By Abdulrasheed Akogun
The picture of a wheelchair-ridden Palestinian man at the frontlines of the Israel-Palestine conflict is both saddening and infuriating. For decades, the people of Palestine have had to endure the occupation of their pre-1947 territory by Israel, resulting in untold suffering, displacement, and loss of lives. It is high time that the world’s conscience comes together to find a lasting solution to this issue, one that guarantees justice and peace for both sides.
The International Community and World super powers must all recognize that the current approach to the Palestine-Israel issue has never worked and has no faintest chances of working. The conflict has gone on for too long, and the suffering on both sides is staggering. It is only through a collective effort that a lasting solution can be achieved. The main focus should be on ending the occupation and ensuring that all parties’ basic rights are protected.
It is important to note that the history of the region now known as the Middle East is a complex one, with a rich and diverse tapestry of cultural, religious, and political influences.
It is therefore simplistic and reductionist to suggest that the solution to the ongoing conflict lies solely in the implementation of the pre-1947 map. This postulation as being canvassed by a section of the Arab world is realistically impracticable.
The pre-1947 map of the region shows a region that was largely defined by colonial powers and the interests of foreign governments, with little regard for the wishes or aspirations of the people who actually lived there.
It must however be established that the issue of an Israeli State, as is known today, is one that is relatively recent in the history of the region. Prior to the partitioning of Palestine by the UN in 1947, there was no recognized State of Israel, and the land was home to a diverse population of Arabs, Jews, Christians, and others.
The colonial legacy of the region, particularly in terms of the establishment of the state of Israel, cannot be ignored in any discussion of the conflict. The displacement of millions of Palestinians and the ongoing occupation and settlement of Palestinian territories by Israeli forces are among the key factors that contribute to the ongoing strife and violence in the region.
However, it is essential to acknowledge and respect the multiplicity of voices and perspectives that exist within and beyond the region. There is no single solution to the conflict, and any viable resolution will require meaningful engagement and dialogue between all parties involved.
Israel and Palestine lay claim to the disputed territory by relying on scriptural prophecies. Israel points to Old Testament scriptures that establish their right to the land, specifically, the covenant made with Abraham and the eventual possession of the land by the descendants of Israel. Palestinians, on the other hand, refer to the Qur’an which mentions the importance of Jerusalem as a holy city for Muslims.
The contradiction arises because while both groups cite religious scriptures to justify their claims, they have fundamentally different interpretations of how that claim should be implemented. Israel equates their territorial claim with their religious identity, thereby making it almost impossible for them to share the land with Palestinians. At the same time, Palestinians’ religious beliefs suggest that the land was bestowed on Muslims and that it should not be shared with non-Muslims.
The over-reliance on scriptural prophecies of the Bible and Qur’an in the conflict has only fueled more tension between the two groups. Rather than finding a way to live together peacefully, Israelis and Palestinians have been locked in a perpetual cycle of violence, retaliation, and counter-retaliation. The many peace initiatives proposed over the years have failed mainly due to the religious differences and beliefs of the two groups.
*KEY INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITIES*
International politics and international communities like France, US, UN, EU, Britain, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Egypt, Oman, Jordan, UAE, Syria, Libya are playing significant roles in perpetuating and fueling the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Their roles can be outlined as follows:
1. United States: The United States is a major player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The US has been a long-standing ally of Israel and has provided Israel with military and financial assistance. The US has been instrumental in shaping the peace process, including the Oslo Accords, the Camp David Summit, and the Annapolis Conference. However, the US has also been criticized for its one-sided support for Israel and its failure to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law.
2. United Nations (UN): The UN has played a crucial role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, particularly in initiating the peace process. The UN has established several resolutions, including Security Council Resolution 242 and 338, which call for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories and for a just and lasting peace based on the principles of international law. However, the UN has also been criticized for its inability to implement its resolutions and to hold Israel accountable for its violations.
