In tracing the origins of the conflict we ask ourselves who is right between Israel and Palestine, but finding out will not lead to peace.
The Gaza Strip is a bloodbath, the scene of a real genocide, as claimed by United Nations experts. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Palestine is the fifteenth in the territory in over 70 years of conflicts and tensions that have never been resolved.
Between external interference and internal terrorist groups, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to claim lives: according to the latest toll, there are 1,400 Israelis dead, while there are 10,812 Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip since 7 October, including 4,412 children.
After the surprise attack by Hamas, on October 6, Israel made the state of war official, besieging Gaza with the definitive stop of electricity, gas, gasoline and food,
And if Iran, Hezbollah (Lebanon), and the Houthis (Yemen) openly declare their support for the Palestinian cause by attacking Israeli positions, Israel turns to the United States.
But in this war that has continued for over 70 years where is the reason? If the Israelis call for a fight against terrorism for the defense of their territory, the Palestinians call for a war of liberation against the oppressor .
The premises for finding an answer to this question are necessary: we are discussing a conflict that has its origins in the 20th century when the same nationalist, colonialist, and imperialist movements that have plagued Africa, the Middle East, and Asia took form. Here is everything you need to know about the reasons for Israel and Palestine and why finding an answer to this question won’t lead to peace.
Israeli-Palestinian conflict: what are Israel’s reasons?
Israel has been attacked by Hamas, a Palestinian, Islamist, Sunni, and fundamentalist political and paramilitary organization, considered a terrorist organization by numerous Western countries such as the United States, the European Union, Canada, Japan, and Israel; while the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand consider only the military wing a terrorist organization.
Despite having dismantled its colonies by evacuating the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel continued to control access by land, sea, imports, exports, and electricity (to name a few). In 2007, Hamas won the elections and its objective was to liberate Palestine, fighting Israel also through terrorist attacks: the founding charter of Hamas states that "there is no solution to the Palestinian question if not in the Jihad” prefiguring the existence of a Palestinian state in the absence of the Israeli one.
From this point of view Israel feels authorized to fight those who try to annihilate its existence, strengthening that nationalist Zionist and extremist rhetoric that sees the “Arabs” as hostile to Israel since the declaration of Israeli independence of 1948 and the divisions of the lands at the end of the British mandate, which led to the first Arab-Israeli conflicts. “The Arab "rejection" of the existence of Israel” - as Gian Paolo Calchi Novati writes - “is a fact”.
And if this is a fact, so is that he sees in the violent actions of the far-right government of President Netanyahu against the Palestinians the reasons for a greater hardening of public opinion, which is less and less willing to compromise. Suffice it to say that 2022 was the bloodiest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since the end of the Second Intifada (2000-2005) due to settler violence against Palestinians. Unfortunately, 2023, with the ongoing genocide, has now surpassed this macabre record.
Israeli-Palestinian conflict: what are Palestine’s reasons?
While Israel defends itself from terrorists, Palestine praises a war of liberation by embracing a partisan struggle. To analyze the reasons for Palestine, however, a premise must be made: Hamas is not Palestine nor its history, but a political and armed movement that draws strength from the frustration and abuses to which the Palestinians for decades.
Do Israel, Iran and Hamas have nuclear weapons?
In fact, the colonial project promoted by Zionism - recognized by the UN as a form of racism - was born in the 20th century and saw the British mandate at the end of the First World War as the opportunity to colonize Palestine. The geographical entity of Palestine (Arab, Christian, and Jewish) rose up in the 1930s against the UK, forcing the state to reduce Zionist emigration.
After the tragedy of the Holocaust, the “Arab refusal” of the birth of a state of Israel in an already inhabited land fueled - as Novati writes - the "Holocaust complex" and provided some arguments for the strategy of attack conducted by Israel in the “shadow of the shield offered by the United States”. He writes again in his essay Israel, Palestine and the right of self-determination:
This asymmetry has distorted the management of the Arab-Israeli question, always placing the burden of proving its own arguments on the Arabs and in particular on the Palestinians, as if Israel had the right to “defend itself” with all means.
This has allowed Israel over the years to perpetrate a real control of Palestine: Israel has occupied the Gaza Strip for 27 years, from 1967 to 1994. Despite the well-known Oslo agreements of ’93 and ’95 established a transfer of governmental authority for the Palestinians, Israel maintained control of airspace, territorial waters, maritime offshore access, population registers, the entry of foreigners, imports and exports, as well as the tax system.
