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THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN THE ISRAELI-PALETINIAN CONFLICT

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THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN THE ISRAELI-PALETINIAN CONFLICT

CHAPTER ONE:

INTRODUCTION

  1. Background of the study

Khalidi (2020) asserts that the influence of religion in domestic politics has seen an upward trend during the 1990s. The prominence of religion in the Middle East has become more relevant in historical discourse after the events of 9/11. This has led to substantial inquiries into the extent to which religion contributes to either peace or war. Analysts of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity contend that these monotheistic faiths have historically fostered both violence and peace, rendering them ambiguous. Masalha (2020) observes that while these faiths espouse narratives and ideas of peace, they have also been involved in many battles throughout history. Wars throughout history, such as the Crusades in the Middle Ages (European Christians versus Arab Muslims) and the Thirty Years' War (primarily Catholics versus Protestants), were fueled by animosity stemming from ethnic and religious disparities. These conflicts, which occurred in the 17th century and caused immense devastation in Europe, were rooted in hatred. In the Middle East, religion has been intricately linked with the escalation of conflict and bloodshed. This phenomenon is also evident in other parts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

When examining the battles and bloodshed that have occurred in the Middle East after the September 11 attacks, including the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one can see a significant increase in the presence of conflicting nationalistic ideologies both inside and across civilizations. The resurgence of nationalism in the area, particularly the emergence of religious nationalism and militancy, has presented additional difficulties, particularly when dealing with, and sometimes aligning with, transnational jihadist militancy (Itamar, 2018). Regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, identity issues primarily concern the national identity of the parties involved. In their scholarly research, Schiff and Gary (2018) argue that identity-based conflicts have fundamental components rooted in the mutual denial of the other side's legitimacy. This denial stems from the worry that acknowledging the legitimacy of the other side will weaken one's own legitimacy, ideals, and assertions. Ilan (2019) further asserts that Israelis harboured concerns in the recent past that the legitimacy or serious consideration of Palestinian claims would undercut Israeli assertions. Palestinians harboured same apprehensions of the Israelis. Therefore, the perception of the situation and compromise over resources and territory were seen as a scenario where one party's gain is equivalent to the other party's loss, mostly due to concerns and distrust related to the acknowledgment of identity.

According to Adam (2016), the Israel-Palestine conflict involves disputes over tangible resources, including land, water, borders, security, and similar assets. Auerbach argues that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict revolves around the clash of identities. Each side perceives the national identity of the other as a menace, particularly when it is manifested in the form of a "nation-state," as it poses a risk to their own independent national identity. Auerbach asserts that one side either outright rejects the designation of the other side as a country or, at the very least, denies its entitlement to manifest its identity within the framework of a national state. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict fundamentally revolves on identity, since it stems from both sides refusing to recognise the nationhood of the other and asserting their own right to build an ethnocentric nation-state (2016).

In regard to the current investigation, the role and function of religion are understood within the framework of the Israeli-Palestinian nationalist struggle. Consequently, the religions of both sides are inherently linked to nationalism. Ryvchin (2019) is a significant academic who examines the connection between religion and nationalism. The book "The Worldwide Rise of Religious Nationalism" examines the growing influence of religious nationalism globally, with a particular emphasis on the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Scholars widely acknowledge that this tendency has become more pronounced in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Juergensmeyer categorises religious nationalists into two primary types: ethnic and ideological. Ethnic religious nationalists engage in acts of aggression against other ethnic groups, while ideological religious nationalists target the absence of religious influence inside their own nation (including the government and its supporters) or competing religious groups. He further asserts that the ethnic approach to religious nationalism uses religious identities for political purposes, hence politicising religion. Conversely, the intellectual approach to religious nationalism reverses this dynamic by infusing politics with religious elements. This issue is crucial as it highlights the two fundamental methods through which religion is incorporated into national politics and the construction of national identity. Therefore, the researcher sought to examine the role of religion in the israeli-palestinian conflict.

    1. Statement of the problem

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a multifaceted and enduring political and territorial struggle that encompasses historical, cultural, and religious aspects. Religion has a substantial impact on the formation of identities and ambitions among Israelis and Palestinians, and it has played a part in the intensity and intractability of the war (David, 2020). Some of the issues pertaining to religion in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict include, but are not limited to, religious sites and holy places, Jerusalem, religious extremism, settlement and land conflicts, historical narrative, identity, and self-determination.

To effectively address the religious aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is crucial to acknowledge and honour the varied religious identities and stories of both communities. This entails promoting mutual comprehension and seeking ways to accommodate the religious sensitivities of all parties involved (David, 2020). Tackling this issue requires tackling the intricate interplay between political, economic, and social dimensions of the conflict.

In light of the above, the inquiry of the study will the role of religion in the israeli-palestinian conflict.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to examine the role of religion in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The specific objectives is as follows

  1. To assess the role of religious nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  2. To examine the role of religion on the Palestinian side: Profile of Hamas’ Ideology.

  3. To determine the role of religion on the Israeli Side: Profile of Religious Zionist Ideology.

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

  1. What is the role of religious nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

  2. What is the role of religion on the Palestinian side: Profile of Hamas’ Ideology?

  3. What is the role of religion on the Israeli Side: Profile of Religious Zionist Ideology?

1.6 Significance of the study

The findings of the study has significant implications for religious leaders, as it involves deeply rooted historical, cultural, and religious issues. The region holds great religious significance for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as it encompasses sites considered holy by all three Abrahamic faiths.

The findings of the study will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to existing literature on the subject matters.

1.7 Scope of the study

The study focuses on the role of religion in the israeli-palestinian conflict. Empirically, the study will assess the role of religious nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, examine the role of religion on the Palestinian side: Profile of Hamas’ Ideology and determine the role of religion on the Israeli Side: Profile of Religious Zionist Ideology.

1.7 Research Methodology

Research methodology deals with the different ways or methods the researcher applied in order to carry out the research as well as the instrument used for gathering the data. There are several research methodologies appropriate for answering the research questions. The type of research methodology used in this research to gather data and relevant information is the historical research. This will involve the making of oral interviews and collections of materials from secondary sources, such as books, journal articles, magazines, internet sources, international and national conference proceedings, published and unpublished articles.

1.9 Definition of terms

Religion: the belief in and worship of a superhuman power or powers, especially a God or gods.

Conflict: a serious disagreement or argument, typically a protracted one.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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