Research Mentor(s): Corina Simonelli, PhD Candidate
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Political Science and Public Policy, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 4 (2pm-2:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 20
My topic of choice is an examination of the current political conditions regarding the Israeli Palestinian Conflict, particularly the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Specifically, I would like to develop a deep understanding and concise summary of notable historic events relating to this issue within the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On top of that, I would like to develop a prediction for future events relating to this issue and a framework for how a peace agreement could be pursued given the results of previous ones and historical context. The problem which I am trying to address is the inability of both the State of Israel and the Palestinian leadership to reach a peace agreement and the notable role of the West Bank and East Jerusalem holds in the conflict. The purpose of my project, beyond exposing myself to more information related to this topic, is to attempt to use my understanding of history and politics, as well as public policy, to build a framework for future peace negotiations between the two sides. I hope to identify the core issues related to the seemingly never-ending conflict and understand what conditions must hold true for any progress to be made. I plan to conduct a comprehensive literature search of studies with results and methods related to the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Part of the literature review, through the use of a database, will be directed towards finding relevant articles and news sources for historical context of the issue for the background portion of the poster. Furthermore, the literature search will attempt to find previously collected data relating to the issue in order to identify patterns of actions and events that influence outcomes in peace negotiations and the prevalence of violence relating to the issue in given years. I hope to employ the data I find in order to inform my framework and identify key factors. I hope to find a data-supported set of variables or specific patterns of events in order to predict future outcomes and conditions required in order for a different outcome to occur in a future peace negotiation. I hypothesize that my results will have to do with the prevalence of violent conflict and extremist groups present in the region, serving as a destabilizing force for any trust to be developed between governing parties. Moreover, I suspect that deeply rooted societal biases and systems of inequality are very difficult to overcome and contribute to a repetitive cycle of violence and unsuccessful peace negotiations. These results might suggest a pretty grim outcome: that peace is not a realistic expectation for generations to come, unless conditions change. These results may suggest the specific categories most important to a condition where peace can be achieved. In other words, let’s try to examine what worked in the past and what failed and let’s build off of it. My hope is that these results can relate to the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict and provide clarity on the role of the settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the proliferation of violent conflict between Israel and Palestine and the political instability surrounding the lives of Palestinian people. In an ideal world, the societal benefit of this research would be the people living in the conflicting regions. Every year, professors, analysts, and academics research the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an attempt to inform policymakers on their political positions. As an undergraduate student, I recognize that my contribution to the issue is quite small, if any. That being said, the exercise of identifying relevant data relevant to such a politically inflammatory issue and developing a framework for a future peace process is interesting and will help me gain a better understanding of the region and political circumstances relating to conflict in general.