Soft Power Dynamics in the Middle East Conflict

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The Middle East is synonymous with perpetual conflict as it lies at the interface between Africa, Europe and Asia.

The contribution seeks to understand how power could be derived from cultural roots in a world shaped by pre-existing prejudices based on religious values, nationality and interpretation of history.

Palestine receives strong international support through social media, sharing its pain and ailments and reinforcing its soft power that hinders Israel’s international relations. A new question arises: can the soft power paradigm be used to solve the problem?

The roots of the Middle East problem are driven by the historical-religious literature that shows the Middle East as the historical homeland of the Jews and that they wanted to return to their original homeland due to the two thousand years of oppression that eventually ended as the Holocaust.

Israel continues to emphasize and promote WWII-related stories that help it gain legitimacy to exist as a state. It is also noted that the Holocaust may have been a critical condition for the creation of a Jewish state, but that action would have happened sooner or later.

One of the greatest strengths for Israel and its legitimacy comes from the biblical literature, which contains some historical stories and mentions Israel and Judah in the Middle East, which provide American Christian support that is apparently declining because Israel has to work on its soft performance.

A similar strength can be found for Israelis in the Qur’an, as Surat Al-Ma’idah says in chapter 5, verse 12 about the children of Israel and explains verse 21 that they “are destined to go in and not to repent, otherwise they will become the losers “. . ”These verses motivate Israelis to do their thing, which raises an interesting phenomenon that some pro-Israel media would use Quranic verses to gain legitimacy.

History must be studied to understand how and where the differences between Jews and Muslims began. Originally there was a peaceful relationship between Jews and Muslims, but Jews refuse to recognize Muhammad as a Gentile as one of God’s prophets, which resulted in the relationship between Jews and Muslims becoming exhausted.

Eventually Banu Qurayza, a Jewish community with the Qurashites, allied against the Prophet Muhammad, causing Medina to suffer a war-related hatred of Judaism.

But even if you look at the differences, Muslims, Christians and Jews are Abrahamic religions that maintain their basic Judeo-monotheistic tradition since both Roman Catholic and Arab earlier had polytheistic cultures and Israel benefited indirectly from this historical fact.

Israel could benefit from various religions by paying respect to the leaders of the Abrahamic religions and even maintaining an apologetic stance on behalf of some members of the Jewish community who may have committed villainous acts, according to some stories based on other religious teachings.

The tower of one’s ego can forbid the support of the national interest, which could only be achieved by softening to gain soft power.

It is argued that the ancient Philistine is related to present-day Palestine. Palestine is therefore associated with David and Goliath or Samson’s struggle with the Philistines. More complicated, however, is the term Palestine, which developed during this period.

There are also claims that the Syria-Palestine was built as a punishment for the Bar Kochba uprising in AD 135, while the name Palestine given to the region appears to predate the Bar Kochba- Uprising and even older than the Roman emperor Hadrian.

The image of the conflict between Israel and Palestine is linked to the mythical struggle between David and Goliath. David was an inexperienced boy who later became king of Israel and defeated a giant from the ancient Philistine named Goliath.

Some actors sympathetic to the Palestinian cause have also linked Palestine with David, who was weak at the beginning of the story, while perceiving Israel as the unjust giants and toughest fighter in the region.

The Middle East conflict goes beyond religion and history as it has multiple dimensions due to multiple crimes against humanity that turn people into refugees and inflict social, political and economic damage.

One medium to achieve soft power is to solve the humanitarian crisis and perceive Israel as the perpetrator who has manipulated its national image.

As an economically advanced country with high purchasing power, Israel can set up economic institutions to raise funds for the provision of education, training and employment for victims of this conflict, regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender or political views, which are scattered around the world would help Israel gain legitimacy.

The economic recovery of the war victims may minimize some of the damage being imposed on the national image, but there is a strong belief that the Palestinian community lacks legal rights because it is under Israeli jurisdiction. Hence, the Palestinians may need to be guaranteed political rights while living in Israel in order for Israel to create a positive national image.

The Israeli government is also creating an option for the Palestinian community to have the right of return by giving them protection in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) while promoting and even reflecting on how they see the Israeli government in the Israeli Arab politicians international arena to Build Israel’s soft power.

Finally, the final piece of the puzzle is social issues, which are closely related to the soft power paradigm.

There is a clear fear that the Jews are obscuring the social identity of the Palestinian people, but in reality they are closely related as Arabic and Hebrew are Semitic languages, their scriptures share Aramaic ancestry, and also the halaal and kosher food cultures are similar .

One should strive to study similarities to build unity and study unique qualities to appreciate each other’s differences. Israel could also establish centers for cultural relations around the world, promoting both Jewish and Palestinian languages, culture and cuisine to instill respect and solidarity.

There may also be the production of television programs, films, and digital applications that could enable people to understand the Middle Eastern community.

Tel Aviv is the center for the development of many technological advances and holds great potential for creative applications and visual storytelling that could help spread awareness of the Middle East.

On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority could ask the Israeli government to provide scholarships at various Israeli universities that could improve their qualifications for efforts to create a peaceful world and propose exchange programs by inviting Israeli students to attend regular Palestinian universities and to work spaces that reduce bitterness.

The Palestinian Authority could also continue Israeli investment in core Palestinian settlements that could create jobs and create interdependence so that Palestine can grow with greater bargaining power while maintaining a symbiotic relationship.

Culture, history and institutions can be harmoniously combined. An important aspect of gaining soft power and legitimacy is to soften by showing respect for your opponents while appreciating and accepting the point of view of others.

Hence, the study of religion and history must be conducted from a neutral perspective that all international actors can trust and that can serve as a unifying factor, while maintaining an apologetic stance on historical errors. Efforts must be made to provide economic and political compensation for the sacrifices made famous in the international arena, and finally, the culture of the two competing communities must be celebrated through cultural institutions in order to build trust and harmony.



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