3. European Union (EU): The EU has been involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through its support for the peace process and its financial assistance to the Palestinians. The EU has also maintained a critical position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which it views as illegal under international law. However, the EU has also been criticized for its inability to bring about meaningful change in the conflict and for its lack of political will to hold Israel accountable.
4. Russia: Russia has been involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through its support for the peace process and its diplomatic efforts to bring the parties to the negotiating table. However, Russia has also been criticized for its one-sided support for the Palestinians and for its role in providing arms to Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by many countries.
5. Iran: Iran has been involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through its support for Hamas and other Palestinian groups. Iran has provided financial and military assistance to Hamas, which has been used to carry out attacks against Israel. Iran has also been critical of the peace process and has called for the destruction of Israel.
6. Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia has been involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through its financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority and its support for the peace process. However, Saudi Arabia has also been criticized for its lack of support for the Palestinian cause and for its normalization of relations with Israel.
7. Egypt: Egypt has been involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through its efforts to broker peace agreements between the parties. Egypt has also played a key role in maintaining the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. However, Egypt has also been criticized for its lack of support for the Palestinian cause and for its close relations with Israel.
8. Oman: Oman has played a limited role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but has been involved in diplomatic efforts to bring about peace in the region.
9. Jordan: Jordan has been involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through its support for the peace process and its hosting of Palestinian refugees. Jordan has also maintained a critical position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. However, Jordan has also been criticized for its lack of support for the Palestinian cause and its close relations with Israel.
10. UAE: The UAE has played a limited role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but has been involved in recent normalization talks with Israel, which have been criticized by many as undermining the Palestinian cause.
11. Syria: Syria has been involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through its support for Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Syria has also been critical of the peace process and has called for the destruction of Israel.
12. Libya: Libya has played a limited role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but has been involved in diplomatic efforts to bring about peace in the region.
*THE WAY OUT*
It is regrettably saddening that the pursuit of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East has become a matter of political ideology, with accusations of anti-Zionism and other such labels being thrown around as some sort of debate-ending insult. In reality, the issues at stake are far more complex than mere labels or slogans, and it is only by engaging in open and meaningful dialogue that we can hope to find a solution that respects the rights and dignity of all those who call the region home.
One solution that can be explored is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with the 1967 borders. This approach will allow the Palestinians to have a land of their own, free from the occupation, and with full autonomy. The creation of an independent Palestinian state with the 1967 border will also foster regional stability, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace.
Another solution is a non-violent resistance by the Palestinian people aimed at peacefully pushing back Israeli forces from their land. This can be achieved through peaceful protests and demonstrations to bring the world’s attention to their plight. The non-violent approach, coupled with international diplomatic pressure on Israel, may compel Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories.
The United Nations must also hold Israel accountable for its actions in Palestine. Israel’s continued expansion into Palestinian territory, the building of illegal settlements, and the use of excessive force against Palestinian civilians must be condemned in the strongest terms possible. The UN should impose economic and political sanctions on Israel until it complies with the international law on the rights of the Palestinian people.
The provisions of military aid to Isreal/Hamas through US/EU/Russia and the rest must stop. The aid given to Israel has perpetuated the occupation and the violation of the Palestinian people’s rights, while the aid given to Hamas has led to unexplainable attack on Isreali civilians. Instead all interested International communities countries should invest in education, healthcare, and infrastructure development in the disputed territory to promote sustainable growth and peace in the region.
In the same vein, both Israel and Palestine need to adopt a more pragmatic and secular approach. A willingness to compromise, respect for human dignity and the rule of law must take precedence over religious disputes. The international community must encourage both groups to set aside their religious differences and reframe the conflict as political and territorial and seek a two-state solution. This solution must guarantee the safety and security of both Israelis and Palestinians while making sure that the land belongs to both groups and that they share in its future prosperity.
Every human of conscience must rise and call for a resolution to this decades-long conflict.
_Abdulrasheed Akogun is a Journalist, Public Affairs Analyst and Good governance advocate, he can be reached via [email protected]_