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The Israelis and The Palestinians Conflict

The fight between the Israelis and the Palestinians is one the longest and most long term and volatile of all the conflicts the world has had. The Palestinians see that the conflict has brought colonization, eviction and military occupation of their land leading to a long and intricate search for self-determination. The Jewish Israelis on the other hand consider that this is the land of their forefathers, and after years of harassment around the world, the return to their motherland has not brought calm or security. This is the only subject that has generated the biggest number of United Nations resolutions; it has loomed big on the international scene.

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Many attempts at finishing the conflict have been made but still there is no peace resolution in sight. One of them was the 2003 roadmap compiled by the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations. Neither side has satisfied the commitments. The relationship of these two nations therefore remains strained. This paper is therefore going to look at the unfolding events of this conflict as reported in the news as from January 2010.


In its January 20th edition, the New York Times talks about the German chancellor’s relationship with Israel. The author says that there are some foreign policy issues that Angela Merkel does not like to talk about. One is Afghanistan; the other is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This came out evidently when she was asked about Israel’s settlement policy and the barricade of Gaza during a joint news conference with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, she plainly minimized the issue. She only said that it was time to restart the process and swiftly moved to another topic. Up to this point the author creates some perceptions in the reader that the Chancellor has some preservation when it comes to issues touching on Israel.

The New York Times Articles

The article goes on to say that German leaders find it difficult to disapprove of Israel because of the liability German bears for the holocaust and their pledge to the existence of the state of Israel. The author goes ahead to claim that this is true with Mrs. Merkel in particular, because she wants to build a closer relationship with Israel, and that her position has made it difficult for the European Union to speak with one voice on the Middle East. But it also cites Mrs. Merkel’s policy inconsistency; she placed much emphasis on human rights and freedom when she was elected in 2005. She criticized China’s human rights policy and made the divisive decision to meet the Dalai Lama in the Chancellery in 2007. China warned of grim consequences, but little happened. She went further on to meet the nongovernmental organizations that Vladimir V. Putin had tried to ban, the rapport between Berlin and Moscow became frosty and that was all.

On Israel-Palestine, No More of the Same

Here, what this implies is that German only cares about the affairs of Israel and its own. This passes across a wrong message aimed at straining German’s relations with other countries. What will German do that other countries have failed to do? The article does not look at the positive initiatives that German has undertaken towards a long lasting solution to the Middle East conflict, it only dwells on the negative side (Dempsey J. 2010) The article, “On Israel-Palestine, No More of the Same” (Alpher par 6) published on February 2, in the New York Times gives more insights into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It looks at the efforts made by Senator George Mitchell at restarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

President Obama acknowledges that he had underestimated the difficulties in Jerusalem and Ramallah and that he had failed to move the parties forward. It indicates that Mr. Obama correctly noted that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders had proven stubborn. They will still be underestimating the difficulties if they think that applying “more of the same” (Alpher par 8) cajolery and minor pressures in the coming year will break the deadlock. The article alleges that neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel nor the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, really want a peace process right now. Hence U S priorities regarding Middle East peace keeping have to change radically.

To do these the author suggests in the article that first, President Obama and Mr. Mitchell must appreciate that in the current strategic array, Syria is more relevant than Palestine, and because Syria’s president has declared him self set to deal. This is true because a Syrian-Israeli process has a better chance of getting started than a Palestinian-Israeli process. The author sees that a successful Syrian-Israeli effort will offer the U.S, Israel and the modest Arab states instant benefits by reducing Iran’s access of the Levant, weakening its regional proxies and associates and allowing the U.S withdrawal from Iraq, this would hurt Hamas, thereby strengthening Mr. Abbas. This justifies applying some pressure on Mr. Netanyahu, and the risk of failure. It also justifies devoting more U.S diplomatic energy to Damascus instead of Ramallah.

Hamas in Gaza

The article suggests that the second priority should be Hamas itself. It notes that all the schemes mustered against the Hamas in Gaza since the takeover of June 2007 have failed. That the economic warfare policy invoked on Hamas has just but punished the Gazans, impoverished the moderate middle class and empowered and enriched Islamist smugglers, and still has failed to remove the Hamas regime. Through this article one sees that it is high time the U.S sat down with its allies in the region and reassesses these failed strategies. It offers a number of options: to talk directly to Hamas about practical matters-a cease fire, a prisoner exchange, opening the Gaza passages to trade. These should not be ruled out by Israel. Making Gaza stable might help Mr. Abbas address his real priorities in the West Bank.

