The Political Structure of the Continuation of the Arab-Israeli Conflict


Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Choi, Jungyun
Research Paper, Project Study History Class, November 2008



Table of Contents


Abstract
I. Introduction
II. Background Information
II.1 Geography
II.2 History
II.2.1 The Establishment of the Jewish State of Israel
II.2.2 Brief History
II.3 Political Situation
II.3.1 The Political Situation of the Israelis
II.3.1.1 History
II.3.1.1.1 Labor Party Administration 1948-1977
II.3.1.1.2 Likud Bloc Administration 1977-1984
II.3.1.1.3 Unity Governments, 1984-1991
II.3.1.1.4 Labor Party Administration 1992-1996
II.3.1.1.5 Likud Party Administration 1996-1999
II.3.1.1.6 The Past Decade, 1999-2008
II.3.1.2 Implications
II.3.2 The Political Situation of the Palestinians
II.3.2.1 History
II.3.2.1.1 The Arab League
II.3.2.1.1.1 Before the Establishment of the Jewish State of Israel
II.3.2.1.1.2 After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
II.3.2.1.1.3 Stance on Refugees
II.3.2.1.1.4 The Economic Perspective
II.3.2.1.1.5 The Diplomatic Front
II.3.2.1.1.6 Interpretation
II.3.2.1.2 The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
II.3.2.1.2.1 Establishment
II.3.2.1.2.2 Moderation
II.3.2.1.2.3 Setbacks
II.3.2.1.2.4 The Intifada
II.3.2.1.2.5 From the Gulf War to Oslo
II.3.2.1.2.6 Current Situation
II.3.2.2 Implications
III. Political Analysis
III.1 The Logic of the Conflict
III.2 The Violent Game of Rationality
III.3 The Structure of a Probable Outcome
IV. Conclusion
Notes
Bbliography



Abstract
            One of the most contentious issues that exists to this day is the Arab-Israeli Conflict. It is a conflict that is deeply rooted in the mental, cultural, religious, political, economical, and diplomatic relations of the land of Palestine. This paper seeks to delve into the nature of the conflict through a political perspective by examining the political history of both the Israeli and the Palestinians respectively. Through this examination, it becomes more lucid as to the motives and the interests both sides have. Moreover, the exploration of the logical structures involved in the political structure of the conflict and the application of the economic concept of the Game Theory to the analysis sheds light into the reason behind the sustenance of the conflict.


I. Introduction
            This paper seeks to establish an understanding into the political structure that lies under the contentious conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis over the land of Israel or Palestine. I was particularly interested in this topic because I have no personal affiliations with any of the parties involved and wanted to examine the context of the conflict objectively. In just a few days into my preliminary research, I realized how many sources of information could be biased as both parties were still trying to gain international sentiment by publishing materials more favorable to them. I thus took to analyzing the whole situation with the more relatively unbiased economic concept of Game Theory. This analysis was based on the assumption that the Arabs and the Israelis could be accounted for as two distinct single entities. Through my analysis, I came to the conclusion that a stalemate would be the most probable outcome of the conflict.

II. Background Information

II.1 Geography
            It is rather ironical that such a large, long, and deep conflict is over actually a very small area of land. The controversial land called Israel or Palestine is a small land between the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. It is bounded by Lebanon in the south, Egypt in the north, and Jordan in the east. The centers of conflict revolve around the three territorial units of Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Israel is only a small strip of land of only 20,700 square kilometers at present and the Gaza Strip occupies only a 360 square kilometers south of Israel.

II.2 History

II.2.1 The Establishment of the Jewish State of Israel
            The roots of the movement to establish the Jewish State of Israel can be traced to the development of Zionism, which emerged in European Jewish thinking in the mid-nineteenth century. The ideology maintained that the world of Jewry was to be united not only as a religion but also as a nationality. Zionists believed that Jews ought to get together to rebuild their ancient homeland in Eretz Yisrael, the biblical land of Israel, as a national entity. Zionism acquired its particular focus from the ancient Jewish longing for the return to Zion and received particular impetus from the increasingly intolerable attitudes and circumstances for Jewish communities in some European countries, namely the Tsarist Russia. The first organized modern Zionist immigrants were the Russian BILU society in 1882. This began the series of successive waves of immigration into the area and the Jewish population in the area rose to almost 80,000 by 1914. In 1897, the World Zionist Organization (WZO) united the various Zionist organizations at the first Zionist Congress at Basel, Switzerland. Since then, the Zionist Congress organized a series of "aliya,"or "waves of immigration" to immigrate the Jewish into the now disputed area.

Table 1: Jewish Immigration to Palestine, estimated by Aliya (1)
Aliya Years Number of Immigrants
First 1882-1903 20-30.000
Second 1904-1914 35-40.000
Third 1919-1923 35.000
Fourth 1924-1931 (1924-1928) 82.000
Fifth 1932-1944 (1933-1939) 265.000


