Threat, Victimhood, and Peace: Debating the 2011 Palestinian UN State Membership Bid

Rusi Jaspal, Adrian Coyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Israeli–Palestinian conflict has been described as one of the most intractable in the world. This article first provides an overview of the sociopolitical events that led up to the Palestinian UN state membership bid in September 2011, and second, as a case study, it examines how the Israeli–Palestinian conflict was constructed in speeches delivered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the state membership bid to the UN General Assembly in September 2011. Despite their opposing agendas, there are some significant discursive similarities in the two speeches. The most salient shared discourses concern that of in-group victimhood on the one hand, and that of out-group threat on the other. It is argued that the speeches dispel support for intergroup reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians by aggravating grievances on both sides and accentuating intergroup suspicion. This article highlights the importance of examining political speeches in order to better understand the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-214
JournalDigest of Middle East Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2014


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