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Impact of the Gap between the Israeli and Palestinian Narratives



Impact of the Gap between the Israeli and Palestinian Narratives

The Oslo process revealed the rocky path to a historic Israeli-Palestinian settlement, as well as, the immense gap and cost of the frustrated expectations of the people of Palestine for sovereignty and statehood. The process also underlines the blocking and resilience impact of sacred values and symbolic assets even after agreeing on prominent precepts and implementing substantial political, military and economic steps (Sela, 132). However, is as much as intensive and broad international financial and diplomatic efforts played a part in fostering the Oslo process, regional and local factors played a principal role in shaping traits of policymakers and the direction, pace and outcomes of the process. This is but one of the aspects of the Oslo process that is often overlooked and as such, is a gap between the Palestinian and Israeli narratives.

Neither the Palestinian and Israeli leadership has been equipped with enough political and legitimacy power to deal with the core issues based on their sacred nature. Thus, the half-hearted and ambivalent approaches by policymakers are showcased, particularly under conditions of uncertainty and protracted implementation of the commitments agreed-upon by the leaders. It is imperative to note that nothing attests more vividly to the Palestinian and Israeli constrained decision-making than the incessant violence against the Israelis perpetuated by the Palestinian opposition groups or the recurrent Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem and the West Bank throughout the years of implementation of the Oslo process. Moreover, at the grassroots level, there has been no serious discussion regarding the key issues of the conflict and no efficient efforts to create awareness among the public about the painful concessions they would have to arrive at or compromise so as to reach a formidable settlement due to the gap in perspectives (Sela, 132).Impact of the Gap between the Israeli and Palestinian Narratives

The huge gap in the material capabilities between the Palestinians and the Israeli, as well as, the insufficient ripeness in the Oslo process meant that a more determined international effort is necessary for the purpose of cutting the Gordian Knot (Sela, 132). The tale of the Oslo process can best be described on one hand as Israel’s escalating resistance to conceding control and authority over East Jerusalem and the occupied territories to an autonomous Palestinian Authority. On the other hand, it is the Palestinian’s frustrated hopes for improved economic and social conditions, as well as, swift development toward sovereignty and statehood. Nonetheless, despite these descriptions of the Oslo process, gaps still persist between the Palestinian and Israeli narratives. In retrospect, it appears that Israeli policymakers sought first to absolve themselves of the burden or responsibility of directly governing the people of Palestine in the occupied territories. Also, with the help of the PA, Israeli policymakers sought to substantially reduce if not fully put a stop to the Palestinian violence emanating from these areas. While mediators, interested parties and the international body were originally content with facilitation, instead of presenting their own proposals to the two nations or playing an assertive role, the gaps in perspectives derailed the success of these efforts. When a proactive model was finally implemented, it turned out to be too little, too late since the effort was not accompanied by adequate commitment (Sela, 133).


Question 3

Oslo Process Success and Failure from Israel’s Perspective

Successes-impact of the Gap between the Israeli and Palestinian Narratives

Based on Israel’s perspective of the Oslo deal, a third party or mediator is an ideal catalyst for peace making in that it can play a crucial role in facilitating the formulation of novel political space, particularly in conflicts such as the Israeli-Palestine one whereby communication between Israel and Palestine pre-Oslo had turned into a psychological environment of mutual non-recognition and non-communication (Ramsbotham, 168). In such a situation, the role of a mediator is extremely vital and Israel believes Norway proved to be an excellent choice. This assertion is based on three reasons. First, it was immensely credible to both nations due to its position of beings a neutral nation with no geo-political strategic interest in the ongoing conflict. Second, Norway as a middle party contributed to what is known as “process symmetry” whereby it ensured that the Israeli and Palestinian delegations both had the same hotel rooms, cars food and times for presentation. In as much as these details may seem as meager in the context of the overall mediation, they are especially vital and highly asymmetrical in making the weaker side feel on equal terms and empowered during the negotiations, thus, adding to the positive mood of Oslo. Third, the Norwegians paid attention to the prominence of secrecy in negotiations between the enduring rivalry between Israel and Palestine.

According to Israel, Norway’s recognition of the perpetual nature of the conflict was critical to the approach Israel and Palestine took to the mediation effort. This highlights importance of conflict management theory in the mediation. Israel also believes that Oslo Accords were at the time of completion contemplated as a massive step forward for relations between the two nations. This was evident in the exchange of mutual letters of recognition between the State of Israel and the PLO deemed as immensely significant for the viability of the Israeli-Palestine solution. This was based on the fact that as the PLO took into account the concept of a Palestinian state, its official recognition by Israel signified the legitimacy of such a state (Barak, 178). Moreover, the direct lines of communication have now finally been formed between both sides in a most constructive manner, with the outcome being that hopes are high that the long proposed two-state solution could finally have an opportunity of being implemented. This is what Israel considers as the success of Oslo.


Despite the fact that Oslo had succeeded in formulating certain cordial relations, as well as, mutual recognition between both Israel and Palestine, soon a practical realization of the scale of the crucial issues that Oslo had not addressed soon materialized. Significant issues that exposed the weaknesses and shortcomings of Oslo were the Jewish settlements in the Territories, Jerusalem, the Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian state, as well as, its borders (Barak, 177). The difficulty in addressing these issues in the Oslo Accord evinced that as successful as the Oslo breakthrough was it could not guarantee the impetus required towards a final solution. Israel believes that the Oslo Accord would be the first step in the multi-stage peace process between the two nations where levels of mutual trust could be progressively formulated on each phase. Nonetheless, this trust did not materialize.

Instead what Israel believes that it got was increased internal division to Oslo within both nations, whereby intragroup opposition made criticisms against the vision of the leadership for settlement with the other side while offering opposing solutions (Barak, 178). Of particular mention is the unhappiness among Jewish nationalists regarding the trajectory of the peace process under the Oslo Accord. This unhappiness led to a Jewish settler slaughtering of twenty-nine Palestinian worshippers in 1994 in Hebron in an effort to hinder the progress of the peace process. This objective was attained in 1995 with the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin (Barak, 178). Thus, albeit Oslo was a success based on the reasons stated above, it failed to tackle the most dividing aspects of the conflict. These aspects ended up leading to the ultimate demise of the peace process that Oslo had reinvigorated.Impact of the Gap between the Israeli and Palestinian Narratives














Barak, Oren. “The Failure Of The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, 1993 – 2000”. Journal Of Peace Research, vol 42, no. 6, 2005, pp. 719-736. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1177/0022343305057889.

Ramsbotham, Oliver et al. Contemporary Conflict Resolution. 2nd ed., 2005.

Sela, Avraham. “Difficult Dialogue: The Oslo Process In Israeli Perspective”. Macalester International, vol 23, no. 11, 2009, Accessed 4 Nov 2018.