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Israel-Palestine Conflict


Academic year: 2023

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She has written numerous books and articles on world politics and US foreign policy, and is co-editor of the UCLA Center for Middle East Development (CMED) Routledge Series. He has also been a trainer for thirty thousand people on democracy issues since 1993 and is the director of the Center for Democracy and Community Development in East Jerusalem.


As mentioned above, one of the goals and unique features of this series is that the authors come from a variety of countries and offer a range of perspectives on a particular topic. We are very pleased to present in this volume a unique view of one of the most analyzed conflicts in the world.


First, the obvious is that the Israelis and the Palestinians have fundamental differences on important aspects of the peace process. Like many of the most contentious issues (including Jerusalem, the right of return and borders), water rights are included as a final status issue (Asser, 2007).


Central to Israel's discourse and position on the refugee issue has been the prevention of the right of return. 3 Recent research on the 1948 war and the origins of the refugee problem has challenged this view.


Some also give weight to the devastating impact of the death of Palestinian leader Abdel Qader Al-Husayni. It is worth looking at the traumatic events of 1948 from the perspective of the victors – the Israelis – and the vanquished – the Palestinians.


At the tangible level, the demarcation of borders is prominent in the territorial management of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The issues of borders and settlements were reconsidered in the policies of the Sharon administration (after 2001) – the construction of the Separation Barrier and the proposal for Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The destination was intended to be a final and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by 2005 (Lavie, 2003).

This was most evident in the unilateral construction of the separation barrier and the disengagement of the Gaza Strip. The Israel-Palestine case study is a good example of the dialectic between contestable discourses of territorial division (a two-state solution), on the one hand, and power-sharing (a binational state), on the other. 3 For detailed maps of the separation barrier see http://www.arij.org/ and http://www.

5 For the full text of the Oslo agreements (Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements), see http://www.iap.org/oslo.htm. 8 For the text of the Mitchell Report, see http://www.bitterlemons.org/docs/mitchell.html.

TABLE 3.1 Territorial dimensions of the political discourses in Israel–Palestine
TABLE 3.1 Territorial dimensions of the political discourses in Israel–Palestine


Conversely, the Likud governments adopted a policy of strengthening the settlements in Jerusalem, in addition to promoting the settlement movement in the heart of the West Bank and Gaza. As a result, most of the settlements there today lie in the area caught between the Israeli Separation Wall and the 1949 Armistice Line (the Green Line). A new category of land classification was added: namely the nature reserve, which covers 3 percent of the West Bank.

The Palestinians counted the areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip that were occupied in 1967 at a total of 6,210 square meters. The Israeli side initially presented maps that included the annexation of 12 percent of the West Bank for expanded settlement blocs. As the negotiations progressed, the Israeli side presented a map detailing the annexation of 6 percent and the lease of an additional 2 percent of the West Bank.

A year later, the Israeli government established a segregation zone in the western territory of the occupied West Bank. On February 20, 2005, the Israeli government announced a revised version of the Western Segregation Plan, making the wall 683 km long in the West Bank.

FIGURE 4.1 The United Nations Partition Plan, 1947
FIGURE 4.1 The United Nations Partition Plan, 1947




Israel's sharing of the waters of the Jordan River with Jordan was formalized in a peace agreement between the two countries in 1994. Five riparians share the water resources of the Jordan River Basin: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the PA. It is clear, then, that the Palestinians are suffering from the worst water shortage among the five banks in the Jordan River Basin.

After the occupation, Israel did not allow any significant further use of the aquifer by the Palestinians. When the Israeli settlements were withdrawn in the summer of 2005, these sources returned to the hands of the Palestinians. Furthermore, Israel should consider allocating an additional 50 MCM/year to Palestinians in the Jordan Valley directly from the waters of the lower Jordan River.

This greater availability of water would have significantly improved the quality of life for the Palestinians. Can or will Israel agree to a redistribution of the natural water resources it currently uses?

FIGURE 5.1 Schematic presentation of the Mountain Aquifer Source: Shuval 1992a
FIGURE 5.1 Schematic presentation of the Mountain Aquifer Source: Shuval 1992a


Meanwhile, the colonization of the West Bank and Gaza proceeded with the construction of settlements. All of the eastern watershed is represented as part of the Jordan River and Dead Sea basins. In the Gaza Strip, only a total of about 8.9 MCM/year of water supplied from communal wells can be considered acceptable for health reasons.

