Israel – Palestinian Conflict: The Way Forward

The Israel-Palestine issue has been brewing since before the last century and pertains to two ethnic groups rightfully asking for statehood. The world has not been in favour of Jews, who have been victims of unspeakable atrocities like the Holocaust, which killed 6 million Jews. Naturally, an ethnic community that grew closer and stronger due […]

The Israel-Palestine issue has been brewing since before the last century and pertains to two ethnic groups rightfully asking for statehood. The world has not been in favour of Jews, who have been victims of unspeakable atrocities like the Holocaust, which killed 6 million Jews. Naturally, an ethnic community that grew closer and stronger due to shared sufferings resulted in ideologies like that of the Zionists. On the other hand, the Palestinians rightfully feel that they have been slowly pushed from their homelands. Israel feels threatened again after the 07 October attacks. It fears the destruction of their ethnic group, while Palestinians have been exhausted and rendered jobless due to Israel’s stern measures against them after Hamas strode to power in 2007.

The need of the hour now is to equally appreciate the concerns of both communities without a bias towards either of them. Nevertheless, the terrorist actions and horrendous atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct 7th should be unacceptable to the United Nations and the world at large. There are no caveats to terrorism. Israel by far has been the largest cumulate recipient of US foreign aid, receiving 300 billion dollars in total economic and military assistance. As a result, Israel has bolstered its defences and expanded the operation ‘Iron Swords’ to include the wider parts of Gaza, which were earlier considered safe for refugee camps, causing grave human rights violations.

While an arms embargo on Israel is not the answer to the problem, the international community must press Israel to adhere to the 1949 Geneva Convention with consequential repercussions if not followed.

An arms embargo against Hamas and Houthi rebels and non-state actors should also be implemented. Coming to Rafah Corridor now. 85% of the population in Gaza has been internally displaced so far. Rafah crossing is a corridor between Egypt and Gaza. Egypt has allowed humanitarian aid to cross the border however, it is restrictive in letting any refugees into the country. While humanitarian workers are understandably protesting for Egypt to absorb the refugee influx, however, Egypt is sticking to its alibi of being in economic turmoil. Egypt says that its urban consumer price inflation has jumped to 35.7 per cent from 29.8 per cent as late as January. Solving the Rafah corridor issue will never be a cakewalk as Palestinians themselves don’t want to leave their homeland in fear of never returning.

“Liquidation of the Palestine” cause is the latest buzzword among them. With every passing day, the tensions in Israel- Gaza are spinning out of control and may soon escalate into full-blown global conflict. Starting last year, we saw the Houthis rebel pledge their support to Hamas by destabilising the Gulf of Aden, where 400 million dollars worth of world trade passes every year.

This has forced the shipping traffic to avoid the Suez Canal and take a long circuitous route crossing near the tip of Africa. The new shipping route around the Cape of Good Hope adds 3000 nautical miles and an extra 8-10 days in transit.

The disruption is causing delays and driving up costs when the world is dealing with the resurgence of inflation. Attacks on ships in the Red Sea have delivered a massive blow to global trade. The world should strongly back the formation of a national alliance under the name of ‘Operation Prosperity Guardian’ to safeguard the shipping route. Stabilisation of the sea route is a prerequisite to a long-term peace process. The two-state solution is the way to go about it. The two-state solution is a prerequisite to peace. However, given the current scenario on the ground, this seems to be far-fetched.

The international community must come together to advocate the unconditional release of hostages held in Gaza. This can be achieved by building up pressure on Hamas through sanctions and pressure from the international community. The UN should be vigilant to keep track of mounting civilian casualties and threaten to cut military funding if there is no respite in the collateral damage being inflicted by the IDF. The IDF has recently banned the entry of vehicles carrying fuel and food. This has raised the heckles of WHO, who fear an epidemic breakout of diarrhoea due to Gaza civilians’ overdependence on saline groundwater. It is time the UN compels Israel to ensure the safe passage of fuel and food to the civilians. The UN should work for a two-state solution with equal respect for both parties.

The blockade of Gaza has left 80 per cent of the population completely dependent on aid. This has increased dissidence among the residents, making them more vulnerable to being radicalised by actors like Hamas. Israel should understand that the shortage of running water in the Western Bank does not help Israel in its cause. Security and respectable living conditions are the pre-requisite to starting the two-state solution peace process. Bi-laterals with countries supplying aid to Israel, as well as countries like Egypt and Qatar, which are in communication with both Israel and Hamas, will help achieve this. Let’s have a look at the statistics so far. 33,137 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including 13,000 children. 1.7 million (70 per cent of the population) have been internally displaced in Gaza.

There is rising tension in West Asia, threatening to turn it into a regional conflict. The Gulf of Aden has become increasingly vulnerable now, which accounts for 400 million worth of global trade. AI models like “Lavender” by Israel to identify and kill potential targets have an error rate of 10 per cent. The recent Israeli air strike that killed seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen in Gaza should not be forgotten.

The USA and Germany have approved new military aid packages. Recent reports suggest the redundancy of the evacuation warning system that the IDF is using to warn the Palestinians. The message that civilian casualties will be at the risk of Israel losing future military aid packages should be sent by the US. There is a need to create a task force to ensure vigil over aid packages to reduce the risk of humanitarian corridors being used to supply fuel and weapons to Hamas. There should be an unbiased investigation into reports of the US supplying illegal weapons like cluster bombs to Israel and holding the perpetrators accountable while also blockading the routes that are being used to supply unethical weapons.

The international community should stand in solidarity on banning the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) models as a means to identify and kill targets by IDF. We must hold these countries responsible by imposing relevant and effective sanctions. The UN and the world countries should press Israel to update its evacuation warning systems for Palestinians and to provide accurate and timely information. In conclusion, the two-state solution though a long process seems to be an effective long-term solution which will entail bilateral and international cooperation to mitigate the ongoing human suffering.