Ethnic Conflict in the Middle East

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Ethnic Conflict in the Middle East

Ethnic conflicts are well rooted in the world's history and perhaps inherent in human nature. This type of conflict is difficult to resolve as is evident in the situation in the Middle East. The ethnic conflict theory explains that it is not territory, politics, or economics that prevents the achievement of peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, instead, it is a deep-seated hatred of one another that neither group can overcome. The Camp David Summit in July 2000, the most recent attempt at fostering a lasting peace is a clear example of how ethnocentrism can prevents success.

Contrasting with neo-realism, which says that states are unitary, the ethnic conflict theory goes beyond that, and takes into account a state's population as part of its analysis. Neo-realism denies the connection between ethnic identity and a state's actions, while the ethnic conflict theory looks beyond money, power, and leaders, and focuses in on the ethnic groups that make up the state. It suggests that the primary source of conflicts within a state or between two states, is when a deeply rooted animosity is present between the various ethnic groups. Quite simply, an ethnic group is a large group of people who share ancestral, language, cultural, or religious ties and a common identity. Nations are often created from an ethnic group that feels that it wants to, and is capable of controlling itself separately and politically.

When two ethnic groups with historical animosity live in close proximity to one another, it is likely to expect the formation of in-groups which in turn, yield feelings of ethnocentrism. Under these circumstances, each group maintains an air of superiority, a...

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