Home Today Ontological Insecurity: A Case Examine on Israeli-Palestinian Battle in Jerusalem

Ontological Insecurity: A Case Examine on Israeli-Palestinian Battle in Jerusalem


Town of Jerusalem constitutes a microcosm of nationwide politics and clashing identities within the Israeli-Palestinian battle. Its extremely contested Outdated Metropolis is a focus for recurring intergroup violence and rising tensions (Rokem, Weiss, Miodownik, 2018). Throughout Could 2021, eviction plans of the Arab neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem and violent conflicts on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a holy web site to each Muslims and Jews, have led to ongoing protests, evictions, and polarization of intra-communal sympathies (Aljazeera, 2021). Whereas illustrating the violent historical past of Israeli-Palestinian contestation of area, Jerusalem stays an area for interplay, dialogue, and localized politics in a securitized setting (Rumelili, 2015). Thus, it’s informative about potential methods of desecuritizing the battle and selling peaceable dialogue. 

Notably, the position of cultural apply and collective identification for establishing safety is regularly sidelined in conventional IR research. Nevertheless, the latest occasions between Israelis and Palestinians and the continued historical past of division and confrontation in Jerusalem is exemplary in understanding the roots of securitization in a extra differentiated method. Therefore, the research explores the development of Israeli safety narratives of each bodily and ontological nature. Thus, the research asks: How does the Israeli state’s narrative of securitization affect the recurring clashes and violence over contested neighborhoods within the Outdated Metropolis of Jerusalem? The paper units out by describing the theoretical framework and case research. In answering the analysis query, the research applies Mitzen’s principle of ontological safety of states. It’s discovered that Israeli histories and subsequent narratives of ontological safety threats contribute to the segregation and contestation of area in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the continued alternate and interplay with the Different constitutes a chance for a politicization of the battle on a grassroots degree. Therefore, deconstructing ontological insecurity and its affect on state apply can help a desecuritization course of within the extremely contested space of Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis.  


The next part outlines how Mitzen’s ontological strategy to state safety stands in a reciprocal relationship with the politics of dwelling and belonging. Furthermore, it argues for the relevance of making use of an ontological insecurity perspective to grasp the relation of the Israeli state and Palestinian inhabitants of Jerusalem, and in the end suggest methods to desecuritize the realm. 

Mitzen’s ontological safety 

Theories of ontological safety in essential safety research problem the standard realist assumption that actors have enough information of their environments to behave rationally. Impressed by the sector of psychology, ontology seems to be at underlying questions of existence, being, and actuality, in different phrases, the cognitive capability and confidence to understand our environments as actual (Mitzen, 2006). Thus, the understanding of self is formulated primarily based on profound uncertainties about human life and mortality, creating existential nervousness (Mitzen, 2018). As with people, states can battle to take care of a secure identification and notion of being (Mitzen, 2006). This nervousness debilitates a way of management and might result in regressive or irrational conduct (Ejdus, 2020). 

Thus, in keeping with Giddens’s (1991) fundamental belief system, the method of looking for ontological safety is akin to methods for managing existential nervousness, similar to sustaining routines and predictable relationships with different actors (Mitzen, 2018). This fundamental belief system aids actors in coping with the uncertainties of their existence to allow decision-making (Mitzen, 2006). By establishing certainty in categorizing one’s atmosphere, actors can safely assume information and make choices on the possibly competing threats an atmosphere poses to their entity (Mitzen, 2018). Therefore, instability of existence turns into the start line in any try and safe which means (Peoples & Vaughan-Williams, 2010). Subsequently, states, in addition to the people they comprise of, set up cultural practices, guidelines, establishments, and relations with different topics to handle their consciousness of existential anxieties, or ontological insecurity (Mitzen, 2018).

Inter-group relations and practices of identification 

Finding out states as ontological-security seekers gives a framework to take a look at how nationwide group identification and autobiographical narratives set up routinized practices (Mitzen, 2006). In keeping with Mitzen (2006), societies resemble the shared cognitive ordering of an atmosphere. Furthermore, situating one’s mortality inside the immortality of a collective identification can lower the existential anxieties imposed by loss of life (Mitzen, 2018). Therefore, states can resolve collective ontological insecurity issues as a result of social order and group identification can cushion the trauma of a states’ members (ibid.). Subsequently, state distinctiveness is related to determine ontological consolation. Methods for establishing and sustaining tangible nationwide and group identities are autobiographical narratives, constructed by artifacts, literature, and routines (Ejdus, 2020). As an example, a routinization of inter-societal, or inter-state routines may also help keep coherence in identification and thus, scale back ontological anxieties (Mitzen, 2006). 

