The search for a solution to the Palestine and Israel conflict has been on the table for so long that most conversations about it do not have an answer. Most public opinions are very polarized with the pro-Palestinian lobby wanting justice and some wanting revenge while the pro-Israel lobby knows that it has the support from the west which matters the most.
This fight is symbolic of the global situation with the powerful states all lined up behind Israel and the less powerful ones behind the yet-to-be-established state of Palestine. Moreover, given that equation, there can be rallies and speeches, Facebook posts, and media coverage of suffering but the solution looks farther away than ever before.
Israel invaded West Bank and Gaza in 1967, now collectively known as the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Before this invasion, the West Bank was part of Jordan whilst Gaza was part of Egypt. Both areas remained under full Israeli control until the mid-1990s when the Palestinian Authority was created. The Palestinian Authority controls some areas of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but other areas remain under Israel.
Several Israeli citizens have moved into the Occupied Palestinian Territories, living in Israeli settlements built after 1967. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits such practices although Israel argues that it does not apply to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In other words, the strong got away with it.
The most deliberated solution to the conflict is a two-state solution. It means the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Egypt has never claimed permanent sovereignty over Gaza, whilst Jordan renounced its claim to the West Bank in 1988. Thus, Palestine has been left alone as a problem that can be settled only when no other option is left. Then, there is the internal Palestinian politics.
Once the sole leader and now one of the leading factions in Palestinian politics Fatah supports this initiative. Hamas, its militant rival, takes a more angry line. They claim the entire area presently covered by the state of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories should form the future Palestinian state.
Western media have focused on Hamas and its terrorist activities forgetting that Mossad, Israel’s secret service, created Hamas soon after the 1967 war to counter the growing influence of Fatah. The Palestine Liberation Organization of which Fatah was a leader was not an organization but an umbrella outfit of many running from the Fatah of Yassir Arafat to extreme Left outfits like PFLP that ran both hit-and-runs as well as plane hijacking.
Discussions between the Israeli and Palestinian administrations occurred in 2013 but broke down in 2014 when Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of Fatah, signed an agreement with Hamas. Since then, there has been no move and the latest round of violence is a by-product of many decades of politics that denies the two-state solutions. On the surface, it looks nice but in reality, it shows no future.
Power is the order of the day. Just as Israel took over territories by power, Hamas also seized Gaza by power in 2007. Right now, these two are the main players, and none else, including Fatah, matters.
Hamas on 7 October killed around 1,400 Israelis, the biggest loss of Jewish life on any day since the Holocaust. This single sentence is enough to arouse sentiments against any peace talks in Israel with Palestine.
Israel’s response to those attacks was the killing of thousands of Palestinians, including over 5000 children. The conflict, despite many attempts at a ceasefire, continues and more bloodshed is likely. Therefore, if the involved parties are keen on violence, it is not realistic to expect peace presently.