            At the time of the First World War, the area was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. But the Ottomans sided with Germany during the First World War, and the Turkish control of the area ended when Arab forces backed by Britain drove out the Ottomans. In the particular area of Palestine, it was mostly British forces that drove out the Ottomans and it is actually disputable whether it was the British supporting the Arabs or vice versa. In 1918, the League of Nations granted France and Britain mandates over the former Ottoman Empire: France was given a mandate over Syria, which included Lebanon; and Britain got a mandate over Palestine, which included Transjordan, and another mandate over Iraq.
            The British then made three mutually contradictory promises, two of which played a critical role in later inciting violence and conflict in the area. The first of these were the Husayn-McMahon Correspondence of 1915-1916, which implied that Palestine would be included in the zone of Arab independence. However, the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 with the French and Russian governments proposed the land be placed under international administration. And in 1917, the British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour committed Britain to work towards "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," in a letter to leading Zionist Lord Rothschild. It became known as the Balfour Declaration. The Declaration gave the Zionists the long-sought legal status but it was inherently incompatible with the Husayn-McMahon Correspondence. It was the latter with which the Arabs lobbied under when protesting the establishment of the Jewish state.
            In 1921, the British divided their mandate in two: the east of the Jordan River became the Emirate of Transjordan and was ruled by Abdullah; the west of the Jordan River became the Palestine mandate and remained under British Control. The Zionist project of the 1920s and 1930s and the persecution of Jews in Russia and Europe led thousands of Jews to emigrate to the British Mandate Palestine, provoking unrest in the Arab community
            Tensions between Arab and Jewish groups in the region led to violence as in the 1920 Palestine Riots, 1921 Palestine riots, the 1929 Hebron massacre and the 1936-1939 Arab intifada in Palestine. Meanwhile Zionist leaders in Europe lobbied the European nations to consider setting aside land to establish a Jewish State. As a response to both the lobby and the violent conflict in the area, the British responded by proposing several possible solutions. Various partition plans were presented and debated. Meanwhile, Zionists and the Germans engaged in a secret arrangements to immigrate Jews into Israel through the 1935 Haavara Agreement from Germany.
            In July 1937, Britain, in a Royal Commission headed by former Secretary of State for India, Lord Peel, recommended partitioning the land into a Jewish state and an Arab one. The Palestinian and Arab representatives flatly rejected the recommendations of the Peel Commission of 1936-1937 and demanded an end to immigration and the safeguarding of a single unified state with protection of minority rights. So as a compromised with the White Paper of 1939 was taken into effect. This established a quota for Jewish immigration set by the British in the short-term and the Arab population in the long-term. Both the Arabs and the Jewish were outraged by the White Paper and the terrorist groups of both affiliations directed violence toward the British as in the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, the King David Hotel bombing of July 1946, and the assassinations of Lord Moyne and Count Bernadotte in September 1948, in order to expel the detested British government in the area.
            The violence and the costs of the aftermath of the World War II led Britain to give up its mandate over the area in 1947 and the United Nations took over supervision. On November 29th, 1947, the United Nations Partition Resolution was passed. It called for the partitioning of the land of Palestine into sovereign Arab and Jewish entities and the internationalization of Jerusalem. Palestinian representatives, known as the Arab Higher Committee, rejected the proposal; their counterparts in the Jewish Agency accepted it. They determined that there should be no Jewish state in any part of Palestine. The only exception was King Abdullah of Jordan, who was publically against the establishment of the Jewish state but had secret negotiations with the Zionist leaders and had agreed not to send Transjordanian forces into the areas the United Nations might assign to the Jewish. The Zionists accepted the Partition Resolution, but leaders like David Ben-Gurion saw the plan as a step toward gaining a larger Israel. The root of the conflict was that the Jewish were assigned a piece of land in Palestine by an international organization without approval of the original Arab residents and neighbors of the area. This precipitated the onset of the 1st Arab-Israeli War.

            The Arab-Israeli War of 1948, or the 1st Arab-Israeli War, was triggered with the explosion of intercommunity violence triggered by the United Nations Partition Resolution of November 29, 1947. The war is commonly divided into five phases: first, November 1947 through May 1948 - from the passage of the partition resolution to the proclamation of Israel; second, May 15, 1958 through June 11, 1948 - from the Ara states' military intervention to the first U.N. mediated truce; third, July 8 to 18 - the ten day Israeli offensive; fourth, the October phase; and finally, December 21 1948 to January 7, 1949. By the time all of the Arab states had signed armistice of Israel, the new Jewish state occupied 78 percent of what had been Palestine. Jordan had transformed the major part of the hill country and East Jerusalem into its own West Bank and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip.

