Case Study 1 - The Effect of History on the...

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The Effect of History on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict By: Victor Wong 04/28/08 English 198 Syd Lindsley
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One of the most heated debates in our modern era involves the Arab-Israeli conflict that occurred about half a century ago. Although the conflict originates from a very small piece of land in the Middle East, the tension in this area still possesses much of the world’s attention. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the British, in accordance to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, intended on establishing a national home in the Holy Land for the Jewish population. As a result, there was a dramatic increase in Jewish immigration into the land predominately occupied by the Palestinians. Naturally, tension in the region skyrocketed as Palestinians felt like they were being forced into exile from their original homeland and as the Jewish people believed that they rightfully deserved and owned the land. In November 1947, the U.N. tried to establish peace and calls for the establishment of two separate states: Israel and Palestine. Israel accepted the plan and the Arabs rejected it leading to political gridlock and conflict. The way history has been remembered and written has helped contribute to the cultural production of both sides. The history books of both nations differ greatly in the interpretation of the past and act as guidelines for succeeding generations of both sides when it comes to national identities. Although attempts at making peace have occurred, each side’s respective, unrelenting interpretation of history
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continues to fuel the fire that is the Arab-Israeli conflict. Today’s tension in the Middle East, however, is not rooted from what actually happened during the time of 1947 to 1949; rather, it is how history has been remembered and interpreted that sparks animosity between the two nations. In the essay, The Debate about 1948 written by Avi Shlaim, the progression of historical Israeli interpretation is examined. Schlaim believes that the world may be more sympathetic to the Jewish side of the story due to the mass amount of Israeli literature written about the conflict. “Because they were the victors, among other reasons, they were able to propagate more effectively than their opponents their version of this fateful war,” (Schlaim, pg. 287). Part of the reasons why the Palestinians are so reluctant towards achieving peace is because not many people understand their feelings towards the war. And in this essay, Shlaim explains that “History, in a sense, is the propaganda of the victors,” (Shlaim, pg. 287).
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Case Study 1 - The Effect of History on the...

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