Israel Palestine Conflict Essay

politics / israel / palestine / conflict / arab israeli conflict / arabic / jews / islam / middle east / war / united states / russia / peace

Title: How does Israel-Palestine Conflict affect relationship between biggest players of the world?


            This analytical essay in politics discusses the ways Israel-Palestine Conflict affect relationship between biggest players of the world. The particular focus is made on the question why states like US, Russia, EU etc support either side of the ongoing conflict. The consequent influences on the political relations between the supporting states are also discussed.

General discussion

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is an ongoing tension between Israelis and the Palestinians being regarded as an indispensable part of the wider Arab–Israeli conflict. Since 1948 the State of Israel is in the center of the conflict between the Arab population and Zionists.


So far there have been many endeavors taken to cease fire and mitigate a two-state tension, which entails the establishment of the independent Palestinian state along with the State of Israel. Today, according to the nationwide polls, the overwhelming majority of Palestinians and Israelis would rather opt for the two-state solution to resolve the ongoing conflict. At that, the majority of Palestinians regard the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a constituent part of their future independent state, and such interpretation is also favored by most Israelis. Furthermore, many academics promote the idea of one-state solution, wherein Israel, the Gaza Strip, and West Bank should constitute a bi-national state assuming equal rights for all citizens.


Nonetheless, final consensus is the issue of controversy since there are many vital disagreements over the extent of credibility and commitments of either side of the continuous dispute. In both Israeli and Palestinian societies the conflict causes a multitude of views and opinions, and provokes significant gaps between Israelis and Palestinians, and also amongst themselves.

The key feature of the conflict is the expressed rate of violence in the form of fighting, killing people, intrusion of paramilitary groups and armies, and acts of terror. Both military and civilians are among the casualties and fatalities.

Casualty figures for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the OCHAoPt
(numbers in parentheses represent casualties under age 18)

















396 (43)

13 (0)

1843 (265)

322 (3)



678 (127)

25 (2)

3194 (470)

377 (7)



216 (52)

48 (6)

1260 (129)

484 (4)



1290 (222)

86 (8)

6297 (864)

1183 (14)



The conflict has long ago become a serious issue on the international agenda. Strong international players are involved in resolving and negotiating the dispute. Primarily, the conflict is negotiated between the Israeli government led by Ehud Olmert and the Palestine Liberation Organization headed by Mahmoud Abbas.

At that, the rounds of official negotiations are mediated by the Quartet on the Middle East, which is an international contingent consisting of the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations. In addition, the Arab League is a key actor that offered an alternative peace plan. Egypt, as a founding member of the Arab League, has also historically participated in the conflict resolution.

Since 2003 the Palestinian side has been featured by the ongoing conflict between the two major factions - Fatah, the conventionally dominant party, and its main electoral rival - Hamas. Thus, Hamas occupies the Gaza Strip since June 2007 which is under control of the Palestinian National Authority, whereas Fatah dominates the West Bank. Such governance division has eventually caused the collapse of bipartisan governance of the Palestinian National Authority.

The most recent round of peace negotiations between the conflicting sides was launched in Annapolis Maryland USA, in November 2007 to attain the final resolution by the end of 2008. Thus, the disputing parties agreed on the core issues to be resolved. Overall, the stages of the peace process so far have been as follows:

  • Camp David Accords 
  • Madrid Conference
    Oslo Accords
  • Oslo II 
  • Hebron Protocol
    Wye River 
  • Sharm el-Sheikh Memoranda
    2000 Camp David Summit
  • Taba Summit
    Road Map 
  • Annapolis Conference 

At that the most controversial issues discussed so far concerned:

  • Anti-Semitic incitements
  • Israeli settlements
  • Israeli West Bank barrier
  • Jewish state
  • Palestinian political violence
  • Palestinian refugees 
  • Palestinian state
  • Places of worship 
  • Status of Jerusalem (Wikipedia, 2009)



For the time being the conflict zone is mainly featured by funerals, air strikes, and vows to fight the enemy – the permanent bloody circle continues as Hamas abandons a ceasefire.  The fragile peace process achieved so far is once again on the verge of collapse. At that, the Quartet members seeking to mediate peace in the Middle East have so far expressed opposing and controversial standpoints regarding the conflict. For instance, Russia financially supports Palestine, as well as Abbas policy in the Middle East.

