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The Consequences of Israel-Palestine Conflict

Updated on December 31, 2014

The Crisis in the Middle East

Over the past 7 decades, the conflict between Palestine and Israel has continued to grow and so far, there has been no presentation of real or workable solutions for this conflict. There are deep political divisions on the Palestinian side and the government of Israel is constantly unwilling to make compromises that would lead to a peaceful resolution to the conflict. In Israel, the conflict has brought about several dilemmas for the security of Israel. There are two main contours of Israel security: assertive and defensive security. The two are mutually exclusive and different age groups view them differently.

How the Israel/Palestinian Conflict Affects the Security of Israel

The Israel-Palestinian conflict specifically, has brought about a security dilemma in Israel. This has made it difficult for the country to find a long-term solution to the conflict constantly surrounding it.Arabian nations surround Israel and there is a great rift between these nations and Israel itself. Based on a long History of wars and conflict as well as religious differences, the rift has continued to grow over the years and this has only served to intensify the dilemma that Israel faces today. Israel has had to place its security as a very high national priority because of terrorism threats and war threats. Solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict would be a milestone in solving the security issues that Israel is going though.

One thing is clear: Any decisions made by Israel involving the Israel/Palestinian conflict critically affect the security situation in Israel.

To understand this conflict, let’s go back to the beginning.

Background of the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Like every major war in History, one of the largest causes of the Israel/Palestine conflict is land. Why, the origin of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict dates back to biblical times when Jews claimed the land that the Palestinians believed to be theirs. However, there was no such recorded conflict before the 19th Century. The conflict begun in the late 1800's when a group called the Zionists from Europe decided to colonize the region. They were a Jewish extremist community and they intended to create a Jewish homeland on Palestine.

Survival: The Battle for Resources

During the 19th Century, many communities across the world immigrated to new areas due to reasons such as overpopulation and search for suitable land for settlement. Initially, the number of Zionists was small and they were not a major threat to the indigenous communities in Palestine. This changed as their population grew and they started expressing their wishes to take over the land. The indigenous communities begun to feel threatened and fighting eventually broke out between the two communities. Adding to that, during World War 2, Adolf Hitler's rule led to many Jews immigrating to Palestine thus fueling the conflict.

Attempts to Quell the Israeli-Palestine Feud

Over the years, there have been attempts to resolve the conflict in the Middle East. The UN formulated a partition plan in their 1947 intervention to try to stop the fighting. In their plan, the Jews would get 55% of the Palestinian land. This did not augur well with the Palestinians because a war broke out between the two communities between 1947 and 1949.

Another war in 1967 allowed Israel to conquer more land. They conquered part of Egypt and Syria as well in a war famously known as 'The Six Day War'. Anti-Semitism is another historical reason for the Israel-Palestine conflict. Anti-Semitism is the discrimination against the Jewish community. During the Holocaust that took place during World War 2, many Jews migrated to Palestine to seek refuge and to escape persecution from the Nazi Germans.

A Threat to National and International Security

The conflict has constantly threatened Israel’s national security. On the Palestinian front, many Palestinians ignore the past of the Jews, including the Holocaust. They view the past of the Jews as a matter that has nothing to do with them. They should therefore not have to suffer for it.Since 1948, Israel has undergone at least six wars.

Israel has also had many other low intensity conflicts and these have made national security a priority. “National security is high on the national agenda” they said. These conflicts not been solved for well over 65 years. There has been a growing need to solve the conflict because it threatens national security and the growth of the country as a whole. Israel has an option of defending itself from Palestinian forces, but this has many consequences that directly affect the security dilemma of the country.

The Puzzle Israel is Faced With

The Israel/Palestine conflict brings about a dilemma because if, for example, Israel decides to protect itself by striking Gaza, the Palestinian capital, it will have a number of negative effects on Israel. In the end, it will only strengthen Palestinian vigilante and extremist forces such as the Al Qaeda and the Salafist. This will be in several ways. It will appear to be a hostile move by other nations and it could lose their support. Israel needs the support of other countries because otherwise, since it only has Arabian countries surrounding itthe hostility will only grow and jeopardize the country’s national security.

Another cause for a security dilemma is that it will justify the Palestinian drive for statehood in the United Nations. This will threaten their security further and it will weaken Israel’s state as a nation. It will also hurt Israel’s international relations with the European Union, which does not support hostile behavior. It will generally setIsrael up for an international boycott. It will draw all attention away from the Syrian conflict, which will make the Assad group free to run amok. In the end, it will also hurt Israel's relations with Jordan and Egypt.

Lessons from the Past

One theory of the security dilemma is that it is a difficult situation with no positive end. In 1973, a war known as Yom Kippur occurred in Israel. It proved to Israel that it will never be safe in its neighbourhood and that was when Israel prioritized its security. Part of Israel's dilemma is that as their neighboring Arabian nations transform into democracies, there are two possible scenarios to be expected:

  1. On one side, if all the surrounding Arabian nations transformed into democracies, the resentment towards them would remain because the democracies would become Arabian states and that would not be helpful to Israel in the end because it would only make their neighbors strongerenemies.
  2. On the other side, if the Arabian nations collapsed, terrorists would take over their rule and Israel would still be in a position of danger.

The Politics at Play

In another theory, Israelis view the security dilemma in their country along political persuasion lines. Israel cannot afford to make any more concessions with Palestine because it has to focus on its own defenses. The best way in which Israel can change its image amongst its Arabian neighbors is by making progress in peace talks with Palestine. This means that they can ease their terms a little bit.

