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The Gaze Quandary
© Dave Ferruolo
The Gaza strip conflict as of lately been depicted in the news as more of a factional war, between the Fatah and the Hamas, rather than the Palestinians fighting Israelis over occupation of the area. According to an article in the Khaleej Times Online, past peaceful resolve is said to be inhibited because politics in Gaza overlap clan rivalries. But with all the tensions among the Israelis and Palestinians, why are the Palestinians fighting amongst themselves? To answer this question we must go back in time…
From 1917 to 1948 The British controlled the Gaza region, which at that time was a part of Palestine. Two thirds of Gaza was incorporated into Israel in 1948 during the Arab/Israeli war. Population surged in the remaining Egyptian sector, as over a quarter of a million Palestinians migrated out of the Israeli held areas. This coupled with Israeli sanctions and control of resources caused many problems for the Palestinians, and they became divided on how to deal with the problems.
Frustration mounts as people compete over limited resources, and as Gause’s law states: maximum competition will arise between two species with identical needs. The Realistic Group Conflict Theory says that competition breads prejudice, and the social dilemma over the resource of water and citrus crops is prevalent in the Gaza Strip.
After the Six Day Way in 1967, Israel occupied and controlled the natural resources and dominated over the thriving citrus agriculture. This created a tragedy of the commons as Israel gobbled up most all the valuable area resources, and leaving little left over for sustaining life for the Palestinians. This repression and economic strife of Palestinians, due to Israeli occupation prompted the formation of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Army) under control of the Fatah to force out the Israeli insurgents, by any means possible, including terrorism.
The perceived injustices of the Israelis by Palestinians and the devaluing of Palestinians by Israelis only fueled more prejudice and a greater divide among the feuding peoples. Cognitive thought and logic gave way to simplistic thinking, and the conflict rages on.
Today, with more equal division of resources and a growing global trade system, the premise of the original conflict appear diluted, though the Palestinians still want Israel out of the Gaza Strip. However now more than just a conflict with Israel, factions of Palestinian forces seem to be locked in more of an ‘eye-for-an-eye’ battle of the ego, amongst themselves, with the Hamas and Fatah both seeking control of the Palestine government. Seeking a peaceful resolution with Israel is impossible as the Palestine’s have distention amongst them selves.
Mike Rosenbaum, in an article published in hometownlife.com, writes of a first hand account of recent travel through the troubled West Bank. In the article, Mike expresses his inner concerns and surprise:
Again, from this example, an interpretive view of a religious war between Fatah, Hamas amongst themselves and with the Israelis is trumped by a view that this conflict is an Arab/Arab and an Arab/Israeli conflict and it is fueled by greed and materialistic gain of one faction and one nation over the control and oppression another.
One fact still remains, as observed by Rosenbaum, Arabs and Israelis living is peace in a cooperative society, amidst the turmoil fighting. Could it be that desegregation and cooperation lessen the perceived tensions between Arabs and Israelis? Do the superordinate goals of the Arabs and Israelis trying to just live peacefully and survive together in a cultural battlefield supercede the war around them?
Perhaps the strategies employed by GRIT would help foster a more cooperative and peaceful resolution to the age-old Gaza conflict. If both sides were firm, fare and friendly about what they desire, perhaps mutual conciliatory acts could lead to declining conflict.
If a plan were submitted by non-bias mediators, which would show the benefit of working together for a win-win situation where all Arabs and Israelis would prosper, we may see an end to the Gaza Strip Conflict in our lifetime.