As Professor Enrico Bartolomei writes in Zionism as settler colonialism. The redefinition of the discourse on Israel and Palestine, a logic of “Palestinian elimination” emerges which manifested itself through various forms:
- the creation of a separate and exclusive Jewish settlement during the Mandate period;
- the mass expulsion of natives from the land in 1948 and 1967;
- the physical destruction of the cultural heritage and the cancellation of every trace of the native presence;
- legal, physical, and spatial segregation;
- economic de-development policies;
- discriminatory and dehumanizing rhetoric and practices;
- the denial of the right to return of refugees after various conflicts;
- the brutal suppression of all forms of resistance.
And everything got worse with Hamas. Israel, which has never stopped controlling Palestine’s access to primary services and goods, issued an embargo with the interruption of electricity, fuel, and essential goods for long periods, as well as blocking exports, to the detriment of the health and education of Palestinian civilians. In the eyes of the Palestinians, therefore, the struggle is legitimized by the need to free themselves from the oppressor who for years has controlled their state and their lives, suffocating any revolt. In recent days there has been a video going around, dating back to last year, of a 12-year-old Palestinian girl being beaten by the Israeli police because she had expressed her dissent: in the eyes of the Palestinians, Israel is anything but a democratic state.
Here’s why asking who is right will not lead to a solution
And if everyone can draw their own conclusions, it is necessary to make one final note: establishing who is right in a century-old conflict will not lead to peace. In his book The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict James Gelvin analyzes how nationalist mechanisms and their narrative perpetuate patterns that will always lead to conflict. Israeli and Palestinian nationalism is based on the same mechanism composed of three acts:
- Highest peak of a people who lived in their own land (Palestine);
- The loss of one’s land: the tragedy (Holocaust) the exile (Palestinian diaspora);
- Return to the promised land either by divine will (Israel) or by reconquest (Palestine).
In any case the clash is inevitable. As Novati notes in his essay, nationalist narratives – such as those underlying Zionism and Palestinian nationalism – “present us with a distorted and incomplete rendering of history”. Between Israelis and Arabs, there is a distance in self-perception: Israel is “a besieged fortress”, Palestine is “an oppressed, dispersed and humiliated people”
If Israel recognized the rights of citizenship to the Palestinians of the West Bank, integrating Palestine, it would renounce the founding project of the Jewish State “even more so if birth rates are intended to reward the Arabs”; just as the division of lands (“Two peoples, two states”) would open up “a security problem” for Israel. Palestinian nationalism would also be forced to undergo a drastic “revision or reconversion from the creation of a binational or de-nationalized state”.
Israel and Palestine: the challenges of resolving a conflict
At the moment it seems that history is proving Ilan Pappé, author of Ten Myths About Israel, right, who called the two-state solution “a corpse”. But then, what is the solution?
For too long there has been debate about the rights or the wrongs of Arabs and Israelis from a historical perspective. Every country, if it looks at its past, is not willing to give up. Yet, this dramatic Israeli-Palestinian war sees post-colonial challenges at stake. The solution could be to reject the two-state solution and start again from “reappropriation”: decolonization. The relationship between Israelis and Palestinians must therefore be reformulated on a democratic basis.
Maybe Novati is right: “When the Palestinians free themselves from oppression, the Israelis will free themselves from their obsessions”. Before this, it is necessary to dismantle a certain type of nationalism that will continue to trigger cycles of endless wars. And at the moment the genocide is proving it: the asymmetry between the Palestinian and Israeli forces is evident. Not to mention that the continuous violence by Israeli settlers against the Palestinian civilian population risks causing a radicalization of the masses.
And it is precisely this asymmetry that Lucio Caracciolo, founder of Limes, focused on, explaining that this war will end “when Israel decides or when it has had enough”. But when will it have enough? When Palestine and the Palestinians will be erased as the current finance minister Bezalel Smotrich, sanctioned by the UN for incitement to genocide, hopes? In any case, until answers to post-colonial challenges are found, the conflicts will remain, and the attacks on Gaza will continue, and civilians will remain the only ones to pay the consequences.
Original article published on Money.it Italy 2023-11-09 23:17:44. Original title: Chi ha ragione tra Israele e Palestina: e perché questa domanda non risolverà il conflitto