II.2.2 Brief History
            In 1949, the Jews extended the area proposed for them by the UN. In 1956 Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, who came to power in 1954, nationalized the European-owned Suez Canal without compensation. Later in the same year, Israel joined with Britain and France and on October 29, 1956, invaded the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. In November, international pressure forced the Israelis to give up the Sinai, and the UK and France to remove their troops from the Suez Canal.
            Early in 1957, Eisenhower delivered the Eisenhower Doctrine, in which he referred to the instability in the region as being manipulated by the communism of the Soviet Union. Accordingly, he proposed a program of economic aid, military assistance, and cooperation and the use of U.S. troops when requested against any form of "International Communism."
            The Palestine Liberation Organization was founded in 1964. Under the chairmanship of Yasser Arafat, it claimed to be the sole representative of the Palestinian people and it vowed to reclaim their land and destroy the state of Israel. Arafat also organized the Fatah Organization (founded in secret five years earlier) and was gaining notoriety with its armed operations against Israel.
            The Six Day War of 1967 culminated from mounting tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors, as Israel launched a "preemptive strike" against the Arab troops along its borders. Israel seized the Sinai from Egypt, the Golan heights from Syria, the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan. Syria stationed troops in Lebanon in 1967. Talks have centered on a return to pre-1967 borders ever since.
            In the Yom Kippur War of October 6, 1973, Syria and Egypt launched a surprise attack on Israeli-held lands to coincide with the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. After initial losses, the Israelis regained nearly all of the territory they occupied during the Six Day War.
            The war left Israel more dependent on the US for military, diplomatic and economic support. Soon after the war, Saudi Arabia led a petroleum embargo against states that supported Israel. In October 1973 the UN Security Council passed resolution 338 which called for the combatants "to cease all firing and terminate all military activity immediately... [and start] negotiations between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East".
            In the 1970s, under Yasser Arafat's leadership, PLO factions and other militant Palestinian groups such as Abu Nidal launched a series of attacks on Israeli and other targets. Meanwhile, in 1974, Arafat made a dramatic first appearance at the United Nations mooting a peaceful solution. The speech was a watershed in the Palestinians' search for international recognition of their cause. This speech allowed the PLO to gain observer status within the United Nations.
            In 1979, the US combined diplomacy with financial muscle to soften relations between Egypt and Israel. Under these Camp David Accords, the Egyptian president Anwar Sadat signed a mutual recognition pact with Israel, and Sinai was returned to Egypt. Sadat became the first Arab leader to recognize Israel, only four years after launching the Yom Kippur war.
            In 1981, Israel was formally annexed the Golan Heights. In response to terrorist attacks on northern towns, Israel invaded Lebanon as far north as Beirut on June 6, 1982. The Operation "Peace for Galilee" was intended to wipe out Palestinian guerrilla bases near Israel's northern border, although Defence Minister Ariel Sharon pushed all the way to Beirut and expelled the PLO from the country. In 1985, Israel withdrew from most of Lebanon but maintained a 'security zone' along the border policed by Israeli soldiers and members of the South Lebanese Army. During the early 1980s the establishment of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank continued systematically. Despite its military might, Israel was unable to quell the intifada which started in 1987 in the West Bank and Gaza as it was backed by the entire Palestinian population living under Israeli occupation.
            Numerous visits by the US Secretary of State James Baker prepared the ground for an international summit in Madrid. A worldwide audience watched the historic summit begin on 30 October as the old enemies were each given 45 minutes to set out their positions. The Palestinians, represented by the PLO, spoke of a shared future of hope with Israel; Israel's prime minister Shamir justified the existence of the Jewish state; and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara dwelled on Mr Shamir's "terrorist" past. After the summit the US set up separate bilateral meetings in Washington between Israel and Syria, and with the Jordanian-Palestinian delegations.
            In 1993, the Oslo Accords were agreed, which provided for mutual recognition between the PLO and the state of Israel, and limited Palestinian self rule in the West bank and Gaza. Jordan signed a peace deal with Israel. On 4 May 1994, Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization reached an agreement in Cairo on the initial implementation of the 1993 Declaration of Principles. This document specified Israel's military withdrawal from most of the Gaza Strip, excluding Jewish settlements and land around them, and from the Palestinian town of Jericho in the West Bank.
            The first year of Palestinian self-rule in Gaza and Jericho was dogged by difficulties ad bomb attacks as the Palestinian militants killed dozens of Israelis, while Israel blockaded the autonomous areas and assassinated militants. Settlement activity continued. The Palestinian Authority quelled unrest by mass detentions.
            So, on the 24th of September the so-called Oslo II agreement was countersigned four days later in Washington. Conflict returned early in 1996 with a series of devastating suicide bombings in Israel carried out by the Islamic militant group Hamas, and a bloody three-week bombardment of Lebanon by Israel.
            Violence flared across the West Bank and Gaza Strip in October 2000 after Ariel Sharon made a provocative visit to the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, and as he was elected prime minister of Israel soon after. Initial optimism about the peacemaking prospects of a government led by Ehud Barak proved unfounded. A new Wye River accord was signed in September 1999 but further withdrawals from occupied land were hindered by disagreements on Jerusalem, refugees, settlements and borders and the final status talks got nowhere. Frustration was building in the Palestinian population who had little to show for five years of the peace process. Barak concentrated on peace with Syria - also unsuccessfully. But he did succeed in fulfilling a campaign pledge to end Israel's 21-year entanglement in Lebanon. After the withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, attention turned back to Yasir Arafat, who was under pressure from Barak and US President Bill Clinton to abandon gradual negotiations and launch an all-out push for a final settlement at the presidential retreat at Camp David. Two weeks of talks failed to come up with acceptable solutions to the status of Jerusalem and the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
            In the uncertainty of the ensuing impasse, Ariel Sharon, the veteran right-winger who succeeded Binyamin Netanyahu as Likud leader, toured the al-Aqsa/Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem on 28 September. Sharon's critics saw it as a highly provocative move. Palestinian demonstrations followed, quickly developing into what became known as the al-Aqsa intifada, or uprising. By the end of 2000, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, found himself presiding over an increasingly bitter and bloody cycle of violence as the intifada raged against Israel's occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. With his coalition collapsing around him, Barak resigned as prime minister on 10 December to "seek a new mandate" to deal with the crisis.
            The death toll soared as Sharon, Barak's hard-line successor intensified existing policies such as assassinating Palestinian militants, air strikes and incursions into Palestinian self-rule areas. Palestinian militants, meanwhile, stepped up suicide bomb attacks in Israeli cities. The US spearheaded international efforts to calm the violence. Envoy George Mitchell led an inquiry into the uprising, while CIA director George Tenet negotiated a ceasefire - but neither initiative broke the cycle of bloodshed. In response, Israel besieged Arafat in his Ramallah compound for five weeks and sent tanks and thousands of troops to re-occupy almost all of the West Bank. In June, US President George Bush called for Palestinians to replace their leader with one not "compromised by terror", and outlined a timetable for negotiations which would later become the plan known as the "roadmap".
            Israel began building a barrier in the West Bank, which it said was to prevent attacks inside Israel, although Palestinians feared an attempt to annex land. Palestinian attacks continued, met with periodic Israeli incursions and a ten-day siege which reduced much of Mr. Arafat's compound to rubble.
            The Road Map Peace Plan of year 2003 was a to a two-state solution started with US-backed Mahmoud Abbas becoming Palestinian prime minister. Palestinian militants announced a ceasefire but Israel continued to kill militant leaders. Construction of the West Bank barrier continued throughout the year despite growing international criticism. In 2004, Israel continued to build its security fence roughly along its pre-1967 borders but with loops into Palestinian areas. Ariel Sharon announced a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and a recommitment to the biggest Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli air strikes continued. Israel provoked outrage among Palestinians by killing Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in a targeted missile attack in March.
            Construction of the West Bank barrier continued, despite increasing protests and changes to the route in response to a verdict in the Israeli High Court. In July, the International Court of Justice in The Hague pronounced the barrier illegal, but Israel dismissed the non-binding ruling. After three bombings in August and September and numerous Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli towns, Israel launched a major and bloody incursion into northern Gaza.
            In late October Arafat was taken ill and flown to France for emergency treatment. He died of a mysterious blood disorder on 11 November. The news was met with an outpouring of grief among Palestinians. Emotional crowds engulfed Arafat's compound in Ramallah as his body arrived by helicopter to be buried. Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian Authority after a landslide victory in January elections. Abbas deployed Palestinian police in northern Gaza and by February had persuaded Hamas and Islamic Jihad to begin a temporary, unofficial cessation of violence. Abbas and Sharon went on to announce a mutual ceasefire at a summit in Egypt. Despite widespread protests by settlers, the withdrawal of Sharon's forces from the Gaza Strip went ahead in late August and early September of 2004, with emotional scenes as Israeli troops removed some settlers by force.

