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Lack of Progress in Negotiations Between Israelis and Palestinians

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Israel has always been willing to compromise and all Israeli governments have been willing to make major sacrifices for the sake of peace

However, peacemaking requires concessions as well as confidence-building measures on both sides. Just as Israel is willing to address the rights and interests of the Palestinians, Israel has legitimate rights and interests that need to be addressed. Peace can only be achieved through negotiations to bridge gaps and resolve all outstanding issues.

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It is worth noting that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the West Bank has been largely drained of deadly violence in the past few years. Moreover, the Palestinians are increasingly divided between the Fatah-led West Bank and the Hamas-led Gaza, and the Israeli government is dominated by pro-settler politicians largely opposed to a Palestinian state

In other words, the dispute is calmer than it has been in years, which, in the brutal logic of the Middle East, means that neither side is eager right now for the necessary compromises. So why push so hard? The answer has a number of levels, but the most important is this: The United States believes that if it can end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its fraught relationship with the Muslim world will greatly improve, thereby allowing America to accomplish much that is currently eluding it in places like Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, not to mention easing its role as the prime guarantor of Israel’s own security. Gen. James L. Jones, who stepped down recently as President Obama’s national security adviser, often told visitors that if he had to pick one foreign policy issue to tackle, it would be the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because its resolution would help with all the others.

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The Gaza strip for a long time was a part of Egypt, but it is currently separated from the west bank, making it closer to the east of Israel and totally separated from other Palestinian populations. Israel has been in control of the strip since 1967 after the war with Egypt and it has been its owner just as much as it owns the west bank (Cordesman, Antony H, 2005)

The strip is among the most densely populated cities in the world. A major part of this population was comprised of the Israelis and this made sure that the Israeli troops and its militants stayed here. The prime minister for Israeli Ariel Sharon brought about the change in 2005 when he withdrew from Gaza and hence, the city was taken control of by a united Palestinian authority (El-Hassan). Gaza later was taken control by the Hamas who proved to be the most powerful of the Palestinian groups that were in the city. The Hamas is a part of an international Islamic movement which does not recognize Israel in any way. This is because the Hamas have for a long time sought to replace Israel with a Palestinian nation and thus have had wars with Israel for decades. The one unique feature of the Hamas as a brotherhood group is that it has their own militant group unlike other brotherhoods.

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Overall, the theory reduces the Israeli-Palestinian bilateral relationship to a power squabble, as each side attempts to gain the ascendency. In these circumstances relations become a ping-pong match of provocation and conflict is inevitable. For example, a Palestinian suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv market might be reciprocated by an Israeli incursion into the bomber’s West Bank village. Even cumulative small actions by one side can lead to one large action from the other – for example, when numerous ‘Qassam rockets’, fired into Israel by Palestinian militants, result in an Israeli military offensive

Presumably then, in the Realist understanding, peace is achieved when the costs of going to war outweigh the benefits of doing so. However, a cost-benefit analysis of going to war can

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Amidror, Ya’akov. Hamas, the Gaza war and accountability under international law. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2011.

Winning counterinsurgency war : the Israeli experience. Baltimore, MD: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2008.

Bassiouni, M Cherif. A guide to documents on the Arab-Palestinian/Israeli conflict,1897-2008. Danvers, Mass: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2009.

Cordesman, Antony H. The Israeli-Palestinian War. New York: Praeger Security International, 2005.

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