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

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


The 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 Its extremely contested Outdated Metropolis is a focus for recurring intergroup violence and growing tensions (Rokem, Weiss, Miodownik, 2018). Throughout Might 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 function of cultural observe and collective id for establishing safety is incessantly sidelined in conventional IR research. Nonetheless, 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state’s narrative of securitization affect the recurring clashes and violence over contested neighborhoods within the Outdated Metropolis of Jerusalem?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. Nonetheless, the continued trade and interplay with the Different constitutes a possibility for a politicization of the battle on a grassroots degree. Therefore, deconstructing ontological insecurity and its affect on state observe can help a desecuritization course of within the extremely contested space of Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis.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 house and belonging. Furthermore, it argues for the relevance of making use of an ontological insecurity perspective to know 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 important 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 at underlying questions of existence, being, and actuality, in different phrases, the cognitive means and confidence to understand our environments as actual (Mitzen, 2006). Thus, the understanding of self is formulated based mostly on profound uncertainties about human life and mortality, creating existential anxiousness (Mitzen, 2018). As with people, states can wrestle to take care of a secure id and notion of being (Mitzen, 2006). This anxiousness debilitates a way of management and may result in regressive or irrational habits (Ejdus, 2020). 

Thus, in line with Giddens’s (1991) primary belief system, the method of in search of ontological safety is akin to methods for managing existential anxiousness, equivalent to sustaining routines and predictable relationships with different actors (Mitzen, 2018). This primary belief system aids actors in coping with the uncertainties of their existence to allow decision-making (Mitzen, 2006). By setting up certainty in categorizing one’s atmosphere, actors can safely assume information and make selections 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 to safe that means (Peoples & Vaughan-Williams, 2010). Due to this fact, 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 id 

Finding out states as ontological-security seekers supplies a framework to take a look at how nationwide group id and autobiographical narratives set up routinized practices (Mitzen, 2006). Based on Mitzen (2006), societies resemble the shared cognitive ordering of an atmosphere. Furthermore, situating one’s mortality throughout the immortality of a collective id can lower the existential anxieties imposed by loss of life (Mitzen, 2018). Therefore, states can clear up collective ontological insecurity issues as a result of social order and group id can cushion the trauma of a states’ members (ibid.). Due to this fact, state distinctiveness is related to ascertain 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 can assist preserve coherence in id 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 will be cooperative, in addition to conflictual (ibid.). In any approach, the linkage of id and ontological safety results in programs of motion which are suitable with the societal or state id in relation to the Different (Rumelili, 2015). Therefore, inevitably, the Different has the potential to be a risk to the soundness 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 via social practices and id discourse. These mechanisms assist to forestall any instabilities within the relations with the Different (ibid.). Nonetheless, it’s noteworthy that ontological attachment can each forestall and result in bodily insecurity and will depend on the character of the routinized relationship (Mitzen, 2006).

Ontological insecurity and desecuritization 

Thus, ontological safety principle challenges the realist perspective that the first aim of states is reaching bodily safety (Ejdus, 2020). In defending nationwide id and thereby, a way of immortal continuity, actors in world politics are sometimes prepared to compromise their bodily safety or different materials features (ibid.). Nonetheless, 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). Nonetheless, 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 Research: 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 id 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 house and belonging (Zobeydi, Ebrahimi, Shafaee, 2019). These mechanisms are significantly prevalent within the autobiography of Israelis and Jews who’ve been persecuted and confronted not solely with particular person, but additionally 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 id that would have supported the members of the group in dealing with their trauma of existential anxiousness (ibid.). Therefore, the biblical land of Israel was seen as a possibility of a bodily and ontological union (Busbridge, 2020). Thereby, the Israeli state and its land assumed the function of a safety supplier, defending the existence of Israeli id within the perceived hostile political atmosphere of different Arab nations (Lupovici, 2012). Some students argue that the fatalistic concept of the long run is ingrained within the Israeli nationwide id and has via its recurrence turn out to be a supply of ontological safety (Ejdus, 2020). 

Different components recognized in Israeli narratives of ontological insecurity are unstable borders, and inner incoherence of identities and affiliation. Firstly, borders can assist 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 increase territorial borders the state finds itself in an remoted safety atmosphere (Zobeydi, Ebrahimi, Shafaee, 2019). Significantly, Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis as a historic basin of biblical and political claims for land has turn out to be a supply of nice insecurity for Israeli sovereignty (Busbridge, 2020). Though faith as an id issue is weakened in trendy societies, divisive discourse on land claims via biblical tales stays prevalent within the de-legitimization of Palestinian claims (Ejdus, 2020). Nonetheless, the vagueness of Israeli borders undermines the states’ means to comprehend its function as a safety, in addition to an id supplier (Lupovici, 2012). Moreover, the shortage of acknowledged legitimacy of the Israeli state by neighboring nations threatens the Israeli nationwide id (Zobeydi, Ebrahimi, Shafaee, 2019). To stay in an ontologically safe place, the Israeli state supplies a story of self-reliance which is key to the Israeli safety strategy. That is introduced ahead via a militarized schooling 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 

