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Produktart: Buch
Verlag: Diplomica Verlag
Erscheinungsdatum: 06.2020
AuflagenNr.: 1
Seiten: 72
Sprache: Englisch
Einband: Paperback


This study aims to investigate the role of history writing and the development of conflict narratives that emerge out of a particular understanding of history. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is used as a case study of a context in which the competition for the correct interpretation of history contributes to the intractability of the conflict. An initial investigation into how history is written and subsequently turned into conflict narratives provides a theoretical understanding of the role of narrative in the conflict. Five key themes are analyzed: narratives of self-determination and nationalism, narratives of religion, narratives of security, narratives of the Nakba and the Shoah and narratives of partition. The analysis shows how these narratives are used to sustain the conflict and deepen the fault lines between the conflict parties, but also how mutual understanding and a possible path towards peace can be forged through narratives.


Text sample: Chapter 2, Conflictual Use of History in Israel and Palestine: In 1983, Amos Oz wrote that [f]or us, history is interwoven with biography […] history is biography” ( In the Land of Israel” 238). The statement highlights the significance of history for the lives of people in Israel and Palestine and how their understanding of their own history shapes not only their own life but the life of the conflict. According to Daoudi and Barakat, the way historical narratives create and delineate identity presents a major obstacle towards resolving the conflict (53), a notion that is also raised by Rouhana and Bar-Tal who note that even when practical agreements can be achieved, their implementation often depends on whether they can be incorporated into the narratives of each side (768). Ultimately, then, it is these closed and exclusive narratives that lead to conflict resolution being approached in a zero-sum way (Hermann and Newman 108) in which each gain of the other side is a loss of one’s own. Despite diversity in different groups and actors on both sides, when reduced to their essential elements, […] there are only two master narratives” (Scham et al. 2), the truth of one, both or neither are difficult to establish (Daoudi and Barakat 59). This is to a large extent because people on both sides seek and process information in selective and biased ways” (Rouhana and Bar-Tal 766) as a result of an initial biased selection of information, biased interpretation of this information and biased elaboration of the story inherent in this information (Rouhana and Bar-Tal 766). These narratives make sense to the people that incorporate them into their own self-understanding, meaning they are rarely examined critically (Daoudi and Barakat 58). At the heart of the problem lies the assumption that the land belongs to one and not the other group (Daoudi and Barakat 60), with the essential question being if the State of Israel should have been created and might merely need improvement or if its creation is a historic wrong” (Abdel-Nour 120). Flapan, too, sees the years around the establishment of the Jewish state as what has determined the relations between the two sides (4). The creation of the state is a poignant example of how the narratives diverge: Israelis and Palestinians may be able to agree that Jews came to settle in what was known as Palestine and established a state there, but what this means, what their initial motivations were and how the process played out are highly contested (Rouhana and Bar-Tal 763). Narrative closure on these issues is accompanied by the persistent, underlying fear that whatever has been gained will ultimately be lost, and whatever has been sacrificed will ultimately be in vain” (Pilecki and Hammack 101), something that for now seems unlikely to change, in an environment in which a generation that might remember living together in peace with the other is no longer there (Daoudi and Barakat 59). 2.1, Narratives of Self-Determination and Nationalism: Israel was declared the nation-state of the Jewish people” (Abdel-Nour 120) in 2018, a step that was taken decades after the state was founded, as this had previously been considered to be obvious to Israelis in how they understood themselves and their state (Abdel-Nour 120). In a time when the foundation of the state of Israel is contested (Abdel-Nour 120), it is a way for Israelis, who often see themselves as actively reversing the history of the Jewish people from that of victims to agents controlling their own future (Bremer 198), to assert their own identity. It is therefore vital to begin by looking at narratives of self-determination and nationalism: what is Zionism? Where did it emerge, how did it manifest, and what were its goals? Benny Morris defined Zionism as a colonizing and expansionist ideology and movement” (652), but what does this mean? As will be shown, Zionism was not an instance of settler colonialism along the lines of the Americas or South Africa – Morris himself asserts that Zionism, as its leaders saw it, served no imperial power but rather a dispersed people that was in need of a piece of territory in which to find a safe haven and reconstruct itself socially, economically and politically (652). After an analysis of the philosophical underpinnings of Zionism, a critical analysis of narratives on the practical implementation of Zionism will follow, leading to an investigation into Ottoman and Arab responses to the Zionists and the subsequent emergence of Arab and ultimately Palestinian nationalism and calls for self-determination.

Über den Autor

Larissa Saar, M. Phil., studierte in Bonn und Dublin Anglistik, Politikwissenschaften und Internationale Friedensforschung. Inhaltliche Schwerpunkte bildeten hierbei internationale Politik, der Einfluss von Religion und Ethnie auf politische Konflikte und Literaturwissenschaften. Durch studienbegleitende Forschung und Studienreisen erwarb die Autorin tiefgreifende Einblicke in die Region. Ihr besonderes Interesse am Zwischenspiel von Literatur, Geschichtsschreibung und Politik bilden die Grundlage für die Thematik des vorliegenden Buches.

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