How do the differences in the balance of power between the two affect the negotiating positions of both leaders?

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In an essay of 9 pages, answer the question posed below. Your essays should contain properly cited sources (including lectures, films, or video clips) with a “References” page at the end. Ideally, your essays should frame an argument about the question. Please take some time to watch the video thanks!

In May 2011, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress and in his speech (beginning at 23:30) outlined his vision for peace with the Palestinians.

In September of that year, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the United Nations seeking a peaceful settlement of the conflict by requesting the UN to grant statehood for Palestine.

Critically analyze these two speeches. How do the two speeches differ in the way they characterize the basic issue(s) of the peace process as they emerged from the Oslo Agreement? How do the two leaders assign blame and responsibility for the impasse? Why, according to each has the peace process foundered? How do they differ in their attitudes about international institutions such as the UN and UN resolutions? How do the differences in the balance of power between the two affect the negotiating positions of both leaders? How do they differ on notions of “compromise?” How do both leaders argue about the fundamental pathway and constraints to peace?

Speech of Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Congress(2011)

Key Points

23:45 We must find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians.

24:10 I am committed to 2 states for 2 peoples.

24:20 I’m willing to make painful compromises to achieve peace.

24:50 In a real peace, we[Israel] will be forced to give up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland[what does this refer to?]

25:00 In Judea and Samaria the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India or the Belgians in the Congo. This is the land of our forefathers, the land of Israel.[What does he mean by these areas as “the land of Israel”?]

25:50 No distortion of history can deny the 4000-year old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land [What does he mean here by “the Jewish land”?]

26:30 Palestinians need to be a free people living in their own state.

28:45 Why has peace eluded us? All 6 Israeli Prime Ministers agreed to establish a Palestinian state.

29:15 The reason[that peace has eluded us] is because the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.

29:30 Our conflict has never been about a Palestinian state. It has always been about acceptance of the Jewish state. This is what the conflict is about.

30:05 In 1947 the UN wanted to partition Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted; the Arabs said no.

30:30 They continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by Palestinian refugees. This fantasy must end.

31:40 It’s time for President Abbas to say: ‘I will accept a Jewish state”

32:30 When President Abbas does this, we will have a true partner for peace and the Israeli people will be willing to make far-reaching compromises.

33:05 This compromise, however, must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967 [what does he mean here?]

33:30 Under a realistic peace agreement, certain areas of settlement beyond Israel’s borders will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.

34:00 The status of the settlements will only be decided by negotiations but we must be honest. There will be some settlements beyond the borders of Israel. We must negotiate this. We will be generous on the border. But the border will be different than what existed prior to the June war of 1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible border of 1967.

35:20 We will be generous about the size the Palestinian state, but will be firm about where we put the border with it.

36:10 The Palestinian refugee problem will be solved outside the borders of Israel. [what does this mean?]

37:26 Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of the state of Israel.

40:00 Israel needs unique security arrangement because of its small size…It is vital that a Palestinian state be demilitarized and that Israel maintain a long-term presence along the Jordan River[what does this mean?]

42:15 Peace can only be achieved achieved around the negotiating table [Why does he keep insisting upon this?] A settlement imposed by the will not bring peace. It should be forcefully opposed.

43:00 Peace can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace.

Sample Arguments

There are innumerable ways to frame an argument about the speeches of Netanyahu and Abbas. Framing an argument requires you to think about the broader meaning of the analysis you do in your paper. A good way to start is to signal at the beginning what you want to argue about these two speeches, and proceed to organize your paper to support what you have signaled. When you get to the end of your paper and you reflect on what you have actually written, then you might need to rethink the meaning of what you have done and rerame the argument that you have signaled in the beginning. It’s up to you to choose what you want to argue but remember — you must have a logic to your argument in terms of reasoning and evidence. Your paper is basically an explanation of the reasoning and evidence of the argument you ultimately decide to make and signal at the beginning.

Below are just some of the many ways you might choose to argue about these speeches:

“The speeches of the two leaders reveal fundamental and irreconcilable differences on the four major [points of contention between the two parties. This paper will show why this is the case.

“The speeches of the two leaders reveal fundamental and irreconcilable differences on the four major points of contention between the two parties thereby rendering an agreement between them unlikely.” This paper will examine the differences in the two speeches and show why an agreement between the parties is virtually impossible.

“The two speeches, in both language and tone, reflect the fundamental asymmetry of power between the two groups of people. As the leader of the stronger party. Netanyahu essentially tells his audience what Israel will demand on each of the four points but then invites his Palestinian counterpart to negotiate these points. Abbas, on the other hand, has to appeal to the UN to pressure Israel to comply with international law.” This paper will focus on these asymmetries of people in the two speeches and explain why Netanyahu emphasizes negotiations while Abbas appeals to the UN and international institutions.

“The speeches of the two leaders are similar in that they assign blame for the failure to end the conflict on the other party.” This paper will examine how the language and frames of reference used by each leader shifts blame for the conflict to the other party.”

“The speeches of the two leaders are similar in the they assign blame for the failure to end the conflict on the other party, but ultimately the Israeli side is responsible for the perpetuation of the conflict because they are occupying Palestinian territory and as the stronger power refuse to relinquish this role.

“The speeches of the two leaders are similar in that they assign blame for the failure to end the conflict on the other party but ultimately the Palestinian side is responsible for perpetuating the conflict because of their resort to terrorism to reverse the situation.”

“While the speeches of the two leaders reveal sharp differences on the four major points of contention between the two parties, the most fundamental difference in the two speeches is that each leader assigns a different reason as the primary cause of the conflict. Netanyahu insists that the reason for the conflict is the failure of the Palestinian side to recognize a Jewish state and to negotiate a real peace; Abbas argues that the basic cause of the conflict is the Israeli colonial settler project. The paper will examine how each leader frames the basic cause of the conflict, and how, on each of the four major points, the other side is always balme.”

Thank you