II.3 The Political Situation

II.3.1 The Political Situation of the Israelis

II.3.1.1 History

II.3.1.1.1 Labour Party Administrations, 1948-1977
            Known in the early years as the Mapai, the Labor Party headed all governments from 1948 through 1977. For the first 15 years of statehood, with the exception of one year, David Ben-Gurion of the Labor Party served as prime minister. Only in 1954-5, Moshe Sharett, a veteran foreign minister, replaced his place. Ben-Gurion presided over a variety of coalition governments including the National Religious Party. However, he refused to bringinto his governments the Herut Movemenr and the Israeli Communist Party. The Herut Movement, at the time, was the most right-wing party that advocated a Greater Land of Israel on both banks of the Jordan River.
            In 1963, Ben-Gurion resigned as Prime Minister to be succeeded by Levi Eshkol. In 1965, the Herut Movement joined forced with the Liberal Party to form the Gahal political bloc, and in the same year, Mapai and the Ahdut Ha'avoda, another social democratic party, formed the first Alignment. When the Six Day War broke out in 1967, Eshkol formed Israel's first nationally united government with Gahal. The war changed the face of the political elections to center the major issues to the future of the territories occupied by Israel through the war: the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, West Bank and the Golan Heights. After the war, the PLO and other Palestinian organizations launched a series of attacks against Israel, and Israel entered a war of attrition against Egypt in 1969-70.
            When Eshkol dies in 1969, he was succeed by Golda Meir, and in the following year, the unity of the national government was broken over a U.S. peace initiative, the Rogers Plan. It was during Meir's tenure that the Yom Kippur War broke out in the October of 1973. Though she had information concerning the war, she did not use preemptive measures against it so that she could more easily obtain foreign aid. In the end, the Israelis won largely due to this foreign aid, but she was later condemned by a publication of the Agranat Commission as having been unprepared and thus irresponsible. She resigned less than six months after the war.
            Yitzhak Rabin headed the next government from 1974 and his premiership lasted until 1977, when Israel signed disengagement agreements with Egypt and Syria through the mediation of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. It was partially against this background that Gush Emunim, a right-wing movement that concentrated on Jewish settlement in the West Bank, developed. The demise of the Labor party was attributed to the widespread public dissatisfaction with the debacle of the Yom Kippur War, which was the nation's most devastating military campaign. A series of other happenings including the financial scandals that led one Labor minister to commit suicide, and a shift to the right on the part of the longtime centrist National Religious Party and a large segment of the Sephardi electorate, which felt shut out by Labor's European-born elite.

II.3.1.1.2 Likud Bloc Administration, 1977-1984
            In 1977, for the first time since the establishment of Israel, the right-wing Likud bloc outpolled the Labor Party. It was headed by Menachem Begin. In Israel, the Peace Now Movement was founded in 1978 to counterbalance to right-wing pressures on Begin against yielding land to Egypt in exchange for recognition and peace. In 1979, Begin reached a peace agreement with Egypt in with the Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. In 1982, Israel also became involved in its fifth war, the Lebanon War, also known as "Operation Peace for Galilee," planned and executed by the then defense minister Ariel Sharon. This war was openly criticized by the public, and about a year later, a massacre of Palestinians by Israel's Lebanese Christian allies in the Beirut refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila caused Sharon to resign. Begin resigned in 1983 to be succeeded by his Foreign Affairs minister, Yitzhak Shamir.

II.3.1.1.3 Unity Governments, 1984-1991
            Early in 1984, Shamir lost a Knesset motion of confidence and had to call for reelections. The vote was split between the Labor and the Likud, and so a unity government was established. As a result of several weeks of difficult negotiations they agreed on creating a national unity government with alternating leaders from the two parties: Labor Party's Peres would serve as prime minister for two years, and Likud Party's Shamir the next two. This government slowed down the development of Jewish settlements in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip, most of which had been built under the Likud government.
            A second unity government was established in 1988. This government initiated a peace process that involved elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It was also during this administration that the Gulf War took place and Israel was struck by Iraqi missiles. The unity government then fell apart in 1990 over a dispute about that to do about negotiating peace with the Palestinians. Shamir formed a narrow coalition with right-wing parties, taking a hard line stance against the Palestinians; Peres failed to form an alternative government. In the October of 1991, the first Middle East peace conference was held in Madrid. It was the first such forum to be attended by Israel and almost all the Arab countries; however, despite the bilateral and multilateral talks, little progress was made and period of Israel's national unity government disintegrated due to the opposition of the more right-wing members to the peace process.

II.3.1.1.4 Labour Party Administration, 1992-1996
            Under the leadership of Yitztak Rabin, the Labor Party formed a coalition government with the left-wing Meretz Party, the religious Sheas, and the support of the Arab and communist parties. Labor then outpolled the Likud in the 1992 elections. The main issue of the 1992 elections had been the future of the peace process. However, the Shas subsequently left the coalition after Rabin became prime minister, leaving him a minority government dependent on the votes of the Arab and the communist parties in the Knesset.
            The new Labor government froze the Jewish settling of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Despite the government's expression of the willingness to relinquish much of the Golan Heights, there was no breakthrough in the talks with Syria. Meanwhile, there were major breakthroughs with the Palestinians to form the Oslo Accords in the September of 1993: under these accords, the Palestinians were granted autonomy in most of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Another peace treaty was signed with King Hussein of Jordan in October 1994. And yet, though there was a great improvement in Israel's international statues, the Arab boycott remained still hostile. Palestinian terrorist continued to engage in activities like suicide bombings against Israel.
            On November 4, 1995, Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish radical after the after the passage of the controversial Oslo Accords, and Peres, the then Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister once again became prime minister to proceed with Rabin's policies.
            It was under Shimon Peres that the Labor Party pursued liberal policies for the Palestinians including military reemployment in the West Bank and holding historic Palestinian elections on January 20, 1996. Peres enjoyed popular support; however, in late February and early March of 1996, a series of suicide bombings by Palestinian terrorists took a serious toll on both Israeli lives and the public trust of Peres and the Oslo Accords. Meanwhile, fighting exacerbated in southern Lebanon and Katyusha rocket attacks against northern Israel raised tensions. This weakened the Labor Party's political stance just a month before the May 29, 19996 elections resulting in the Likud victory.

II.3.1.1.5 Likud Party Administration, 1996-1999
            Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu won the 1996 elections on a well-based coalition with the religious parties and without Labor. Netanyahu subsequently formed a strictly right-wing coalition that was publically committed to pursuing the Oslo Accords but had a priority on security and reciprocity. Under Netanyahu, two additional accords were signed with the Palestinians: The Hebron Agreement of January 1997 and the Wye River Memorandum of October 1998.
            Netanyahu's government did not last long, however. Several of the senior ministers on his cabinet quit due to personal problems, and his government was also dogged by the objections of right-wing members to Israel's preliminary agreement to pull the IDF out of more of the West Bank under the Wye River Accord. This crisis delayed the passage of the 1999 fiscal budget and the Knesset voted to dissolve itself a year early by calling elections in May 1999.

