Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Netanyahu’s Notion and Palestine-Israel Conflict


Netanyahu’s Notion and  Palestine-Israel Conflict

The confident and rather explicit declaration of Netanyahu that does not compromise any settlement between Israel and Palestine, reached on the demarcation of boundary lines before 1967, stirred the calm lake of US-Israel relations to a further extent, as the first stone was already thrown by Obama himself. The Israeli Prime Minister, while addressing the congress members on Thursday, 24th May, called any concurrence based on the boundaries before 1967 as "Indefensible". This reaction was expected after the Obama's reference to the boundaries prior to 1967, including the disputed boundaries of the West Bank captured by Israel after Arab-Israel War, 44 years ago. Netanyahu's speech was the amalgam of concessions and conditions.

On some of the matters, which include Jewish settlement in the West Bank, he seems to be ready for concessions (as a result of these concessions the referred settlements will fall outside the Israeli borders). He even called the same concessions as "Painful Concessions" which he is ready to make only on the plea that these concessions are going to result in historical peace.

These concessions are painful, in his view, because as a result the Jewish settlers will have to give up their ancestral Jewish homeland. As a requisite to this concession he wants Palestine to recognize Israel as a Jewish Homeland and wants Western-backed Fatah's leader- the president of Palestine, Mehmoud Abbass to cancel his unity accord with Extremist group of Hamas, which he sees as a threat to peace process. Apart from these concessions and conditions, he pointed towards the strong and trustworthy relations between US and Israel and Israel's importance in the Middle East, as the only truly independent democratic state with no dependence on major powers for democratization and economic or military support and he also mentioned that Israel is not ready to share Jerusalem as a capital.

Netanyahu's stand stands in complete divergence with that of Obama, who thinks that any sort of peace settlement between Israel and Palestine has to be started from the discussion and agreements on the dispersion of boundaries prior to Six-Day War of June, 1967, which was fought between Israel and United Arab Republic that included Egypt, Jordan and Syria.  The war resulted in swift victory of Israel and as a result of the war Israel took effective control of Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and Golan Heights from Syria. The international interference and political developments that followed the war resulted in the UN's formulation of the Resolution 242 as the solution of the tussle over the boundaries and refugees.

The Resolution 242 clearly, demanded that the Israeli forces should vacate the territories they have occupied as a result of war albeit with certain controversies involved. The resolution could not be followed with its true interpretation, as the Israelis had always strings attached to their plea for agreement; and on certain occasions when Israel was ready to come to table the Arab World was divided on their decisions. The situation resulted in the division of Arab Unity, which also gave Israel a chance to deal with the concerned countries individually, which resulted in Camp David Accords of 1978 between Israel and Egypt resulting into partial recovery of territories by Egypt and further enraging the Arab World. Afterwards, the settlements made by the Jews in the occupied territories worsened the situation, with the international world rising to question such acts, immediately. And since then the situation has kept on deteriorating leaving many innocent people homeless and the victim of aggression, also risking the peace and order situation in the region. The statement of US President Obama seems to be in concurrence with the UN Resolution of 242, demanding Israel to vacate war-won territories and stop the controversial settlements. But, as the Israelis are pre-occupied with the notion of evolutionary changes in the political scenario they seem reluctant to go back to 1967.

The point of concern after the address of Netanyahu is the future of peace development in the region. Mahmoud Abbas has already rejected the conditions put forward by Netanyahu. He does not seem to be ready to come to table if Israel sticks to the same notion. The Congress has divided opinion regarding the address. There are few who believe that the conditions put forward may further prove to be hindrance in the peace process, while the statement of American President is yet to be made in this regard. The Arab World would definitely oppose any solution which would start with negotiations on the dispersion of boundaries after 1967, so will Iran.  

The conditions put forward by Netanyahu have to be analyzed properly before concluding results. They do not seem very lucid. The territories that they claim they are ready to sacrifice have not been demarcated clearly. Further, their reluctance to share Jerusalem is against the Muslim sentiments who also consider the place as sacred as Christians and Jews, and any sort of compromise will be difficult to be made by Palestine having enraged the Muslim world, who perceives the issue emotionally most of the times. And most importantly, their notion of post 1967 settlement is against the Resolution of United Nations Organization. But their emphasis on the role of Israel regarding democratization of the region is weighty and the peace-searching opinions also seem to incline towards their condition of urging Fatah to break connections with Hamas, which has been pursuing it objectives on the basis of aggression and exploitation of Muslim sentiments. In addition, Hamas is thought to be fulfilling the interests of the countries that are against Israel, instead of pursuing the interests of Palestinian Muslims. And, at the same time, it must be mentioned that it will be difficult for Palestine to win their bid of independent state in UN with Hamas on their side. Netanyahu's emphasis on Palestine to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is also rational. Both the countries can have peaceful future only if they accept each other's existence and respect the same, not necessarily on the conditions prescribed by Israel.

What is going to be the future of Palestine-Israel conflict is largely dependent on honest endeavors on the part of both Israel and Palestine on one hand and US on the other. The best way to solution is to follow United Nations Resolution and to go for the possibilities not the demands, and political exploitation of the issue. The statement from Obama seems to be a proper solution of the issue, but it is difficult to gauge the incentive behind the statement. No one can say for sure whether the statement was given with the complete honesty so as to solve the issue or it was given to gain the favor of European Allies as the statement came few days prior to his European visit. And it is also difficult to gauge the intentions of Netanyahu, causing ambiguity that whether he was aiming at proper solution of the issue or was just gaining the favor of Congress and Jewish bloc that can pressurize Obama for the re-election that has to take place in 2012. The same can be said of the intentions of the Arab World and other Muslim countries that seem to be thriving to solve the issue. Whosoever is a party in the conflict must keep one thing in consideration while pursuing its interests; human lives must not be risked for political objectives.

The writer is a new growing columnist of the daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at sherzai@outlookafghanistan.com

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