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Winning the Strategic Narrative in the Israeli-Palestinian Protracted Conflict

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Master's thesis

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The purpose of this thesis is to identify the underlying causes for Palestinian Hamass and Israeli Gush Emunims religious objections to peaceful co-existence in the land between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea. Gaining such an understanding should help policy makers and analysts better address the conflict in Israel where struggles between the Gush Emunim and Hamas remain intense. It is important for interested parties to gain a better understanding of the religious dimensions of their political positions to increase levels of trust and move toward peaceful solutions. Three concepts will substantially inform this study political theology, mutual independence, and grace. The first refers to the set of ideas that a religious community holds about political authority and justice. This concept is central to understanding important issues such as to what degree the particular religious community considers violence justifiable, the legitimacy of religious leaders in political office, and religious freedoms of minority or non-ruling religions in an area. The second, the mutual independence of religious authority and political authority, refers to the level of state control over religious expression of dominant and minority religions and explains much about the type of politics pursued by the government. Grace is unmerited favor. Arguments by Gush Emunim and Hamas from their major religious works, the Jewish Tanakh and the Muslim Quran, and associated commentaries -- the Jewish Talmud and Muslim Hadith -- are compared and evaluated for religious insights into the dispute. Contemporary interpretations of major writings and political objections based on religious argumentation create a strong context for modern conflict. This thesis suggests ways to open up dialogue between the Israeli and Palestinian cultures by comparing religious texts, interpretations, and concepts in an effort to promote peaceful co-existence and build an effective strategic narrative.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History
  • Psychology

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