Compared to other Quartet states, Russia recognises Hamas legitimacy and the control the Gaza Strip by this Islamic party. Simultaneously, Moscow maintains ties with Hamas rival Fatah. At that, Russia’s leadership calls for support for Abbas and restraint exercise. According to Sergey Lavrov,

“The Russian government supports Mahmoud Abbas as the leader of Palestine in a variety of areas. First and foremost, this concerns the security efforts deployed by the Palestinian government. We are also ready to encourage co-operation in investment.” (Russia Today, 2008)

In turn, China also supports and the policies led by Yasser Arafat striving to seek peace through the negotiation process China’s stance on Middle East conflict can be described as follows:

“We strongly condemn the present series of violent attacks on the civilians. The retaliation by Israel through military means does not help alleviate the conflict. Such events repeatedly taking place between Israel and Palestine prove the futility of a policy of an eye for an eye. They can only lead to even more violence and further escalation, harming civilians on both sides. We call on the two sides to stay calm in handling the serious situation, bringing an end to the cycle of revenge and counter- revenge and settling their dispute through negotiation. The only way to solve the question of the Middle East is a cessation of the Israeli military occupation of the Palestine territory on the basis of the principle of the land for peace, the implementation of all peace agreements, and the full restoration of all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to an independent state” (Russia Today, 2008).

The endeavours of the international community in due respect are associated with further attachment of relevant importance to the ongoing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. At that, the UN Security Council which is primarily responsible for sustaining international peace and security should adequately respond to the hazardous developments in the Middle East situation.

At that, it is generally assumed that Americans support Israel and Europeans do not. According to the poll on the Israel-Palestine conflict conducted in April (2002), most Europeans (France 63%, Germany 63%, Italy 51%) had disapproved the then U.S. policies with towards the Middle East, while only 26% of Americans  expressed disapproval in due respect. Furthermore, most Europeans sided with Palestinians (France 36%, Great Britain 28%), or opted for non-support to either side (Germany 33%, Italy 32%). Most Americans, however, sympathized with Israel (41%), while 21% supported neither side, with mere 13% that supported the Palestinians.

Experts relate the extensive US support for the Israelis to the Jewish controlled media and powerful Jewish lobby groups in the U.S. As well as this, there is the powerful Evangelical Christian movement who are strong supporters of Israel. The so- called neoconservatives support Israel because they want to see America play a more powerful role in the world. At that, it is evident that Americans are more idealistic, whereas Europeans are more cynical (Frazier, 2002).

The US financial support for Israel is enormous worth about $3 billion per annum. This is added by unwavering political backing. Israel lobby in the U.S is well-financed, highly organized. After World War II, the U.S. took over the control over the Mideast from Britain. US annually guarantee Israel billions of dollars while supporting arms manufacturers. Thus, the US with its ‘democracy’ is damaged by the lobby’s “control” over Middle East policy (Weller, 2009). 

In 2002, on Israel initiative the Bush administration launched a roadmap - detailed and interlocked schedule of conditions to break the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, end violence and attain peace settlement. The US initially perceived the roadmap as a joint US and European initiative, involving the representatives from the EU, the UN and Russia who established ‘The Quartet’, to shape international policy aiming to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  On September 17, 2002, the Quartet issued a statement envisaging a road map for peace. An outline of the program has evolved over the years. Israelis and Palestinians greeted each version, which contained a variety of reservations.

Following the Iraq war in the spring of 2003 when the pressure mounted on the USA, the Quartet decided to release a new version of the Roadmap to gain Palestinian-Israeli and Arab peace. The official text of the latest version of the roadmap was announced on April 30, 2003 following the elections of Mahmud Abbas as a Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.

The roadmap greatly emphasized on compliance non-compliance, and all the relevant consequences to the side that would not comply. There were, however, controversial provisions include in the text of the roadmap. It was uncertain what the criterion was for deciding that the Palestinian leadership acted decisively against the terror attacks. What would happen if the Israel would not dismantle settlements? Thus, the roadmap was intensively criticized, and failed eventually as well as the Oslo accords – since the political statements were not supported by the effective mechanism to enforce the peace agreement. As of May 2005, the Palestinian Authority accepted the roadmap, though failed to implement key provisions, especially those regarding terror combating in effective manner. The Israeli government accepted the roadmap, though offered 14 reservations and failed to implement its key undertakings required for Phase I, including removal of illegal outposts and the freeze on settlement activity (Mideast Web, 2003).

In particular the statement of the Middle East Quartet during the meeting in New York on 16 July 2002, was signed by the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, High Representative for European Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, and European Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patten. The Quartet members assessed the ongoing situation in the Middle East and agreed to work on further consultations in compliance with the Madrid Declaration, to promote fair, comprehensive, and continuous settlement of the Middle East conflict. The main issues on the Quartet agenda were:

- Deploring tragic killing of Israeli civilians and condemning terrorism, including suicide bombing;

- Regretting the loss of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives, and extending the sympathy to all those who have suffered loss.

