Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Israeli Palestinian Conflict - Violence Again?

The Israeli Palestinian conflict looks as an insolvable problem mainly because the conflict shifted from territory to religion, a process that was prompted by the six day war, when the liberation / occupation (depends whom you ask) of Jerusalem was highlighted by Jewish radical elements as a messianic sign of redemption (geula). As a long term result, radicals and hardliners have dominated more and more public opinion on both sides – Likud and religious parties in Israel and Hamas and Jihad in Gaza Strip and more and more in the West Bank whereas the more pragmatic political parties like Labor in Israel and Fatah on the other side are no longer on the front stage.

All this has led to an inevitable deadlock because of unsolvable fundamental disagreements between the sides, especially the Jerusalem issue.

As it looks now, it is not farfetched to assume that the following is necessary in order to reach peace.

1.    Wide scale violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians erupts, and as a result

2.    both parties shift to leaderships that are more pragmatic, and since the differences are still to big in order to reach some kind of peace agreement there will ensue an

3.    imposed peace by the US and the world.

The first stage was already implemented in the form of the first and second intifadas, and relatively pragmatic leaderships dominated politics on both sides for years and even a few almost successful negotiation attempts were made by Prime Ministers Olmert and Barak. However, the US and the world failed to intervene at those crucial points and impose a forced peace agreement. As a result, both sides are facing now the first stage again – violence, and I hope I am wrong.  

Julian Rubin

Published in the Jerusalem Report on February 11, 2013 in the Letters to the Editor section.