No Strong Will To Heal The Palestinian Wound – OpEd


In the modern history all armed conflicts have been settled in one way or another after some years, but the Palestinian issue has been wounding for more than seven decades. Why?

The reasons are many. However, the most important reason is the unjustified and unconditional support to Israel by the United States and some Western European countries. In recent years, certain Eastern European countries have also been following the footsteps of the West in backing Israel unreasonably. 

Unwavering support for Israel, which runs contrary to international law and human rights, has made Tel Aviv more arrogant and more aggressive in pushing ahead with its illegal activities. In fact, the West has spoiled Israel.

If these countries, especially the U.S., really seek to heal the Palestinian wound they can put pressure on Tel Aviv to accept the UN Security Council resolutions and return the lands it occupied in the 1967 war.

In 1967 the United Nations Security Council voted for Resolution 242 calling for the exchange of land for peace. Again in 1973, the Security Council adopted Resolution 338 tasking Israel to withdraw from lands it had occupied.

Israel has rejected any proposal to end the conflict and has never really sought even a relative just peace. 

The land-for-peace initiative, known as Arab Peace Initiative, proposed in 2002 by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah was killed. However, the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon said it is non-starter. It could bring about a permanent resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. After the initiative was put forward, Sharon just tried to misuse the situation by offering to meet Abdullah, who was the Saudi Kingdom’s de-facto leader.

The initiative was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 at the Beirut Summit and re-endorsed at the 2007 and at the 2017 Arab League summits. 

It called for a full withdrawal by Israel from the occupied territories, a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee problem based on UN Resolution 194, and the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. 

The Arabs said they will recognize Israel if it accepts the initiative and returns to the pre-1967 borders.

Yet, each time Israel has effectively undermined the chances for peace.

Israel also killed the Oslo Accords which demanded that Israel withdraw from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and allow a self-governing, interim Palestinian authority be set up for a five-year transitional period. 

Also, the U.S., the European Union, Russia and the UN worked together as the Middle East Quartet to develop a road map to peace in 2003. While Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas accepted the text, Sharon rejected it. The timetable called for a final agreement on a two-state solution to be reached in 2005. 

Also, envoys from over 70 countries gathered in Paris in 2017 to discuss the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the discussions as “rigged” against Israel. 

If Israel had not been shown so much unquestionable support, it definitely could not have behaved so.  

As the people around the world were wishing an end to the conflict between Israel and Palestinians, President Donald Trump’s move in relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was like adding fuel to the fire. The move prompted Palestinian leader Abbas, who is known as a moderate and defends negotiations, to say that such measures “undermine all peace efforts.”

There seems no prospect for peace. In the recent war between Israel and Gaza, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visited Israel to express support for Israel. His visit was an example of open support for the spoiled Israel that kills every chance for peace and keeps Middle East unstable.

Maas is intelligent enough to know where the problem lies. He knows very well that if a solution is not found for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it will not be possible to imagine a halt in cycle of violence. However, such open support will not help achieve peace.

According to DW, while visiting Tel Aviv, Maas said, “We are convinced that a life in security and peace will only be possible in the long run if Israelis and Palestinians on both sides can live in self-determination.”

But will Berlin really push for such a policy or has its behavior ever shown such a thing?  

Maas and some other German politicians have heard or read in history books that some historians believe that the Second World War is rooted in the Treaty of Versailles in which the Allies imposed heavy penalties against Germany. 

History teaches us good lessons. Psychologically speaking, Maas knows that putting 2 million people in a cage in Gaza, forcibly evicting people from their houses in Jerusalem, annexing more lands in the West Bank, and treating them inhumanely will finally make them to explode. 

Greta Berlin, an American author, journalist and activist who now lives in Nice, France, has told the Tehran Times that Israel “can’t afford to alienate 7 million Palestinians living in Israel and the occupied territories.” 

The West has also been talking for many years of two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Again, feeling assured of firm support by the West, Israel has aborted any move to allow establishment of a Palestinian state. 

After speaking with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on May 23, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted, “It is incumbent upon all to build something more positive: Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve equal measures of opportunity, security, and dignity.”

But it is hard to believe remarks by Maas and Blinken are out of sincerity because successive governments in the U.S. and Germany have emboldened Israel in its illegal moves that are against international law and international humanitarian law. 

If it is really a matter of dignity it was highly expected that Maas and Blinken strongly condemn the forced eviction of Palestinian families from their houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. This time, in fact, it was mostly because of this eviction that clashes were reignited between Palestinians and Israel.

In the midst of the war between Palestinians and Israel, the Biden administration approved the sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel. This move was another concrete example that has made Israel aggressive and a proof that the West is not sincere in its slogans for peace.

The move by the Biden administration, which its approach is much better than Trump’s, even prompted protests by some House Democrats about the U.S. government’s support for the Israeli right-wing prime minister. They said the U.S. could not morally send American-made weapons to Israel at a time when it was carrying out airstrikes that killed civilians.

For decades the U.S. has provided Israel with highly advanced weapons, giving it a military edge over its neighbors. Germany has also been selling advanced weapons, including submarines, to Israel.

If such a policy is followed by the West, every moment we should expect an eruption of violence between Israel and Palestinians. Supporting sinister and treacherous hardliners like Netanyahu will only let the cycle of violence to persist.

*M.A. Saki is a political analyst

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