Sarwar Jahan Chowdhury
In the Israel-Palestine crisis, not talking to Hamas, or not involving them in the peace initiative is something impractical
A Middle Eastern analyst said few years back: “If someone claims to have a quick solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he hasn’t understood the problem.” Ironically, this is both true and false. It takes a lot of study to grasp the crux of the issue – yet those, a lot of them actually – who have done it with some honesty can actually offer realistic solutions.
Whether politicians will buy that or not is a different issue altogether, because dishonesty is pervasive among politicians of both sides, especially on part of the strong.
Gaza has almost been levelled now, and looks like German ruins at the end of Second World War after the RAF bombing campaign, or Hiroshima after the nuclear strike. As usual, the Israel-US narrative starts from the middle of the story. They depict Israel, the only country established in modern times with unprecedented scriptural or historic claims and through hounding out the indigenous population with terror, as the victim, despite its unquestionable military supremacy in the region.
Present developments, history, and political geography of the region are well-known these days. The core issue, at this instance, is the hugely disproportionate Israeli reaction to the active resistance of Gazaites under the leadership of Hamas. Judeo-Christian links, especially between orthodox Jewish and American Christians are an important facet now. Christians believe in the returning of Jews to Palestine as a precursor to the reappearance of Christ.
It had been going on for quite some time now. Moreover, they nowadays have increased interest in Christian religious sites in the Middle East. Obviously, the Palestinians will have to keep the Christian sites open for religious Christians for pilgrimage purposes and also to have any chance to receive wider support for a Palestinian state.
Interestingly, Bethlehem is in PA territory, and PA has started celebrating Christmas in a sort of international way by receiving Christians from different parts of the world. PA President Mahmud Abbas and all senior leaders attend the main congregation in the Church of Nativity.
The political part is also complex. There is a long, protracted fight of arrogance, patience, and perseverance going on between Israel and Hamas. Both want to see themselves as the winner, demoralising the other in the longer run, instead of thinking of any immediate compromise.
Israel wants to break down all Arab resistance that questions (mostly for bargaining, hardly for any realistic possibility) Israel’s legitimacy, which of course is a big question mark, and a matter of another long debate.
It wants to have a perpetual strong upper hand in the final bargain, if any, and beyond. IDF and its precursors like Haganah and Irgun terrorist outfits have hounded out about 700,000 Palestinians, who are now about 3 million, from their home. They established a state, in a most unprecedented way in a historically contentious region, by bringing Jews from all over the world, and now they want peace and security for themselves without addressing the issues of the oppressed.
Liberal Jews like Albert Einstein, Hannah Ardent, and many more protested these Zionist terror acts around 1948 and beyond. Now, if Hamas fails to keep reminding the world about Palestine, the whole Palestinian issue will go to oblivion by the grand Israeli design. They perhaps learned a lesson from Fatah in the West Bank, whose non-pursuance of resistance as per Israeli condition in favour of calm has given them hardly anything solid.
Palestinians, by and large, would have accepted a demilitarised fair deal Palestine as per the unmistakable indications by Palestinian leadership, yet people like Netanyahu keeps inventing a false doomsday for Israel to promote chauvinism and jingoism. People like him are dishonest politicians.
Israel is already in possession of the Western Wall (Welling Wall) of the Temple Mount, yet they want the whole of the al-Aqsa mosque in their jurisdiction. The Jewish orthodoxy want all the pride of possession. What about the Muslim sites of Jerusalem for the Palestinians and the Muslims?
Of course, Hamas is a doubtful right-wing entity in the measure of moderate ideas, but that will have to be dealt with after doing justice to the Palestinians. Even Saudis, America’s best Arab friends, are more radical than Hamas. Can Hamas really be called a terrorist outfit when they are fighting for the cause of such a vividly oppressed community? Were the indigenous Indian heroes of the colonial era, like Bhagat Singh, Khudiram, and their bands of freedom fighters, terrorists in the final count?
In the Israel-Palestine crisis, not talking to Hamas, or not involving them in the peace initiative is something impractical. Hamas has its roots deep inside Gazaite society, and even Palestinian society to some reckonable degree, and has grown over the decades out of popular resistance.
It appears that Netanyahu and associates don’t want to give peace a chance, rather, continue to make up excuses to be in power riding on chauvinistic arrogance. They know Israel will always have the option to revert to a heavy hand if a genuine peace offer doesn’t work.
It’s difficult to foresee how a permanent solution can now be reached. Israeli conservatives have fallen into their own trap of impracticable conditions. Or, it’s more likely that this is a conscious yet mindless and habitual strategy of arrogance that they want to pursue. Only a powerful external thrust might have the potential of changing the scenario. But who can do that?