Saturday, February 28, 2009

Objective vs. Subjective

Objective: a source of conflicts which its characteristics are of which that stress rational behavior and focus on “interests” in the analysis of politics, domestic, or international. When different interests by different people can not be met, then the pursuit of one’s own interest does not seem irrational.

This conflict is seen as an objective conflict because it surrounds the idea of conquering an object (territory). In other words, it is seen as “givens” that exists independently from our thoughts and feelings. Anything that deals with land, wealth, and power are all “objective” ideas. They are not only seen as objective because they exist independently from our feelings but because these objects create conflicts between people because it is impossible to meet all of the demands unless there is a political process to decide who gets what.

Due to the fact that both Israeli’s and Palestinian’s are acting on behalf of their own interests rather than on behalf of emotions, then there is a higher possibility that both will be able to cooperate with one another in order to come up with a compromise that will suit both peoples. Especially since in the read world it is very rare that most conflicts are a “zero-sum” conflict.

Subjective: the source of the conflict is produced by the mind, feelings, or temperaments of the subject. This includes ideas and ideologies, perceptions and misperceptions, cultural and societal biases, and emotions and passions; in other words, anything that is derived from our mental activity.

In theory, conflicts that are subjective should be solvable because they are not considered to be a “real” conflict. In a way, it is all artificial because they are created within our minds and just as easily as the mind can create them, the mind can easily erase them.

However, our minds may be less responsive to erasing these emotions when the self is interested in the bargaining process. Even though our emotional senses are seen as “irrational”, it can still be argued that it is “rational” especially when our ideas and emotions are aggressive enough to drive us. These aggressive emotions can drive people into combats that will lead to a “lose-lose” outcome.

Therefore, the Arab-Israeli conflict is both objective and subjective!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Zero-Sum Game

Eretz Yisrael and Filastin, by most definitions, are the same exact piece of land by borders that were created by the British Mandate of Palestine after World War I. Thus, Jews and Arabs are fighting for the same piece of territorial land to make their own state.

The winner will claim ALL of the land and the loser faces the threat of being left stateless. "Just as two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, so two sovereign states cannot govern the same territory at the same time" (Dowty). Game theorists refer to this as the zero-sum game: whatever one side gains comes at the expense of the other (gains and losses total at a zero).

Without territorial compromise there will never be a win-win outcome where both sides will benefit. Due to the fact that this is a situation of total conflict where co-operations and negotiation between these two people is very difficult, it will result in a zero-sum outcome.

Unfortunately, there is still no winner nor a loser for this conflict that has been going on for years. If anything, the winner and loser sways back and fourth. There is yet to be a concrete winner.


Dowty, Alan . Israel/Palestine. 2nd. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2008.

The Nucleus of the Conflict

So in my previous blog I described and explained some of the main myths that surround the Israeli-Arab conflict. Now that that is out of the way, I would like to take a few minutes and explain what the central basis of the conflict is.

If there is one thing you need to know about this conflict, know that this conflict is about the claim of two different peoples to the same piece of land.

It is a clash between Zionists who are trying to establish a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael and a Palestinian national movement defining the same territory as Filastin (Palestine) and regarding that piece of territory as part of the Arab world.

Supporters of Israel argue that the basic cause for the conflict is because Palestinians and other Arabs refuse to acknowledge the legitimate existence of a Jewish state in the historic Jewish homeland.

Arabs and Palestinians argue that the core of the conflict is the issue of the violation of the natural rights of Palestinian to self-determinate in its their own historical and ancestral homeland.

Both the Israeli argument and the Palestinian argument confirm the main definition that I stated above; both peoples agree that the core of this conflict is the claim of the same territory by two different peoples.


Dowty, Alan . Israel/Palestine. 2nd. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2008.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Breaking Down Myths

The Israeli-Arab conflict is by far one of the bloodiest battlegrounds not only in history but in today’s world. Surrounding the conflict are several myths that characterize the situation.

These myths are:

- Is this an “age-old” conflict? NO!
  • This conflict began in the 1880s when Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe began settling in the historical land (Eretz Yisrael/Filastin), which was then part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, in order to re-establish a Jewish presence. The Israeli-Arab conflict came into full existence during the 1947 war.

- Is this conflict caused by ethnic hatred? NO!

  • Historically, Jewish minorities lived more peacefully and happily amongst Arab populations than in most European states.

  • The term “Palestinian” was termed in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century in order to establish an identity. This was more in reaction to the Jewish settlers then the cause of it.

  • On the same note, Jews were not considered to be an ethnic group and they were only seen as a monotheistic religion. They began to establish themselves as an ethnic group in order to stake out territorial grounds in the “national homeland”. However, this idea was relatively new and was still not universally accepted amongst other Jews.

- Is this conflict rooted in a “clash of religions”? NO!

  • Judaism is a religion that accepts Islam as a legitimate monotheistic faith. Furthermore, Islam regards Jews and Christians as “People of the Book” or dhimmi (protected people) who are regarded as part of a common tradition and are given freedom to practice their own religions.

- Is this a conflict of unceasing violence that is insoluble? NO!

  • Even though there have been dramatic periods of violence, there has been times during its history that it was stable and quiet.


Dowty, Alan . Israel/Palestine. 2nd. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2008.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Emergence of the Title

The conflict surrounding Israel and Palestine is probably one of the most standard and classical conflicts in today’s world. Even the name of the conflict could be very puzzling and if said in the wrong way could get you in a lot of trouble. Many may question as to why it is not called the “Israeli” conflict or simply the “Palestine” conflict. Well this is because if we call it a conflict over “Israel” then many Palestinians and other Arabs would be highly offended and take it to mean that the conflict is pro-Israeli or has a Zionist agenda. On the other hand, if we were to call it a “Palestinian” conflict then we would be saying that it favors anti-Zionists and other critics of Israel.

So, then why not call it the “Israeli-Palestine” conflict? Well, we can’t because even though the core of the conflict surrounds Israeli’s and Palestinian’s, the involvement of surrounding Arab states after the emergence of Israel in 1948 expanded the term into an “Arab-Israeli” conflict.

Before 1948, Jews, who were still not known as Israeli’s because there was no such thing as Israel, lived peacefully with Arabs within the British ruled Palestine and the surrounding Arab nations played secondary roles.

Thus, due the rising conflicts after 1948 when Israel was established as a state, the term “Arab-Israeli” caught on because many neighboring Arab states were involved in defending not only their territory but also were trying to defend the Arabs who lived in Palestine.

Even though Palestinians have reclaimed their previous position as Israel’s major enemy and even though most neighboring Arab states have signed peace treaties with Israel (Egypt and Jordan) and others have disengaged from the conflict, it is still widely known as the “Arab-Israeli Conflict”.


Dowty, Alan . Israel/Palestine. 2nd. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2008.