This way, other countries including Saudi Arabia and Turkey will assist in opposing Syria, which is a threat to Israel because of terrorism. If, on the other hand, the peace talks with Palestine do not make any progress, the popularity-led regimes in the surrounding Arabian nations will only get more ruthless and hostile and this will not solve the conflict problem.

Why Israel needs to Resolve the Unease

Overall, settling the conflict with Palestine will allow Israel to make steady steps in securing the country from surrounding hostile Arabian nations. Dealing with the deep-set issues is necessary in trying to resolve the conflict that has been present for over six decades. The peace that would result from short-term solutions is to be temporary. In the case where Israel reduces its demands in the peace deal, there are also likely to be future consequences, where the country will lose some of its land, infrastructure, and wealth.

Losses and Casualties on both Sides

The fighting between the two countries has been continuing for over 65 years. Each of the communities has deep-set scars. They have different perceptions of each other based on their religions and their histories. Jews, have in the past, been executed, incriminated, persecuted and expelled and because of this, they are in a constant state of alarm. They feel that they must always protect themselves. In the process of acquiring their rights, they have continually oppressed the Palestinians. There has been an increase in the number of Palestinian refugees and the violation of their human rights over the past seven decades.

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The Cards on the Table

The main reason for security dilemma is uncertainty. Any strategies or decisions that Israel makes to safeguard its security could go either way and this depends on their conflict with Palestine. There are 2 scenarios and possible outcomes:

  1. If Israel continues to live in a hostile environment, it will continue to suffer from consequences of wars and conflicts. This will damage the country and the Israeli society.
  2. If there is a full-scale war, the country is unlikely to survive. If Israel attempts to solve the hostilities through fighting or initiating a war, it would not have enough resources or international freedom to win. Israel has no political justification to initiate a war. It can only defend.

This leaves Israel with but one path to follow:

Israel's only option is to try to deter the Palestinians and its other Arabian nations from initiating a war. This is more likely to bring peace to the region in the end.

Facing the Facts about the Security Condition in Israel

There are two realism views of a security condition in Israel:

Offensive Realism is one of them.Israel is as a regional super power. In this case, it has free reign to dictate all its security terms. Since it is not possible to tell just how much power they will need in the future, Israel needs to acquire hegemony, predominant rule over its neighbors, in order to ensure their security. Part of this hegemony is an army strategy in which they send armies into hostile environments such as Palestinian territories. Countries that acquire hegemony in their regions are the balancers. They are able to prevent hegemony from rising in its surrounding countries.Palestine/Israel conflict affects this security dilemma.

The next form is Defensive Realism. It focuses on the things that will influence the severity of the security dilemmas. These include geography, military technology and the motives of a country's adversaries. In this case, the Israel government extends a hand of peace to the Palestinians. They also offer compromises such as reducing the number of roadblocks, increasing the freedom of movement of Palestinians, and alleviating their hardships. In the past, the Palestinian government has rejected the offers.

Israel’s Decision: Choices have Consequences

A consequence of Israel's security plans is that it would justify Palestinian drive for statehood in the UN. This would mean that any retaliation by Israel on any kind of illegal violent measure taken by the Hamad and Hezbollah would allow Palestine to denounce the move as an act of aggression and result in a multitude of international ramifications. It would give Palestine free reign to provoke Israel into further conflict threatening its security and the security of its people and it would ruin any negotiations between the two countries and make the rift between the countries much larger.

Israel is at risk of losing support of other nations in its security dilemma. In the past, there have been warnings to Israel that it would start losing international support if it continued extending its settlements into already occupied Palestinian lands. The consequences of losing international support are innumerable. It would be risky because withdrawal of aid them during a time of economic crisis, is likely to lead to the collapse of Israel’s economy. It would become a weak nation, vulnerable to terrorist threats.

The Bigger Picture

There is a raging war on terrorism in the Middle East and Israel is one of the biggest players. Any withdrawal of Military aid from international communities would lead to the loss of the war on terrorism and a likely collapse of the country. This is a long-term consequence of invading Palestinian territory. The security of Israel depends very heavily on how it deals with the conflict that it has with Palestine. It must not only please the international community, it must also keep its Arabian neighbors at good terms.

Since Jordan signed a treaty with Israel in 1994, it quickly deteriorated to a cold peace making their relationship fragile. Despite this, it still brought about benefits to the Israeli people. One of these benefits is the Israeli Peace Dividend. Israel has to make on Palestine, only moves that appeal to Jordan. The cold peace is very likely to turn into conflict, which has several security threats as consequences to Israel. It would lead to a large number of casualties and will affect the Israel economy by affecting the tourism industry along with many other industries that contribute to the Israeli economy.

Israel-Palestine Conflict-A Delicate Act of Balance

Israel’s national security is in a state of dilemma and the leading cause of this is its conflict with Palestine.Due to the deep-rooted social, religious, and political divide between the two countries, the conflict is very difficult to resolve. The international community and the neighboring nations, have over the years, acquired a bias for the two nations.

There has been a rise in terrorist activities in Israel’s neighboring nations and this has affected Israel’s security as well. Most of the national security decisions made by Israel in this conflict determine whether it will be safe from terrorist attacks. It also determines whether Israel will receive the much needed aid and support from the international community.

Israel therefore needs to resolve this conflict in order for it to strengthen its relationship with its neighbors and become a safe and secure nation.

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