Giving peace a chance in Israel and Palestine - Hindustan Times

Giving peace a chance in Israel and Palestine

Nov 02, 2023 10:43 PM IST

A long-term view needs to be taken to grant autonomy to the Palestinian Authority and to implement a two-State solution

The latest crisis in Israel may suggest that peaceful coexistence is anathema to many nations. From Ukraine to Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the number of displaced people apart from those killed and wounded in action continues to increase by the day. While untold misery and anguish are brought to bear on innocent people, worldwide condemnation of terror sounds like empty rhetoric.

Palestinians search for casualties at the site of Israeli strikes on houses, in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, (REUTERS)
Palestinians search for casualties at the site of Israeli strikes on houses, in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, (REUTERS)

The present conflict in Israel is showing no sign of abating: The chances of resolution appear grim due to a variety of reasons. This is the first time in the history of Israel that so many civilians, including women and children, have been maimed and killed and a number of them taken as hostages. At least 8,000 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis have died in this round of conflict that started with Hamas’ terrorist strike in Israel on October 7. In all probability, the purpose of this latest episode of untold violence appears to have been fulfilled to the extent of inciting outrage, apathy and a determined and dedicated campaign by the Israeli Defence Forces to annihilate Hamas as an organisation.

Human beings as mortals can easily be exterminated. But ideology and religious fanaticism are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to destroy. Similarly, the narrative of hatred and condemnation of one community over another may take generations to overcome unless leaders, despite personal hardship and losses, begin to visualise the value of peace and freedom from violence to reset the narrative. The ground campaign to flush out Hamas, free the hostages and exterminate its cadres would only lead to mounting casualties and the very likely possibility of the conflict spreading across West Asia. Already the number of people killed in the Gaza Strip has crossed 5,000 which includes a large number of children and women. As the United States (US) warns Iran of supporting Hamas with arms and financial aid, the possibility of any rapprochement between the two sides appears difficult. If this conflict spreads beyond Israel, it would not only be difficult to contain but may well prove to be catastrophic leading to fissures in the Arab world. The need for the leaders of the region — Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — to come together is not only necessary but essential under the present circumstances.

The capacity and the ability of the UN to ensure peace has been circumspect. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war only vindicates this belief. Israel has asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to resign following his comments made at the UN Security Council meeting on October 24 wherein, while unequivocally condemning the terror attacks by Hamas on Israel, he also stated that these attacks did not happen in a vacuum and recalled that the Palestinian people had been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation by Israel.

The UN Security Council has been gridlocked as usual with the US, Russia and China using their veto powers to prevent the adoption of any resolution on the conflict. An emergency session of the UN General Assembly on October 27 under the “Uniting for Peace” mandate voted for an immediate humanitarian truce urging the unconditional release of all captive civilians and unhindered supply of essential provisions to Gaza. The resolution sponsored by Jordan and Russia was voted upon with 120 nations in favour, 14 against and 45 abstaining. Most of the Arab and Islamic countries voted in favour while India abstained. India voted in favour of an amendment proposed by Canada and backed by the US and the West that sought to specifically condemn Hamas by name, which did not pass muster. What then is the way out?

The US, having lost its appetite to wage wars akin to the Global War On Terror (GWOT) post 9/11, probably faces the toughest test of its leadership as it defends its most loyal ally, Israel. There has been no condemnation of the violence perpetrated by Hamas from China, the main challenger to the US. This crisis, therefore, provides Washington with a golden opportunity to not only reclaim its leadership position but also prove to its people as it enters into an election year that there is a lot that a great nation like the US can do for its allies and partners. Israel on its part cannot persist with the policy of expanding its settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, while using force and punitive measures to deny basic amenities to the people in the occupied territories.

A long-term view needs to be taken to grant autonomy to the Palestinian Authority and to implement a two-State solution. While military hard power may have the ability to enforce or ensure peace and deter terrorism, a conclave of leaders of the Arab World under the aegis of the US, leading to a la Camp David Accord, may turn out to be a geopolitical pivot in history that could prevent or preclude the present crisis from spiralling into an unforeseen abyss of death and destruction. To give peace a chance, the forces in play must transcend boundaries and ideologies.

Anil Golani, a retired Air Vice Marshal, is Additional Director General, Centre for Air Power Studies. The views expressed are personal

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections 2024, Lok sabha election 2024 voting live , Karnataka election 2024 live in Bengaluru , Election 2024 Date along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

Share this article
Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On