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The article brings out some of these priorities, one of them being the current state-building effort that finds expression in the radically improved West Bank security, economic and institutional capabilities. The reader can see that at least since the Oslo process began, this is the first time that Palestinians are succeeding at state building. Better even is the fact that this corresponds with Mr. Netanyahu’s “economic peace” (Alpher par 10) policy. It is also the first major achievement by the U.S and other international aid to the Palestinians. The article also cites the conventional wisdom, brought fourth by Mr. Obama, and which holds that a solution to the Palestinian question is the key to political, economic and social progress elsewhere in the region. This looks exaggerated but only time will tell (Alpher, 2010)

Another article that brings out the strained Israeli-Palestinian relationship is ‘Rebuilt Synagogue Is Caught in Disputes over Jerusalem’ published on the 15th of March in the New York Times. It is about the inauguration of a rebuilt synagogue in Jerusalem’s old city. This appeared to be a case of unfortunate timing, entangling what was intended to be a festive cultural event with the diplomatic row over new Israeli construction in the contested territory. This should not have been an issue because this project had been under way for years. Just because this coincided with a crisis in Israel-American relations over plans for new Jewish housing in East Jerusalem, should not be blown out of proportion. This synagogue is located in the territory that Israel conquered from Jordan in the 1967 war. It later annexed part of that territory, East Jerusalem, and claims sovereignty over all of Jerusalem. This claim is not recognized by most of the world.

The Palestinians on their part, demand East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, but this is likely to remain under Israeli control. The author’s description of the synagogue shows that it has been taken well by the people. Its new white dome blends in with the city’s ancient monuments holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews. Its location makes it to be seen from certain points around the city, it rises above the Islamic shrines of the compound revered by Muslims as the noble sanctuary, and by Jews as the temple mount. But statements made by several Palestinian officials mischaracterizing the event in question, could heighten tensions. These fears were proved when stone throwing Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli forces in and around the old city for some days. Palestinian agitators who said they feared provocations by Jewish extremists called on Muslims to flock to the old city to defend Al Aksa Mosque.

In this article the Palestinians are portrayed as wrong always provoking the Israelis. It confirms this through the words of Dimitri Dalian, a Jerusalem representative of Fatah, the mainstream Palestinian movement, when he said that Palestinian anger was not directed against the synagogue “in its religious context, but rather as a natural expression of protest against cumulative violations carried out by the state of Israel as an illegal occupier of East Jerusalem.” So this whole issue should be divorced from politics (Kershner I. 2010).

Israel Mounts Air Attacks in Gaza

The continued mounting of attacks by Israeli forces in Gaza places the peace efforts in jeopardy. This is clearly brought out by the article “Israel Mounts Air Attacks in Gaza” (Akram par. 5). Of April 2 in the New York Times. “Israeli war planes struck at least four times across Gaza on Friday, damaging a number of structures that the military said were sites for weapons manufacture or storage,” it said (Akram par 7). As claimed by an Israeli spokesman, this was in response to a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza, which hit the Ashkelon area on Israel’s central coast. The Israeli targets belonged to the Hamas, the militant Islamist movement that controls Gaza.

The targets included two training camps, one near a cheese factory in the southern part of Gaza city. Three Palestinian children, including a 1-year old, were wounded. A police station was also hit. This should not be allowed, because it is putting lives of innocent kids in danger. The parties involved should look for ways to solve this amicably. The pointing of fingers should end; at this the author has clearly stayed on course, showing us both sides of the coin. The article reports that just after the Israeli air strike, tensions rose along the Gaza border, and two Israeli soldiers were killed, when, according to the army, they were pursuing militants trying to lay explosives near the border fence. A farm worker from Thailand was also killed on March 18th in Israel by a rocket fired from Gaza, Ansar al Sunna, a small jihadist group that challenges Hamas, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The author, through this article, brings out the stubbornness shown by the Hamas. He says that since seizing control Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave has been largely isolated. They have not accepted the conditions established by the international group that focuses on the Middle East, the so-called quartet-the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia. The conditions included a renunciation of violence, the recognition of Israel’s right to exist and the acceptance of previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The author of this article has approached this Israel-Palestine issue with soberness, it does not sides, in that both anti-Israel and pro-Israel can comfortably read through it and understand what happens on the ground in these two nations, so that they do not make hasty reactions that end up not only those around them, but also themselves (Akram 2010).

No Worries, Israel Insists, Defense Drill Is Just a Drill

‘No Worries, Israel Insists, Defense Drill Is Just a Drill’ read the head line in the New York Times on may 23rd. Many critics and anti-Israelis will not agree with these even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to reassure Israelis and some jittery Arab neighbors that the nationwide drill was not meant to signal deterioration in security or an imminent war. “This is a routine exercise that has been scheduled for some time” (Kershner & Akram par 2) He told the cabinet. “I would like to put it clear that it is not the result of any exceptional security development. On the contrary, Israel aspires towards calm, stability and peace.” (Kershner & Akram par 5).

