ETHNIC GROUP CONFLICT
For many decades now, the Palestinians and the Israelis have been under constant conflict. Among the issues that have sustained this conflict are religious differences, ideological differences as well as land occupation among others. Israelis and Palestinians both claim a common decent. Israelis are descendants of the younger son of Abraham, Isaac while the Palestinians who are considered Arabs are descendants of the elder son of Abraham, Ishmael. They therefore both claim the territory known as Israeli/Palestine land in the Middle East (Dershowitz, 2005). Muslims who are mostly Palestinians base their claim of the territory in the holy Quran while the Jews base theirs in the holy bible.
Palestinians largely confess to the Islamic religious doctrines while the Israelis confess to the doctrines of Judaism, a religion that is based on the Mosaic Law or the torah (Dershowitz, 2005). While the Jews pray facing Jerusalem the capital of this state for centuries, the Palestinians pray with their backs turned to Jerusalem. Jews were displaced from the land they presently occupy centuries ago. It is recorded that Israel emerged as an independent nation about two thousand years before the emergence of Islam, the faith that most Palestinians confess to. This shows that the Israeli community has been in the territory under contention longer than their Palestinians or Arab counterparts. A point to note is that in the early centuries, these two racial groups lived in harmony with each other. Essentially these two people are one and the same people, only divided by historical and religious believes.
The fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century saw the immigration of a large number of Jews to this territory. This fall was initiated by Sir Henry McMahon with the help of Husain in an Arab revolt. In return, Britain had promised the Arabs that it would help them create an Arabic nation under Hashemite (Dershowitz, 2005). This never happened as the British allowed Jews especially those in Europe to immigrate to what was before the Palestinian state. Feeling betrayed and used, the Palestinians Arabs initiated streams of terror attacks and uprising against the Jewish immigrants in an effort to reclaim the land they considered their own. Britain tried to seek the aid of the United Nations to create a two state nation with no success. During the reign of the Nazi in Germany and Europe, many Jews fled from Europe as they were being killed and immigrating to Palestine. Their number grew significantly further increasing their power in the region. Israel declared its independence in 1948 without indicating any geographical boundaries. This is what has been the major cause of conflict as each party claims this territory.
Conformity is the situation in which people in a social setting match their behaviors, cultural and religious beliefs and attitudes to what these people perceive as normal in that society. This conformity can either be direct or indirect or through free will or coercion. Conformity gives an individual a status of belonging in ones society (Beloff, 1958). In the case of Palestine and Israel, the Palestinians have in a way been forced to conform to the ways of life of the Jewish society. This is because the Jews have proven to be stronger both economically and in terms of military. Though the Palestinians have been rebelling against the Jewish rule for some time now, many of them conformed to the fact that they could not oust the Israelites and have thus been integrated in the Israelites community.
Social cognition refers how concepts or information is processed, stored and retrieved from an individual’s brain. It refers to the perceptions that individuals form in their brains of a given phenomenon or concept (Fiske, & Taylor, 2008). It is kind of stereotyping. Social perception is the manner in which individuals perceive social entities (Abrams, & Michael, 1999). These include the perception of one’s self and others and the general society as a whole. The perception of self involves the analysis of one’s behavior, physical attributes and abilities and disabilities among others.
These two phenomena in a way can be used to explain the prolonged conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Though in way they share a common ancestry, the two groups adamantly reject one another’s cultural or religious believes. Each claims that they are right in their own way. The Israelites believe that they are the chosen people. This is the social cognition they have cultivated in their brains. They believe that of the two Abraham sons, Isaac the younger son was the son of the promise. The Palestinians on the other hand believe that God’s promise was to all the of Abraham’s descendants. They thus believe that they also have a strong claim to the land under contention.
In terms of perception, which is more or less the same concept as social cognition, the Israelites consider themselves as a superior race based on the biblical believes as the chosen ones. Palestinians dispute this as they believe that god blessed every one without any favor. The two groups therefore have negative perceptions of one another and thus the tension between them.
The Palestine/Israeli conflict can be easily resolved if the two groups can be brought to a situation where they just respect one another. The key element of respect is what lacks between these two groups. Trying to split the region into two individual states will not work. This is because each group claims a given tradition and cultural history in the whole of the region. None of the two groups can exist without each and every part of that region. It would be easier therefore if the two groups could make up a confederation in which two states exist under the banner of one central government.
Abrams, D, & Michael A. H. (Eds.). (1999). Social Identity and Social Cognition: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.
Beloff, H. (1958). Two forms of social conformity: Acquiescence and conventionality. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 56, 99–106.
Dershowitz, A. (2005). The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can Be Resolved. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Fiske, S.T. & Taylor, S. E. (2008). Social Cognition: From Brains to Culture. New York: McGraw-Hill.