First, let us begin with a few definitions–institution–a tradition or custom, now conflict–a clash of ideas or interests. Now we can continue with the thoughts.
It is 1920 and most likely a lively day and a British mandate over what is known as Palestine. Jewish settlers start trickling into the country and almost immediately the conflicts between Jew and Palestinian begins. Most of them were small clashes here and there and occasionally the Brits were involved.These differences in opinion continued as well as the settlers entry into the country.
And then in the year 1936, an Arab revolt began against Zionists and the Brits. The revolt continue for some three years of bloody confrontations. Nothing was really settled by the revolt and nothing really changed. Clashes between the two antagonists, Jew and Arab continued with more bloody conflicts. After WWII, Jews had an exodus to Palestine and the clashes became bigger and bloodier.
Then Israel declared itself a country and nation in 1948 and then the real crap hits the fan. It becomes a moral imperative to crush one another. Shortly after the statehood declaration the 1st Arab-Israeli war began. It was not a pretty thing. The conflict ended but the hatred simmered. And simmered. Conflicts, attacks and brutalities continued on both sides of the issue.
Then 1967, a really big show, the 6 Day War; Arab armies and the Israelis clashed and death was everywhere. At the brokered end of the war Israel annexed the West Bank and Gaza, but the end of the war did not cease the hatred or the violence. This is a simple history lesson that deserves more depth, but for the purposes of this piece it will be sufficient.
Let’s be honest, there were other minor wars like Yom Kippur and the like. Do not misunderstand me, any and all these conflicts and confrontations were bad for both sides, many bad and unfortunate incidents occurred from both antagonists. That in itself is just ducky, but I would like to concentrate on the concept of conflict now.
Since the beginning of the Jewish migration there has been anger, hatred and conflict. These conflicts have caused lasting divisions and lasting hatreds. Father passed on stories about the other side’s atrocities to sons and sons to sons and sons to………….on and on. Both Palestinian and Jew is guilty of this. Stories of stolen land, killed loved ones. destroyed house and farms, and the list continues. Because of this word of mouth story telling the hatreds just build and continue for decade after decade. As the stories are past down the hatreds are past down and thus clashes between antagonist continue from year to year.
Both sides know their families stories and then firearms enter the picture and now the clashes become deadly. With each clash a new chapter is written in the hatreds. The more one acts the more the other reacts and it just keeps escalating; the death tolls escalate and sorrows escalates.
Because of the continuing escalation decade after decade, generation to generation, the conflict becomes a tradition, a custom, which after 60 yrs of escalation will be extremely difficult to break. It has become an institution, something that has a mind of its own and left unchecked will ruin both sides of the conflict. Because of the escalation over several generations the conflict has become institutionalized.
The only way this institution can be broken is with the work of both antagonist trying to end the hatred; both have got to desire peace at all costs, without a mutual desire for peace the institution of conflict will destroy both. Only the people can break the tradition, the custom of conflict. Some wealthy second or third partner cannot bring the institution to an end by throwing money at it or threats tossed around. These techniques only strengthen the institution. The people have got to want to live in peace and security. Without that desire all that is accomplished is a minor ceasefire that awaits the next act to ignite the fires of conflict once again.
Addendum: A poll published in the Jerusalem Post shows that attitudes of the parties in the conflict…the way they feel in 2010…
If direct talks fail, 41 percent of Palestinians support the resumption of an armed Intifada, according to a poll released on Thursday by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah.
Sixty-four percent of Palestinians surveyed believe they need success in direct talks more than Israelis, while 51% of Israelis think both sides need success equally. Both groups are skeptical that negotiations will succeed with 5% of Israelis and 6% of Palestinians thinking they will yield an agreement, but 78% of Israelis support their continuation. Only 30% of Palestinians support continuing talks.
Few participants feel that any talks will succeed at ending the conflict…..and the institution continues….