Prof’s Arab-Israeli Conflict and the Hope for Peace The claim that “historical tragedies … occur when right clashes with right” seems, on its surface, to be a nearly perfect explanation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fact is, both sides have the righteousness of a realistic argument on their side. Both Israelis and Palestinians have “a historical claim to the land of the Levant,” with Israeli society first having sanctuary there after their flee from Egypt, and Palestinian peoples living there almost continuously since the area first became Islamic (Pendergast 18). Furthermore, the Israel is further right in their claim that Jews probably need a state of their own – after the tragedies of the holocaust, where the entire people was nearly exterminated, it is impossible to argue that Jewish safety is not augmented by the state (27). Both sides thus have the “right” on their side, leading them to feel entirely justified in any actions they take to achieve their aims – after all, they are in the “right.”
This argument obscures, however, the fact that a just cause is not all that constitutes being in the right. The actions one takes to achieve one’s goals are also incredibly important, and both Israel and Palestine put themselves in the wrong in this way. Israel has waged wars that have cost countless civilian lives, while some Palestinians have resorted to terrorist tactics, targeting civilians in the attempt to achieve their aim. So while the fundamental argument of both sides might keep them in the right, their tactics place them squarely in the wrong.
This quotation may be an apt one – certainly it has been impossible for lasting peace to be achieved in the middle east for some time now, despite monumental efforts by everyone involved. The Six Day’s war, rather than leading to lasting peace, for instance, only intensified the conflict within the Levant itself (Shoshan 38), and the more recent war against Palestine by Israel served only to inflame opposition and further empower Hamas.
This quote obscures, however, the fact that there is still a possibility of peace, and simply because the current political situation is not conducive to it does not mean that it will never happen. One of the fundamental problems with conflict in the middle east is the fact that there has rarely been representative governments – before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the recent Arab Spring, dictators or clans have been the norm of power in the Middle East. This is conducive to violence, because a) democracies have little qualms going to the war with dictators, as they can brand the war as a mission to free an enslaved people, and b) dictators are always willing to go to war for the chance of solidifying or expanding their power. The recent Arab Spring, however, has brought fledgling democracies to the table, which has already helped the political situation, by making, for instance, an integration of Hamas and Fatah more likely, and creating a truly representative Palestinian government (McCaffrey, 98).
McCaffrey, Paul. .The Arab Spring. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson, 2012. Print.
Pendergast, Tom, Sara Pendergast, and Ralph Zerbonia. .Middle East Conflict. .Detroit: UXL/Thomson Gale, 2006. Print.
Shoshan, Malkit. .Atlas of the Conflict: Israel – Palestine. Rotterdam: Uitgeverij 010, 2010. Print.