By Bharat Vasudevan
The issue of creating peace between Israel and the Palestinians must be looked upon realistically. With so many Palestinians in Diaspora, it is impossible to neglect any of the important issues. The three main issues are The Right of Return, how much land will be given to the Palestinians for their own state (if a state is to be established), and who controls Jerusalem. The majority of the Palestinians do not live in Israel proper or the West Bank and Gaza strip, but in the surrounding Arab countries.
From the view of the Palestinians, they were wrongfully ejected from their land. If the Jews suffered so much under European rule, then why not give them a place in Europe, or make Germany and even Russia pay reparations for their executions? Why must Arab land be given to people who are mostly seen as Europeans? To them, they have had their holocaust and no one has given them reparations.
It must also be noted that there is a civil war within the Palestinians. There are groups that are willing to live with Israel, and there groups that want to destroy Israel. The party of Fatah and the party of Hamas have gone to war with each other in dispute as to how the Palestinian cause should continue. It must also be known that members in terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas are Palestinians that use to live in Israel proper. They demand the destruction of Israel by any means necessary.
From the Israeli point of view, they not only have a right to live there, they acquired the West Bank and Gaza in a war against them. It was Israel’s actions that led to UN Resolution 242, which they did not have to do. If Israel could have peaceful relations, then the territory will be returned. This was true in terms of dealing with Egypt in giving back the Sinai. With the Palestinians, the Israelis do not see a peaceful recognition from the Palestinians, and feel they should not make concessions. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza, Hamas came into power, and since then have been conducting violent strikes against Israel. This only confirms Israelis fears, that the Palestinians are not ready to recognize Israel, and that any land given to the Palestinians is just temporary until they finally gain the whole region. Israel has also stated clearly that there will be no right of return. If a Palestinian state is to be made, why should Palestinians move to Israel, instead of their new Palestinian state?
There is another situation. With the rising birth rate of the Arab population in Israel, Israelis feel they will not be the majority, and that having a two state solution is necessary. There are Israelis who would like to make a Palestinian state and remove the current Arab Israelis to that state so that they would ensure a Jewish only state. This would cause a lot of problems within Israel as well as with the International Community. Ask a Palestinian about the future of a Palestinian state, and they will say that they will just wait it out until they become the majority. Ask an Israeli about this issue and they will claim that Israel will never let it happen. It is this very issue that most people claim is the reason why Ariel Sharon, with his right wing political views, changed his hard-line stance and claimed that the areas of Gaza and the West Bank are an occupation.
Added to this, is the issue of Jerusalem. Israel has said outright that there is no compromise, and that Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel. With two out of the three main issues held steadfast by Israel, which is not acceptable to majority of the Palestinians, how can there be a peaceful negotiation? In addition, the Palestinians have never prepared themselves for a state, or how to manage its trade and economics if a state is to be created. In the end, if an official Palestinian state is to be created, these two states would end up like India and Pakistan. There would be moderate Palestinians, but there would be those who would see Israel as unacceptable. The refugees could live in this new state, but how many would settle and how many would try to continue gaining further territory? The boundary between Israel and the new Palestinian state would just become a frontline.
One solution that is very unlikely would be that the Israelis reconcile with their Palestinian partners and agree to live together as one nation. Instead of a two state solution, you would have one nation that would allow any Palestinian or Jew to allow a return to this land. This would mean that Israel would reject the idea of a Jewish majority state and the Palestinians would have to accept the Jews as part of the nation. Unfortunately this solution is highly criticized. If these two groups can’t live together as two separate nations, then how will they be able to live as one nation? A civil war and massive amounts of casualties would most likely occur. Another solution is a three partitioned state. Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank could be made into three separate states. This would just elevate the infighting amongst the Palestinians and the Israelis as well.
There seems to be only one solution that is embraced at this moment in time. The Israeli state will be a Jewish state, and there will be a creation of a Palestinian state. What that state will look like is yet to be known. The refugees, who wish to return, will only be able to return to the newly Palestinian state or maybe receive some sort of compensation, but none shall return to the state of Israel and no part of Jerusalem shall be given to the Palestinians. It is a scenario they will be unwillingly forced to accept. This is what will most likely happen, if something is to happen at all. Majority of the Palestinians, who again live in Diaspora, will find this unacceptable. It is clear that no matter what path is taken to solve this issue, violence will erupt. In recent events, Israel has started building new settlements in the West Bank and as a result the Palestinians have refused to come to the negotiating table, bringing the peace process to a halt. Situations like these are not new. It is simply the same circle of events that are repeating. What solution can be made to end the hostility and violence in a peaceful way is a question that no one has an answer, assuming there is an answer at all.
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