes, and mistrust between the parties. The plan was never fully implemented, and the conflict persisted. However, it did serve as a framework for diplomatic efforts and negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the years that followed.
The Abraham Accords
The Abraham Accords are a series of agreements between Israel and several Arab states that were announced in 2020. These historic diplomatic agreements marked a significant shift in Middle East geopolitics by establishing formal diplomatic and economic ties between Israel and Arab nations. The main elements of the Abraham Accords include:
Normalization of Relations: The Abraham Accords involve the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and participating Arab countries. This includes the establishment of embassies, the exchange of ambassadors, and full diplomatic recognition.
Economic Cooperation: The agreements promote economic cooperation and trade between Israel and the Arab states. They aim to foster closer economic ties, investment, and technological collaboration.
Security Cooperation: The Accords also include provisions for security cooperation, intelligence sharing, and the potential for military partnerships to address common regional security concerns.
The Abraham Accords were a significant departure from the historical stance of many Arab states, which had not recognized Israel’s right to exist and had often boycotted or ostracized the country. The accords represented a major breakthrough in Israeli-Arab relations and were seen as a positive step toward regional stability and peace. This achievement is credited to one of the US diplomacy’s most pathbreaking successes that aimed to bring about stability in the Middle Eastern region, in relation to the State of Israel.
Several Arab countries signed the Abraham Accords, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. Each of these agreements was brokered with the assistance of the United States.
Perhaps, one of the most significant achievements of the Abraham Accords is, the fact that it officially ended the military and strategic collaboration of the Arabic world with the Palestinian authorities. However, due to Iran’s continued military, economic and geopolitical solidarity with Palestinian authorities, and especially with Hamas, the fissures in the conflict have grown recklessly and have now led to a perpetual state of conflict.
Analyzing the Peace Models for Israel – Palestine Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution is a process or set of methods used to address and resolve disputes, disagreements, or conflicts between individuals, groups, or organizations. In this Israel-Palestine conflict, the primary goal must be to find a resolution. But the most challenging aspect is finding a peaceful and mutually acceptable solution to the issues or tensions that are causing the conflict, which happens to be the deep religio-social and historical barriers that have led to certain incurable fissures. But Let’s look at the conflict triangle model, advocated by an eminent Norwegian sociologist and peace researcher who has made significant contributions to the field of conflict resolution, Prof Johan Galtung.
“Galtung’s Conflict Triangle” or “Conflict Triangle Model.” This model highlights the interconnectedness of conflicts and consists of three main components:
Attitudes: This component represents the psychological and emotional aspects of the conflict. It involves the attitudes, feelings, and perceptions of individuals or groups involved in the conflict. Attitudes can include fear, anger, mistrust, and grievances.
Behaviors: Behaviors encompass the actions taken by parties in a conflict. These actions can range from verbal disagreements and protests to violent confrontations and warfare. Behaviors are often influenced by underlying attitudes and perceptions.
Structures: Structures refer to the systemic or structural factors that contribute to conflict. These can include societal, political, economic, or cultural elements that create conditions conducive to conflict. Examples of structural factors might include inequality, discrimination, resource scarcity, or political power imbalances.
According to Galtung’s model, these three components are interrelated and can reinforce each other, perpetuating the conflict. Galtung’s approach to conflict resolution emphasizes the need to address all three components simultaneously to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation. He also introduced the concept of “positive peace,” which involves addressing the root causes of conflict to create a more just and equitable society.
Employing Johan Galtung’s Conflict Resolution Process
Mapping, legitimizing, and bridging are three important steps or processes in the field of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. They are often used to analyze and address conflicts effectively. Here’s a brief explanation of each:
Mapping: Mapping involves the systematic analysis and understanding of the various aspects of a conflict. It typically includes identifying the key actors, their interests, grievances, and power dynamics. Conflict mapping helps create a comprehensive picture of the conflict’s causes, drivers, and manifestations. This process often includes gathering information, conducting interviews, and collecting data to create a visual representation or written report that outlines the conflict’s complexity.
Legitimizing: Legitimizing in the context of conflict resolution refers to the process of recognizing and acknowledging the perspectives, grievances, and concerns of all parties involved in the conflict. It is essential to validate the rights and concerns of each party to build trust and create an atmosphere conducive to negotiation and resolution. Legitimizing can involve acknowledging historical injustices, recognizing the importance of identity and dignity, and validating the rights of marginalized groups.
Bridging: Bridging is the process of bringing together parties in conflict and facilitating communication and negotiation between them. It often involves the use of intermediaries, mediators, or facilitators who work to bridge the gaps between conflicting parties. Bridging can also involve confidence-building measures, such as joint projects, dialogues, or peacebuilding initiatives, to build trust and foster cooperation between conflicting parties. The goal of bridging is to create opportunities for dialogue, compromise, and ultimately, conflict resolution.
