The elephant in the room religious extremism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Lingenfelder, Christian J.
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Successive U.S. administrations have mired themselves in fruitless attempts to arrive at a peaceful conclusion to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jewish and Islamic extremist groups have both been complicit in the delay, complication and derailment of peace efforts undertaken by regional moderates and the international community. Whatever the ancillary secular motivations of these factions have been, both sides also lay claim to profound religious reasons for their opposition to peace. Israeli religious Zionist extremists acting on a divine mandate have pressed to incorporate all of biblical Israel into their modern state, pursuing settlement activity and violence against Arabs and fellow Israelis to achieve this. Palestinian Islamic extremists claim justification from their scriptures for their war against the Jewish state and their ultimate goal of seeing it annihilated. These scriptural dogmas have been reified by religious leaders of both faiths, and have been utilized as ideological grounds for violence by their respective religious extremist groups. This work is an effort to expose the significant religious motivations propelling Zionist and Islamic extremist opponents of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process; seeking thereby to raise awareness of the origins of this complex and central dimension of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among U.S. policymakers and intelligence analysts.
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