Israel-Palestine Crisis: Why is It So Deadlocked?

Israel-Palestine crisis is one of the most complex political and humanitarian crises the world has ever seen. The Israeli Army bombs Hamas facilities in Gaza including residential areas and refugee camps. Rockets from both sides rained down, destroyed houses, killed civilian people night after night. Before the ceasefire, well over 254+ deaths including 65 children in Gaza Strip and Palestinian territories and 12 in Israel. 

The Israeli army is in command of the largest military operation since 2014, the operation “Guardian of the Walls”. The Israeli security cabinet ordered the expansion of the bombing against targets in the Gaza Strip. Until the mediators from Egypt have finally come to become successful in ceasefire negotiations with Israel and Hamas.

It is not just the Israeli government and the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip that are fighting each other. In Israel, there have been violent riots between citizens on the streets for days – Jewish mobs against Israeli Arab civilians, Arab mobs against Jewish civilians. Nine million people live in Israel, 21 percent of whom are Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. While Arabs were already living in such a horrible and hostile condition in Israeli territories, Prime Minister Netanyahu passed a constitution in 2018 that defines Israel as a nation of Jew which is outrageously undemocratic and a clear violation of human rights.

Since then, the situation in Israel and Palestine was somehow worsened. Street battles broke out especially in cities where Jewish and Arab neighbors live side by side. Peaceful protests by Israeli Arabs against the Gaza bombing turned into violence. Such violence is specifically provoked by anti-Arab groups including “Lehava” and “La Familia” and right-wing extremist Israeli Settlers. In a recent situation, in Bat Jam, an Arab was dragged out of his car and beaten to hospital maturity. A pregnant Arab woman suffered head wounds in Akko. Israeli men intentionally ran over Palestinians. Men with Israeli flags attacked a Palestinian car. Even Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin warned of civil war.

On the other hand, in response to the Zionist atrocities, Palestinians and Arab Israelis showed violent behaviors towards Jewish civilians. This is not actually the problem of the hour; the apartheid situation is going on since the birth of Israel. The illegal settlement in the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and West Bank, the militarization of the entire zone, and the brutal discrimination of the Arabs made the entire area hotbed for violence.

The logic of the hardliners on both sides continues to turn the spiral of violence – and the willingness to use violence penetrates ever deeper into the Israeli-Palestine crisis. The world leaders and United Nations have been trying to bring a peaceful solution to the table for more than half a century, yet there is no solution.

Why is the Israel-Palestine Crisis So deadlocked?

Israel Lacks Intention of Any Solution

The hardliners in Israel and the Gaza Strip have succeeded in mainstreaming their attitudes in the discourse on the crisis.

The Hamas movement, which came out as resistance against Israeli aggression has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2006. But Hamas remained pragmatic behind the scenes and quite ready to negotiate with Israel about everyday things such as the import of medicines, food, and goods. Because Israel has indeed withdrawn from the Gaza Strip but controls access to the coastal strip, two million Palestinians live on its 365 square kilometers. However, there were never any peace talks between Hamas and Israel.

On the other hand, The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), was in favor of a peace treaty with Israel. Because there has never been an independent Palestine since the first attempts during the Oslo Accords in 1993, PLO leader and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have little popular support. For fear of defeat by the radical Hamas, Abbas recently even postponed the long-overdue Palestinian elections.

According to popular behavior from Israeli politicians, they actually do not want any peace treaty rather than illegal occupation of the entire Palestinian land. Furthermore, this fact is open to everyone since Israel started occupying the Palestinian land.      

A Total Failure of Oslo Accord in 1993

After decades of crisis between Israel and Palestine, Oslo Accord gave a little hope to the Palestinian people and the world. But the promoters of the Zionist movement including the present Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.   

The Oslo Accord, almost 30 years ago became the great hope for reconciliation and peace for Palestinians, is today a dirty word on both sides. Israelis regard this peace initiative as naive, and Palestinians as fraud.

In 1993, the then Israeli prime minister, general, and head of the Labor Party, Yitzhak Rabin, went to great lengths to convince the Israelis – and himself – of a peace agreement with Yasser Arafat. Yitzhak was the only Israeli head of state who took some initiative to move with a peace process but Zionist. 

Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat during Oslo Accord signing in 1993

The PLO had been fighting for Palestinian rights against the Israeli since the 1967 Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But the story of mutual mistrust was interrupted at short notice because the conflicting parties, through the mediation of the Norwegian government and the patronage of US President Bill Clinton, saw an opportunity for reconciliation.

But after the murder of Yitzhak Rabin by a fanatical Israeli settler in 1995, Benjamin Netanyahu came to power in 1996. The right-wing Likud boss had rejected the peace process. Netanyahu paid lip service to the peace process for the next 25 years, over and over again. He remains in office since 2009 most probably because of his strong will to occupy entire Palestine. As the present government became more and more aggressive, the hope for the peace process sees no light.

