It became difficult for Palestinians to gain the attention of the international media. Throwing stones, shooting collaborators and debating about how to rebuild Gaza doesn’t excite anyone nowadays. ISIS is the new Islamist in the hood. And even Hamas doesn’t look like a threat anymore. At least to us Europeans. ISIS is our new favorite enemy. And ironic as it may be – the Palestinians may say the same.
On the other side ISIS may be the one who triggers the foundation of a Palestinian state – no one knows for how long ISIS will stay and how it will effect global Islam, the Middle East and the future of terrorism. And while Palestinians begin to panic that ISIS will forever kill their dream of statehood by staying as frightening as they are and thereby sustainably turning the attention of the international community to Iraq and Syria instead of Hebron and Gaza City.
No resolutions against Israel, no peace flotillas to Gaza, no top EU officials schooling the Knesset on water supply in the West Bank. Just imagine that. And now imagine how a Palestinian official must feel right now.
So that’s scenario number one. The world stops caring about Palestinians while Israel continues to build settlements in the West Bank until Palestinian statehood is a dream from the past. It may be legitimate for Israel to prevent another Muslim state that could fall in the hands of ISIS. Israel can deal with ISIS at any time – but why should it allow ISIS to suddenly stand 20 kilometers before Tel Aviv?
So all in all, when the Islamic State continues its horror show it might enforce the prevention of a Palestinian state. Not sure if young European jihadists ever gave it a thought.
But let’s think the other way. A way that wouldn’t make Palestinian authority happy either but to be honest, what would? So let’s assume the world doesn’t care anymore. No more daily headlines from Tel Aviv, no more demonstrations in support of Gaza and suddenly – no more money for Hamas and Fatah.
And suddenly there’s no chance to rely on someone else. No Qatar, no Europe, no US. Suddenly Palestinians feel like Jews before 1948. And they get to work. Building infrastructure, electing leaders, focusing on economy and security. And compromising on their future borders. Suddenly they acknowledge that statehood won’t come with UN pressure but only with hard work and lots and lots of preparation. And they see that Israel isn’t a priori against a Palestinian state – but just against another Hamastan. And voilà, Palestinian statehood comes closer. East Jerusalem as a capital? Let’s talk. Jewish cities in a Palestinian state? We’ll see. The Palestinian question would turn from a religious, ideological and political to an economic and organizational one.
What glorious effect ISIS might finally have, doesn’t it? Or am I just too frustrated with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict desperately looking for the slightest glimpse of hope to believe in? Well, we’ll see.