Based on Mitzen (2006), state distinctiveness to a constructed narrative of the Different is related to ascertain 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 id, significantly by the Israeli populist right-wing elite, are incessantly generalizing between totally different sorts of Palestinian residents and resistance (Hever, 2018). Moreover, Palestinians are conceptualized as Arabs, and thus turn out to be a supply of existential risk. This discourse is complemented by the notion that traditionally and religiously there may be an solely 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 aiding 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 turn out to be 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 each side (Lupovici, 2012). Israeli safety observe makes use of measures of limiting Palestinian motion, disrupting communications, and evicting Palestinian inhabitants based mostly on accusations of Palestinian terrorism (Naser-Najjab & Haver, 2021). Nonetheless, establishing an internally coherent and uncontested Israeli id 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 selections, as an illustration, by imposing an Israeli narrative on uncomfortable data. Incessantly, the Israeli state frames Palestinians as terrorists, associating them with suicide operations and bombings in Western media (Zobeydi, Ebrahimi, Shafaee, 2019). Nonetheless, 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 all sides of the battle, the land is essential for sustaining their id 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 issues of Palestinian ontological insecurity and thus, resulted in an efficient marginalization of Palestinian populations (Naser-Najjab & Haver, 2021). The results of those divisions are significantly evident within the context of Jerusalem. 

The geographies of violence and id in Jerusalem 

A number of components 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 spiritual 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 a lot of the world’s nations don’t acknowledge Jerusalem because the capital of Israel, thereby, growing the vulnerability of Israeli ontological safety on this explicit geography (Ibid.). Lastly, the inhabitants of Jerusalem is comprised of each Israeli populations (60,7%), and Palestinian populations (39,3%) (ICBS, 2016). Demographically, town is clustered in homogeneous neighborhoods, each by way of faith and ethnicity, and thus resembles circumstances of apartheid (Rokem, Weiss, Miodownik, 2018). Due to this fact, Jerusalem is a chief instance of ethnonationalist confrontation and resistance. 

Each Israeli and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem expertise totally different types of violence. Notably, most Palestinians residing in Jerusalem don’t maintain Israeli citizenship however are registered as residents of town (Avni, 2020). Therefore, they have to repeatedly present proof of their resident standing to Israeli authorities (Ibid.). Shedding their standing of everlasting residency would lead to a stateless standing for many Palestinians, as they don’t maintain another nationwide citizenship (Avni, 2020). Moreover, Palestinian residents are subjected to deal with demolitions and ongoing evictions, thereby, experiencing ongoing insecurity (Pressman, 2020). Furthermore, cultural practices equivalent to non secular occasions are sometimes hindered by the armed forces of the Israeli state (Ibid.) These uncertainties threaten the soundness 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 town (Rokem, Weiss, Miodownik, 2018). Therefore, each 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 wrestle 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.).  Nonetheless, these efforts had little impact on the sense of safety skilled by the Israeli public (ibid.). 

Psychologically, societies are identified to undertake conflict-supporting beliefs to deal with the destructive penalties and stress of ongoing threats (Canetti et al., 2017). Though these are invaluable coping mechanisms, the perpetuated perception programs on the antagonism of the Different can bias narratives of conflicts and may inhibit peaceable options, thereby routinizing the very observe 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). Nonetheless, significantly 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 sophisticated 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 id. 

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 id 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. Nonetheless, the method of securitization sidelines social and political issues by framing the geography of Jerusalem as a safety challenge that requires navy and institutional intervention relatively than insurance policies to scale back the tensions. The perceived threats to a coherent Israeli id and the next militarization of Israeli practices don’t attempt to scale back the chance of violence and inter-group clashes however relatively search to offer a way of safety via remoted group id. 

The routinization of battle and securitization has perpetuated each ontological and bodily insecurities within the context of Jerusalem. Nonetheless, merely reminding Israelis and Palestinians of the constructed nature of their id is probably going not an efficient technique for desecuritization. On the identical 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 respectable counterparts whereas concurrently addressing inherent instabilities and the complexity of a large number 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. Nonetheless, the analysis hopes to encourage a extra detailed investigation of how the safety and existence of a Palestinian id are influenced by the presence and practices of the Israeli state. 


