Israel and Gaza: Yesterday, today and tomorrowFeb 2, 2024
Veterans of Middle East affairs say wryly that anyone who claims to understand the Israel-Palestine conflict has been misinformed. This paper reviews the complex and emotionally fraught history of the Conflict; looks at 10/7 and Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza in retaliation, and then speculates on possible pathways to the conflict’s resolution that could amount to more than another truce in the endless cycle of violence.
As demanded by many critics of Israel, this Policy Brief has looked at the events of and since 7 October 2023 ‘in context’. Even by the standards of the blood-stained history of the Middle East conflict, the current war has uniquely savage roots and sequel. The paper agrees with the Israeli claim that the destruction of the military threat posed by Hamas and the dismantling of the Hamas political structures are a necessary condition for re-establishing some sort of a peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict. It parts company with the Netanyahu agenda, however, in arguing that to move beyond yet another armed truce until the next incident that provokes yet another even more brutal round of fighting is unacceptable. The heaviest costs are paid by innocent civilians on both sides, but disproportionately so by Palestinians. Israelis too must rein in the ideological extremists in their midst who dehumanise and ‘Other’ all Palestinians. They must dismantle some settlements in occupied territory, and engage in good faith negotiations that will entail some painful sacrifices in order to create a substantial stake for Palestinians in preserving their own state rather than aiming to destroy the state of Israel.