Palestinians and the Two-State Solution

Sociolinguistics Series: Part 51

Language is a powerful tool.

Irene Yi
Irene Yi

Today, we will be talking about the three reasons for a decreased support for compromise, according to Dr. Shikaki's findings. These reasons are as follows: a changing perception of the feasibility for a two-state solution, the perception of threat, and the issue of trust.

The first issue is about how feasible the two-state solution seems to be, realistically. For Palestinians, the two-state solution seems less and less feasible because of the Israeli settlements.

The more that the Israeli government allows settlers to move into land that is part of the West Bank, the more the Palestinians believe that a two-state solution--which includes the "West Bank--will actually just be spotty Palestinian communities scattered throughout the land and separated by Israeli settlement communities. For every seven Palestinians who realistically see the two-state solution being possible, there are three Palestinians who don't realistically see the two-state solution being possible.

The second issue, the perception of threat, comes from the hatred and fear on both sides. Dr. Shikaki summed it up with the words, "Is Israel a neighbor, or are they a force that wants the destruction of the Palestinian state?" For Israel, the border wall between the West Bank and Israel Proper is to protect--because they perceive certain things as threats, too. For Palestine, the state of Israel even existing is a threat to some people's Palestinian identity and narrative.

Another question Palestinians may ask is this: what are Israel's long term aspirations? After talking to many Israeli speakers later on in the trip, we learned that many want to create a Jewish homeland--though that, as you will see, looks different for every Jewish person. If Palestinians perceive this long term aspiration as a threat, however, they may be less willing to negotiate for peace; they may see a short term for peace as just a way for Israel to further their long term aspirations and destroy the Palestinian identity.

Dr. Shikaki, in his poll to gauge the perception of threat, asked "What are Israel's long term aspirations?" and provided four possible choices as an answer, two of which had positive connotations and two with negative connotations. The most recent poll from this year showed 80% of Palestinians choosing the answer with the most negative connotation of Israel's long term aspirations.

To Dr. Shikaki, this answer makes it seem like Palestinians see Israel as an existential threat, just like how some Israelis see Palestinians as an existential threat to the Jewish identity (which we will see in our next few speakers).

The more the Palestinians perceive Israel as a threat, the more the willingness to compromise goes down. Supporters of compromise see Israel's terms and actions as valid security measures. In 2009, however, when Netanyahu was elected, most Palestinians were not pleased.

The third reason there is a decrease in compromise is the issue of trust. This is going to sound a bit brutal, and some on both sides may take offense to this, so be warned. In the latest poll this year, Dr. Shikaki asked the public, "Do you trust Israeli Jews and/or Israelis?" and 90% of Palestinians who responded said no, they do not trust Israeli Jews/Israelis. In 2008, the rate of distrust was 50%, but that is nowhere near today's 90%.

Dr. Shikaki believes that the reason for this increase in distrust is, again, Israeli settlements. Why? Put yourself in the Palestinians' shoes. You see the Israeli government saying again and again that they want peace, but at the same time, you see this same government condoning the building of more settlements in land that you think should be yours.

Okay, back in your own shoes now, but keep the Palestinian view in mind. To them, Israel seems deceiving because they say one thing--that they want peace--but they do another (constructing settlements). If they keep wanting more and more Palestinian land, what is the future of the Palestinian state supposed to look like?

Dr. Shikaki then tried to find out if this distrust is reversible. He sees that the hardening of attitudes is happening on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. However, he claims that the distrust can be reversed. Why? If the distrust is rooted in something value system that is unchangeable--if it's derived from something core to your identity, then it cannot be reversed.

To Dr. Shikaki, a person's value system is the most important driver for for his or her's actions during elections, attitudes about how the country should be run, and understanding of each side. He has found out in his polls that the value system of Palestinians has not changed in the last 12 years, so there is, indeed, an unchangeable value system.

If the distrust is coming from anything else besides the value system, then, there are conditions and situations in which the distrust can be reversed. So, Dr. Shikaki had to test to see if the distrust was still present when certain variables were changed. If the distrust didn't change during any of the variable changes, it meant it was rooted in an unchangeable value system; however, if the distrust did seem to waver, it meant there was hope.

