Shared Land/Conflicting Identity: Trajectories of Israeli and Palestinian Symbol Use argues that rhetoric, ideology, and myth have played key roles in influencing the development of the 100-year conflict between first the Zionist settlers and the current Israeli people and the Palestinian residents in what is now Israel. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is usually treated as an issue of land and water. While these elements are the core of the conflict, they are heavily influenced by the symbols used by both peoples to describe, understand, and persuade each other. The authors argue that symbolic practices deeply influenced the Oslo Accords, and that the breakthrough in the peace process that led to Oslo could not have occurred without a breakthrough in communication styles.
Rowland and Frank develop four crucial ideas on social development: the roles of rhetoric, ideology, and myth; the influence of symbolic factors; specific symbolic factors that played a key role in peace negotiations; and the identification and value of criteria for evaluating symbolic practices in any society.