The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Is a Resolve even possible?

The wailing children, the decimated buildings, and the fire ravaging the streets of Jerusalem and Gaza. This is the ground reality. Over 220 Palestinians have been massacred cumulatively in airstrikes over Gaza and killings in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem as the fighting entered its eight-consecutive day. The situation, however, is astonishing deteriorating and the world surrounding the purgatory is still in a delusion that a ceasefire is an option. As the fighting entered its second week of catastrophe, the airstrikes are turning devastation up a notch. The resulting resilience, however, is fading with each successive day. Perversely, the state of Israel is facing a threat far greater than it ever witnessed in a handful of intifadas etched in history.

The Israeli monstrosity escalated when the minor clashes in East Jerusalem were reiterated over a series of coincidental events that were treated with abject disregard: a prime example of the abysmal nature of management implemented in the occupied regions. The skirmishes sparked when the Israeli forces restricted the Palestinian youth from entering a popular spot just adjacent to the Damascus gate. Coupled with the eviction of 6 Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, a contentious neighborhood in East Jerusalem, evoked a sense of detachment and oppression which pressed onto the sore sentiments of the young Palestinians. The riots that ensued, however, were not enough to ascend the disputes and clashes into a full-blown war we witness today.

The frequent infiltration and desecration of the Aqsa Mosque acted as a catalyst to the already incendiary situation. Driven more sensitive by the holy month of Ramadan. The invasion of the mosque by the Israeli soldiers added oil to fire and ignited the head-on collision of force: between the ambitious and infuriated Palestinian youth and the Israeli forces. The situation still doesn’t deem flared enough to extrapolate the mayhem that pervades the region today. Well, the other side of the story lies in the political backdrop of the fiasco.

The caretaker Prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, is a notorious right-wing politician who has pivoted his regime on his extremist policies involving the discrimination of the Palestinians, tightening the grip over the occupied West Bank and even advocating a perforation of the neighborhoods like Sheikh Jarrah to dilute the Palestinian presence in the holy city of Jerusalem. Earlier last month, his main agenda was to form a coalition of similar ideologies in the Israeli political arena to win the forthcoming election – the fourth in two years. The faltering coalition, however, dwindled his chances to regain power and exposed him to the awaiting charges of corruption. Exacerbating the chaos in Palestine would allow him an edge to convince the fellow right-wing politicians over to his corner along with creating enough disequilibrium in Israel – enough to scatter the opposing coalition of the moderates.

On the other side, the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, faced a similar choice. The leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), also known as ‘Fatah’, was edging towards a political vacuum in Palestine. With the economic deterioration of Palestine and the worsening standard of living of the Palestinians, his political power was on the crutches and showing fissures. Coupled with excessive pressure from Hamas, a militant group controlling the Gaza Strip, the leader, like his Israeli Counterpart, had very little incentive to appease the crumbling peace of the region. He resorted to defer the upcoming elections – first in 15 years – leading to a threat to Hamas’ ambitions, being the popular party to gain power and subsequently enjoy the identity of the single saviour of the Palestinians.

Conversely, Hamas resorted to taking an offensive stance once the prospect of an election was evaded. With the growing atrocities of the Israeli forces in East Jerusalem, the group fired warnings before eventually resorting to launching attacks from Gaza, first over East Jerusalem and then the unprecedented attack directly over the state of Israel. The offensive was expected neither by Netanyahu nor by Mahmoud.

The obliteration at display is nothing but a manipulation of a crisis that is surmised to be stable yet is an enigma that was awaiting a pressure point to explode for years following the 2014 war. An apt example is oozing violence between the Arabs and the Jews in the cities of Lod and Tel Aviv. It could be gauged by the chants of the Israeli extremist groups, enunciating ‘Death to Arabs’, in the outskirts of the Old City. It could be extricated from the millions of protestors showing solidarity with the Palestinians around the globe. The sentiment of oppression and frustration was lurking in the streets of Gaza and East Jerusalem. The trigger just allowed room to eviscerate.

As for the unplanned nature of the chaos, it could be easily witnessed from the befuddling statements in the benches of the United States’ House of Representatives. While President Joe Biden is articulating his support to the ally state of Israel, hailing ‘Their [Israel’s] right to defend themselves’, leaders like Senator Bernie Sanders are contradicting the notion, stating: “The US must stop being an Apologist for the Netanyahu government”. Now as countries converge on advocating a ceasefire, the situation is worsening as deaths are charting quickly and so is the opposition. With no incentive to placate the tensions on either side and confusion and frustration governing respective parties, the end is not imminent, and neither would it be befitting to the long-term resolve originally envisioned.

Syed Zain Abbas Rizvi
Syed Zain Abbas Rizvi
The author is a political and economic analyst. He focuses on geopolitical policymaking and international affairs. Syed has written extensively on fintech economy, foreign policy, and economic decision making of the Indo-Pacific and Asian region.