Two-state solution needs to be done to avoid more bloodshed - GulfToday

Two-state solution needs to be done to avoid more bloodshed

Michael Jansen

The author, a well-respected observer of Middle East affairs, has three books on the Arab-Israeli conflict.


Mahmoud Abbas. File

Palestinian support for armed resistance against Israel’s 57-year occupation has risen from 46 to 54 per cent in three months, according to the latest opinion poll conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (PSR).

The detailed survey carried out in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between May 26th and June 1st, 2024, shows that the majority of Palestinians no longer have faith in negotiations with Israel as there has been no progress in decades toward the internationally mandated two-state solution. Instead, there has been Israeli expro-priation of Palestinian land, settlement expansion and warfare.

The poll shows that Palestinians remain resilient during Israel’s unprecedented military campaigns in bombed, besieged, and blockaded Gaza and the reinvaded West Bank. Palestinians know resilience is only option if they are to remain a nation in their Israeli-occupied and colonised homeland. The poll reveals that around 80 per cent of Gazans have suffered the death or injury of a relative during Israel’s eight-month war. Nearly two-thirds of Gazans hold Israel responsible for their suffering, most others accuse the US, and only 8 per cent blames Hamas.

Two-thirds of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank back Hamas’ October 7th attack on southern Israel and nearly 80 per cent believes the operation has projected Palestine onto the global agenda after decades of neglect and inaction. Almost all accuse Israel of committing war crimes and 90 per cent do not believe Hamas has done so. Most do not believe if the International Criminal Court issues warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, arrests will be carried out but argue that warrants could contribute to a permanent ceasefire. Only 48 per cent of Gazans expect Hamas to win the war, a decrease of 8 per cent compared to the finding three months ago. Few in the West Bank see Hamas as the winner. Two-thirds overall agree with Hamas’ decision to accept a ceasefire.

Forty-six per cent of Gazans and 62 per cent of West Bankers believe Hamas will control Gaza after the war. Four per cent think the Israeli army will rule while 11 per cent believes that a reformed Palestinian Authority (PA) with an elected president, parliament, and government will be in control. Few think the current PA with or without President Mahmoud Abbas will be in charge. Demands are rising for his resignation while the popularity of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Israeli imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti is increasing. Only 32 per cent supports while 65 opposes the two-state solution; 61 per cent believes it is no longer feasible.

Palestinians are correct in their belief that Israel’s war on Gaza has returned Palestine to the top of the interna-tional agenda despite efforts by the US and its Western allies to give priority to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Israel’s systematic transformation of bullied, battered and blasted Gaza into a wasteland is the most watched war in world history thanks to satellite television. Global channels Al-Jazeera, CNN, and BBC give this deadly and tragic process daily coverage and interview commentators, including directors of humanitarian agencies and dissident Israelis, most of whom condemn Israel.

The weight of condemnation has become an unacceptable burden to Israel. Since its war of establishment 76 years ago. Israel has enjoyed immunity from criticism and freedom from accountability because of Western guilt over centuries of persecution and the Nazi massacre of Jews during World War II. Israeli commentators have expressed alarm over the loss of these all-important assets in the eight months since the Netanyahu government launched its war on Gaza and stepped-up repression of Palestinians in the West Bank where 500 have been killed and more than 2,000 arrested swelling the number of Imprisoned Palestinians to 9,000.

Last week the UN Commission of Inquiry issued separate reports on crimes committed by Hamas and Israel from October 7th through the end of December last year. The first 59- page report covered the raid on southern Israel carried out by Hamas which killed 1,139 and abducted 250 while the second 126-page document, focused on Israel’s war on Gaza which slew 37,000, injured 82,000, and disappeared 8,000-10,000 beneath the rubble of homes and hospitals. The crimes allegedly committed included kidnapping, murder, torture, inhuman and cruel treatment. The Commission also charged Israel with using starvation as a means of conducting war, blocking shelter, water, food and medicine for Gazans and preventing “the supply of those necessities by anyone else.”

The Commission stated, “The immense numbers of civilian casualties in Gaza and widespread destruction of civilian objects and infrastructure were the inevitable result of a strategy undertaken with intent to cause maximum damage, disregarding the principles of distinction, proportionality and adequate precautions” to protect civilians and civilian objects. Palestinian men and boys are subjected to humiliation and gender persecution by being forced to strip off their clothes in public. The findings will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and General Assembly this week.

The Commission, headed by Navi Pillay, was established in 2021 by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate violations in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Ex-UN human rights chief Pillay, a South African jurist, has been accused of bias against Israel. In 2022, she issued a report which determined that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is illegal under international law. During their meeting in Italy last week, the Group of Seven (G7), leaders addressed the situation in Gaza and the West Bank. While typically reaffirming Israel’s right to defend itself, they argued that Israel’s actions must conform to international law although Israel has ignored international law from day one in its Gaza war. In the 10 paragraphs devoted to Gaza in the G7 communique there is no action plan for using the group’s considerable leverage on Israel to secure an end to the Gaza war. The US continues to arm and support Israel and the European Union, Israel’s main commercial partner, continues to trade normally with Israel. Instead, they muster will, money and arms for Ukraine to fight a losing war against Russia.

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