4 The instability of the political environment in Palestine has caused delays in both private and donor investment in the water sector. Although there are 720-887 MCM/year of groundwater resources in the Palestinian lands of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, only about 112 MCM/year is available for domestic and industrial use by Palestinians (less than 13 percent of the sustainable yield of Palestinian aquifers, although most of this yield comes from Palestinian lands). It gives Palestinians rights to 270 MCM/year of the water in the Jordan River Basin.

In the water sector, an important step was the creation of the National Water Council (KUK), another element in the Water Law. In the SUSMAQ project, detailed analyzes of different management options were made and their sustainability assessed (see SUSMAQ, 2005b for more details).

FIGURE 6.1 Israeli National Water Carrier System
FIGURE 6.1 Israeli National Water Carrier System


Yet, if not condemned to total helplessness, they are encouraged to maintain daily life and meet daily needs in the face of the hardships of war and conflict. As in the period of military service, so also earlier, girls may internalize this assessment of the man, considering him more important to society, with greater justification because of his future obligation to the nation. The importance of the army and the issue of the country's security also create benefits for the Israeli man beyond his service.

In a study of the effects of the war on women in the north (mainly in the city of Haifa), it was found that out of 130 women interviewed, only 24 were able to completely escape the region where the rockets fell (traveling to friends or relatives in the southern part of the country) throughout the 33-day war; 31 others managed to escape for a few days' respite. Thus, the violent conflict in which Israel has been involved for so long, and the accompanying militarization, clearly have profound effects on women in the country, whether they belong to the Jewish majority or the Arab minority. The main purpose of the IWC is to bring the voices of women - from a variety of population groups - to the negotiating table, in the pursuit of a just, sustainable peace in the Middle East, in that belief not only women.

3 A number of years ago, the head of the women's corps (which has since been disbanded), Brigadier General Amira Dotan (the first woman to be promoted to such a high rank, later a member of the Knesset), tried to to correct. by having older women sign up for reserve service. 11 Bat Shalom is the Israeli component of the Jerusalem Link - A Women's Joint Venture for Peace, which was created in 1994.


Palestinian civil society democracy began in the Mandate period (from 1917) and continued until 1994, when the Palestinian Authority was established to assume responsibility for governance in parts of the West Bank for the first time in Palestinian history and the Gaza Strip. Between 1948 and 1967, democracy in Palestinian civil society declined as a result of the Nakba and the refugee crisis. In addition, the PA cabinet was told to act under the supervision of the PLO Executive Committee.

Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas, said in 1993: “I will respect the free choice of the Palestinian people. The paralysis of the PLC was accompanied by paralysis in the PLO until August 2009, when the Sixth Fatah Conference was held (twenty years had passed since the Fifth Conference). This added to the paralysis of the Palestinian democratization process, which will continue until an (unlikely) agreement is reached on a date for elections.

The role of the international community in the process of democratization of Palestine also changed in this period. There were no special meetings for the PA cabinet, or special meetings of the PLC Executive Committee.


Within this context, it is not surprising that universal human rights are perceived by dominant actors as a role for the benefit of the other side. Granted, there is a prominent regional dimension in which the Palestinians part of the Arab world united. This is evidenced by its greater concern for the fate of the Palestinians than for the Syrians.

A lack of human contact between the two peoples led to a complete dehumanization of each in the eyes of the other. Israel has been frequently labeled as one of the world's most serious violators of human rights in recent times. We, Israelis and Palestinians, must put ourselves in the shoes of the "Other" to achieve similar success again.

The Jewish covenant with God dictates that the people of Israel be a light to all nations, an example to the rest of the world of how to live rightly. The security of the Jewish state and the security of its people are undoubtedly just causes.


TABLE 3.1 Territorial dimensions of the political discourses in Israel–Palestine
TABLE 3.2 Territorial dimensions of recent political solutions for the Israel–Palestine conflict
FIGURE 4.4 Israeli settlements in the West Bank and their master plans
FIGURE 4.5 Number of Israeli settlements established since 1967


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