Israel and Palestine: Differing Religious State Perspectives

Both documents attempt to use certain religious and regional cultural histories as justification for the formation of their own religious states. On page 1, the Israeli declaration of independence states that the “Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people” and that “here they first attained to statehood.” Also on page 1, the Palestinian declaration of independence argues that Palestine was “nourished by an unfolding series of civilizations and cultures, inspired by a heritage rich in variety and kind, and laying claim to it as belonging to the Palestinian Arab people. Though they both promise to practice religious tolerance within their states, Israel’s document points to it being a “Jewish State” while Palestine’s document emphasizes an Islamic state of Palestine (pp. 3)

The Israeli declaration of independence describes Arab persons living in Israel as being impediments to Israeli state-building, imploring that they “preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State” (pp. 4). The Palestinian declaration of independence considers the presence of Israel as more than a nuisance, and rather more as a hegemon harassing, dispersing, and even killing its people (pp. 4). In terms of where the “other side” fits into state-building, the Israeli declaration of independence argues for keeping Arab inhabitants under its jurisdiction, despite the fact many were still publicly opposed to the formation of the Israeli state in 1948 (pp. 4). The Palestinian declaration, on the other hand, seeks to develop a state wholly independent and separate from Israel, given that the Palestine National Council “proclaims the establishment of the State of Palestine on our Palestinian territory with its capital Jerusalem” (pp. 3). They demonstrably have little interest in trying to subjugate or rule over Jewish inhabitants of Israel, but rather to carve out their own state on their own land.

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