The paper goes on to indicate that this was a five-day exercise, designed to test the readiness of the citizens, the emergency services and the local authorities in the case of war, and that is happening for the second consecutive year. And that this is coming amid growing concerns in Israel about the rocket and missile capabilities of militant groups on its borders, and the potential threat of a nuclear Iran. Here it is clear that all this will make anyone be alarmed. This is evident in the following line, that the exercise appeared to have rattled nerves in Lebanon, where Israel fought a month long war against Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia, in 2006. In fact it adds that Lebanon’s prime minister told reporters in Cairo that “to launch military exercises at such a time runs counter to peace efforts” with the Palestinians.


So in essence this only increased tensions and insecurity fears in the nations neighboring Israel especially Palestine. These sentiments are echoed by the Hezbollah’s deputy head. He says that the military exercise was a sign of Israel’s aggressive intentions and Hezbollah had gone on alert. The article goes on to say that as people were still contemplating on these, unidentified gunmen attacked the site of a United Nations children’s summer camp before dawn on Sunday, in Gaza, burning empty water tanks and plastic sheds, the Hamas government condemned the attacks and said it had opened an investigation. This shows how entrenched in Islam these people are to extent that they will oppose anything even if it is aimed at helping them or their children just because it is not being under taken by fellow Muslims (Kershner & Akram 2010)

Many people will blame Israel for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but as the author of this May 27th issue of the New York Times outlines, the Hamas are also to blame. The headline of the article read ‘Defying Israeli Blockade, Vessels Head for Gaza.’ The author writes that Israel was preparing for a showdown with a flotilla of up to nine vessels carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists and thousands of tons of supplies headed for Gaza, the Hamas-run coastal enclave. This was aimed at breaking Israel’s maritime blocked of Gaza. This was seen as a political provocation by Israel, it therefore vowed not to let the boats reach Gaza, and instead invited the flotilla to land at an Israeli port, Ashdod. The fact that this group does not recognize Israel’s right to exists makes Israel doubt their intentions. Israel, the United States and the European Union classify the group as a terrorist organization. One will ask why just Israel?

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Bearing in mind that Gaza has been under an Israeli-and Egyptian-imposed blocked since Hamas took over the territory by force in 2007. Why didn’t they use Egypt? Although the activists said the boats, which were expected to reach the coast sometime this weekend, were carrying 10,000 tons of cargo including cement, school supplies and medical equipment aimed at easing the hardship in Gaza, Israel could not trust their word, it instead offered them the chance to unload their cargo at Ashdod. The Israeli military’s chief liaison with the Palestinian-controlled territories, said in the article that they will be willing to transfer the cargo, after inspection to Gaza. He added, “We will not allow ships into Gaza while Hamas is in control there.”

This was echoed by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, in a news statement issued by Sarah Weiss Maudi, the ministry’s expert on maritime and humanitarian law, she said the maritime blocked was in force “because Israel is currently in a state of armed conflict with the Hamas regime” in Gaza. Hamas, she continued, “has repeatedly bombed civilian targets in Israel proper with weapons that have been smuggled into Gaza by various routes, including the sea. If what the author is saying here is true, then the flotilla confirms Israel’s fears. The article adds that this has set off a public-relations war regarding the situation in Gaza.

So far the article has painted Israel as being without blemish, a country that is doing all it can to avert the conflict, but the following lines bring out its negative side. When Israel insists that there is no humanitarian crisis, when it knows well this is no true. This is confirmed when the author says, International organization active in Gaza paint a bleaker picture. A United Nations Development Program report published on Sunday determined that about three- quarters of the damage caused by Israel’s military offensive in Gaza in the winter of 2008-9 had not yet been repaired.

And another report by the United Nations humanitarian coordinator blamed the blockade for “suffocating” the agricultural sector in Gaza and said that insufficient food was now a problem in more than 60 percent of households. Reading this article, you clearly see the unfolding events on the ground. Israel has that fear that if Hamas is left unchecked then its citizen will be in danger. Therefore it does everything to make sure that Hamas does not get powers over it. By doing this on the other hand causes a lot of suffering to the people leaving in Gaza, creating a humanitarian crisis which it insists that does exist. Hamas on the other hand do no recognize Israel’s right to exist; they therefore keep on attacking it leading to counter attacks, killing innocent people (Kershner . 2010)


While it is good that the Times is covering nonviolent resistance to the Israel occupation, critics see it as an article rife with omissions, mischaracterizations and distortions, especially regarding the character of some of its correspondents, for instance, Ethan Bronner, who has come under fire for having a son in the Israeli Defense Forces while he is in the Jerusalem bureau chief for the NY Times, has been seen as a biased reporter in favor of Israel. This is just but the opinion of some people; readers should read and decide on their own.

Code: writers15

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