- Restructuring security institutions to serve these goals that would lead to improvement in Palestinian security performance, essential to progress on other aspects of institutional transformation and realization of a Palestinian state committed to combating terror.

- Expressing concern about the mounting humanitarian crisis in Palestinian areas and their determination to address urgent Palestinian needs.

- Expressing wide support for the goal of achieving a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement which could be reached within three years from now.

- Welcoming President Bush’s commitment to active U.S. leadership toward that goal.

- Implementing the vision of two states, Israel and an independent, viable and democratic Palestine, living side by side in peace and security,

- Pledging all possible efforts to realize the goals of reform, security and peace and reaffirm that progress in the political, security, economic, humanitarian, and institution-building fields must proceed together.

- Welcoming the initiative of Saudi Arabia, endorsed by the Arab League Beirut Summit, as a significant contribution towards a comprehensive peace.

- Assisting progress toward the shared goals,

- Coordinating international campaign to support Palestinian efforts at political and economic reform.

- Encouraging the strong Palestinian interest in fundamental reform, including the Palestinian 100-Day Reform Program.

- Welcoming the willingness of regional states and the international community to assist the Palestinians to build institutions of good government, and to create a new governing framework of working democracy, in preparation for statehood.

- Implementing an action plan with appropriate benchmarks for progress on reform measures leading to the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state characterized by the rule of law, separation of powers, and a vibrant free market economy that can best serve the interests of its people.

- Assisting the parties in efforts to renew dialogue,

- Welcoming the recent high-level ministerial meetings between Israelis and Palestinians on the issues of security, economics and reform.

- Recognizing Israel’s legitimate security concerns, including immediate measures to ease the internal closures in certain areas and, as security improves through reciprocal steps, withdrawal of Israeli forces to their pre-September 28, 2000 positions.

- Building new and efficient Palestinian security capabilities on sound bases of unified command, and transparency and accountability with regard to resources and conduct.

- Calling upon Israel to take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable Palestinian state.

- Releasing frozen tax revenues by application of more transparent and accountable mechanism

Hence, the Quartet reaffirmed the necessity for the negotiated permanent settlement based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. This excludes There can be any military solution to the conflict, while Israelis and Palestinians should address the core issues that divide them through sustained negotiations.

Lasting peace and security should end the Israeli occupation since 1967. That measure would assure secure and recognized borders. Thus, the Quartet is highly committed o the goal of a comprehensive regional peace between Israel and Lebanon, and Israel and Syria, based upon Resolutions 242 and 338, the Madrid terms of reference, and the principle of land for peace.

The Quartet continued its further endeavours to support the work of the principals and assist the Task Force on Reform, as well as aid the parties in resuming a political dialogue in order to reach a solution to the core political questions.


With the help of the Quartet measures listed in due analysis, a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be achieved through ceasing violence and terrorism. Thus the Palestinian leadership should act decisively against terror and build a practicing democracy based on the principles of tolerance and liberty. In turn, the Israeli side should express readiness to do all the necessary actions for the establishment of the democratic Palestinian state. Therefore, the two conflicting sides should unambiguously accept a negotiated settlement. The Quartet should further assist and facilitate the implementation of the peace settlement plan starting in Phase I (ENDING TERROR AND VIOLENCE, NORMALIZING PALESTINIAN LIFE, AND BUILDING PALESTINIAN INSTITUTIONS PRESENT TO MAY 2003).

The direct discussions between the parties assume that the Palestinians immediately undertake and unconditional cessation of violence, which should be accompanied by supportive measures undertaken by Israel. Palestinians and Israelis should resume security cooperation based on the Tenet work plan to end violence, terrorism, and incitement through restructured and effective Palestinian security services.

Overall, the Quartet role was immense in the conflict resolution, since historical stages of the two-side conflict showed that neither side has enough capacity to reach peace. Notwithstanding, the conflict is currently on the go, which means the deaths of thousands of civilians, terror, and disaster. Perhaps, the Quarter should take more decisive actions and directly interfere in to the zone of the never-ending conflict (Mideast Web 2003).



Frazier, G. 2002, Why Americans Support Israel and Europeans Don’t, retrieved April 10, 2009 from

Mideast Web 2003, Quartet Roadmap to Israeli-Palestinian Peace2003, retrieved April 10, 2009 from

Mideast Web 2003, Quartet Statement of July 16, 2002, retrieved April 10, 2009 from

Russia Today 2008, Moscow promises to support Palestine, retrieved April 10, 2009 from

Weller, A 2009, Israel and the US - Does the Tail Wag the Dog? Retrieved April 10, 2009 from

Wikipedia 2009, Israeli–Palestinian conflict, retrieved April 10, 2009 from


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