Adisönmez, U. C. (2017). Ontological (In) securities in Turkey and Israel: Unpacking the Nation-Constructing, Safety Tradition, and Battle Decision Triangle (Grasp’s thesis). Retrieved from Lund College: https://lup.lub.lu.se/student-papers/search/publication/8911688

Alatout, S. (2006). In direction of a bio-territorial conception of energy: Territory, inhabitants, and environmental narratives in Palestine and Israel. Political Geography, 25(6), 601-621. Doi: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2006.03.008

Aljazeera (2021, Might 12). Rising assaults in religiously ‘combined’ Israel cities amid Gaza push. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/12/gaza-crisis-fuels-escalating-violence-mixed-towns-israel 

Avni, N. (2020). Between exclusionary nationalism and concrete citizenship in East Jerusalem/al-Quds. Political Geography, 102314. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/345759567

Busbridge, R. (2020). Messianic time, settler colonial know-how and the elision of Palestinian presence in Jerusalem’s historic basin. Political Geography, 79, 102158. Doi: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102158

Canetti, D., Elad-Strenger, J., Lavi, I., Man, D., & Bar-Tal, D. (2017). Publicity to violence, ethos of battle, and help for compromise: Surveys in Israel, East Jerusalem, West Financial institution, and Gaza. Journal of battle decision, 61(1), 84-113. Doi: 10.1177/0022002715569771

Ejdus, F. (2020). Disaster and Ontological Insecurity. Cham: Springer Worldwide Publishing.

Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: self and society within the late trendy age. Stanford College Press. 

Hever, S. (2018). Securing the Occupation in East Jerusalem: Divisions in Israeli Coverage. Jerusalem Quarterly, 75, 104. Retrieved from https://www.palestine-studies.org/websites/default/information/jq-articles/Pages_from_JQ_75_-_Hever.pdf

Hoffmann, N. & van Heeswijk, E. L. S (2018). Considering throughout Borders and Boundaries-Separation and Interplay between Palestinian and Isrealis (Bachelor’s thesis). Retrieved from Utrecht College: https://dspace.library.uu.nl/handle/1874/368678

ICBS (2016). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.cbs.gov.il/reader/?MIval=cw_usr_view_SHTML&ID=807 

Lupovici, A. (2012). Ontological dissonance, clashing identities, and Israel’s unilateral steps in the direction of the Palestinians. Assessment of worldwide research, 38, 809-833. Doi: 10.1017! S026021

Mitzen, J. (2006). Ontological safety in world politics: State id and the safety dilemma. European journal of worldwide relations, 12(3), 341-370. Doi: 10.1177/1354066106067346

Mitzen, J. (2018). Anxious group: EU as (in) safety group. European safety, 27(3), 393-413. Doi: 10.1080/09662839.2018.1497985

Naser-Najjab, N., & Hever, S. (2021). Elite and widespread contradictions in safety coordination: overcoming the binary distinction of the Israeli coloniser and the colonised Palestinian. Crucial Research on Safety, 1-14. Doi: 10.1080/21624887.2021.1875712

Peoples, C., & Vaughan-Williams, N. (2010). Crucial safety research: An introduction. Routledge.

Pressman, J. (2020). Horizontal inequality and violent unrest in Jerusalem. Terrorism and political violence, 32(6), 1161-1185. Doi: 10.1080/09546553.2018.1453502

Rokem, J., Weiss, C. M., & Miodownik, D. (2018). Geographies of violence in Jerusalem: the spatial logic of city intergroup battle. Political Geography, 66, 88-97. Doi: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2018.08.008 

Rumelili, B. (2015). Id and desecuritisation: the pitfalls of conflating ontological and bodily safety. Journal of worldwide relations and growth, 18(1), 52-74. Doi: 10.1057/jird.2013.22

Rumelili, B. (Ed.). (2014). Battle decision and ontological safety: Peace anxieties. Routledge.

Svirsky, M. (2021). The Copy of Settler Colonialism in Palestine. Journal of Perpetrator Analysis, 4, 1-36. Doi: 10.21039/jpr.4.1.79Zobeydi, Z., Ebrahimi, N., & Shafaee, S. M. (2019). The Revolutions of 2011-2012 within the Arabic Nations and Ontological Safety of Israel. Journal of Modern Analysis on Islamic Revolution, 1(1), 117-137. Retrieved from https://jcrir.ut.ac.ir/article_72796.html?lang=en

Additional Studying on E-Worldwide Relations

Most Popular

74th Annual Tony Awards Winners: The Full Listing – E! On-line

In the end, the Tony Awards are again. Following a number of postponements introduced on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Broadway's largest night time returned...

How Cam’s Weight Loss and Health Journey Saved His Son’s Life

When Cam Summerson’s son wanted his assist, the one manner he may give it was by shedding pounds. The publish How Cam’s Weight Loss and...

What China’s Evergrande disaster means for the world

The debt disaster at property big China Evergrande Group poses a problem for the Chinese language authorities. It's unclear whether or not Beijing will...

BBC’s New Physician Who Showrunner Flirted with 9/11 Trutherism

Over the weekend, it was announced that the BBC has chosen liberal producer Russell T. Davies as showrunner for the long-running British science fiction...

Recent Comments