The Two Unchanging Impediments to Peace Between Israel and the Palestinians
To most Middle-East foreign policy experts, the current fighting between Israel and Palestinians is a predictable consequence of not addressing the two underlying impediments to peace. They haven't changed much in 30 or more years.
1. Hamas [The Islamic Resistance Movement] continues to offer the Palestinians in Gaza, and, to a lesser extent, the West Bank, a vision of "victory" that has absolutely no relationship to reality. They will not "liberate" Palestine from Israeli "occupation" and ensure the return of all refugees to their homes in the current Jewish state. Whatever the legal and moral arguments, it's not going to happen and promising that it will simply exacerbates the stalemate that leaves Palestinian people impoverished and homeless. Moreover, such arguments provide Benjamin Netanyahu and other conservative leaders a reason not to negotiate at all. They also make it more difficult for the United States and other western leaders to promote a comprehensive peace agreement leading to a [mostly] sovereign Palestinian state.
2. Israel has little incentive to abandon the status quo. The current stalemate is not perfect, of course, but it has allowed them to slowly absorb parts of the West Bank with "settlements" and, because of unwavering US support, escape most of the consequences of violating international law such as economic sanctions. Most Israeli citizens lament the plight of the Palestinian people but don't see a viable negotiating partner and recently the conflict hasn't even been a prominent issue in Israeli elections.
The Economist: "Israel’s military might, its erection of security barriers and its deployment of anti-missile defences mean that, for most Israelis, most of the time, the conflict is out of sight and out of mind. Relations with Palestinians barely featured as an issue in the four elections Israel has held in the past two years. The international outcry over the plight of Palestinians is unlikely to change this mindset. The latest fighting may show how the unjust treatment of the Palestinians stores up trouble. But even now, the endless occupation seems tolerable to many Israelis who have lost faith in peace."
There will be a cease fire in the coming days, but afterward, not much will change unless both of these impediments are addressed. But, after decades of conflict it's hard to be optimistic and the current conflict buoys hard-liners on both sides. Tragically, both Netanyahu and Hamas will experience a spike in popularity making dialog even more unlikely.
In the months ahead there will be a bit more scrutiny of the occupation and a renewed focus on conditions in Gaza but that will fade; just another tragedy in the ocean of human rights challenges worldwide.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content