Toward a tragic prognosis

Toward a tragic prognosis Featured

Fourth of a series

THE world has never been in a more precarious period than these days. The Middle East is about to blow up, with Israel and Hamas providing the fuse. And it is lit! Israel has invaded Gaza to destroy Hamas once and for all. Strangely, Hamas is strategically hidden in plain sight among the Palestinians. The annihilation of Hamas could result in the obliteration of Gaza and its people. And Hamas has the people's support. To recall, in the 2006 elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Hamas won the majority from the ruling Fatah, its rival wresting control of what passes off as Gaza's government. Since then, the militant Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip, while Fatah controls part of the West Bank.

Hamas is a terrorist group not so much by its deeds alone but by virtue of its designation as such by Israel, America, Canada, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom and the European countries; and four Muslim countries in the Middle East — Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In another context, Hamas is not designated as a terrorist by Iran and Qatar. Furthermore, Russia and China have engaged in diplomatic relations with Hamas, emphasizing the need for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both Russia and China have supported a two-state solution, recognizing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

In a recent development, Turkey, a NATO member, has President Erdogan proclaiming Israel as an occupier in Gaza, breaking away from the Western-influenced NATO mindset: "The main culprit behind the massacre unfolding in Gaza is the West ... I reiterate that Hamas is not a terrorist organization." (Dilara Senkaya/Reuters, Oct. 28, 2023)

He has called for an end to the Israeli occupation and advocated for a two-state solution, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. The lines are drawn between partisans of the Israel-Palestinian divide, except their standpoints are as convoluted as their alliances and geopolitical motivations.

Are there solutions?

The major guarantors for both sides have called for an immediate ceasefire, demanding Israel must abort its attack. A call for "ceasefire" has always been the default fallback to prevent the escalation and spreading of war and violence. Not America. It will continue obsessively to support Netanyahu's declaration for the Israel Defense Force's (IDF) total elimination of Hamas. President Biden curiously shied away from the conventional and fashioned an ambiguous verbiage — "humanitarian pause" — allowing food, water, medicine and fuel for hospital generators to be trucked into Gaza and allow hostages held by Hamas to be freed. For how long? Then what?

Skeptics caught on to Biden's pronouncements as a tacit acquiescence to Netanyahu's continued hardline position. The pause suggested by Biden plays to the global stage America's humanitarian face — and to both political hawks and doves during this American election season; and to paper over the Netanyahu government's criminal incompetence and intelligence failures allowing the October 7 debacle, while salvaging his image with his promise to the Jews to impose its own version of biblical retribution.

But these calls for ceasefires and pauses after brutal encounters since before Israel's independence in 1948 and through the devastating Six Day and Yom Kippur wars, intifadas, and deadly missile duels and skirmishes, and terrorist acts by both sides have always ended up with well-worn prescriptions. These phases, as proposed by the global community, are supposed to lead toward a final solution to the conflict.

The two-state solution

This original prescription, but reconfigured several times over, calls for the establishment of an independent, viable and economically vibrant Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel. The West Bank, sliced from Jordan, and Gaza, from Egypt, were the designated Palestinian-governed territories. The borders delineating Palestinian and Israeli territories are to be negotiated and access to and from each zone are permitted. Jerusalem, held sacred by three major world religions, was to have an internationally guaranteed special status and was renegotiated after Israel annexed the area after the 1967 war. All sides, including the international benefactors, were to help guarantee finding a solution for the Palestinian refugees displaced since 1948 and now condemned to live in decrepit camps, some in neighboring Arab countries, which don't welcome them.

In conjunction is the confidence-building measures, which could include prisoner exchanges and, in the current case, release of hostages taken during the October 7 deadly Hamas encroachments. A festering sore is the settlement expansion of Israelis on occupied Palestinian lands stamping a mark of permanency. To Israel, this is a sine qua non to its survival. These are to be halted. All these are directed toward creating an atmosphere of trust and encourage dialogue.

And last but not least is enhancing security cooperation by both sides, which is critical to countering terrorism. A drastic suggestion is sharing intelligence and coordinating efforts to dismantle terror networks, a long shot by far as Gaza's government is under Hamas. Any cooperation is predicated on a legitimate Palestinian government in Gaza rising from the ashes of Hamas that rejects terrorism. This is Israel's raison d'etre for Gaza's invasion, in effect allowing a moderate Palestinian government to emerge. A tall proposition as Israel "has been there, done that" during Arafat's PLO ascendancy. Israel abandoned Gaza in 2005, presaging the takeover of Hamas. Today could prove to be another cycle of unending violence, terrorism and war.

Is there a viable formula for peace?

There is none! Peace will not come to Palestine in our lifetime, but intermittent periods of belligerence and hiatus, and at best a perpetual state of non-war and non-peace. The causes are deeply rooted in biblical times, with religious undertones. I refer to the Jewish teachings on the concept of the "Ingathering of the Exiles" (Aliya) in the Hebrew Bible specifically in the Book of Isaiah (11:11-12). "In that day, the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people ... from the coastlands of the sea. He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."

The Talmud and various commentaries reinforced the belief that the Jews, the chosen of the God of Moses, will be pulled back from the diaspora and settled in the land of their ancestors, from whence the Messiah will eventually come.

The inhabitants of Palestine vehemently disavow the promise of the God of Moses and offer a narrative contrary to the Jews. From the Koran and Hadith, specifically in Surah Al-Ma'idah (5:21), which states, "O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you and do not turn back [from fighting in Allah's cause] and [thus] become losers." This verse is interpreted as a divine injunction to believers to inhabit and keep the Holy Land (Palestine).

These two monotheist religions have conflicting directives. Yahweh promised the Land of Canaan (Palestine) to the Jews; Allah gave it to the Muslims.

The two-state solution was a formula for disaster for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Ishmael.

Which brings us to the culprit of this wicked problem. Religion!000
Read 80 times Last modified on Thursday, 09 November 2023 00:53
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