Balwan Nagial
Balwan Nagial

A Decisive Moment in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

The ceasefire between Israel and Palestine terrorist organisation (Hamas) in Gaza Strip came into effect at midnight on Friday to halt the 11-day old conflict in Gaza Strip after killing many people and losing the properties. This truce signals an end to the immediate bloodshed but has created a vast gulf between the two sides. During this conflict, the Palestinian terrorist groups and Hamas fired thousands of sophisticated rockets in Israel, and Israel Defence Forces(IDF) carried out aerial bombardment in and around Gaza. This conflict has undermined that how evasive and longstanding peace agreement has come.

In the ensuing IDF airstrikes, about 232 people, including some children in the Gaza strip, have been killed as per the health ministry of Palestine Authority and about 12 people, including two children in Israel, killed by Hamas militant group based in Gaza-Strip. IDF responded effectively.

As per the official report from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, Security Cabinet had “unanimously accepted the recommendations to accept an Egyptian initiative for an unconditional ceasefire.” On the other hand spokesperson of Hamas Sami Abu Zuhri, also confirmed the ceasefire deal.

Celebrations of the ceasefire could be seen both in Gaza Strip and Tel Aviv following the announcement. People came to the streets as the broadcast was done from the mosques and radios. They all thank the almighty that good sense prevailed on both sides. However, some news trickled in that a few people did not like this truce. Though no agreements about the future have been reached yet, this relief is suitable for both sides. News of the ceasefire was celebrated on both sides with the firing of few parting shots when an announcement came in the actual implementation of the ceasefire on the ground. Some sirens of rocket attacks sounded in towns and villages near Gaza Strip in Israel.

Since the beginning of this conflict, Palestine terrorists fired about 4000 rockets into Israel, as per the report of IDF. Most of them intercepted and destroyed by IDF’s Dome Defence system. Though there was a pause of about eight hours in the firing of rockets from Gaza on May 20, IDF continued their operations and created havoc on the selective targets of Hamas. IDF mainly targeted Hamas’ vast tunnel network and other vital infrastructure. As per the report of UNICEF, about 72000 people were displaced from the Gaza strip. Meanwhile, Israel made it very clear that if terrorist organisations fail to uphold the spirit of the ceasefire, then IDF will resume its operations again. Nevertheless, the political leadership of Israel stressed that the reality on the ground would dictate whether to resume the operations or not, and the onus of peace lies on these terrorist organisations.

After the truce was announced, the diplomatic attempts to push for a ceasefire were hastened. US president Joe Biden spoke to the Israeli Prime Minister several times for the last week. UN Secy Gen Antonio Guterres welcomed the ceasefire reached between Israel and Palestine terrorist organisations. He further asserted that negotiations for peace between the two must continue. The credit goes to ‘quiet and relentless diplomacy’ by the US and Egypt for this ceasefire. Intensive high-level discussions were carried out.

It is pertinent to mention that the recent fightings broke out suddenly after the tension noticed in Jerusalem, from where a few families of Palestine origin faced the eviction from their present place of residence in East Jerusalem. Also, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, there were many incidents that Palestine took as provocative, including the closing of a popular meeting place near the old city; Israeli police entered Al Aqsa mosque many times. Regular clashes erupted in and around Al Aqsa mosque, and police fired stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets while Palestinians pelted stones. Many police persons and civilians were hurt in these incidents.

The Israel-Palestine conflict dates back to the end of the nineteenth century. In 1947, the United Nations adopted Resolution 181, known as the Partition Plan, which sought to divide the British Mandate of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was created, sparking the first Arab-Israeli War. The war ended in 1949 with Israel’s victory, but 750,000 Palestinians were displaced, and the territory was divided into three parts: the State of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River), and the Gaza Strip. Over the following years, tensions rose in the region, particularly between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

There is concern that a third intifada could break out and that renewed tensions will escalate into large-scale violence. The United States is interested in protecting the security of its long-term ally Israel and achieving a lasting deal between Israel and the Palestinian territories, which would improve regional security.

Way forward to the solution of the Israel-Palestine Conflict.

Presently, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is smeared, low-intensity conflict, periodic arise in violence and the continual corrosion of political options. This dangerous status quo could directly impact sustainable peace and drag the region into instability.

What is a Two-State Solution?

For decades, the two-state solution has been the primary focus of efforts to achieve peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The solution would establish an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel — two states for two peoples. In theory, this would win Israel’s security and allow it to retain a Jewish demographic majority while granting the Palestinians a state. The 1947 UN Partition Plan led to decades of military action and violence between Israel and Palestine. After the mediation of the US, in the 1991 Madrid Peace conference, a two-state solution was agreed to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to the United Nations, only a two-state solution that realises the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis can lead to sustainable peace.

The threat of the Concept of one-state

The One-State Threat arises from the interplay of two primary forces: Contemporary One-State Argument – an argument, based on political theory and current demographic trends, that challenges the existence of Israel as a Jewish state; and the forces seeking to undermine a Two-State Solution, through the use of force and other tactics.

Conclusion:

The recent spate of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians has been a heart-rending signal of how cavernous the vent remains between each side in uncovering a path to some secure form of peace. We all know that most modern conflicts imply asymmetric combat between states and non-state actors that depend on civil populations to provide the equivalent of human shields. Israel, as warranted, has reacted so far by placing far more emphasis on security measures and the use of force to eradicate the threat of terrorism. On the other hand, the Palestinians divided and done equally little to move towards a settlement and a stable peace. The Intifadas, lesser forms of violence, and the division of the Palestinian movement into a steadily weaker Palestinian Authority “government” in the West Bank, a Hamas “government,” as well as a significant military build-up in Gaza have led to the collapse of any prospects of peace and stability in the region. This finally resulted in the tragedy that has played out in the violent disruptions and fighting in May 2021, which could resume at any time.

It is evident from the events unfolding on the scale of the military, security, civil, and economic problems that even seemingly successful efforts to end the current fighting may not lead to more than a silence in further violence. The final success can only come from creating and implementing a reliable plan to deal with all critical issues that divide Israeli Jews and Palestinians. It ends the asymmetric arms race between Israel and Hamas, focusing on development and human progress, and that gives all Palestinians hope for a better life and absolute equality. Israel and Palestine have high moral obligations to sit together, talk and chalk out a plan for peace and tranquillity in the region. No problem in this universe is without any solution.

About the Author
Colonel Balwan Nagial retired from the Indian Army in 2019 after serving for thirty years. Managed administration, security, project mgt throughout his service. He loves writing and contributing in newspapers and magazines in India. He loves Israeli culture.
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