From Controversy to Consensus: Cultural Conflict and the Israeli Debate Over Territorial Withdrawal

Waxman, Dov
June 2008
Israel Studies;Summer2008, Vol. 13 Issue 2, p73
Academic Journal
For many years, the debate over whether Israel should withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza dominated Israeli public discourse and aroused intense passions and hostilities. This is no longer the case. This debate is far less divisive and bitter than it once was. In Israel there is broad public support for a withdrawal from much of the occupied territories, and the debate is mostly about the extent, manner, and timing of this withdrawal. This article explains why the policy of territorial withdrawal has become less controversial in Israel in recent years. It examines the debate over the future of the West Bank and Gaza during the years of the Oslo peace process and argues that the debate over territorial withdrawal was then part of a broader cultural conflict. Although this cultural conflict has not been resolved, the issue of territorial withdrawal is no longer at the center of this conflict. The removal of the issue of the territories from this broader cultural conflict has allowed for the emergence of a broad domestic consensus over a policy of territorial withdrawal.


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