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The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and the International Burden

The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and the International Burden

Al-Nahar, Lebanon, May 21

Many Israeli historians are unanimous in their view that “had it not been for the British presence in Palestine after World War I, Israel would not have existed.” Similarly, had it not been for the American support to Israel in the years that followed the war, Israel would not have grown into the country it is today. These are two important historical facts to recognize. Newcomers who were backed by the maturity of Western industrial societies built Israel. They arrived in the region with the scientific knowledge that helped them build political institutions and establish a modern economy in an environment that had been predominantly agricultural prior to their arrival. Today, over seven decades later, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a crisis for both sides: on the Israeli side, because the country is becoming increasingly more racist and there are no political players left in sight who are willing to make peace; and on the Palestinian side, because the conflict has become a de facto religious war, to which modern Western societies have zero tolerance. Indeed, more and more Arab and Muslim voices across the region are finding solace in political Islam. And as countries like Iran and Turkey rally behind the people of Palestine, their ideologies become a source of hope for people whose rights have been usurped. Palestinians, too, feel like political Islam might be their last remaining hope. There’s no better evidence to this fact than the most recent Israeli elections, in which Israeli Arabs voted en masse for the United Arab List, which represents the Islamic Movement. The Palestinians and Israelis are at a stalemate. Israel has gone through several election cycles and is still unable to form a government. The Palestinians are split internally between the PLO and Hamas, which is considered a terror group by most international organizations. The weak international intervention in this round of fighting only made the situation on the ground worse. Without a clear end-game in mind, both the Israelis and the Palestinians fight until the bitter end. The question is whether or not this bloodbath will continue. This depends to a large degree on the international community: Will world powers push both sides to lay their weapons down and work to prevent the next crisis from happening? Or will Iran continue arming Hamas while the United States continues arming Israel? –Mohammed Al-Rumaihi (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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