He asked the public if they would change their minds on compromise if there were incentives. In a series of surveys, he offered about 30 different incentives. Some of them were tangible, such as more security, having the Palestinian state joining the EU, the releasing of Palestinian prisoners in Israel, and the continuation of jobs for Palestinian laborers who are employed in Israel. Others were intangible incentives, like Israel apologizing to refugees, Israel recognizing Palestinians' religious roots and ties to the land, and the validation of the religion of Islam.

The support for trust in Israelis before the incentives was at 40%, and immediately with incentives, Dr. Shikaki saw an increase in support to 60-70%. Israeli demographers offered the equivalent incentives to Israelis, and it result in the same dynamic of increased support for compromise and trust. Because of this, Dr. Shikaki believes that the attitudes of distrust can be reversed because they are not rooted in unchangeable value systems.

Even with the hope and support for trust, Dr. Shikaki notes that the public opinion cannot make a dent in the status quo of political leaders. Without the leaders willing to negotiate, there will not be compromise to make peace. If leaders are open to listening to each other, though, they will have the support of the Palestinian public to make peace--in fact, Palestinian civilians want to make peace. Israeli civilians want to make peace. People living here everyday want nothing more than to live peaceful, safe lives.

In the next section, I will be talking about the Palestinian view on three big issues: borders, Jerusalem, and refugees.

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48 Of The Best Catholic Mass Songs

Check out this list of some of my favorites!

I love to sing.

But, I am very bad at singing. One thing I love about Mass is that I get to sing as loud and as terrible as I want, and that is a beautiful thing. I've compiled a list of what was originally going to be 10 of my favorite songs to sing at Mass, but as you can see, my list quickly became 5 times longer. Enjoy!

1. "All are Welcome"

A great reminder that we are to love our neighbors, no matter how different we are.

2. "All is Well With My Soul"

A refreshing reminder that God forgives our sins, and we are in good hands.

3."Amazing Grace"

A classic, powerful song that shows just how much grace means to us.

4. "Ave Maria"

A beautiful song honoring the Virgin Mary, a role model for all women.

5. "Be Not Afraid"

A reminder that no matter what we're going through, God is with us through it all.

6. "Blest Are They"

A guide on how to live out the Beatitudes.

7. "Canticle of the Sun"

A joyful tribute to God's Creation.

8. "Center of My Life"

A reminder to put God first, a reminder which is always necessary in this materialistic and egocentric world.

9. "Change Our Hearts"

An uplifting song reminding us that God saves even the most disobedient of his people if they give their hearts to Him.

10. "Christ Be Our Light"

A classic song that reminds us even in our darkest of days, Christ will light the path.

11. "City of God"

A song inspiring the building of God's Kingdom- something we should strive to do as Christians.

12. "Come Back to Me"

A song all about repentance and forgiveness- God is waiting for us with open arms every time we fail him.

13. "Companions on the Journey"

A reminder that we are not alone in our journey to spread the Good News, and we can work together to spread His Word.

14. "Eye Has Not Seen"

A reminder of the joy and happiness that awaits us in Heaven.

15. "Fly Like a Bird"

A comforting song reminding us that we will always be in God's care.

16. "For the Beauty of the Earth"

A song that captures the essence of how wondrous Creation is.

17. "Glory and Praise to Our God"

A song full of thanksgiving and praise to God who showers us with blessings every day.

18. "Go Out Go Out"

One of the favorites at my school- essentially a "pump up" song to go spread the Gospel.

19. "Here I am Lord"

A encouraging song, inspiring us to serve the Lord with all the talents we have.

20. "Here I am to Worship"

One of my all time favorite gathering songs that inspire me to give all the glory to God.

21. "How Can I Keep From Singing"

A reminder that God's works are wondrous and He is deserving of all our praise.

22. "How Great Thou Art"

A classic song inspiring us to look around and see God in everything and everyone.

23. "I Am the Bread of Life"

A comforting song telling us that if we live our lives in Christ, we will be reunited with God when death comes.