II.3.1.1.6 The Past Decade, 1999-2008
            In the 1999 elections, Labor's Ehud Barak won a decisive victory with a large coalition that included the new centrist Centre Party, the left-wing Meretz, Yisrael BaAliyah, the religious Shas, and the National Religious Party. Barak promised to create the widest possible coalition and serve as the "prime minister for all." The coalition was committed to continuing foreign negotiations. However, most parties left the coalition, leaving Barak with a minority government and thus forcing him to call for early elections in 2001.
            With the election of Ariel Sharon, the February 2001, a new national unity coalition government was formed including both Labor and Likud. However the economy soon began to slide down and another election was held in 2003, putting both the Likud and Ariel Sharon in power to create a right-wing government. This government focused on combating both the economic depression and terror. In 2004, Sharon decided on his 2004 disengagement plan: a Quartet-backed "roadmap for peace" was designed to bring stability to the region and create a Palestinian state in exchange for both Israeli and Palestinian reforms. To this the National Union and the National Religious Party withdrew from the coalition, forcing Sharon to bring the Labor Party back in the coalition. Since not all Likud members supported the disengagement plan, Sharon still lacked a clear majority in the Knesset, and Sharon pulled out of the Likud on November 21, 2005 to form his own new Kadima Party. Shimon Peres subsequently pulled out of the Labor Party to join him: this represents a great realignment in Israeli politics with the former right and left joining in a new popular centrist party.
            On January 4, 2006 Prime Minister suffered a stroke and went into a coma, and the acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert took power until the following March 2006 elections when he became Prime Minister with Kadima in the majority. However, following the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, Olmert's popularity fell drastically. He was investigated twice in 2007 by the police for suspicions of financial criminal activity during his tenure as Finance Minister, and though he was not found guilty, this contributed greatly to his popularity rating falling to 3 percent by May 2007. The May 2, 2007 Winograd Commission accused Olmert of failing to properly manage the Second Lebanese War, prompting a large rally of people calling his resignation. On the affairs of relations with Palestinians, Olmert expressed his view that a peace process was necessary and expressed his intention to negotiate with the Palestinians on all issues. He also publically contended that neither the existence of nor the peace in Israel would not be possible without a peace process with the Palestinians.
            In May 2008, Olmert became subject to another police investigation on grounds of bribery and the police recommended criminal charges be brought against him on September 6, 2008. On July 30, 2008 Olmert resigned from office as prime minister, and his former foreign minister Tzipi Livini won the leadership election. Until she forms a new government, Olmert will remain in power as interim Prime Minister. If she succeeds in forming a government, Livini will become the second female prime minister since Golda Meir. She now faces the task of getting together a coalition government with a party torn apart by her predecessor.

II.3.1.2 Implications
            Israel's political history since its establishment in 1948 is one where the political power oscillates from the Labor to the Likud, with sporadic periods of unity governments. The Labor Party tends to be largely left-wing, seeking compromises with the Palestinians and curbing Jewish settlements in contentious regions. On the other hand, the Likud Party is right-wing, taking a more hard-line stance against reciprocity toward Palestinian attacks and prioritizing security over negotiation. Israel's general political stance on the Arab-Israel conflicts is varied depending on the leadership of the time and the general popular sentiment following certain events like wars or peace accords. It is inaccurate to identify Israel as one entity in calculating its standing in the conflict, and this paper acknowledges this. However, the Israeli's overall stance, whether it be the Labor, the Likud, the national unity, or the Kadima governments is that it seeks security and peace while at the same time trying to keep face and general support through retaliation to strong Palestinian attacks. It is this general stance that the single political entity of Israel is defined as in the following political analyses.

II.3.2 The Political Situation of the Palestinians

II.3.2.1 History

II.3.2.1.1 The Arab League

II.3.2.1.1.1 Before the Establishment of the Jewish State of Israel
            Before the establishment of the Arab League in 1945, various political entities existed to articulate Palestinian grievances such as the Arab Executive and the Arab Higher Committee (AHC). The Arab League was established to respond to mounting Arab concerns over Palestine, to facilitate cooperation among Arab nations, to foster regional integration, and to further Arab policies internationally. In 1944, seven independent Arab nations met in Egypt to establish the league. The seven included Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. The League was established under the Alexandria Protocol of October 7, 1994, which specifically declared, Arab "support of the cause of the Arabs of Palestine and its willingness to work for the achievement of their legitimate aim and the safe-guarding of their rights."
            In 1946, during a session held at the Bludan Conference in Syria, the members of the league dissolved two competing Palestinian political groups that emerged and reestablished a unified Arab Higher Committee to represent the Palestinians. Originally created in 1936 under the leadership of the mufti of Jerusalem, this party had led the Palestinian efforts before the Second World War and was organized to continue its efforts by the Arab League. As tension in Palestine mounted with the incoming Jewish immigrants, the league sent notes to the British urging the cessation of Jewish terrorism in Palestine and the United States attesting that its interference in the region of Palestine was unwelcome. The league affirmed that Palestine was a vital part of the "Arab motherland" and flatly refused the establishment of any Jewish State within the premises of the region of Palestine, including the United Nations Partition Plan. During 1947, after the November announcement of the plan, the Arab League discussed the military policy in Palestine to agree not to get involved as long as the United States and the Great Britain did not interfere militarily.

II.3.2.1.1.2 After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
            By September 1948, much of the historic land of Palestine had been lost to the Jewish State of Israel. After protracted debate within the Arab regimes, the Arab Higher Committee installed the All-Palestine Government under Ahmed Hilmi Abd Al-Baqi as the Palestinian government. Based in the Gaza Strip, all Arab nations except Jordan recognized this new government. However, due to historic conflicts, the Arab League could not decide on which Palestinian group to support, and shunned both the independent government for all Palestine and the government under the mufti. After the 1948 war, the league affirmed its policy of repatriation of the refugees to Palestine and declared its non-recognition of Israel. It called for the "liberation, not conquest" of Palestine.
            Within the Arab League, Egypt had great control over the policies; in fact, the league was headquartered in Cairo and the position of the Secretary General was monopolized by Egypt from 1945 to 1978. A strong supporter of Arab nationalism and Palestinian rights, Nasir pushed the league to adopt a resolution in 1959 that prohibited individual Arab nations to engage in separate peace treaties with Israel, encouraging unanimity among Arab nations regarding the Palestinian cause. Ironically, this resolution was what precipitated the session of Egypt's membership in the league in March 1979 after its signing the Camp David Accords and Egypt's separate peace treaty with Israel.

