Aside of huge specific complexity (history of Jews, history of Israel and Palestine, refugee problem, Israelian settlement policy, politicized religion on both sides, vested interests of war, a.s.f.), one constellation has been dominant in the Israel-Palestine conflict, the reciprocal logic of war: Any action of one side has been considered as acute or potential attack by the other side; any punishment (by an actor that considers himself to be superordinate) has been answered through retaliation (in the connotation of equivalence). No side, also the individually weaker one, has been willing and able to relent; even no constructive communication has come about because any communication has been misused, at least by one side, as instrument of warfare. Indeed, political efforts undertaken bei third parties, such as the USA or the EU, are motivated by the image of a two state solution in peace. But strangely enough, neither Hamas nor the Israelian leadership is interested in realizing this concept: While Hamas still denies any right to exist for Israel, the Israelis do whatever they can to dash any hope on this concept. A seldom perceived background of that is: Also the two state concept exhibits a clear deficit of integration as long as the two involved states to be built up are conceptualized as ethnically pure, hence potentially adversary up to hostile entities. Consequently in Israelian view, the two state concept implies the risk of strengthening palestine power (to destroy Israel); in view of the Hamas, the concept implies the guarantee of Israel in its current imperial and aggressive form. That’s why both, Hamas and the current Israelian leadership, strictly work against realizing the concept. Facing this situation, all involved actors should be aware of the fact that only a constructive discussion of the question how to overcome the logic of war opens up real chances on getting peace. Although the existential right of any Jewish life should be out of any discussion (as part of the existential right of any human life), Israel in its current form, as an ethnically relatively pure Jewish state under nothing but Jewish rule, can be discussed in favor of a modern state where Jewish as well as Palestinian life is guaranteed in a peaceful living together. Vice versa, also formally Palestinian areas could be changed to be officially open for any citizen, independently from Palestinian birth. In short: Integration could be favored towards segregation. Of course, such a policy change from segregation to integration is no little challenge; it rather may belong to the most challenging efforts we can image. But I think, there is no other way of solving the Middle East conflict, and the increasingly globalized life on this Earth existentially needs the solution of this conflict. Because an endurant war-like situation in this region produces risks and possible negative dynamics that - in times of increasingly accessible mass destroying weapons - may become existentially dangerous all over the world.
Stimulative experiences for discussing options of integration may be successful projects of cooperation between Jews and Palestinians. See the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra directed by Daniel Barenboim, see integrating approaches of christian churches that comprise Christs, Jews, and Palestinians, and see the hashtag jewsandarabsrefusetobeenemies (https://twitter.com/hashtag/jewsandarabsrefusetobe enemies). As different those concepts might be; they have one central point in common: Strict reciprocal respect of the involved humans. Additionly, functional cooperation, strictly valid norms of reciprocal respect, and handling religions in a civilized, not aggressive manner are significant In these projects, tensions between the involved actors are not unpossible, as everywhere in life. But those tensions remain within clear limits of a productive living together, are in that sense peaceful, and foster peace. These extraordinary seeming experiences can be seen together with routine experiences of living together in many regions of the Earth: Whereever people intensely work and live together, they tend to get used to it - so far clear norms of equitable cooperation and coordination are valid and no religiously or politically produced ideologies of friend and foe destroy co- living. See urban areas where people of different cultures peacefully live together, such as Montreal, large parts of Berlin,and many other areas on this Earth.  Indeed, the middle east conflict might be more complex than any other case. Not only the special history of Jewish life through thousands of years, particularly the Holocaust, but also the fate of Palestine during the 20th century and its still ongoing tragedy have to be in our minds. But also other conflicts between segregated actors that seemed to be unsolvable finally came to a solution - see the end of South African apartheid or the many decades long civil war in North Ireland (although there are still certain segregative institutions and forces of war-like behavior). So unthinkable integration sometimes is possible if there are personalities that bring ideas and attitudes of reconciliation forward... The current cease-fire may break down soon. Otherwise it should be used as chance for opening up a more comprehensive communication about existential needs of both sides under the leading question: How to overcome the logic of war between us?
How to overcome the logic of war? A counter proposal to the routine madness in Middle East Volker von Prittwitz August 28, 2014
IPA Institute for Political Analysis Prof. Dr. Volker von Prittwitz