India, the United States, and several other countries have expressed their concern amid escalating tensions and violence between Israel and Palestine militants. Loads of people have been killed brutally in conflicts and airstrikes since the violence broke out. It famously included a 30-year-old Indian woman living in Israel who was killed in a rocket attack by Palestinian militants from Gaza.
At the UN Security meeting, India expressed its deep concern at the clashes happening in Jerusalem and called on both sides to avoid changing the status-quo on the ground. India emphasised the need to immediately resume direct peace talks and commitment to a two-state solution.
India On The Issue-
In Aizawl in 1966, India had used air power against its own citizens. It had taken next 20 years of cooperation to end that mutiny in Mizoram. Lesson India learnt in its ending of insurgencies that security ‘muscularity’ is a must, but when used in isolation, it fails.
Importantly, the current chaos was initiated by Israel and not Hamas. It included threatening to evict Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood to make way for the illegal Jewish resettlement to heavy-handed policing (using stun grenades and CS gas) during Ramadan in the Al-Aqsa mosque.
The death count was of six Israeli fatalities over 80 Palestinian fatalities initially. It is self-explanatory that Gaza is facing the brunt in the face of a disproportionate show of strength.
US Take On The Conflict-
The US President had also showed empathy towards the violence. Thus, suggested to de-escalate deadly violence that has claimed dozens of lives. However, the US added that Israel has a right to defend itself if they had been attacked. Additionally, the US is intentionally preventing the meeting taking place at the UNSC for Palestinian cause and completely recognises the rights of Israelis to defend themselves.
The US President recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s de facto capital also became a major problem. The US, under President Joe Biden, does not have much leverage on Israel, unlike the US under Donald Trump who clearly supported Israel. They are trying to be more even handed.
Israel – Palestine Conflict
The conflict is actually an age-old tussle over identity and land starting with Jerusalem. In the first Arab Israel war of 1948, the Israelis captured the western half of the city, and Jordan took the eastern part which Israel. Since then, Israel has expanded settlements in East Jerusalem. The Palestinians want to make East Jerusalem the capital of their yet to be formed state.
However, Israel looks at the whole city as its “unified, eternal capital”, whereas the Palestinians want no compromise unless East Jerusalem is recognized as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
The Palestinians are facing the threat of eviction from Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in east Jerusalem. Their land is to be given to the Jewish settlers. Also, earlier this year (2021), the Central Court in East Jerusalem upheld a decision to evict four Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in favor of Jewish settlers. Whatsoever, the issue remained unsolved. The current outbreak of violence is the most severe incidence since 2014. It is because of the rocket-firing by the Palestinians and the airstrikes conducted by Israelis.
Factors Triggering the Conflict-
•Hamas in Rule in Palestine: Hamas, found in 1987, is a violent offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood seeking “to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine” through violent jihad.
•The Palestinian President is quite old age and hence he is unable to fight for the cause. So, Hamas is the more radical faction of the Palestinians which has now started retaliating. The so-called president authority of Palestine is neither conducting elections nor functioning properly, the dictatorship of the Hamas and Israeli seizure of territories and limitations is aggravating the Palestinians.
•Political Instability in Both the States: There is incapability and immobility in the leadership structures on both sides thus leading to too many groups getting out of control, who are resorting to maximum violence. Moreover, Israel has had 4 elections in the last two years and all of them were inconclusive.
•Issues with the Palestinian People: The ground sentiments of the Palestinians are also changing, the majority of them saying they do not want a two-state solution. It is also not decided if Hamas will rule over the Palestinian state or the Fatah or neither of these.
•The Palestinians have been divided in the Hamas and the Fatah. Both are moving on the different tracks which is the main reason for the defeat of the ultimate Palestinian cause.
•They are geographically separated by Israeli territory so it is not a viable state anymore, plus, the land going into the Jewish hands is further aggravating the Palestinians.
•Change the Leadership: The leadership and generational change in politics of the two States are really very crucial. Both the Israeli and Palestinian Prime Ministers ideally should step aside and should not hold the domestic survival politics for power. There is hope for the newer generation to come and rethink a two-state solution. Also, bringing Hamas into moderation is much required.
•Preventing Disproportionate Retaliation: There has to be a certain extent for both the states up to which they can retaliate, disproportionate use of force is not a solution, it will only create more terrorism and extremism.
•Another best thing to do is the role by the Regional Players: The regional players like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE possibly have a better pathway for peace talk than the US. Qatar and Egypt are already working closely to bring peace.
•India’s role in the conflict is to promote peace talks for stability to come in the region and ending this decades-old conflict. As the country has close relationships with both the states and it supports Palestine but choosing one over the other is not wise.
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