On a further note, the ambivalence in Israeli society regarding the chances of peace with the Palestinians was quickly turned into rejection after Hamas started making movements with violent response to Israelis from 1994 onwards. The Second Intifada, which broke out after the collapse of the peace talks in Camp David at the turn of the millennium, finished the peace process. Though it is to believe that Israel would never come to an effective peace agreement even if there was no Intifada.

The positions with which a two-state solution could be possible have long been clarified. There are various concepts for border shifting to accommodate the Jewish majority in Israel. They also have plans for Jerusalem, which is sacred to both Arabs and Jews. Access to the holy places should therefore always be guaranteed for everyone. The Al-Aqsa Mosque has played an important role for both communities. Unfortunately, religion is sometimes used for national benefits and Jerusalem is still is a fuel of Israeli occupation. In the name of regaining the holy city, Israel continues occupying Jerusalem and for most of the Palestinians, those who have lived and practiced their faith in this place for thousand years became inaccessible. 

A lot believes that it could have stayed peaceful. But each side knows how to sabotage the chance for peace and quiet. Because there are actors on both sides who do not want reconciliation. An end to the conflict also means the end of a wish that has been in the back of many people’s heads on both sides: to get the whole country to themselves.

In my point of view, we cannot expect peaceful expression from people losing their ancestral land and being brutally discriminated against for over a half-century due to illegal Israeli ambition. And I would say that the situation will remain deadlock until there is Israeli intention for a peaceful settlement.

Religious Importance and the Rise of Religious Zionism  

The Palestinians have lived in a state of emergency since 1948. Around 700,000 Palestinians were displaced at the time, and many of them have been under Israeli occupation in the West Bank since 1967. But although there are large sections of the population who want nothing more than to be left alone, the conflict is heating up. The reasons for this are diverse. One that catches the eye is the intricate connection between religious zeal and territorial claims.

Since Jerusalem is the third most important place in Islam after Mecca and Medina, the holy city remains a political bone of contention. It is not only about the political attention in the Middle East but also a center of Palestinian people’s religious emotion that upholds their existence.

Israeli force attacking Palestinians in Al-Aqsa Mosque during prayer time

Hamas is recognized as a religious extremist group in Palestine fighting to end Jews. But those who believe in Palestinian rights, Hamas is a resistance towards Israeli occupation. As a matter of fact, Israel is aligned with extremist groups. To the chagrin of the Israeli domestic secret service Shin Bet, the Israeli government is not acting tough enough against its own violent fanatics. Since the murder of Yitzhak Rabin by an Israeli settler in 1995, the movement has grown in membership, but also in power. Today there are seven representatives of the right-wing extremist settler movement in parliament.

The acting MP Itamar Ben Gvir is the leader of “Religious Zionists” an extremist group that opened a “parliamentary office” last week in the Arab district of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. It is a demonstrative act of support for settlers who want to drive Palestinian families out of this Arab district. Anyone who can prove that a house was owned by Jews before 1948 can reclaim it under Israeli law. Conversely, for Palestinians, this does not apply to lost property in Israel.

In Sheikh Jarrah, Ben Gvir stood next to the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Arieh King as part of a protest when he called out to a Palestinian activist: “It’s a shame the bullet didn’t hit you in the forehead.” (Source: Twitter)

In the whole world, Israel might be the only nation with laws that legalizes double standard. And in this type of judicial hypocrisy, the peace process cannot go further.      

Continuation of Illegal Settlements

Israel’s colonial mindset and the ongoing settlements in Palestinian territories is a war crime. Due to that everlasting oppression, Palestinian people became aggressive.

The recently ended armed conflict 2021 was triggered by the eviction of 6 families by the Israeli supreme court from Sheikh Jarrah. To protest against the settlement Palestinians approached with a peaceful rally on 6 May in the occupied East Jerusalem which was brutally vandalized by Israeli forces. The Israeli police force stormed the Al-Aqsa compound and they used tear-gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades on innocent Palestinians while they were praying. In response to that attack, Hamas started firing rockets toward Israel and there you go, Israel got another chance to destroy and displace the already suppressed and oppressed Palestinians. After 10 days of military strikes, Israel came to negotiate for a ceasefire.

In 2014 took place another major Israeli brutality, in which the Israeli government tried to dismantle the Hamas structures in Gaza and ended up killing thousands of Palestinian civilians. It all began after the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli religious students in front of an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. That was an inhuman incident by Hamas. On a similar note, kidnapping and murdering of Palestinians by the Israeli forces sanctioned by the government takes place all year round and goes without any justification. In response to that Hamas brutality, more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in the seven-week military strike, including many civilians and children. Israel lamented 64 dead soldiers.

