Analysing the Israel-Palestine Conflict in International Relations Perspective Essay

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Analysing the Israel-Palestine Conflict in International Relations Perspective

Introduction to International Relations

Analysing the Israel-Palestine Conflict in International Relations Perspective


Since the early 20th Century, Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting over the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. With the assumption that Palestine is a state to facilitate discussion, this report sketches out the most significant elements of the conflict on the three levels defined by Kenneth Waltz, and applies the Realist theory of international relations (IR) to the “Two-State” solution.

Levels of analysis

1. First Level

The first level focuses on individuals
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From a systematic point of view, in terms of power constellation, Israel seems to be closer to the center because Israel’s stronger economy and military power make it a natural regional center. In contrast, Palestine appears to be closer to the periphery due to its limited military power, lack of natural resources, and much weaker economy.

Realist Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Issue

The Realist Theory would be useful in understanding the current situation of the Israel-Palestine conflict. First, the rationale behind the “Two-State” solution is to separate Israel and Palestine to “sovereign states” according to their unique “identities”.[3] Second, the concept of “sovereignty” is also the core of Realism. There are reservations, however, on whether Israel and Palestine should be regarded to have respective sovereignty for Israelis and Palestinians are clearly scattered in the two territories.

From the Realist perspective, as both Israel and Palestine seeks to gain the ascendency, their bilateral relationship is reduced to a power squabble. “Relations then become a ping-pong match of provocation and conflict is inevitable.”[4] The Itamar massacre in 2011, in which two young Palestinian men murdered a Jewish family in the Israeli settlement of Itamar in the West Bank, is an example of how cumulative smaller acts could add up to deep hatred and result in