The above-mentioned routinization of relations with different actors serves a way of stability in being and attaches a way of ontological safety to the continuity of these relations (Zobeydi, Ebrahimi, Shafaee, 2019). These relational practices entail constructive or antagonistic identification and may be cooperative, in addition to conflictual (ibid.). In any manner, the linkage of identification and ontological safety results in programs of motion which are suitable with the societal or state identification in relation to the Different (Rumelili, 2015). Therefore, inevitably, the Different has the potential to be a risk to the steadiness of ontological safety and is usually categorized as radical or harmful (ibid.). The excellence between a notion of differing identities between Us and Them is maintained by means of social practices and identification discourse. These mechanisms assist to forestall any instabilities within the relations with the Different (ibid.). Nevertheless, it’s noteworthy that ontological attachment can each forestall and result in bodily insecurity and relies on the character of the routinized relationship (Mitzen, 2006).

Ontological insecurity and desecuritization 

Thus, ontological safety principle challenges the realist perspective that the first purpose of states is attaining bodily safety (Ejdus, 2020). In defending nationwide identification and thereby, a way of immortal continuity, actors in world politics are sometimes prepared to compromise their bodily safety or different materials positive aspects (ibid.). Nevertheless, identified by Rumelili (2015), this distinction of bodily and ontological safety is what lies on the foundation of any desecuritization course of. Ontological insecurity doesn’t necessitate that the state’s survival is in danger and vice versa (Zobeydi, Ebrahimi, Shafaee, 2019). Nevertheless, ruptures in socio-political practices or narratives can hinder the copy of discourse on the distinctive different and its potential risk (Mitzen, 2018). This might result in social dysfunction and subsequent bodily safety threats. Thus, the method of desecuritization in an ontologically delicate atmosphere is a fragile matter. 

Case Examine: The Israel-Palestinian battle in Jerusalem

The historical past of an Israeli nation-state and narratives of ontological insecurity

Since centuries, Jewish communities are uncovered to anti-Semitism and othering, making a traditionally remoted identification and the formation of distrust in its cognitive atmosphere (Adisönmez, 2018). The Zionist motion, alternatively, provided faith and nationwide identification as instruments to offer a notion of dwelling and belonging (Zobeydi, Ebrahimi, Shafaee, 2019). These mechanisms are notably prevalent within the autobiography of Israelis and Jews who’ve been persecuted and confronted not solely with particular person, but in addition collective mortality within the face of the Holocaust. Whereas loss of life is a shared human expertise, the trauma of the Holocaust and Jewish diaspora has been a confrontation with a risk to each bodily survival and ethnic ontological safety (Ejdus, 2020). Moreover, the Jewish group endured losses of nationwide identification that might have supported the members of the group in dealing with their trauma of existential nervousness (ibid.). Therefore, the biblical land of Israel was seen as a chance of a bodily and ontological union (Busbridge, 2020). Thereby, the Israeli state and its land assumed the position of a safety supplier, defending the existence of Israeli identification within the perceived hostile political atmosphere of different Arab nations (Lupovici, 2012). Some students argue that the fatalistic concept of the longer term is ingrained within the Israeli nationwide identification and has by means of its recurrence change into a supply of ontological safety (Ejdus, 2020). 

Different elements recognized in Israeli narratives of ontological insecurity are unstable borders, and inside incoherence of identities and affiliation. Firstly, borders can support a gaggle in creating a way of belonging and affiliation (Lupovici, 2012). Regardless of the expansionist international coverage of Israel and engagement in battle to develop territorial borders the state finds itself in an remoted safety atmosphere (Zobeydi, Ebrahimi, Shafaee, 2019). Notably, Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis as a historic basin of biblical and political claims for land has change into a supply of nice insecurity for Israeli sovereignty (Busbridge, 2020). Though faith as an identification issue is weakened in fashionable societies, divisive discourse on land claims by means of biblical tales stays prevalent within the de-legitimization of Palestinian claims (Ejdus, 2020). However, the vagueness of Israeli borders undermines the states’ capability to appreciate its position as a safety, in addition to an identification supplier (Lupovici, 2012). Moreover, the dearth of acknowledged legitimacy of the Israeli state by neighboring nations threatens the Israeli nationwide identification (Zobeydi, Ebrahimi, Shafaee, 2019). To stay in an ontologically safe place, the Israeli state gives a story of self-reliance which is prime to the Israeli safety strategy. That is introduced ahead by means of a militarized training system and particular social practices of exclusion and inclusion which are sanctioned and rewarded by each state and non secular establishments (Svirsky, 2021). 