Every conflict is being triggered by the settlement issue and the eviction of Palestinian families from their own homes. The settlement is taking place backed by a hilarious Israeli law that allows Non-Arab Jewish to claim any Palestinian house owned by their ancestors even if that was 2 thousand years ago. And this law can only be applied by Israeli settlers to Palestinians.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtajjeh said in an interview “Israel commits war crimes in Gaza.” According to Amnesty International, the Israeli government and law enforcement are violating all human rights by demolition and settlement. They have been forcefully displacing people from occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. “Israel continued to discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in areas of planning, budget allocation, policing and political participation.” The report says.

There are several cases being investigated by The Hague International Criminal Court regarding the last war in 2014. And now the 2021 war triggered by the illegal eviction of 6 households should also be considered for investigation.  

The Israeli government is not the only party committing war crimes, Hamas is also partly involved in a war crime.” Well-founded suspicion for crimes, “it said in an indictment in March 2021 give it to” members of the Israeli army, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups. ” By far Amnesty International has accused both sides of war crimes.

But Israel rejects any kind of investigation from the Hague. As a matter of fact, the International criminal court is just a joke to the Israeli Government. It does not have any jurisdiction over Israeli human rights violations or any war crimes. In the meantime, Israel has annexed East Jerusalem, but this is not recognized internationally.

In addition to the already devastating situation, there is one more thing. The International Criminal Court does not recognize the Israeli settlements as landscaping. Since the beginning of the Israeli settler movement after the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, the settlers’ villages have grown into cities. In addition to 2.7 million Palestinians, there are also around 600,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem which is a colonial intent that we cannot deny.

A Palestinian is showing her home occupied by Israeli settler

According to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, “direct or indirect transfer of part of their own civilian population by the occupying power to the territory they occupy” is a war crime. Israel, therefore, is continuously mocking the world and committing a war crime.

Lack of Effective International Effort   

The whole world observes the frightened Palestinian civilians, and heads of state from all over the world have been discussing moderation of the Israel-Palestine crisis but so far without success.

The US has always been in support of the pro-Israeli Zionist movement in order to keep its interest in the region. Under Bill Clinton, the Americans worked for a peaceful settlement in the 1990s. But that did not see any light. In 1995 the murder of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin killed every hope that could moderate the apartheid situation for Palestine.

Every time when there was a UN resolution to bring a solution to the Israel-Palestine crisis, the United States of America used veto power to prevent peace resolution. Until now it has used veto power 43 times in order to contain its own benefits in the region. So, the US could be seen as one of the nations the sanctioned the apartheid.

The former US President Donald Trump stood for pro-Israel provocations such as the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And the newly elected Joe Biden shows no desire to burn his fingers for the time being and confessed to Israel first of all “the right to self-defense”. Talking of Joe Biden, he remains one of the greatest supporters of the Pro-Israeli government since the beginning of his political career. Therefore, there will be no end to the deadlock.

All other international mediators such as the EU or the United Nations have long since stopped being welcomed by the Israeli government. Israel does not allow international peacekeeping forces on Israeli soil. And it is possible because of the hypocritical American politics that is continuously destroying the peace in the whole world.

Decline of Peace Now, the Left-Wing Israeli Initiative

“Shalom Arshaw” (“Peace Now”), was developed with Meretz, the left-wing Israeli political party. They had a strong position in the Knesset but have lost more and more power since the 1990s. With the will of the initiative, many ideas for a peaceful settlement of the conflict were developed and tested. But not a single one has withstood the reality of the apartheid situation. Those who tried to make peace, like Yitzhak Rabin, were killed or, like Shimon Peres, voted out of office.

Peace Now Movement (Source: Peace Now)

The warmongers, on the other hand, benefit from any escalation of the war, such as 2014 and the recent 2021. Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is getting even more support from the Zionist majority. Though opponents were hoping to replace him with a new coalition supported by Israeli- Arab parties, and that is not just happening. 

The right-wing extremist settler movement in Israel got stronger. Besides the participation of the Palestinian Israelis in the political process has also grown. Now there have been 14 Arab MPs in the Knesset since the March elections. However, participation is apparently not helping the peace process. The “United Arab List” has frozen coalition negotiations. The party leader of “Jamina” (“Right”), Naftali Bennett, has already announced that he would prefer to negotiate with the current Prime Minister Netanyahu.

At the end of all theories, Netanyahu could emerge as the “guardian of the walls” from the recent attacks on Palestine and may remain the head of government despite lawsuits over allegations of corruption. If he remains in power, there is no hope to see any peace negotiation. On the other hand, Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups will also want to claim victory as defenders of Jerusalem and Palestine. So, the “Peace now” will remain on hold. 

The entire world is desperately waiting to see a peaceful negotiation between Israel and Palestine. But the above-discussed issues are the potential reasons that indicate we may not see any solution in coming decades until the Palestinians are completely displaced or eradicated and living somewhere else as a refuge. There could have been a hope of solution if Israel did not violate international law and stopped illegal settlement. Maybe the world could have prevented the Zionist Genocide and the extreme apartheid if US foreign policies were in favor of human rights.

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