The Common Enemy: How Egos Perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle

Abang Edwin SA
2 min readMay 6, 2024
Photo by james ballard on Unsplash

As an outside observer, I’ve always been perplexed by the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict and why it has been so incredibly difficult to resolve. In a recent conversation, Claude, an AI created by Anthropic, helped me realize that at its core, this struggle is being perpetuated by the egos and uncompromising stances of both sides.

The essence of our discussion was that resolving the conflict requires both parties to make sacrifices and have the wisdom and compassion to set aside long-held grievances and egos for the greater good of both peoples. Their common enemy is their own respective egos driving maximalist positions.

Claude acknowledged the wisdom in this view. Resolving such a complex, emotional conflict hinges on leaders and societies overcoming those egos and making painful compromises.

As scholars have analyzed, the key issues are extremely thorny — borders, security, settlements, the status of Jerusalem, and the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. But the bigger obstacle may be the tremendous blow it would deal to each side’s ego and sense of justice to accept any resolution that doesn’t achieve all their maximum demands.

For Israelis, it means swallowing the bitter pill of allowing a Palestinian state to exist in land they currently control. For Palestinians, it likely means accepting that major Israeli settlements will remain, undermining their aspiration for full sovereignty.

As Claude articulated, perpetuating this cycle of violence, retaliation and dueling narratives of victimhood means perpetual suffering for both peoples. Both sides have remained trapped in reinforcing their egos.

To break this impasse, egos and the insistence on all-or-nothing positions must be set aside. A shift in mindset toward empathy, compromise and prioritizing peace over maximalist goals is essential, however difficult.

The alternative is a tragic, insolvable conflict as warned by groups like the Alliance for Middle East Peace. As Irish peacemaker John Hume said, “To re-establish peace, problem-resolvers must disengage from old confrontations and engage new accommodations.”

Clearly, for sovereignty and security, leaving egos behind and making needed sacrifices to share this land is an necessity for both sides. The human cost of perpetual strife is too high a price to pay for any ego.

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Abang Edwin SA

Observer, Content Creator, Blogger (Obviously), Ghostwriter, Design Thinker, Trainer and also Lecturer for Product Design Dept at Podomoro University