On Israel and Palestine

by Patrick Youngblood

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Many people assume the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is particularly difficult to understand, perhaps even convoluted beyond a solution. When I started educating myself about U.S. foreign policy in the late 1980s — topics like Central America, Iraq and Iran, and corporate-led globalization — I avoided what I assumed was the dizzyingly complicated topic of Israel/Palestine. But I was wrong.

Maybe it’s a combination of factors that create this perception: the region’s religious history and the passions that arise from that, the existential threat faced by European Jews that culminated in the Holocaust, and the (mis)perception that this roughly 60-year-old conflict has gone on for centuries. Whatever the causes, one result is that many in the United States dismiss the topic as both impossible to understand and impossible to resolve.