II.3.2.1.1.3 Stance on Refugees
            To the refuges crisis, the league agreed to cooperate with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in its efforts to provide social services and relief for the refugees. In 1957, the league refused the proposals for the Palestinian refugees to be settled into the surrounding Arab states and reasserted the rights of the Palestinians to return to their homes.

II.3.2.1.1.4 The Economic Perspective
            Economically, the Arab League's boycott against Israel functioned as a major weapon as the league council agreed to boycott all goods produced by the Zionists in Palestine in 1945. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, the boycott was expanded to ban trade between Arab states and Israel and with companies involved in trade with Israel.

II.3.2.1.1.5 The Diplomatic Front
            On the political and diplomatic front, the League consistently supported the Palestinian case in international organizations. A press and information office disseminated materials on the Palestinian cause around the world. During the 1950s and 1960s, the league issued statements regarding the diversion of the Jordan River and established committees to study and make recommendations regarding the utilization and diversion of the river. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the league provided support to the Palestine Liberation Organization in its struggle for international recognition.
            The Gulf War of 1990-1991 precipitated a serious split within the league: although the league members opposed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, they were divided over the use of force and the allied military response. The PLO under Yasir Arafat supported Iraq and Saddam Husayn, but most other league members supported the joint military intervention led by the United States. This cataclysmic split resulted in a major shift in the league's unanimous support for the Palestinians.

II.3.2.1.1.6 Interpretation
            From its inception, the league attempted to coordinate the responses of Arab governments to the ongoing crisis in Palestine and to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. The league also sought to act as the legal representative of the Palestinian Arabs in international debate and to sponsor a Palestinian delegate to the United Nations. Publically, the members generally agreed unanimously upon the policy of opposing Israel and supporting the Palestinians. However, the members often disagreed over how to best achieve Palestinian self-determination. Many of the league's failures to respond effectively to Palestinian demands reflected the internal political divisions among its members.
            It is also to be noted that the Arab League functioned mostly as an outside factor as the PLO was established in 1964. In between, there were other political factions claiming to represent the Palestinian cause, including the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and the Fedayeen. Speaking of the Fedayeen, it was this organization that had actually invented what is now commonly referred to as "Middle East Terrorism." The term "Fedayeen" actually means "men of sacrifice. They were a Muslim paramilitary organization committed to violent attacks for their cause. They were not however, a single entity with a continuing history, but the term actually describes several distinct groups at different times in history: the first fedayeen were active from the 8th to the 14th century as the hashshashiyun; the second group based in Tehran, active from 1943 to 1955, carried out a number of political assassinations; the third group was based in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan and was linked to the Palestine; and the fourth group were the Fedayeen Saddam, selected by Saddam Hussein to fight in Iraq in 2003. As for the third group, it was the Israeli view that the fedayeen were recruited and supported mainly by Egypt's security forces to kill as many Israeli civilians as they could.

II.3.2.1.2 The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

II.3.2.1.2.1 Establishment
            In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization came into existence at a summit conference of Arab governments in January 1964 to channel revitalized nationalism among Palestinian exiles. The governments were aware of the growing disillusionment among Palestinians and hoped to contain their frustration by establishing the PLO. In fact, by the mid 1960s, a unanimous Arab resistance to the Israel state seemed distant as the Arab governments had difficulty agreeing on the specific policies to be taken. In response, some Palestinians had formed small undergoing guerilla unites to attack Israel; the most important of these was Fatah, founded in Kuwait in 1958 by Yasir Arafat and several colleagues.
            The Palestine National Council (PNC), PLO's policy-making parliament, first convened in Jerusalem in 1964 to elect a 15-member Executive Committee. This was headed by veteran diplomat Ahmad Al-Shuqayari. The PNC endorsed the uncompromising Palestine National Charter, which sought to restore Palestine to Arab rule and refused to accept the right of Israel to exist. The PNC also formed the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), whose united were attached to the armed forces of Egpt, Iraq, Syria, and later Jordan.
            Initially, the guerilla groups remained aloof from the PLO, but the situation changed after the June 1967 war when the West Bank and the Gaza Strip fell under Israeli control. The Arab armies were discredited along with the PLO officials. Yahya Hammuda replaced Shuqayri as chair in December 1967, promising to reform the PLO. Guerilla groups became more dominant within the PLO, as the public saw the fedayeen as being more virtuous than the Arab forces in confronting Israel. The nature of PLO changed to being more involved militarily to achieve the total liberation of Palestine.
            At the fifth PNC in February 1969, the guerrilla groups held more than half the seats and used their new power to oust the old-guard politicians. They selected Arafat to chair the PLO Executive Committee. His views were reflected in the Fatah call for the establishment in Palestine of a democratic, nonsectarian state in which all groups would have equal rights and obligations regardless of race, color, or creed. As chair, Arafat also commanded the PLA and formed the Palestinian Armed Struggle Command (PASC) as a police force to maintain order in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.

II.3.2.1.2.2 Moderation
            Palestinian despair after the defeat in Jordan in the early 1970s was signaled by terrorism launched by the Black September commandos. Operations included the assassination of Jordan's prime minister and the kidnapping and the murdering of eleven Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany in 1972. Guerillas raided northern Israel strongholds in south Lebanon, prompting Israeli retaliation with aerial and artillery bombardments against refugee camps and Lebanese villages.
            Despite the escalating violence, PLO leaders began to revise their objectives to secretly form an umbrella structure in the Occupied Territories that would work politically rather than militarily to liberate Israel. The Palestinian National Front (PNF) was to work under this structure to help residents in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank overcome demoralization to build a nationalist structure. The PNF embraced all political groups that opposed a return to Jordanian rule and accepted the concept of a state alongside Israel. The Arab-Israeli war in October 1973 caused further shifts in the PLO position to advocate the establishment of an independent national authority over every part of Palestinian territory that had been liberated but refused permanent peace with Israel. To this, hard-line groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) withdrew from the Executive Committee, accusing Arafat of recognizing Israel. The internal shift of the PLO crystallized in 1977, when it stressed its right to establish an independent Palestine state on its own land. Fatah had achieved great influence within the PLO. Meanwhile, abroad, the PLO was gaining international recognition in the Arab world as the Arab league affirmed its authority as the official representative of the Palestinian people. In November 1947, PLO's status internationally was further affirmed when it secured observer status at the United Nations after Arafat's address to the U.N. General Assembly.

