If any subject seems intractable, polarized, and at this point almost beyond reasonable commentary, it is the battle in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians. The two factions have been embroiled in a dispute over land, religion, claims to historical truth, and the moral righteousness of violent acts ever since Judea, the ancient home of the Jews, was conquered by the Romans and renamed Palestine. Predating modern history and territorially grounded in a sliver of land, the conflict lately embodies what New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, in his study on globalization, terms the “olive tree”: a metaphorical shorthand for the local, traditional, and culturally specific that, according to Friedman’s schema, is now clashing with the homogenizing and modernizing tendencies of globalism. Given the current state of international affairs, this age-old struggle has never been

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