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The nature of the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: Distinguishing Myth from Reality

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  1. Introduction
  2. Dowty's multi dimensional analysis
  3. The role of powers relations in giving the Israeli Palestinian conflict a context
  4. The Sykes-Picot Agreement and the McMahon Letter
  5. The colonialist dimension to the conflict
  6. The Ottoman Empire's decline
  7. Conclusion
  8. Works cited

Historical narratives are often times fragile and subject to ?mythification?. Especially vulnerable are the ones in which interests between two groups collide, violent disputes are common and the nature of the conflict is highly complex and distinctively unique. In those cases various versions of the story emerge and facts become increasingly colored and embellished. The conflict between Israel and Palestine, or should I say the Arab-Israeli conflict, or the Palestinian question, falls into the category of disputes enveloped in an aura of mysteriousness and nebulously interpreted facts. To narrow down the actual nature of the conflict is a serious challenge, a fact which adds to its alleged insolubility and renders it difficult to manage. This paper examines the different perspectives from which the conflict can be examined and analyzes the ways in which the influences of foreign powers and local leadership have greatly contributed to how the conflict has been ?created? and ?shaped? over the years. As a result of the multiple dimensions the conflict has assumed throughout its development, the various standpoints from which it is now viewed are widely dissimilar thus greatly impacting the conflict resolution methods employed in attempting to resolve it.

[...] The non-imperialist nature of the Zionist movement is being acknowledged which, as seen by later developments, sharply contrasts with the antagonist sentiments shown towards the incoming Jewish immigrants on part of the Arabs. If Arabs and Jews are neighbours in territory?, whose mutual interests propose for a peaceful coexistence, why has such animosity surfaced once the Jewish immigrants began settling in Palestine12. Clearly, the diplomatic arrangements and secret agreements between both Jewish and Arab leadership did not necessarily reflect the situation and feelings of common people. [...]

[...] Additionally, Britain and France agreed that the two powers will jointly ?negotiate with 2 Alan Dowty, p The Sykes-Picot Agreement, The Israel-Arab Reader, p the Arabs as to the boundaries of the Arab state?4. This arrangement was made while Britain was also engaging in a different promise-making diplomatic game. The McMahon Hussein correspondence includes statements which sharply conflict with the agreements made with France. McMahon's letter to Husain Ibn Ali, the Sherif of Mecca, in fact clearly indicated that the British support an Arab state all the regions demanded by the Sherif of Mecca? thus suggesting that the Arabs have Britain's support in unifying the Arab world under one rule5. [...]

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