II.3.2.1.2.3 Setbacks
            However, PLO's strategic shift from the goal of reclaiming all Palestine to that of forming a state alongside Israel did not have the intended diplomatic effect. It was sidetracked by the civil war in Lebanon, the Israeli invasions of Lebanon in March 1978 and June 1982, and the Egyptian president Anwar Sadat's bilateral negotiations with Israel, which culminated in the March 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
            The Egyptian-Israeli peace accord provided a transitional period of self-rule on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that excluded the PLO and downplayed the prospects of Palestinian statehood. Indeed, at the end of the 1970s, Israeli governments encouraged Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to weaken the Palestinian population and the prospects of its becoming independent.
            On the other hand, the Lebanon civil war, which erupted in 1975, proved ill for the PLO because this threatened PLO's territorial base and forced them to take sides in an internal conflict. The PLO guerillas had to devote resources to protecting refugee camps and fighting powerful Lebanese armies. The 1978 Israel invasions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon showed the refugees to be especially vulnerable while antagonizing the local population against the refugees at the same time. The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon forced the PLO to withdraw its headquarters to distant Tunis; the withdrawal of the PLO from Beirut, left the Palestinians living in nearby refugee camps vulnerable. In September 1982, they suffered vengeful attacks by Israeli-protected Lebanese militias that massacred several hundred civilians in the Sabra and Shatila Massacre.
            The PLO was divided and weakened by this series of events and anti-Arafat factions arose within the PLO. Nonetheless, Arafat worked to counterweight his antagonists Egypt and Jordan. Ultimately, Arafat reconsolidated the position of the PLO in the Arab world.

II.3.2.1.2.4 The Intifada
            Intifada literally means "shaking off." Initiated spontaneously, these mass uprisings swept the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The activists included members of the Fatah and the PLO. Palestinian tactics used in the intifada included mass protests, the general strike, and suicide bombings, among others. To this, the Israelis would respond with retaliatory measures including increasingly violent incursions, mounting fire, and demolishing houses.
            Hand in hand with the Intifada movement, the PNC endorsed the establishment independent states on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, recognized the U.N. resolution 181 and 242, and called for peace and security for every region in the area and renounced terrorism.
            However, the combined force of the intifada and the PNC resolutions did not opened the Israeli government to negotiation as the Israeli government took even further hard-line stances.

II.3.2.1.2.5 From the Gulf War to Oslo
            Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait in August 1990 posed a dilemma for the PLO. Arafat could not condone that occupation without simultaneously justifying Israel's occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Although Arafat stressed the need for Kuwait and Iraq to negotiate, he strongly disapproved of the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. The PLO's apparent tilt for Iraq peaked when Iraq's scud missiles hit Israel. However, Iraq was ultimately defeated and the Palestinians were traumatized and the PLO isolated. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait cut off all aid to the PLO and Syria continued to disarm Palestinian enclaves in Lebanon. The PLO participated in multilateral talks with the U.S. at the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991, and the election of the Labor Party in Israel raised hopes for self-rule in the contentious areas.
            As Israel came round to recognize that ruling out the PLO completely would only result in their own destruction, the two came together under the mediation of the Norwegian foreign minister to hammer out a Declaration of Principles on September 13, 1993. This agreement provided for Palestinian self-rule within the entire Gaza Strip and in Jericho. This was the Oslo Accords

II.3.2.1.2.6 The Current Situation
            However, this did not turn out as expected. The current situation on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is that there is still much fighting and violent fighting going on between the two groups. Different radical political parties like the Hamas fight not only against Israel but also against the PLO as can be seen in the recent warfare between Hamas and Fatah as of 2008

II.3.2.2 Implications
            The side of the Arabs can be seen on levels: the Arab nations and the Palestinians. The Arab nations, those nations on the Arab League, are generally for the Palestinian cause, but being national sovereign governments, they adhere first to their own national interests. This caused the inefficiencies of the Arab League in the late decades of the twentieth century. The Palestinian Liberation Organization, however, was created by the Palestinians whose life and homeland is intimately tied to the opposition to the state of Israel and thus has more the reason to devote resources to the cause. Even within this PLO however, there are different factions; there are factions more open to negotiation and compromise like Arafat and also more radical hard-line standing factions like that of Hamas. To tie these distinct groups to be one entity under the same name would be an injustice. However, this issue is to be dealt with in explaining the logic of the conflict and for the analysis concerning the political game theory, the Palestinians will be one entity as the Israeli also will be.

