The Arab-Israeli Conflict began to develop over the control of the same land once Jewish settlements began to expand in Palestine to the extent that they posed a threat to the Palestinians. While the Israeli Jews were no threat to the sovereignty of other Arab states, they began to use the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to gain advantages for their regimes.
Though the Arab leaders have used the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to enhance their positions within the Arab Cold War, they have never gone to war against Israel to liberate Palestine nor have they worked together to create diplomatic solutions to the problem. Without real commitment to the Palestinian cause, posturing has replaced substantive dialogue. Arab states demonstrate a great reluctance to take the risks that might actually lead to Palestinian liberation.
A third dimension of the problem involves a broad range of nations and international organizations around the world who also take an active interest in the conflict. This conflict demonstrates the results of colonialism and the constant intervention of the West into these areas. Because of world involvement and interest in this conflict, the problem has become much more complex and difficult to resolve.
Because it has been such an intense and long-lasting conflict, government officials and others have tried to understand it by reducing the complexity of the situation in their own minds. They do this by simplistically caricaturizing the opposition as evil and diabolical. The idea that Arabs are focused on the destruction of Israel has led to heightened concerns about security and this has been used to justify such policies as continued occupation of Palestinian territories and the destruction of Palestinian homes. On the other hand, Arabs see Israelis as colonialists, remnants of the ancient crusaders. The impasse, rooted in the political consciousness of both sides, makes it very difficult to reach an accommodation.
Both sides have written their own histories of the same events and have tried to persuade the world that their history is the correct version. In the past, Israel has been more successful in presenting its side to the world as the truth. However, recently new information has become available. Scholars have begun to revise the old accepted versions of Arab-Israeli history in an attempt to dispel the myths that have surrounded this subject and uncover the truth of it.
Bill, James A. and Springborg, Robert. Politics in the Middle East. New York: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, 2000.