This paper will focus specifically on the role of religion in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the manner in which both countries consolidate religion into their national politics. This paper will also focus on the support of religion on both the Palestinian and Jewish sides targeting the use of deadly force and violence, territorial rights, and the goal (political) to be obtained.
To be able to understand the role played by religion in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, it is necessary to have a wider understanding of the ethnocentric nationalist conflict between the two sides. The latter provides the context for researching the various ways in which adherents of the Jewish and Muslim religions respectively approach the function of their religion in the conflict. It must further be noted that while nationalism and its ethnocentric approach to statehood is a central driver in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nationalism is not unique to either the Israeli or the Palestinian side, as nationalism is a master narrative that scholars associate with the historical development of modernity and the advent of nation-states (Alter, 1994; Anastasiou, 2008; Anderson, 1995; Gellner, 1983; Hobsbawm, 1990). For this reason it is necessary to revise the literature on the basic characteristics of nationalism as a technique to focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and function of religion within it.
The Encyclopedia of Identity, portrait nationalism as one of the main allusion of identity, it mentions an extensive range of identities such as race, class, gender. However, as a modernist narrative of identity formation, nationalism has a prominent role in conflict through its association with the nation-state. The religious vision nationalism is viewed by scholars as one of the most powerful forces in the modern world. The believe of nationalism is implanted in citizens of modern nations. Citizens of nations where national achievements and the diction of politicians of a so called “national interests” in justifying policies, and the symbols that nations use for self-identification (e.g., national anthem, flag) are common innuendo of nationalism as a mutual identity, and creates a national consciousness among diverse individuals.
While nationalism was essential to the structure of modern nation-states and can play and imperative role when societies face times of crises, it can also lead people and their leaders to view their nation as inerrant and beyond reproach, justifying the use of force and violence to deal with real perceived adversaries (Anastasiou and Broome, 2010). In nationalism, the concept of nation has ability over a person that is perchance best known as an outgrowth of the exaggerated characteristics that the nationalist mind projects and grants on the nation.
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