Can we talk about a "Palestinian state" that is capable of being recognized? Or is it rather an artifice destined to become a new failed state in a region where there are already too many? Will it become another state where the most extreme ideologies would be funded and legitimized? A new site for soldiers to travel to on international missions?
The individual stories are tragically too many to recount in one short article. Those lucky enough to survive this latest assault on Gaza have returned to rubble; the loss of loved ones compounded by the destruction of homes, family heirlooms, photographs and memories. Israel has the power to put an end to its occupation of Palestinian land. Only then can Palestinians and Israelis live side by side in peace and security.
With an indefinite ceasefire now agreed upon, there is an urgent need for a new strategy that will be aimed at ending the Hamas stranglehold on Gaza, substantially increase the role of the Palestinian Authority there, and enhance the prospects for progress in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Here are eleven ways to develop that strategy.
Pundits who attribute the current war between Israel and the Palestinians to a changing Middle East landscape caused by Iran and its 1979 Revolution ignore the most important factors contributing to the present horrible situation, namely, the changed political landscape in Israel, and Israel's immunity from international laws.
It's hard to shake away the utterly depressing feeling that comes with news coverage these days. IDF and Hamas are at it again, a vicious cycle of violence, but this time it feels much more intense. While war rages on the ground in Gaza and across Israeli skies, there's an all-out information war unraveling in social networked spaces.
Contrary to what Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu believes, the main existential threat facing the country is not a nuclear-armed Iran. The real peril is to be found at home: the corrosive effect of the Palestinian problem on Israel's international standing. The devastation caused by Israel's periodic asymmetrical confrontations, combined with the continuing occupation of Palestinian lands and the ever-growing expansion of settlements, has fueled a growing campaign to undermine Israel's legitimacy.
It is neither in Israel's nor in Hamas' interest to start a new war. The latter now has the means to strike Tel Aviv, and Netanyahu would struggle to survive politically if the heart of the Jewish state were badly hit. As for Hamas, it is already in dire straits. Gaza has been subjected to an Israeli blockade for seven years, and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's Egypt tightened the grip further by destroying the hundreds of smuggling tunnels that were the economical lifeline for the 1.7 million Gazans.
Once Palestine joins the ICC, the court's jurisdiction will provide coverage against human rights violations in the Palestinian territories, regardless of whether the source of such violations is Israel or the PA itself. In other words, this will establish a foundation for the prevalence of the rule of law in the Palestinian territories.
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that have been in the works for nearly two decades are back to square one. There are many reasons for the failure of the negotiations, but one of the key reasons is that Israel has moved the goalposts. In the past negotiations between the two sides, the most important demand of Israel was for the Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist. But the hardline government of Benjamin Netanyahu is now demanding that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.