III. Political Analysis

III.1 The Logic of the Conflict
            The two parties, Israel and Palestine, seem trapped in the "logic of conflict" structure with an in-built escalatory momentum. The violent cycle is one with no real beginning and with little hope for an end in sight, and exacerbates with each turn. The basic structure is as follows:
            - Some radical Palestinian groups respond to the Israeli occupation on the disputed lands with violence, referred to as "terrorist attacks" by Israel. These forms of violence include suicide bombings, and create social chaos among the Israelis while estranging a local generation to radical Israeli tendencies.
            - These attacks provoke a semi-automatic response by the Israeli that include closure of the territories, re-occupation of the area, a massive hunt for the alleged or real terrorists, and/or military retaliation in a similar or larger scale. This inevitably causes "collateral damage" in the form of civilian casualties, destroyed property, and reinforces the image of Israel as an enemy figure among the Palestine population.
            - The Palestinians feel victimized from the Israel military maneuvers new feelings of enmity are created. This sentiment, hand in hand with the new generation of disillusioned radical Palestinians and an antagonized population, fuel further violence with or without the knowledge and consent of the Palestinian Authority.
            - This reinforces the image of the Palestinians as inherently violent and the Palestinian Authority as both or either impotent and/or malevolent in the Israel perspective. This image allows for the "justification" of the Israelis deliberately bypassing the Palestinian Authority as well as escalates oppression.
            - Again, this reinforces the image of Israelis as enemy figures among the Palestine public and mind, thus creating new would-be radicals including suicide terrorists.
            Such a vicious cycle is extremely difficult to break, as an expression of concession could be and would be interpreted as a sign of weakness. A concession of either side is even more difficult to achieve in such a case when neither side is a unitary actor with a coherent set of interests and a rational state of functioning.
            The difficulty of enduring peace between the two parties can be seen in the recent cease-fire of June 19, 2008. Egypt had mediated a truce between Israel and the militant and political Islamic movement Hamas. The truce was meant to stop missiles being fired into Israel and to halt Israeli incursions into the Gaza Strip. If the ceasefire does hold, Israel was to ease its blockade on Gaza and talks on a prisoner exchange would have gone under way. Israel was to also ease the restrictions on trade of certain goods between Gaza and Israel two days later, and open up the crossing for all commercial goods the next week.
            Hamas, or the "Islamic Resistance Movement," is a Palestinian Sunni Islamist militant organization and a political party which currently holds a majority of seats in the elected legislative council of the Palestinian Authority. It was created by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin of the Gaza wing of the Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the First Intifada, and its military wing is known for numerous suicide bombings and attacks on both Israeli civilians and Israeli security forces. It is listed as a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States, and is banned from Jordan. The European Union lists Hamas as a group "involved in terrorist activities." Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007, driving out forces loyal to Fatah, the political faction led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
            The two sides were divided on the prospects of the truce; Ismail Haniya, a senior Hamas figure in Gaza, said the truce would "bring stability to Israel if they commit themselves to it" meanwhile the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had expressed strong skepticism, "Quite frankly I don't think that in the essence of what Hamas is all about, that they are likely to change their attitude," he had said, "They are set to destroy Israel. That is what they say." The last ceasefire Hamas entered in to, in November 2006, had collapsed after five months.
            And this ceasefire of June 2008 is apparently in a very precarious situation also. Israel declared on June 25, 2008, that a rocket attack by Palestinian militants on the southern town of Sderot was a "grave violation" of the six-day old truce. The rocket firings followed a mortar attack from Gaza into Israel earlier in the day that the Israeli military said marked the first reported violation of the truce. Though no one was greatly injured from the alleged attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that the attacks could jeopardize the fragile truce. Israel says that under the conditions of the truce, the Hamas leadership in Gaza is responsible for all militant attacks on Israel, not just those carried out by Hamas militants. Despite Hamas leaders in Gaza saying that they are still committed to the truce with Israel, the truce is indisputably in a very volatile situation.

III.2 The Violent Game of Rationality
            When examining this cycle of the mutual killing spree, the "Rational Choice Theory" seems to provide a satisfactory explanation. To examine the essence of the issue, one might simplify the options of the two conflicting parties to three options: giving in, continue fighting, and escalating. Assuming that the side prevails who enjoys "escalation dominance," we get the following picture of the options facing each side.

Table: Israeli and Palestinian Strategic Moves
Israel/
Palestinians
Give in Continue Fighting Escalate
Give in +1/+1
Compromise
-2/+2
Israeli Victory (slow)
-2/+2
Israeli Victory (Swift)
Continue Fighting +1/-1
Palestinian Victory (slow)
-1/-1
Stalemate
-2/+2
Israeli Victory (Swift)
Escalate +2/-2
Palestinian Victory (slow)
+2/-2
Palestinian Victory (slow)
+2/-2
Escalation


            What the Table basically says is that rationally, Palestinians cannot afford to give in to the situation. Unless it is guaranteed that the Israelis reciprocate the gesture, giving in, by de-escalating or yielding, make room for the Israelis to win, either slowly or swiftly depending on the Israeli strategy. On the perspective of the Israelis, it also does not rationally stand for them to compromise with the Palestinians seeing that the other two options provide for more than a compromise - a victory. Conversely, basically the same structure stands if the Israelis choose to yield and give in. If the Israelis give in as the Palestinians do not, they stand to lose. Only in the case of extreme certainty that both sides will yield will either side even consider compromise. The problem lies in the structure of the conflict. Fundamentalism and irrationality is not the root of the problem, it is the structure itself. The vicious cycle of escalation bites head to tail, tail to head. A circle has no beginning, it has no end.

III.3. The Structure of a Political Outcome
            Thus, the question is, is there a viable resolution to the problem ? And if such a resolution, what is it, and why haven't we come to it yet, after half a century of formal conflict ? Again incorporating a rational analysis of the probable outcomes, one might be able to outline three states of existence for both parties: victory, stalemate, and defeat. The options and the probabilities are drawn up as below.

Table: Possible Outcomes of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
Israel/
Palestinians
Victory Stalemate Defeat
Victory +1/+1
perhaps conceivable
n.a. -2/+2
very unlikely
Stalemate n.a. 0/0 or -1/-1
very likely
n.a.
Defeat +2/+2
unlikely
n.a. -2/-2
Likely


            It is, thus likely that both sides may reap defeat with a payoff of -2 from the structure of the conflict. The stalemate scenario, however, is the most probable, and seems to be what the current situation is in the progress of the conflict. The prospects of victory for either side may look tempting for a way of permanent and clean resolution to the conflict. However, neither side has any realistic chance of winning a decisive victory. Thus, a stalemate thus seems the most likely outcome.

IV. Conclusion.
            This paper focused on the political structure of the continuing conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis over the land of Israel or Palestine. By examining the complex history of the controversy and by exploring the power struggle with logic and by applying the game theory, this paper delved into the conflict to produce the conclusion that the stalemate would be the most probable outcome. The limitations of this paper lie in its assumptions, however. The Game Theory analysis deals with Israel and Palestine as two single entities with complete power over what happens inside those single identities. However, neither the government of Israel nor the Palestinian Authorities have complete power over the groups and factions within the identity frames of Israel and Palestine.
            This partially unveiled why and how the conflict has continued for decades despite efforts to the contrary by the brightest diplomats and strategists of all time. I realized also, however, that the conflict had to do with a deeply rooted and complicated web of political, social, and economic interests that also intertwined with human emotions, prejudices, and memories that could not be simplified with a mere theory
            Aside from the factors mentioned in this paper, it is important to note that there are many other parties and perspectives to be considered in the conflict. While this paper focused mainly on the political entities and history of Israel and Palestine, the role of third parties like the United States of America, Europe, the United Nations, and other parties could be discounted. Moreover, while this paper focused mainly on the political perspective of the conflict, there are also many dimensions to be considered - demographic, economic, cultural, religious - just to name a few. Thus are the limitations of this paper, and I hope that through more research and guidance that in the future, I will be able to further develop analysis on this conflict.


Notes

Bibliography

Note : websites quoted below were visited in July 2008.
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