The readings about the Arab-Israeli conflict over the past few weeks have shown the complex history of Israel and Palestine. I remember always hearing about Israel in the news growing up but I never really knew that much about the history. That being said, know that I know a little more I can see why this is a problem that has lasted so long and has been seemingly impossible to solve over the years. One pattern that I noticed while reading about the history of Israel and Palestine peace negotiations was that right after any kind of “forward progress” or step forward in the peace process was made, it was often met with intense and violent backlash. The backlash on the Palestinian side would be extremist terrorist groups firing rockets into Israel or blowing up buses or committing some other act of terror in protest of negotiations with who they saw as an existential threat which needed to be destroyed. On the Israeli side the backlash seems to be an overreaction to Palestinian attacks or threats with hawks in the government supporting “punishment” on Palestinian communities.
The book portrays the peace process as getting hampered or sabotaged by extremists on either side who will refuse to negotiate or view the other side as a group with any validity. With all of this being said, in the current state of Israel and Palestine, peace looks to be further in the distance. Israel has continued to elect nationalist leaning governments who have shown that they either can’t or won’t take peace as seriously through negotiations as some past Israeli presidents have. Meanwhile Palestine’s leadership is fractured and plagued with terrorist groups supported by larger powers that continue to undermine the peace process. Couple this with the current US government being clearly pro-Israel, making it hard to be a neutral arbitrator as well as the EU being focused on their own internal problems, and finally Russia is experiencing its own problems with Ukraine. So many external actors are distracted by other things and the leadership in Israel and Palestine doesn’t seem willing to engage in the peace process seriously enough to make any real progress, making it look unlikely that peace will happen soon barring a major shift in one of these factors.