The Quest for Peace: Examining the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Mitch Moskowitz, Reporter

It’s a situation as old as time itself: neighbor versus neighbor. From the Hatfields and McCoys of 19th century West Virginia, to the current conflict between the neighboring nations of Russia and Ukraine, this age-old scenario has been played out all over the world. However, no case of neighbor versus neighbor is as polarizing and controversial as the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Israeli Point-of-View:

Since the creation of Israel in 1948, the Jewish nation has been involved in a war for survival against its Arab neighbors. Forced to take a “shoot first, ask questions later” policy, Israel constantly finds itself portrayed as the aggressor in a war for the Jewish state’s right to exist. With regards to the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian country in Gaza and the West Bank, the Israelis doubt that Palestinian autonomy would bring peace to the region.

In 2005, Israel withdrew all settlers and military personnel from the Gaza Strip. Following Israel’s withdrawl, the number of both terrorist attacks and rockets fired at Israel from Gaza rose significantly. Israelis point to this as an example of why Palestinian autonomy in Gaza and the West Bank will not bring peace. While most Israelis strongly support a two-state solution in which a Palestinian nation and the state of Israel live together in peace, the national attitude towards peace in the near-future is quite pessimistic.

The Palestinian Point-of-View:

Similar to the Israelis, the Palestinians also see themselves as the victims in a conflict that they did not start. When Israel was founded in 1948, the neighboring Arab nations invaded the Jewish state. In the war that followed, 700,000-1,100,000 Palestinians either fled or were forcibly expelled from their homes. The Palestinians refer to this as the “Nakba,” which literally means catastrophe in Arabic. As a result of the Nakba, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians ended up in refugee camps. A combination of poverty, lack of supplies, and despair made these refugee camps the breeding grounds for resistance groups such as the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Since 1948, the Palestinian people have longed to return to their homes in Palestine. To them, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and blockade of the Gaza Strip are unacceptable; the Palestinians long for independence. The majority of Palestinians support the idea of a two-state solution, as most people have come to accept that Israel is not going to simply disappear. As a whole, the Palestinians do not hate the people of Israel, but rather the Israeli government which they see as responsible for their suffering.

Achieving Peace:

The worst thing about hate is that it gets stronger over time. The longer the Palestinians and Israelis wait to make peace, the more difficult this will become. Many view the goal of achieving a lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians as impossible to achieve. This is false. If history has taught us anything, it is that mankind is possible of doing almost anything. If a man could walk on the moon in 1968, then the Israelis and Palestinians can surely make peace in 2014.
Those who say that peace is difficult to obtain are wrong. Every conflict has a resolution. Eventually, the Israelis and Palestinians will tire of bloodshed. Only then, when the Israelis and Palestinians learn to love themselves more than they hate each other, will there be peace in the holy land.