Territory in Conflict; Analysing the role of imaginary geography in the Israel-Palestine conflict

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The Israel-Palestine conflict is a prime example of a conflict involving competing territorial claims. To accommodate these, the international community has fixated on one possible solution: the two-state solution. The imagination of the two conflict parties, however, appear to be fundamentally at odds with this proposed plan for peace, an issue neglected both in the proposed solution and the academic debate. To counter these shortcomings, this thesis builds on the hypothesis that a closer understanding of the individual imaginaries provides insights as to why the two-state solution has failed to be realised. It therefore thoroughly analyses existing imaginaries to understand how they impact the respective perceptions on the two-state solution. Relying on an approach that acknowledges the fluidity of claim-making and the dialogue of imaginary geographies through a novel style of combining in-depth interviews with confrontational mapping exercises, the hypothesis can be confirmed. It is evident from the findings that the two-state solution builds on a particular imaginary that disregards references to highly relevant claims, closely connected to group identity, meaning it cannot be accepted without serious re-negotiation of identity by the conflict parties. The findings are not only of prime societal relevance but hold academic significance as they highlight the important role of imaginary geographies in conflict resolution. Key Words: Imaginary Geography, Perception, Israel-Palestine, Conflict, Claim-Making
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