Land Only Part of the Israel-Palestine Equation Now
Tensions between Israel and Palestine have increased over recent weeks to a point now where fears are growing that a major conflict will ensue. Militants had been targeting Israel with rockets and Israel responded by killing a leading Hamas militant. In retaliation for the assassination, Hamas fighters have rocketed the capital of Israel, Tel Aviv while Israeli jets continue to bomb Gaza. Both sides of the conflict have again suffered civilian casualties.
A peaceful end to the conflict again has been shown to be too difficult. On the Palestinian side, terrorism has proved impossible to control, particularly the actions of Hamas who are responsible for the rocket attacks on Israel.
As for Israel it’s been a question of the scale of the response to equally unjustifiable and unforgivable attacks on their people. Huge force has been used against Palestinians by the Israelis and that looks set to continue apace with a military-based incursion appearing likely to be utilised by the administration in conjunction with jets bombing Palestinian areas.
The question of Israeli willingness to negotiate on the land dispute is not an argument that can in any way justify violence on the part of Palestinian terrorists. However, the Israelis must display a real willingness, a readiness to negotiate on a two-state solution.
And so, the cycle of violence, as it has for decades, is set to continue. There is again little will from both the Israelis and Palestinians and their respective overseas supporters to attempt to reach a peaceful and necessary two-state solution.
Again it seems that violent fringe groups are dictating terms over the whole dispute. Any hope of any kind of compromise dashed by extremist elements in the conflict. A problem magnified by illegal settlements has had any hope of a solution pegged on a return to peaceful interactions between Israelis and Palestinians.
At least that is the excuse given. Even when there has been relative peace, negotiations over a solution involving the mutual recognition of Israel and Palestine never really went ahead with any real gusto, any vigour or confidence and belief that both states actually have the right to peacefully coexist.
The problem has proved too difficult not just for Israel and Palestine to resolve on their own, but also for world powers and supranational institutions interested in seeing peace between the two parties.
We have probably passed a point, especially in recent years, where any hope of a lasting peace, a compromise deal that would halt hostilities from all groups with a stake in the conflict, would have been a reasonable assumption. The rise of Islamist groupings in the Middle East over the Arab Spring has surely seen to that.
At the same time, it would be folly to suggest that were the extreme elements of Hamas and Fatah not in existence, that a lasting peace would be able to be established swiftly. This is partly the case for the reason just given but there is also another reason.
It is also the case that extreme elements would still exist within Palestinian circles, but the resistance would be much more muted, though still proving a catalyst for inaction on a territorial compromise.
There will also undoubtedly be elements within Palestinian groups always unhappy with a compromise deal, even one that creates two states with reasonable territorial divisions.
With so many disparate groups and as always the violent ones clouding things, the dispute seems even more inexorable as we head towards much more bloodshed in a very unstable geographic region.
A number of factors are compounding to make even a sensible mutual resolution difficult for all parties to accept without further violence. So, the cycle of violence will continue.