Establishing the Palestinian Different 

In keeping with Mitzen (2006), state distinctiveness to a constructed narrative of the Different is related to determine ontological safety. Within the case of Israel and Palestine, Zionism is offered as a modernizing mission not just for the nation of Israel however the Jewish group (Busbridge, 2020). Therefore, in diametrically opposing non secular and nationwide identities, Palestinians are sometimes conceptualized as underdeveloped and backward, with the Palestinian land being framed as “uncultivated and successfully empty” (Busbridge, 2020, p.3). Furthermore, Israeli narratives of Palestinian identification, notably by the Israeli populist right-wing elite, are regularly generalizing between completely different sorts of Palestinian residents and resistance (Hever, 2018). Moreover, Palestinians are conceptualized as Arabs, and thus change into a supply of existential risk. This discourse is complemented by the notion that traditionally and religiously there may be an completely Jewish previous and future on the land of Israel (Busbridge, 2020). Though most Israelis present no opposition to residing and interacting with the Different, the securitization of the state in opposition to the perceived Arab perpetrator excludes Palestinians from helping and re-imagining the promised land in collaboration with its Israeli inhabitants (Adisönmez, 2018). Therefore, the historic trauma and conceptual rigidity of threats that lie on the core of the Israeli state has change into a information to prioritize ontological safety over desecuritization (Zobeydi, Ebrahimi, Shafaee, 2019). 

Successfully, the exclusion and eviction of Palestinian residents in Jerusalem result in quite a few types of resistance, together with navy and terrorist assaults with casualties on either side (Lupovici, 2012). Israeli safety apply makes use of measures of proscribing Palestinian motion, disrupting communications, and evicting Palestinian inhabitants primarily based on accusations of Palestinian terrorism (Naser-Najjab & Haver, 2021). Nevertheless, establishing an internally coherent and uncontested Israeli identification is a substantial issue within the division course of (Lupovici, 2012). Figuring out an exterior risk helps differentiate the self from that risk and make choices, for example, by imposing an Israeli narrative on uncomfortable info. Often, the Israeli state frames Palestinians as terrorists, associating them with suicide operations and bombings in Western media (Zobeydi, Ebrahimi, Shafaee, 2019). Nevertheless, a cautious analysis of occasions exhibits that situations of unrest are sometimes carried out by particular teams, sporadic in nature and most notably, reactive (Naser-Najjab & Haver, 2021). 

For both sides of the battle, the land is essential for sustaining their identification and thus, lowering existential anxieties by representing their cultures, and religions (Lupovici, 2012). “Lack of that land, or the specter of its loss [. . .] implies the lack of the self.” (Lupovici, 2012, p.822). It’s, nonetheless, noteworthy, that previously, worldwide solidarity with Israeli safety wants has outweighed comparable considerations of Palestinian ontological insecurity and thus, resulted in an efficient marginalization of Palestinian populations (Naser-Najjab & Haver, 2021). The results of those divisions are notably evident within the context of Jerusalem. 

The geographies of violence and identification in Jerusalem 

A number of elements distinguish the context of Jerusalem from different contested cities, making it an exemplary case to take a look at how narratives of securitization by the Israeli state affect recurring violence. Firstly, Jerusalem is a non secular epicenter and placement of quite a few traditionally contested websites with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities populating the realm (Rokem, Weiss, Miodownik, 2018). Secondly, each Israelis and Palestinian declare Jerusalem as their nationwide capital, making it a focus for disputes (Ibid.). Thirdly, the United Nations and many of the world’s nations don’t acknowledge Jerusalem because the capital of Israel, thereby, rising the vulnerability of Israeli ontological safety on this specific geography (Ibid.). Lastly, the inhabitants of Jerusalem is comprised of each Israeli populations (60,7%), and Palestinian populations (39,3%) (ICBS, 2016). Demographically, the town is clustered in homogeneous neighborhoods, each when it comes to faith and ethnicity, and thus resembles circumstances of apartheid (Rokem, Weiss, Miodownik, 2018). Subsequently, Jerusalem is a chief instance of ethnonationalist confrontation and resistance. 