These three processes are interrelated and often used in conjunction with one another in conflict resolution and peacebuilding efforts. Mapping helps stakeholders understand the conflict’s dynamics, legitimizing ensures that all parties’ concerns are acknowledged and respected, and bridging facilitates communication and negotiation to find mutually acceptable solutions. Together, they contribute to the development of comprehensive and effective strategies for conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
Galtung’s work has been influential in the field of conflict resolution and peace studies, and his models and ideas continue to inform the study and practice of resolving conflicts and promoting peace worldwide. In the context of Iseral-Palestine, Galtung’s models play a critical role in bringing sustainable peace between even hostile counterparts, and the best example of this happens to be the Abraham Accords, which normalized the Israel-Middle East relationships, which had developed decades of political hostilities because of the historical conflictual relationships. Understanding attitudes behaviors and structures, along with mapping, legitimizing and Bridging the strategic gaps, the conflict situations can be healed to a significant degree.
The Philosophy of Remedial Hermeneutics
Remedial hermeneutics is not a widely established term in the field of hermeneutics or philosophy. However, it appears to be a term that may be used informally to describe a process or approach to interpretation and understanding in situations where there is a need for correction, clarification, or reconciliation of conflicting interpretations or perspectives.
In the context of hermeneutics, which is the theory of interpretation, “remedial hermeneutics” might refer to efforts to remedy or resolve issues related to how texts, symbols, or meanings are interpreted. This could involve:
Clarifying Misunderstandings: Identifying and addressing misunderstandings or misinterpretations of a text or concept by revisiting the interpretation process.
Resolving Conflictual notions: When multiple interpretations of a text or symbol exist and lead to conflicts or disagreements, remedial hermeneutics may involve finding common ground or reconciling these conflicting interpretations. The conflictual notions are clearly a result of perceptual understandings driven by dogmatic notions of religious beliefs, and with the eradication of this notion through mutual and gradual peace dialogue, the longstanding conflict gaps can be closed up.
Correcting Errors: Identifying and rectifying interpretive errors, biases, or omissions in the understanding of a text or concept. A common perception of misinterpretation of texts a misconstrued communication can cause this. Hermeneutics helps in correcting these gaps.
Reconciliation: In contexts involving diverse cultural or religious perspectives, remedial hermeneutics may seek to reconcile conflicting interpretations to promote dialogue and understanding.
Hermeneutics becomes one of the most important methods in psychologically resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict as it attempts to touch the soul of this conflict, which is the religious antagonism between Israel and Palestine, which is Judaism and Islam. If the acceptance of truth and reconciliation of differences happen mutually, allowing both sides to come to a border settlement, with a well-coordinated working relationship between both sides, there is surely a possibility for establishing peace in this region. That would indeed be a major paradigm shift from peacekeeping to peacemaking and establishing permanent peace.
Is peace a possibility between Israel and Palestine?
Tormented by decades of conflict and repeatedly failed resolutions, despite the efforts of both Israel and Palestine, the situation of achieving any substantive progress towards peacebuilding has been a distant dream. By analyzing the genesis of the conflict and the prospective peace models, added to the current situation of a prospective long-drawn war, the establishment of any form of stable peaceful accord or arrangement of any sort, even of a temporary nature, looks almost impossible. It is true that the homeland of Jews happens to be Israel, but the Palestinians also are in need of a stable resolution.
However, it’s important to note that both countries at this stage, are not ready to accept the status of a nationhood and there has been a stalemate on this issue, despite the efforts made by various international players, to convince them. Especially after the affirmative declaration of this war, several strategic experts across the world are of the view that this raging episode in the history of the Middle East is unprecedented and has the potential to spiral into a larger geopolitical crisis. This crisis might unravel a set of far-reaching implications, not only for Palestine and Israel but also for the entire region. Although most of the Middle Eastern countries have significantly brought down their hostilities towards Israel, Iran and Egypt appear to be belligerent. In such a situation, forget peace, even a truce cannot be achieved.
- Inbari, Pinhas. “On the Roots of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” Jewish Political Studies Review, vol. 28, no. 3/4, 2017, pp. 66–71. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/26416732. Accessed 9 Oct. 2023.
- Kelman, Herbert C. “The Political Psychology of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: How Can We Overcome the Barriers to a Negotiated Solution?” Political Psychology, vol. 8, no. 3, 1987, pp. 347–63. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/3791039. Accessed 9 Oct. 2023.
- Kaufman, Edy Edward. Journal of Peacebuilding & Development, vol. 10, no. 1, 2015, pp. 104–06. JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/48603186. Accessed 9 Oct. 2023.
- Understanding the Israel-Palestine conflict. As the Israel-Palestine crisis spirals to unprecedented levels, a ready reckoner on the decades-old crisis Published: Oct 09, 2023 TEAM FRONTLINE