24. "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

A song that tells us Jesus is alive, and He has redeemed us by his death.

25. "I Will Choose Christ"

A song inspiring us to recommit ourselves to Christ each and every day.

26. "In Every Age"

A reminder of the timelessness of God- He has always been there, and He will always be there for us.

27. "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"

An Easter song which joyfully celebrates the Resurrection and the defeat of death.

28. "Lead Me Lord"

A reminder that if we seek God, He will lead us.

29. "Let There Be Peace On Earth"

Always a song that inspires us to act for justice and peace among all people.

30. "Like a Shepherd"

A reminder that God cares for us as his own because we are his own.

31. "Litany of Saints"

A beautiful song, often sang on Easter, in which we ask the Saints to intercede for us.

32. "Lord of All Hopefulness"

A prayer asking God for the strength to get through the day.

33. "Loving and Forgiving"

A reminder that God is always wanting to forgive us of our wrongdoing and heal our pain.

34. "Only a Shadow"

A reminder that we have seen just a glimpse of the love God has for us, and there is much more in store for us.

35. "On Eagle's Wings"

One of the saddest, yet happiest songs of all time- although we die, we will be raised up and be with Him forever.

36. "Our God is Here"

A reminder of the true presence of God in all things.

37. "Prayer of St. Francis"

A beautiful song that makes the prayer feel even more powerful.

38. "Rain Down"

A reminder of the endless love of God.

39. "Roll Away the Stone"

My favorite Easter song of all time. HE IS RISEN!

40. "Shepherd Me O God"

A popular song serving as a reminder to put our wants aside and follow God's will.

41. "Sing to the Mountains"

A song of thanksgiving to God for the abounding gifts he has bestowed on us.

42. "The Summons"

A great song for those who are discerning their calling.

43. "Ubi Caritas"

A song all about the love of Christ.

44. "Unless a Grain of Wheat"

A reminder that without God we have no life.

44. "We Are Called"

A call to service and justice.

45. "We Are Many Parts"

A reminder that although we are many people, we are all part of the Body of Christ, and we all need to work toward peace together.

46. "You Alone"

A reminder of how although we are undeserving, God still loves us and should be praised.

47. "You Are Mine"

God has called us each by name- He knows YOUR name, and you belong to Him.

48. "Your Grace Is Enough"

A necessary reminder that God IS more than enough for us! We don't need to be consumed with this world because we have HIM, and an eternity of happiness awaits.

Singing, although I am terrible at it, has really improved my prayer life. It could do the same for you!

Cover Image Credit: Allie Daniel

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5 Facts About Spiritual Gifts That You Need To Know

Different gifts, but from the same Spirit


1 Corinthians 12:4-5 states; "[4] There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. [5] There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord." We see that there are multiple spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Lord.

1. We all have different gifts and that's okay

Just like a body has different parts that each has its own function, that's like the body of Christ. We all have different gifts and different purposes, but we're all part of the body of Christ. God has a plan for you and has given you certain gifts. God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the calling.

2. There are various spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible

Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 are some of the bible passages that talk about spiritual gifts. Giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, tongue interpretation, administration, discernment, hospitality, missionary, and evangelism are some of the spiritual gifts that people can have. We can desire any gift, but it's God's choice on what gifts He gives us.

Remember, everyone can receive speaking in tongues via baptism in the Holy Spirit, but not everyone will get the gift of tongue interpretation.

3. Spiritual Gifts are supernatural abilities that are either given or enhanced via the Holy Spirit

God gave us these Spiritual gifts because God wants to invest in His church.

4. Spiritual gifts are for strengthening others

We have spiritual gifts in order to help others.

5. It does take time for gifts to mature and develop

Like with a skill that you have, it does take time for you to own said skill. You put in the work, and because of that, you grow in your skill, and you get better. That's the same way with your gifts. God gives each of us certain gifts to use, and it will take time to mature those gifts.

Spiritual gifts are important.

In Romans 12:6 states; "[6] We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; [7] if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; [8] if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

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