Each Israeli and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem expertise completely different types of violence. Notably, most Palestinians residing in Jerusalem don’t maintain Israeli citizenship however are registered as residents of the town (Avni, 2020). Therefore, they need to constantly present proof of their resident standing to Israeli authorities (Ibid.). Dropping their standing of everlasting residency would end in a stateless standing for many Palestinians, as they don’t maintain another nationwide citizenship (Avni, 2020). Moreover, Palestinian residents are subjected to accommodate demolitions and ongoing evictions, thereby, experiencing ongoing insecurity (Pressman, 2020). Furthermore, cultural practices similar to non secular occasions are sometimes hindered by the armed forces of the Israeli state (Ibid.) These uncertainties threaten the steadiness of Palestinian identities and affiliation to the geography of Jerusalem. Because of this, hostilities and violence happen within the contested area. Collective violence is extra frequent in additional segregated neighborhoods, whereas particular person violence is extra frequent within the extra related components of the town (Rokem, Weiss, Miodownik, 2018). Therefore, either side endure and perpetrate violent assaults. Though these sentiments decreased for the reason that second Palestinian rebellion in 2005, latest riots have led to recurring violent exchanges (Rokem, Weiss, Miodownik, 2018). This exhibits that localized geographies of citizenship are pivotal within the battle for ontological safety. 

Violent assaults, together with Palestinian terrorist assaults, don’t solely create a bodily risk however problem the ontological safety of the Israeli state by interrupting its routines (Lupovici, 2012). Moreover, it threatens the narrative of the Israeli state as a safety supplier. In 2014, a collection of assaults by Palestinian youths in Jerusalem, prompted by the Israeli invasion of Gaza, led to a militarization of area (Hever, 2018). Whereas encouraging Israeli residents to hold weapons for self-defense, the Israeli authorities used a marketing campaign of preventive arrests focused at Palestinian people surveilled by algorithms on social media (ibid.).  Nevertheless, these efforts had little impact on the sense of safety skilled by the Israeli public (ibid.). 

Psychologically, societies are recognized to undertake conflict-supporting beliefs to deal with the unfavorable penalties and stress of ongoing threats (Canetti et al., 2017). Though these are helpful coping mechanisms, the perpetuated perception techniques on the antagonism of the Different can bias narratives of conflicts and might inhibit peaceable options, thereby routinizing the very apply of battle. By sustaining these narratives, the state of Israel continued to pursue insurance policies of segregation and unlawful growth into East Jerusalem to safe its place of ontological stability (Hever, 2018). However, notably within the context of Jerusalem, each Israeli residents and Palestinians have gotten more and more delicate to the contribution of those routinized relations of battle to the cycle of violence (Lupovici, 2012). Thus, securitized practices of creating ontological safety by the Israeli state have perpetuated tensions and additional difficult the inherent beliefs and identities of Israelis. Consequently, present developments present a rising demand to create area for alternative routes of safety and narratives of identification. 

Dialogue and Conclusion 

The contestation of Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis is a chief instance of the method of securitization underneath a story of ontological insecurity. Israel doesn’t solely expertise bodily threats over border disputes with its neighboring nations however an existential identification and stability risk within the type of conflicts between Islamic and Jewish, Arabic, Hebrew, and Zionist identities. Thus, the standing of Jerusalem is elevated to a difficulty of survival. Nevertheless, the method of securitization sidelines social and political issues by framing the geography of Jerusalem as a safety concern that requires navy and institutional intervention reasonably than insurance policies to scale back the tensions. The perceived threats to a coherent Israeli identification and the next militarization of Israeli practices don’t try to scale back the chance of violence and inter-group clashes however reasonably search to offer a way of safety by means of remoted group identification. 

The routinization of battle and securitization has perpetuated each ontological and bodily insecurities within the context of Jerusalem. However, merely reminding Israelis and Palestinians of the constructed nature of their identification is probably going not an efficient technique for desecuritization. On the similar time, the copy of antithetical identities undermines political makes an attempt for de-escalation and leaves little theoretical area for the emergence of other identities. Therefore, to desecuritize, each events should acknowledge one another as reliable counterparts whereas concurrently addressing inherent instabilities and the complexity of a mess of ethnonationalist identities. Whereas Jerusalem stays a extremely segregated area, there are additionally alternatives for grassroots organizations to create dialogue and examine widespread identities and experiences. 

Notably, the investigation of Palestinian narratives of securitization lay outdoors the scope of this research. However, the analysis hopes to encourage a extra detailed investigation of how the safety and existence of a Palestinian identification are influenced by the presence and practices of the Israeli state. 


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